Test Driving the Radical Design Trailer

During the week my new tow arm for the trailer arrived. Yesterday was ridiculously humid and hot, today was humid and cold and drizzling, but I headed out anyway and was glad that I did. This was just a shake down ride to test the trailer, check that everything is OK. Having the rain meant that I also tested the rain cover. The first thing to do was to pump up the tyres. One was nearly flat, but I guess you get that when they have been unused and sitting first in the shop and then at my place. With the humidity, my t-shirt was drenched in sweat from this simple exercise and I probably need to increase the pressure somewhat. But still, it was enough for my light load and test ride.





I had ordered the new part and it was posted from Holland on 8 Jan and arrived in Sydney on 22 Jam, so that is 14 days for €10.45.  When I had originally got the trailer I had the tow bar for 26-28″ wheels so I had ordered the tow bar for 16-20″ wheels. The trike has 16″ (349) wheels.

I have never ridden with a trailer before. As I left a very light drizzle started. One of the first things I did was to put on the rain cover. There was very little in the trailer, just my camera and tripod. This made the rain cover very loose. When I first rode with it it was rubbing on the wheels. I guess that this will not normally happen if the trailer is full. But nearly empty, I had to put a hockey strap on on the cover to stop it rubbing on the wheels. This was ok as a temporary measure and worked given that I had a strap in my luggage, but I suspect in the longer term the hooks on the end of the strap may damage the cover so I need to find a better solution.

I continued up the cooks river trail to Cup and Saucer creek before heading back. By now the rain has stopped so I took off the rain cover as it was an extra step to getting the camera in and out of the trailer. I stopped to show the turning circle with the trailer. The trailer does not make any difference to the turning circle. But when I have to reverse to do a three point turn as I did on the bridge at the top of this post, I cannot reverse without jack-knifing, so I have to get off.

On the way back I popped into a local nursery, I locked the trike. It would work if there was small post, but when there is something like a tree, I really need a new cable to get the extra length.  So one think I need to purchase is another locking cable.

One last thing. Clearly if the trailer was full, it would obscure my main rear tail light. So I moved it up onto the bar that holds the flag and head rest. I think I will get another light for the left side of the trike. This will also give me redundancy with rear tail lights which, given that they are a safety device, must be a good thing. As the tube is thicker this had the unexpected benefit of providing a strong grip for the light on the pole. In the previous position the light tended to twist around as I went over bumps.

So all in all there were no major dramas and I was pleased with the outcome. It all went well. The trailer was smooth and it was easy to forget it was there. Forgetting though would be a mistake. I went through several narrow spots including centre islands with right angle bends and foot paths with steep angles of attack form the road and sharp turns combined. There were no problems there. The only thing is where I would need to do a three or five point turn on the GT3 I need to get off to manoeuvre the trailer as reversing is not really a viable option. Of course I need to take more care with poles and right angle corners to leave enough clearance for the trailer.

The reaction of the public was interesting. Around where I live they know me and my strange wheels, still the trailer got a look. One man on the cycleway said that I had a bike semi-trailer. The kids all wanted to talk. On the way back a car drove along side me and said that it was good exercise. One boy told his father that he could get one and that he could ride on the back, though his father groaned and complained about doing all the work. Of course I pointed out that he should get a proper child trailer.


Flickr Comments:

Ebroh says: Not made for articulated vehicles :))

yewenyi says: Ha, it is not made for the trike. I always have to do a three point turn, but with the trailer I have to get off. I did find a bridge in bondi junction a few weeks back that I have to do a 5 point turn on.

‘hold on’ says: that’s quite a long vehicle with the trailer, does it;s extra weight affect the trike very much?
nicely colour co-ordinated btw

yewenyi says: I have not loaded much weight in the trailer, like this it is unnoticeable. But the idea is that you balance the weight like would would in any trailer, still, going up a hill with it loaded I’m sure would be noticed. the colour is working well and I had red clothes on. But my other panniers are yellow. Bit of a mistake that…

– Seen on my Flickr home page. (?) Posted 35 hours ago. ( permalink )

Monica Morgan says: Enjoyable exercise Brian. Fascinated by your 3 point turns. I’m not any good at backing a trailer so I just uncouple it and turn the damn thing myself. Embarrassing, but on the farm no-one could see. Thank Heaven that trailers are a thing of the past for me. Posted 2 days ago. ( permalink )

yewenyi says: bicycle trailers have quite a strict weight limit. I remember that we got our 4WD drive bogged once at our farm with a trailer load of sand and screenings and had to unload the trailer with a shovel. to be able to disconnect it to get the 4WD out. It took ages.

– Seen on my Flickr home page. (?) Posted 2 days ago. ( permalink )


2 comments to Test Driving the Radical Design Trailer

  • […] 2010 Jan 24: the new tow bar arrived and I went for a test ride. […]

  • Craig

    Trailer looks good mate. I once made on in highschool that looked similar but I had plywood sides and use to cart people or dirt from the local quarry back home. Kids in the subburb loves going for a ride in it and about 70kg of weight in it was about the limits of what it could comfortably carry. The connection to the bike went over the top of the rear tyre and had a car tierod end and a matching taper bolted to the car. Have fun with it. 🙂

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