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Published June 15, 2010, 12:00 AM

Trailers help parents maintain their fitness routine

For some active adults, caring for a small child may present a bit of a road block in their fitness routine.

By: John Lamb, INFORUM

For some active adults, caring for a small child may present a bit of a road block in their fitness routine.

But with some extra gear, bikers and joggers can take the family along for the ride, even before the kids are rolling on their own.

For peddlers, one of the most recognizable designs and names is Burley, which has manufactured trailers that can carry young kids – or pets – to pull behind the bike for more than 30 years.

“Burley is definitely a safe bet for a child,” says Keith Muller, manager at Paramount Sports, 4501 15th Ave., Fargo. “They’re the best brand out there for durability and service. It’s a lifetime sale.”

Muller says the company has stressed function over fancy with simple, sturdy design that makes them easy to assemble and adapt. The frame is made of lightweight aluminum and bolted together, making repairs, which are seldom, easier than other brands that are riveted.

The trailers can range from about $350 for a Bee to $650 for a D’Lite model, equipped with a better suspension system to cushion the child from bumpy rides and a break system to prevent rolling.

Separate kits can be purchased to adapt the carriage into a stroller (about $60) with a swiveling front wheel for easy turning, or a jogger (around $120) with a sturdier fixed front wheel to prevent twists and topples at faster speeds.

“You end up paying more for a Burley, but it’s worth it,” Muller says, adding that the trailer comes with a lifetime warranty.

“I don’t think parents want to pay that much when they can get something similar for half that price,” says Asa Jacobs, a mechanic at Great Northern Bicycle Co., 425 Broadway, Fargo.

While the store will order Burleys for customers, he says the prices have gone up over recent years from $350 to $750 for a D’Lite. He recommends an Avenir Discovery for about $270.

Across the street from Paramount, Curt Schumacher, exercise manager at Scheels at 1551 45th St. S., Fargo, likes the Croozer line of trailers for around $300.

“Burleys run twice as much, and I don’t think they’re as safe,” he says, adding his store will special-order Burleys, but they don’t stock them.

He says Croozers offer reinforced foot plates, extra padding and a five-point harness.

They’re easy to collapse, user-friendly and easy to change applications, like adding a jogging wheel or replacing it with a turning strolling wheel, he says.

“As you pay more, you’re paying for user-friendliness for you and comfort for the kid,” Schumacher says.

While most trailers can be converted into fixed-wheel joggers to push, Schumacher prefers a Trek model with a full rain guard for about $250.

And for kids who are able to sit up and hold on, trailer bikes – basically a long, stabilized arm attached to a third wheel – lets them help pedal. These run between $100 and $200.

“They can go along for the bike ride and get that bike-riding experience,” Schumacher says.

“They feel like they’re interacting more with the ride,” Jacobs offers.

Tips

  • Bikers should look for strong but lightweight aluminum spokes instead of solid wheels. Spokes will be lighter, making the peddler feel like they’re pulling less weight. The spoked wheels are also more durable.
  • Look for trailers with screens and see-through rain shields to protect children from dust, bugs or bad weather.
  • While most adults got their first bike-riding experience in a bike seat behind the peddler, Curt Schumacher, exercise manager at Scheels, doesn’t recommend them.

    “If you tip over with these, kiddo has got a big fall,” he says.

  • Even buckled snuggly inside a trailer, kids should still wear helmets.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533

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