The Trailer

Yes, a trailer. I towed a trailer made by BOB Trailers. It is their 2001 YAK Plus model which has significant improvements over the earlier models. It comes with a dry sack that will keep all of my gear bone dry.

Many long distance bicycle riders have switched from panniers to trailers in the past few years.

The trailer weighs in at 11 pounds. Two sets of panniers, racks, and rain covers weighs about 5 pounds. The greater weight of the trailer is made up for in utility and convenience. Racks are difficult to attach to a short wheel base recumbent like the RANS Rocket I'll be riding which makes the YAK an easy choice.

Benefits

  • Low center of gravity
  • More aerodynamic than panniers
  • Easy to attach/detach from bicycle (about 5 seconds)
  • Easy to load
  • Lower cost per cubic inch than panniers
  • Greater packing flexibility
  • Less wear on bicycle tires (less load per tire)
  • Doubles as a table when flipped over.
  • The bag is waterproof which allows me to store gear outdoors.

Modifications

  • Added two plastic drawer pulls to the top of the frame near the front of the trailer to help stabilize it when used as a table. I never used the trailer this way since it was inconvenient to remove the bag.
  • Removed fender to decrease weight.
  • Replaced stock all terrain tire with low rolling resistance, high pressure Primo Comet 16 x 1.35 tire. It easily lasted the entire trip and shows hardly any wear after 5000 miles! Other BOB owners commonly reported blowing their stock tire within 3000 miles last summer.
  • Replaced stock tube with a new 16 x 1.35 Schrader tube to ensure fresh rubber for the ride.
  • Added RAM mount to rear left corner to mount a solar panel or video camera to the trailer.
  • Added silver and red reflective tape to the sides and rear of the trailer for visibility at night and in poor weather.

Photos

The first picture is of the trailer upside down being used as a table. The stove sits on a small plastic peanut butter can lid that I zip tied onto the bottom of the trailer. You can also see where I've added reflective tape. The lower left photo shows how the trailer mounts to the bicycle.


Resources:
Trailer comparison page

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Lawrence J. Flint