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How to Get More From Your Bike by Using a Cargo Trailer

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In the US the bicycle is still thought by many as a child's toy, however this is increasingly changing. In the late 1800's and early 1900's cycling was a larger spectator sport than baseball. There were far more bicycle on the road in the early 1900's than automobiles. Much of the road improvement and map improvement of the early 20th century was due to the efforts of cyclists.

Up until the time Henry Ford decided to begin a production line for automobiles and the horseless carriage became a viable option for many people that could not afford one before his revolutionary idea, he bicycle was pretty much the same in the US as in other western countries like France, England and Holland.

With the surge of automobiles on the road and the increasing speeds of cars more and better roads became needed. Once the automobile was firmly entrenched the bicycle was relegated by most into being a child's toy. After WWII there were lots of bicycles but they were for the most part children's bikes. A child would ride his bike until he was old enough to get a Driver's License then the bike would be sold or trashed.

Fuel costs for autos were low, and oil seemed plentiful early in the 20th century. Oil fields were found in Ohio in the late 1800's and in Texas, Oklahoma, and many other western states including Alaska in the 20th Century. Things looked pretty good for Auto Manufacturers and not so hot for cyclists.

Today however we are seeing a strong comeback by cyclists. Bikes are cheap, oil is expensive. At 2.60 for a gallon of gas than will get you 20 miles or less in most cars and a bicycle that will get you the same distance and in big cities often quicker for almost no cost you can see why the bicycle is making a comeback.

There are numerous advantages of the bicycle over the car. Most obvious is probably fuel cost, and others include lower repair costs, lower replacement costs, and improved health and fitness for the rider. With the cost of fuel way up and the cost of autos in general being fairly high, cycling is getting more and more popular.

There are some unfortunate disadvantages to using the bicycle as transportation. If you go to the grocery and you drive your car, you can buy a load of groceries but if you are on a bicycle you are limited to what you can carry. You can expand your cargo space by use of a basket, panniers, or my favorite the bicycle trailer.

The bicycle trailer comes in several models some have one wheel that trails right behind the back wheel of the bike. The single wheel type is often used by people doing bicycle tours and cross country riding. These tend to be smaller trailers and are usually used to carry clothing, small tents and such. They are not my choice for getting a load of groceries or running errands.

I personally have a two wheel trailer I purchased in 2002 and use quite often; in fact I pulled it in the Lee County Christmas Parade in Leesburg Georgia with the people from Chehaw BMX. The type I have is one that will actually carry 3 small children, two toddlers or one probably 6 year old in the seat. The seat folds down to make a cargo trailer and I have used that thing to carry lots and lots of cargo.

In 2002 I did a fundraising bicycle ride for the South Georgia Food Bank in Albany Georgia. On November 11, 2002 I rode my bicycle pulling that trailer from Sylvester Georgia down Highway 82 to Tifton Georgia and back. People would stop and put non perishable food in the trailer or give me cash donations. That day I collected two large boxes of food and 287.00 for the food bank. I had placed cardboard signs on the trailer and people would read them as they drove by and when they seen me in a parking lot they would stop to give me donations. Even the Mayor of Tifton Georgia at the time chipped in with 20.00 when I met him at Veteran's Park in Tifton.

That trailer has been used to haul my grandkids all over the place, they are too old now to ride in it, but it still gets plenty of use. My wife uses it to go shopping. I use it to help me get faster on my bike. I will load it down with about 50lbs of weight then ride it as fast as I can up and down the bike trail, usually about 15 to 20 miles at somewhere near 15 to 20 MPH. Then when I get on the road bike with no load I can hit 20 to 22 MPH with actually what feels like less effort than riding the mountain bike with the trailer.

The trailer I have does have a cover so if it would rain the groceries or what is in the trailer won't get soaked and with the extra room in the trailer you can carry some rain gear so the rider doesn't get soaked too bad either.

There are however numerous styles of bicycle trailers now available. There are ones that are strictly for cargo. They have a flat bed and sides and can handle loads up to 150 lbs.

I was just looking at one recently that was made to pull handicapped adults around in. Since my youngest son is handicapped and can only walk short distances we are considering at some point getting one for him, so he can enjoy a ride with my wife and I.

I was in Orlando a short time back at Michael Pen land's Internet Marketing Conference. And there was a young lady riding her bicycle down the street pulling a trailer that looked as if it would hold two adults. There was no one in that trailer, but it appeared to be a sort of bicycle taxi.

I read a couple years back where UPS was actually hiring cyclist to deliver packages in some of the western states to save on fuel and make their deliveries quicker, they were using hybrid bikes with cargo trailers.

You can definitely expand the usability of your bicycle by adding a bicycle trailer.

Jerry Goodwin has been certified as a Medical Technologist since 1977. He is an avid Cyclist participating in Road racing, Mountain Biking and BMX Racing. He sponsored or been the event director in numerous cycling events for various charities including the Toys for Tots, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, The South Georgia Foiod Bank, Carolines Ride, and the Soutwest Georgia Cyclefest-Making a difference in the lives of wounded warriors in Southwest Georgia.

Jerry was certifed as a Personal Trainer for several years and still answers questions about weightlifting and exercis as well as cycling at allexperts.com

Jerry served in the US Navy during the VietNam era aboard the Jesse L. Brown DE1089. After release from Active Duty in the Navy Jerry served in the Ohio National Guard, the Kansas National Guard and the Georgia National Guard. Honors include the Ohio Award of Merit, The Ohio Special Services Ribbon and the Army Commendation Medal.

For more information on Jerry, cycling or weight training check out the blog at http://www.thebicyclenut.com

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Thanks Jerry for sharing your knowledge .

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