Cargo Bikes vs Bike Trailers

When we were planning our recent family bike tour, one of our big decisions was whether to use a bike trailer to carry one or two children in or to just use a cargo bike at home.

After seriously considering a bike trailer, we ultimately to just use a cargo bike instead. Here are some we considered in our decision.

In favor of bike trailers, bike provide some protection from the sun and rain for one or two children.
A trailer also provides the flexibility of additional cargo space.

In favor of a cargo bike, our largest child was already 8 years old and soon to grow out of any trailer. The trailer added significant weight on it’s own. We also already had a cargo bike.

Regarding the weather, we decided that if the weather was bad enough to take shelter from, then adults and children should all take shelter together.

The decision to use a cargo bike instead of a trailer was one was one we never second guessed. “I wish we had a bike trailer” never came up during the trip.

If you are looking a bike trailer for taller/older children, the best one I found was
the Wike trailer, with 30 inches (76 cm) of headroom.

Weather canopies for cargo bikes

There are some weather canopies for cargo bikes offer that the convenience of the cargo bike with some of the
weather protection of trailer.

For around town, We loved the weather canopy on our bakfiets seen here:

Bakfiets weather canopy
Warm and cozy under th e bakfiets weather canopy

But since our daugther was about 6 years old, she no longer fits underneath
the bakfiets canopy. Also, there was no covenient way to store that model of canopy when not in
use— it hung in the garage like a stiff sail. So when we took the box bike on tour when our daugther was a year and a half old, we left the canopy at home anyway.

For longtail bikes, I love the look of the DIY Covered Bike Wagon Canopy by Laurence Clarkberg:

Laurence Clarkberg's DIY weather canopy
Laurence Clarkberg’s DIY cargo bike weather canopy

You can read more about how Laurence made the covered bike wagon canopy.

A more common pattern for DIY cargo bike rain covers is to re-purpose a hood from a stroller or a child carrier backpack. One you can find detailed instructions for for is Lindsay’s Yuba Canopy made from a stoller hood:

DIY rain cover for Yuba Mundo
DIY rain cover for Yuba Mundo

On our most recent bike tour temperatures regularly reached 90 degrees (F) and sunburn on the children was a real concern.

If there had been some kind of weather canopy option available for our Xtracycle, we would have considered it.

Related Posts

Bike Trailers vs. longtail bikes

Cargo Bike vs Bike Trailer for Kids