Monthly Archive: July 2013

Bike Trailer Strollers: Burley and Chariot

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I originally planned to do the trail-a-bike and seat combination, but I was talked out of it by a worker at Village Cycle in Old Town, since both my kids are pushing the weight limit for a seat, and neither is really ready for biking on their own. I did some research and found that there are quite a few bike trailers that double as strollers, so I got excited about this as an option…
Last summer I rented a bike and Burley from Bike n’ Roll at Millennium Park, and we had disastrous results. Both kids cried and pushed each other, wailed about their helmets, and the setup would NOT fit in our elevator. I felt really uneasy about locking up a rented trailer, and wrote off the idea.
But then I rethought it- a trailer with a stroller option actually suits us very well. Mainly because I’m able to lock the bike up, detach the kids, add a wheel, and stroll away. So now I have a nap machine. I think the D’Lite I wound up buying is larger than the one I’d rented last year, and more comfortable.
I started the hunt on Amazon, and was shocked to see both of these would top $700 if combined with the strolling kit I figured would work best in the city (two small swivel wheels.) I ruled out the strolling kit on the Burley where the wheel just tips down from the bike attachment arm, as you’d be certain to trip someone and have difficulty pushing it around in a crowded place. Same with the jogging attachment. As a former BOB stroller owner, I know the pain of having a fixed front wheel in the city!
I considered several models on Amazon, all between $175 and $250, but I was not comfortable with this idea… I’ve had the lower end strollers before, and always felt a big difference in quality from the “tried and true” brands, plus, they have no resale value to speak of.
I decided on a Chariot- used. I missed four listings on Craigslist- those things go FAST. So I contacted a guy about a used Burley, and wound up with our 2010 model, plus the jogging wheel (that I would never have bought on my own!) We were upsold a bit. I admit it. But considering ten year old Burleys regularly sell for $200 on CL, $425 seemed absolutely reasonable for one with more options in great condition. This was the newest one he had that could take a stroller kit. This guy knew his bike trailers- he said his hobby is to take them and clean them up in the Fall for cheap, then resell on CL in the Spring. Good little side business…
So here are the main differences I see in the two trailers. By the way- thank you to whoever has their Chariot locked up in our parking garage, and to the lady at the Children’s Museum who let me check hers out.
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I think I’d still opt for the Cougar, if I had a choice and they were the same price used. I’d pay about the same amount, as well. But what I do like about our D’Lite is the ENORMOUS TRUNK where we stash extra clothes, our helmets while inside, picnics, scooters, stuffed animals, etc. It certainly works for trips to the beach or picnics at the park, and comes in handy when someone has an accident or wants to take an impromptu dip in a water feature. I’ve found it easy enough to hook up and convert. As a stroller, it is only a little large- I’ve had a double BOB, a Baby Jogger City Mini, and a Britax B-Ready, and they aren’t smaller than the Burley. Also, with the swiveling wheels, it’s easy to maneuver. My main complaint is the handlebar, it seems flimsy for something that is bound to be loaded up with kids and stuff, but the design for 2011 and newer looks waaay better.
Speaking of accidents, we’ve had a few wet pants while out. I carry a beach towel with us for this reason, and I’ve found you can basically clean the seat completely by using a detergent and rinsing, then it dries pretty fast.
I absolutely love that our trailer has opened up new areas of the city for exploration, and that I burn a ton of calories now that we’re frequently on the go. I find it’s fairly easy to pull, except, obviously, when you start from a stop on a hill. Good luck with that :)

Let’s Get this Started!

Can’t wait to share all kinds of photos and tips from our adventures in Chicago- which is quickly becoming the most bike-friendly place in the Mid West! ┬áHere are just a few photos- I’ll be detailing attractions, routes, problems, gear, and advice for bicycling the Windy City with kids in tow.

bike and burley in Chicago's Ping TOM Paro

Ping Tom Park

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