Got young children? Want to get back to the active lifestyle you enjoyed before the first baby arrived? Then take a look at the Co Pilot Bike Trailer, which can be an absolute life saver for the parents of young children.
Or at the very least, a lifestyle saver, because a bike trailer can get you back moving again a lot faster than a toddler's pace.
There are other benefits besides the obvious one of more exercise. You’ll set a
great example to your children, introduce them to the outdoors, to the idea that exercise is fun, and spend quality time together as a family.
Your bike trailer can hold your children, their toys, and all the extras that go with a young family away from home.
And because the Co Pilot Bike Trailer can be used as a Stroller as well, you can easily slow the pace down when it will be more fun to walk.
In fact, the Co Pilot is positioned not only as a "Stroller" but has a "Jogging Stroller" - but you will see that claim may not be totally realistic.
Both the A and the T models of the Co Pilot Bike Trailer are ASTM approved for towing 2 children and cargo, weighing up to a total of 100 lbs. The major difference between the two models is the stroller wheel configuration.
- Universal quick-release mount attaches to disc brake and regular bicycles
- Lightweight aluminium frame
- Unit weight – 25 lbs
- Suspended seat
- Pockets, toy tethers, and rear storage area for all your gear
- Padded seat and 5-point safety harness
- Webbing light clips added for front and back visibility
- Tinted bug screen and separate roll-up plastic rain cover
- Includes mount that works on most bikes
- Tow bar easily swings and stows under chassis
- Push button wheels are easy to remove for flat storage
- Includes front stroller wheel that easily clamps to tow bar
- Includes wheel brake strap
- High-visibility safety flag
- Folds for compact storage
- Mesh flow-through head panel for ventilation
Safety is obviously the primary concern for anyone acquiring a bike trailer, and the Co-pilot has a high-strength universal hitch that links securely to disc brake or regular bicycles.
It is available in high-visibility colors and arrives with a safety flag.
The passengers sit on padded, suspended seats rather than flat on the floor of the trailer, and are secured by a five-point safety harness.
While opinions differ, there are those who believe that trailers offer more
protection for children than do bike seats. With a seat, if the bike crashes, the child does too. With a trailer, even if the bike falls over, in effect the trailer will provide roll-cage protection for the passengers.
And being enclosed rather than exposed, there is no chance for inquisitive young hands to reach out for passing objects.
Co Pilot Bike Trailer with Safety Flag
Helmets for children?
There has been some discussion online about whether children in a bike trailer should wear helmets or not, but many authorities agree on two things:
- A child should not wear a helmet until its neck muscles are strong enough to carry the extra weight (effectively that means at least a year old); and
- Even when not required by law, it’s a really, really good idea to put a helmet on a child in a bike trailer.
What does the law say?
About a third of the states have laws that require some minors to wear helmets; a further third don’t have state laws but do have local ordinances; and in the rest there are no restrictions.
Here’s a sample from Florida:
(d) A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap …. As used in this subsection, the term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semi-trailer attached to a bicycle.
It’s obviously impossible to discuss the legal parameters in an article like this, but if you’d like to check for yourself (at least at the state level), here is a comprehensive list of links to state bicycle laws put together by The League of American Bicyclists (who know a thing or two about it, having been around since 1880).
The trailer is quick and easy to assembly, and you’ll probably complete the job within 20 minutes of opening the box.
There is an instruction manual – actual assembly directions only take up four pages.
If you’d like to have a look at one before making a purchase decision, here are links to the two models; you can download them as PDFs (the documents should auto download to your competer/device) .
Link to Model A.
Link to Model T.
What’s It Like In Use?
There are five internal harness straps. If you’re carrying two children, use all five. If there is only one passenger, use the central three.
The maximum passenger weight allowable is 100 lbs.
The trailer is fitted with with large 20” aluminum wheels with inflatable tires that give a more comfortable ride, as do the suspended seats.
However, there is no additional suspension system, so it will obviously be more at home on paved surfaces.
There are storage pockets, toy tethers and a rear storage area for all the extraneous gear that parents with young children need to cart around “just in case”.
What Do Buyers Say?
- They love the extra storage behind the seat.
- It's nimble, corners well, and doesn't create excessive drag.
- The Co Pilot folds down neatly when not in use, so it does not take up much room in your car trunk or when being stored at home.
Disassembly, however, is a subject that provokes quite a lot of user comment.
The Co Pilot it is a little more laborious to fold up than some users would like.
Co Pilot Model A Folded
Effectively you need to completely disassemble as follows:
- Unhook six security pins;
- Release the velcro that holds the canopy in place;
- Remove the wheels;
- Remove the handle bar;
- And if you’ve configured it as a stroller, remove the stroller wheel attachment.
On the plus side, while it does take more than “a few seconds” to take apart it is not at all difficult and once the unit is flat, it is really flat!
Is It a Jogger/Stroller?
Existing users are pretty vocal about this - even those who really rate the product.
Co Pilot Configured as Stroller
- Stroller? Yes.
- Jogger? Not so much.
As a stroller it works well, and is nice and smooth at normal walking pace.
But if you’re a runner, and more particularly a serious runner, then this is not the bike trailer for you.
The problem is the two small wheels that attach to the front to convert it from a bike trailer to a jogger/stroller. They are simply too small to cope with the speed that the average runner will generate.
Pros and Cons
Two for the
Price of One
Even if you only have one child, the weight-carrying ability of this trailer is a major advantage, and is something that many of its competitors cannot match.
If you have two, then it should be a serious contender on your list (unless you are a very competitive jogger).
The stroller capability effectively gives you two products for the price of one.
The load-carrying rating and the storage capacity combine to make it much easier to transport the clutter that inevitably accompanies young children.
The robust construction and focus on safety bring added peace of mind.
Click below to find out more.