I know for a fact that most first- time bicycle tourists use saddlebags to carry their loads. I did so myself, but that was years back. I then slowly warmed up to the idea of single wheel trailers. It is a wonderful way of carrying gear during bicycle tours. There are lots of brands of these available and you have to choose one that suits your requirements. In this article, I have not gone into the pros and cons of any brands; rather I have discussed single wheel trailers in general.
First the negatives (and here I am talking about the negatives of using them during bicycle touring):
* You will find that the single wheel trailer’s tires is of a different make from that of your bicycle, which means that you will have to carry a spare tire and a tire tube with you during your tour. That will be an extra burden.
* The big compartment a trailer provides will make you want to load up as much gear as possible. You may even find yourself carrying stuff you really don’t need.
* If you will be climbing hills during your tour, the trailer will act as an extra load you will have to pull up. It may not be a huge weight, but the experience will require more effort.
* I have heard of people who have experienced their trailers fish tailing during high speed descents. Though I myself have never faced this, I can understand that this happens because the bicyclist distributed the load badly in the trailer.
* A single wheel trailer works best on a bicycle that has a stiff rear frame. So if your bicycle does not have this, it may feel a little twitchy.
Now for the positives of this travelling companion and the reason why I know I will use mine again:
* The trailer is self- contained. You can go off on a tour alone by just disconnecting the trailer from your bicycle. This is perfect for times when you want to do a bit of sightseeing without the burden of carrying gear.
* The trailer will not take up any more space sideways than your bike. This will ensure that you won’t have to deal with fighting with headwinds as and when you face them.
* If you are travelling with a companion, you can share the trailer with him. This will ensure that none of you feel too burdened as the effort will be divided between the two of you.
* Everything is in the trailer bag. You will not have to waste time trying to find stuff. Just dig in and you get it!
* Standing up on the pedals when you are climbing up a hill is not difficult at all when you use a single wheel trailer.
If you ask me whether I will be using a single wheel trailer again then the answer would be a resounding YES!