Cargo County: A trailer full of mini adventures

This article was published in 2022, in Magazine 155.

Being a mom of two young boys, I am faced with the challenge of transporting them around for both school and recreation. I started to look into more active ways to transport my children that would also help me stay fit and healthy. Since childhood, riding a bicycle has always been rewarding in terms of my mental and physical wellbeing, so I wanted to find a solution to allow me to transport my kids to school using a bicycle. This would also reduce my carbon footprint and help me stay green. My first concern was safety especially during the colder, darker months. This was because the route includes many fast and narrow roads.

Dondon Holden with her bike and trailer

My initial research led me to the cargo bike system. However this raised two concerns. One is its high price tag with a limited number of UK manufacturers. The second is that the shortcut passageway that is easily accessible for regular cycles has still not been widened enough to accept cargo bikes, and therefore limits my choice of routes. As a result, I opted for a bike trailer as this has more manoeuvrability. Owning a trailer has become not only a necessity but a brilliant way to transport my kids and opened up opportunities for exploring further afield; like our small trips to local stores, hair salon, town centre and parks etc. This has also been made easier by the fact that my kids find every journey exciting, creating their own mini adventures.

Dondon trying to navigate barriers with her trailerMy experience of owning a trailer has been a positive one overall, but I have encountered some awkward and unwelcoming passageways that restrict my journey. These are quite difficult to negotiate and I find some barriers and width restrictions are too narrow whether I am mounted or dismounted. This can be a little discouraging especially during school runs. Unfortunately in my case, these shortcuts and passageways happen to be the safest route for transporting my kids away from the busy main roads. Recently there have been so many occasions where a cyclist has been endangered by speeding vehicles. Drivers are often impatient when sharing the road with other road users such as cyclists.

Some of the roads have inadequate warning signs in place to make drivers aware of cyclists and I have encountered abuse many times from impatient drivers. However I will never let this change my decision to use a bicycle as a form of transportation as it’s a great way to cut congestion, stay green and, most importantly, maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Dondon Holden, Brampton