Trailers For All

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 16.

As an alternative to buying your own trailer, what about borrowing one? A new scheme to do that has been given one pedal forward, only to take two pedals backward. South Cambridgeshire District Council has formally commended a proposal to work with retailers to start a trailer loan scheme – perhaps at Tesco in Fulbourn – but refused to support it financially. Councillors seem not to have recognised that this would be replacing car journeys of existing shoppers, rather than promoting new business for the shops.

Photo of Tesco cycle parking (8k)
Sadly it will be harder now to see a trailer park as well as the bike racks.

The proposal was put to the committee as a result of approaches to the Council by Cycling Campaign member Bill Gurney, who was also instrumental in getting a Cycle Friendly Employer group going at the company he worked for. While Bill got a favourable response from the shop, Tesco’s manager has not been replying to South Cambridgeshire’s letters.

Based on a similar scheme running in Chichester, the idea is that you could arrive at the shop by bike, attach the trailer, and tow your shopping home. So that the trailers don’t go the same way as Cambridge’s ill-fated green bikes, and to disclaim liability, you would register so they know who you are. You would also have to return the trailer within a reasonable time.

We wrote to Fulbourn’s District Councillor supporting the proposal, and are disappointed that the committee failed to support it. The amount of money was small, it was very positive thinking, and the scheme would have been a refreshing change from just constructing shared-use footways.

Brox (5k)
Could we see the Brox on Cambridge streets soon?

In the meantime, we are considering how we as a cycling campaign might be able to make trailers available to members as a service, and to allow us to shift around the increasing quantity of materials we are accumulating. We would have to apply for a grant for this, and find somewhere to house them not too far from the City Centre (any offers?). Would anyone like to help bring this idea to fruition?

I also understand that Richard Mackay, Cambridge University’s environment officer, is investigating trailer or pedal vehicle solutions to the smaller deliveries between colleges and departments. This would be a great initiative, replacing lots of short journeys by van.

Dave Earl