CARFREE TOKYO

- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Child Trailers (子供用 トレーラー)


Advice on where to buy child trailer in Japan.

There are many brands of child trailer, but the only one I would bother recommending is the BURLEY SOLO. It (1) is lightweight yet strong and safe, with full harness seatbelts (2) has a good and safe hitch, (3) is narrow enough to be easy to pull through crowded streets without any hassle. It is even narrow enough to fit through doorways, and in and out of elevators, and can be folded easily.

If you have two children, the BURLEY EURO D'LITE is also an excellent trailer, just 8cm wider. Be careful not to get the older non-Euro model, as the new Euro is much better - narrower taller and stronger.

Unfortunately, you cannot buy Burley trailers direct, and the only shop I know that will sell to Japan is the US outdoor goods store REI (which sells the Solo HERE). Shipping adds to the cost, but it is definitely worth it.

OK, I will mention just one more brand: WIKE These are really nice, and they will ship direct to Tokyo. The only problem is that these trailers are very large - definitely too wide for Tokyo streets.

Just one more note, if you have any serious hills around your place, or have to pull two children, you could probably use an electric bicycle also. We have found the National Vivi to be an excellent combination with the trailer, as the bicycle itself is not so long. This bicycle helps my wife pull two heavy kids up some serious hills twice each day.

Anyway, long and short, I hope more parents consider using trailers like this. My oldest son had a tumble on a child seat mounted on a regular bike. Although he was not seriously hurt, I took the opportunity to look around at the options, found these child trailers, and made the rare plunge and bought one. I am so glad that I did. In fact they are so good that my formerly non-cycling wife is now also using it every day, twice a day.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you are looking for a high quality biking trailer I would also recommend looking at the Chariot Carriers lines (www.chariotcarriers.com). The trailers in the X-country series can be converted from cycling to jogging to strolling with out the need to carry tools.

Ryanoceros said...

Thanks for the comment. The Chariot trailers do look fantastic, and they can be bought online at REI from Tokyo just like the Burley. The single X1 is narrower even than the Burley Solo, so if you only ever have to carry one child, it would be perfect in Tokyo.

For the record though, the Burley and Wike both convert easily to stroller without the need for tools. In fact this is one of the amazing things about child trailers - you can leave your sleeping child be and go about your business when you get to your destination.

It is very handy having just enough width to carry two children if necessary - which is why I personally prefer the Burley Solo or Encore.