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Bike + Trailer advice for Great Divide

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Hi, my wife are in the long (!) term planning stages for a stint on the Great Divide trail.  I've noticed that most folks take a trailer, and I was wondering what folks think about two-wheeled Burleys over the single-wheeled BOBs.  Also, with a trailer of any sort on such a route, is dual suspension OK?  Or is a hard tail really the only way to go? Your advice on back country touring bikes and trailers much appreciated.



If you read Mike McCoy's excellent Cycling the Great Divide (available from Adventure Cycling online. Get it. You need to read this book before you do the Divide!) on page 22 says "...a fully suspended bike pulling a single-wheel trailer designed for off-road use, such as the B.O.B., appears well on it's way to becoming the official rig of choice for the Great Divide rider." I have not done the GDR yet, but do a lot of off-road touring, with both a BOB or panniers, but because of the panniers and rack, I ride a hard-tail Trek 930SHX. The advantage of the BOB over panniers: They don't bounce off on rough descents, you can carry a bit more stuff, and it works with full suspension. Advantages of panniers: Shorter turning radius, you don't always have to get off the bike to pull something out of your pack, and you can do killer "wheelies" really easily! ;-) Essentialy, I use the BOB for anything over a weekend long, and I use the panniers for one or two night trips.

The BoB or Yakima type trailer is much better suited to mountain biking than the two-wheel rigs like the Burley. It is the same width as the bike, and follows where the bike goes. I can see a two-wheeler having problems on single-track. So far I have not had any problems in any terrain with the BOB.

Ride safe,

This message was edited by Trailpatrol on 2-26-04 @ 8:59 AM

Thanks, Hans.  Actually, I just ordered the Great Divide book and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.  I've read a couple of horror stories of some pivot points on fully suspended bikes completely blowing out after a couple weeks on the trail.  I guess if the construction is solid enough, full suspension can handle it.  Until your post, I was thinking that a hard tail with susp. seat post would be the best choice.  Now we've got lots to think about. Well, we've got time to sort this out.

The BOB has some strong advantages, as you say, but we are going to try the route with our dog, who will ride at times in a two-wheeled trailer.  I figure there will be some sections we'll have to avoid/ride around, but since the vast majority is dirt road not single track, we shouldn't have to miss too much.  I guess I was wondering if folks had tried long-distance off-pavement touring with a two-wheeler and what their experience was.



I've done half the Great Divide -- Canada to central Colorado -- with a two-wheel trailer and dog and you will have no problem with one exception where you will have to take the pavement. It is a very short piece of very steep single track that tends to destroy all who attempt it, regardless of how they carry their gear.

Write me with any specific questions. I'll be happy to answer . . . I just am in a rush right now and can't go into a lot of detail here. I've also crossed Europe twice including the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites and America with a two-wheel Burley (and dog) and done just fine. So I am experienced with them. I also own three (yeah, count'em three!) B.O.B.s and two sets of Madden panniers (my wife tours with me . . . actually I tour with her; she makes me do it).

I'll try to post a more complete answer later, or better yet, pen an article about the joys of two-wheel trailers to submit to Adventure Cycling. Anyway, go with confidence with the two-wheeler. You'll love it. So will your dog; I just hope he/she is a small one because you can't expect the poor pooch to run 25 to 50 miles a day for weeks on end and live to lick you again.

We don't use suspended bikes. But then we aren't Gonzo's either, just bicycle tourists.

Enjoy and ride safe always!

Wayne Carpenter

I have toured on lots of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. I have tested the Burley Nomad for this purpose and do not recommend it for rugged terrain. When you are going 15-20mph and one wheel hits a bump, it has tendancy to tip over onto it's side. A BOB is a much better choice for the Great Divide route. --Larry

Larry Diskin
Adventure Cycling Association


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