Poll: Would you borrow a bike trailer from your boss?

What do you do when you have an errand to do on the way to work, or on the way home, and you need to haul something heavy or bulky?

I’m talking about groceries, or anything you can’t carry using your usual setup.

For a many of us, those are the days that we drive instead. But what if your employer provided a communal bike cargo trailer that you could check out on those days?

In my case, I really intend to get a bike cargo trailer…eventually. But for now, I can borrow one from my workplace. (That is, if I don’t just pass the buck to my wife, who drives to work.)

Friday was good example of this. We ran out of dog and cat food on Thursday night. I was determined not to dump that errand on my spouse.BOB Ibex Trailer at Olsen's Grain in Flagstaff

I’d never pulled a BOB trailer before, and I knew I’d need the weight capacity. It was awfully handy to have the trailer set up with a cargo liner and a bungee cargo net right there at work.

Ironically, when I was on the Way to Olsen’s Grain in Flagstaff, my wife called and offered to meet me there with the car.

Bob Ibex Trailer with Pet FoodNo! Dammit! That would ruin everything.

Anyway, I got the food home. The pets did not starve. I will not boast about the weight and the epic hill. And tomorrow I shall return the BOB back to work.

But if you don’t work in the cycling industry–or even if you do–chances are that you don’t have a variety of trailers sitting around that you could borrow.

There are a lot of difficult, and expensive things that businesses can do to promote bike commuting: showers, changing rooms, secure parking. It’s great of you have these things, but for many of us, they just aren’t going to happen anytime soon.

On the other hand, buying a bike cargo trailer seems like a relatively easy and inexpensive thing a business could do to encourage those of us who do bike commute to do it even more. Even where space is tight, there are folding and collapsible trailers, such as the Burley Travoy, that could be stored in a closet.

Tell me, then…


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9 thoughts on “Poll: Would you borrow a bike trailer from your boss?”

  1. John says:

    Hi, It’s great to see how much more trailers are used by you in the USA than here in Great Britain, We have a growing number of cyclists but to see a trailer is a rarity, the only ones you do tend to see are carrying kids.
    People do shopping using their bikes but tend to buy daily food or just pick up some milk on the way home.
    Our supermarkets are full of cars doing huge shopping trips and most supermarkets do online shopping with delivery for around £5 to your door.

  2. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    My trailer – I found a old Burley kids trailer that all the cloths was roten and convertied it to a flat bed. I’m thinking about adding a box/walls.

    I love having a trailer. TVs, computers, bicycle wheels, large boxes, big coolers, 6 bags of groceries+ a cooler (and 4 more bags on the bike), nothing is a problem.

    I need to build a bike that all it is for is pulling the trailer and leave it attached all the time.

    He he, E – would you loan a bicycle trailer to your boss?

  3. Karen says:

    First of all, I’m impressed that you put a trailer on your folder. Haven’t seen that before.

    Second, I’d probably borrow a trailer from my employer if I worked closer to downtown so that I could carry work between locations when needed, but I use my bike to get to work and other places much of the time anyway. If an employee sees his or her boss or other staff in higher level positions using a bike and bike trailer I think the employee would be more likely to borrow it on occasion. I think that for the most part though, I think employees want to fit in for the sake of keeping a job or advancing. I believe that most employers don’t actively encourage alternatives to cars, even if they say they do. I still get teased at work for using a bike and, though for the most part the teasing is good natured,I get the impression some higher ups just view it my choice to use a bicycle as recreational in nature.

  4. Robert Rowe says:

    Our local bicycle coop, Community Cycles, allows members to sign-out trailers for use. I’ve wanted a Burley Travoy since they were released, but haven’t budgeted for the expense…yet.
    If my employer had trailers available, I think it would be extremely convenient. Plus, it’s always more fun than driving!

  5. As an employer, I would be very hesitant to begin a trailer-sharing program for my employees. Who is responsible for maintenance? How are usage conflicts resolved? How do you retrieve it when an employee forgets to bring it back (it will happen) and another wants to use it?

    Then there are the liability issues, particularly for first-time users.

    No way am I going there for no good reason.

    I will, however, continue to encourage my employees and patients to ride to work by (a) setting an example and doing it myself and (b) providing appropriate facilities.

    This summer, if the Gods of P&Z permit it, I will be adding a dedicated bicycle parking area to the lot of my office.

  6. Josh Lipton says:

    @Avery I think all of you points of hesitation are worth considering and a bike trailer for employee use isn’t an option for every business.

    That said, I believe that your first 3 usage points would be worked out amongst employees given that they were respectful of each other. On the other hand, with a group of employees with other conflicts and issues, the trailer could become a bone of contention. If a bike trailer was made available it would be important to make it clear that employees should not depend on it. It is hopefully there when the employee can make use of it, but if they are depending on it, they should probably get a bike trailer of their own.

    As to the liability issue, I don’t know about that one. Perhaps a release waiver would alleviate.

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      Yep. Workplaces can have very different personalities. In some workplaces the trailer sharing could be managed very informally. In others there might have to be some paperwork establishing a formal procedure, check-in, check-out, liability, financial responsibility for damage or loss. Sad but true. However, it’s still worth thinking about if it results in more bike commutes and fewer car commutes.

  7. Chuck says:

    I love the idea of an “available” trailer. At work we have a bike with racks and basket for the short distance mid-day trips to the store. I’d used a high weight capacity trailer for errans in the past; and found myself attempting to set new load records on each excursion. It got to the point of the rediculous (350lbs of mulch???) that I traded down to a lower capacity “PACK-DOG” single wheel trailer. Light and sleek, I find myself using it frequently as part of my 30+mile (round trip) commute to work.

    cargo trailers rule!

  8. Charlie says:

    The survey wording is ambiguous…would I bike commute more? No already 95% of more. Would I use it? Yes…if I forget to bring my trailer, I can still get groceries on the way home with the loaner.

    Another place that should have them: grocery stores.I tried to convince my coop but they didn’t go for it.

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