I am scared to death of motorcycles, but if someone offered me a ride in their motorcycle sidecar, I would take them up on it without hesitation. There is something incredibly cool about sidecars and we all know that coolness always trumps fear. When I found Chariot Bicycle Carriers made a SideCarrier for bicycles similar a traditional motorcycle sidecar, I was already in love. What I didn’t know then was how incredibly practical this bike trailer would turn out to be and how it would get more action in one summer than a blender at Margaritaville, quickly becoming our go-to bike trailer.
If you prefer an off-bike child carrier or trailer, you definitely owe it to yourself and your coolness to check out Chariot Carriers. Not only does the SideCarrier offer supreme handling ability for ease of riding, it is the best option for keeping our littlest bikers engaged and truly sharing the biking experience with them. Since the Chariot SideCarrier allows your child to ride right alongside you, it is much easier to keep them entertained while you ride and really enjoy each other’s company. Not only did all the kids (even a ten year old who was far too old to ride*) enjoy it more than all our other trailers and carriers, they were actually begging for rides in the SideCarrier and didn’t want to get out when their turn was over. Since the goal of biking as a family is to connect and interact with each other, the Chariot SideCarrier would be our top pick for an off-the-bike trailer.
Unlike a typical tow-behind bike trailer, the Chariot SideCarrier is more like a unified extension of your bicycle and therefore offers superior handling and maneuverability. Clearly, this is a product for those who love their bikes, but also love their children and want to take them along without compromising all of their speed, agility and mobility. The Chariot SideCarrier is the result of excellence in engineering as well as an extreme attention to detail and quality of construction. When you first see the Chariot Carriers in retail, their quality and durability are easy to detect, even from a distance. The full-line of Chariot Child Carriers stand out amongst their competition as the clear premium Bike Trailer, and their distinctive good-looks make adding it to your beloved bike much less painful than we imagined. In fact, once you’re out with it and baby, nothing turns heads faster than a sporty-looking SideCarrier and a clearly overjoyed child.
Looks aside, the Chariot SideCarrier has the performance to back up its style as it is sturdy and well crafted and able to handle any trail or road. The SideCarrier is engineered in a way that does not “tug” on your bike when you change speeds and does not push on your bike when braking. The low center of gravity makes this carrier extremely stable and secure, even while turning. Speaking of turning, the pivoting hitch that connects the SideCar to your bicycle allows you to turn and lean the bike from side to side while the SideCarrier stays completely upright and stable. We found that during extremely sharp right turns the SideCarrier would brush our leg, but it wasn’t painful at all and could be avoided by making wider and less sharp turns when possible, a small trade-off for ease of turning and full range of motion with your child in tow.
One particularly useful function of the Chariot SideCarrier is for biking in metropolitan areas or those utilizing a bike lane. When biking through town, whether that is on the sidewalk or in the bike lane, I am incredibly nervous with baby riding moments behind the bicycle. My fear is that most drivers aren’t expecting you to be towing a child behind you and won’t be as cautious as I feel they should be when my child is cruising down the road sans airbags a few feet behind me. With the SideCarrier, baby rides right up next to me on the right side, which just so happens to be the furthest from traffic and the safest spot for kids in town and on bike paths and trails. Always an arm’s length away and completely secure in a padded seat and solidly built lightweight aluminum frame, I feel so much more relaxed with baby by my side.
Another great aspect of the SideCarrier is that you don’t have to ride around nervous about how wide your bike and trailer are. With a traditional rear trailer, no matter how much we rode we never seemed to get comfortable with how wide the trailer really was. The off center design of tow behind trailers prompted slowing almost to a stop to get through tight spots like posts at trail-heads, with contortionist level twisting to look behind to make sure we weren’t clipping a wheel or worse. With the SideCarrier, it is much easier to get used to the size and footprint since it is right next to you and feels more like an actual extension of your bike as opposed to an add-on, even though the width of the side carrier with your bike is almost identical to that of a typical two child tow behind trailer.
As a one child bike carrier, the Chariot SideCarrier is not the pack mule that a rear trailer can be, but we feel the added maneuverability is well worth the reduction in storage capacity. Besides, who ever complained about hauling around less weight? From our experience, owning a two child carrier is the equivalent of being the one person in your family who owns a truck. Suddenly everyone has a purse, jacket or flea market rocking chair for you to haul home. While the SideCarrier can’t lug your entire nursery, we found that a little creativity ensured just enough space for the essentials.
Chariot's SideCarrier is a unique solution to the tow-behind trailer and is perfect for keeping your kids close and giving them the best view of the road ahead while still maximizing the performance of the bicycle it’s attached to. Sleek, stylish and sporty, the Chariot SideCarrier is impossible not to ogle as it passes with its irresistible charm and good looks.
From the Chariot Website:
Ultra-stable with an extra-low center of gravity
SideCarrier hitch installs in minutes on most standard bikes. You can then attach or remove the SideCarrier in seconds
The SideCarrier mounts on the bike’s right-hand side, so the child is on the safer side of the bike paths, away from oncoming pathway users
The SideCarrier stays upright at all times, however, the pivoting hitch allows the bike to lean gracefully into turns
The axles of the bike and SideCarrier align, so the SideCarrier’s wheels don’t scrub or skid when turning, even when stopped
6063-T54 and 6351-T6 lightweight aluminum frame, stiff oversized 1.5” lower frame protects child, wheel and underside of SideCarrier
Stiff oversized 1.5” lower frame protects child, wheel and underside of SideCarrier
A bike and SideCarrier are the same width as a traditional two-child trailer, yet much shorter
The SideCarrier can be folded up to the bike when parked in a narrow space
Enclosed single child cockpit
Rear storage bag and large mesh pocket
Deluxe padded shoulder harness
Mesh upper seat
Tinted side windows
20” spoked stainless aluminum wheel with push-button release
Maintenance-free cartridge bearings
2-in-1 weather cover
600 denier polyester fabric
3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Random Rave: Riding beside the bike instead of behind it means that you are not kicking up dust and dirt right at your baby while you ride. In our pull-behind trailers, baby ends up a grimy mess after any distance of bike ride unless you put the plastic and non-breathable rain shield up. Not only is this not a great option for airflow on hot summer days, it makes it even harder to communicate with your little passenger.
Price: $500 and definitely an investment, but something that will last through years and years of use
Looks: As sporty as a bike trailer but as cool as a motorcycle sidecar
Overall: Highly recommended to bicycling parents, especially those on urban trails or city streeturer's posted weight limit.