Among the many benefits of riding with a bike trailer, weight loss and the overall benefits to our health are some of the most significant.
But how much weight can you actually lose pulling a bike trailer?
In this article, we’ll cover the best riding tips to help you lose weight by pulling a bike trailer.
The best way to lose weight with bike trailers
You can expect to burn 200 to 300 calories every 30 minutes while biking with a bike trailer. The fastest way to lose weight with bike trailers is to integrate biking into your daily life. For example, going grocery shopping, taking the kids to school, and visiting the library are excellent ways to lose weight with bike trailers.
For the purposes of this article, when we refer to “weight loss”, it refers to losing fat, as opposed to muscle. We all know that “losing weight” is not a very helpful metric to measure our overall health.
How do bike trailers help lose weight?
Riding with a bike trailer can be compared to walking with weights around your ankles. But in the case of bike trailers, it also serves the purpose of efficiently taking you from Point A to Point B.
The added weight of pulling a bike trailer plus any cargo (kids, pets, groceries, etc.) adds up to be more than 40 to 100+ pounds.
With the added weight of the trailer and cargo, the amount of power (watts) needed from your legs is significantly more than riding just by yourself.
How much weight can you lose with bike trailers?
The amount of fat you can burn from just pulling a bike trailer regularly is significant when considering how many more calories you would burn in comparison to just riding alone.
If we were to measure the amount of fat you could burn in calories, then adding in the weight of the bike trailer and cargo would give you an estimate.
Based on the calories burned calculator provided by Bicycling.com, a 200 lbs person riding at 10 mph for 30 minutes would burn around 181 calories.
Assuming the same rider is pulling a 20 lbs bike trailer with 40 lbs of cargo (kid plus items), then the calories burned becomes 236. That’s 55 more calories burned in the same amount of time!
Of course, the longer and harder you ride, the more calories you will burn. In addition, the higher your fitness level, the easier pulling a bike trailer will be for you.
From here, you can calculate your own goals for weight loss and estimate how many extra calories you would need to burn daily or weekly.
Here are some other examples of calories burned:
|RIDER WEIGHT||CARGO WEIGHT||DURATION||SPEED||CALORIES BURNED|
|200 lbs (90 kg)||60 lbs (1 child + trailer)||30 minutes||Under 10 mph (16 kph)||236|
|200 lbs (90 kg)||100 lbs (2 children + trailer)||30 minutes||Under 10 mph (16 kph)||272|
|250 lbs (113 kg)||60 lbs (1 child + trailer)||30 minutes||Under 10 mph (16 kph)||281|
|250 lbs (113 kg)||100 lbs (2 children + trailer)||30 minutes||Under 10 mph (16 kph)||318|
Three ways to lose weight with bike trailers
The absolute best way to lose weight with bike trailers is to simply make bike trailers a part of your life. It takes a mindset shift to consciously decide to take the bike trailer instead of the car whenever possible.
At first thought, it sounds rather implausible to bike everywhere with a bike trailer, but once you take a few minutes with Google Maps to map out any possible routes to get to your common destination.
Here are three ways you can consider to make bike trailers part of your daily life.
1. Grocery shopping
Getting groceries with a bike trailer is another excellent way to lose weight through riding as a lifestyle choice.
The nice thing about bike trailers is that they typically have plenty of storage space to get groceries. Next time you need groceries, you can hitch the bike trailer and begin to make regular trips to the store for your groceries.
I wrote an entire article on the best options to get groceries with a bike trailer. Check that out here.
2. Take the kids to school
Wouldn’t it be nice to skip the school carpool line?
Apart from being the coolest parent at school, riding your kids to school might be the easiest way to make bike trailers part of your daily life. Especially if your child’s school is in your area (as most are), there is a good chance there are paved sidewalks that lead to the school.
If you’re unsure about the safest way to get to your destination, always be sure to use Google Maps or another maps app to find the best possible route.
3. Take the kids to the park
Parks are another great destination to visit frequently with the bike trailer.
Many public parks are connected by sidewalks, greenways, and bike paths for easy access for children and families.
Next time it’s a weekend and you want to take the family out to the park, consider hitching the bike trailer and make an adventure out of it!
What do I do if I don’t live in a bike-friendly area?
We don’t all live in a cycling utopia like Colorado or Denmark! I lived in a heavily-trafficked area of New Jersey for four years with my family, so I learned a thing or two about how to navigate it safely with a bike trailer.
If you’re wondering how feasible it is to ride with a bike trailer in your local area, I have a few suggestions for you.
1. Don’t ride on the road
Since the bike trailer is significantly wider than your bike, riding on the shoulder of the road may be dangerous, as the bike trailer will stick out a bit onto the road.
It is recommended to just ride with a bike trailer to sidewalks and bike paths.
If your area is not well-connected by sidewalks and paths, then be sure to look around for local backroads to your most frequented destinations before writing it off as impossible.
2. Look for backroads
Unless you take the time to look around your area for small backroads, then all we usually see is the traffic on main roads.
Be sure to explore your area more to look for backroads and ways around the main roads. Google Maps can be a very handy tool to find the safest routes, and it will even recommend the safest bike route for you if you select the biking icon.
3. Drive partway to your destination
If you happen to live in an area with no sidewalks or bike paths in sight, then you can map out a route that takes you part of the way to your destination and then ride the rest of the way.
You can park the car in a public parking lot on the way, and then hitch up the bike trailer and start riding on a nearby sidewalk.
This may take a little creativity and planning, but you will reap all the benefits of bike trailers.
The more you intentionally make riding with a bike trailer a lifestyle choice, as opposed to taking the car, the more efficient your body will get at losing fat and producing lean muscle.
Remember, the greatest threat to our health is inactivity, through the form of sitting around in a car or staying home. In that sense, riding with a bike trailer as a means of transportation is an excellent way to lose weight. Your body will thank you for it!
Soon enough, taking the bike trailer out for a spin will become second nature.
Need help finding the right bike trailer?
If you need help finding the right bike trailer for you, my recommended trailer for most people is the Swhinn Joyrider, which is an affordable double-seater that converts beautifully to a stroller. Check out my full review with photos here.
Check out the Ultimate Guide to Buying a Bike Trailer for more help with choosing a trailer. I also have compiled a list of the top bike trailers for every common situation, which you can check out here.