I want to start riding as soon as the snow is gone (Sierras), and I'll be trailering two little ones in a chariot cougar 2. Any tips on bike feature I should look for? Thanks. Any suggestion is appreciated. The boys are 5 months and 19 months now, so it may only be the older one at first.
I looked for reviews of that specific trailer and found this helpful review for the hitch:
So if your are looking to get a bike to attach the trailer to, look at the size and spacing of the rear dropouts (what the axles goes through) and make sure you have eyelets to attach a rear fender to (as the trailer faces forward it appears). Being somewhere in the Sierras, you probably have hills to climb so getting a bike with a good spread of gearing (especially pulling weight and increased rolling resistance) would be advised. Good luck and have fun.
I agree with BT.Rob for sure. Also, make sure the bike fits. This can be done at a reputable local bike shop. You don't have to spend lots of money on the newest carbon fiber hot rod either. Something with a good spread of gearing, maybe 12-25 or 12-27 in the back and 50-39, or a triple, on the front. You're going to be pulling an awful lot more weight behind you now, so you're probably going to use the gearing a lot more now. DISCLAIMER: I mean that in the "trailer + kids" sense of the phrase, without any mention of your personal size or shape.
Most everything else is after market and can be added. The biggest thing is finding a ride that will fit you and accomodate the trailer, and there are literally hundreds of bikes out there that can work.
Good luck and keep us posted!
Thanks BT Rob and Chocolate Thunder! I'm going to start looking hopefully in a couple of weeks.
Really low gearing will be good to have. For one thing, you won;t be descending at 40 mph with two kids in a trailer. I'd go with a triple up front say 48/34/26. Rear gears 13 - 32 will be very handy. 26" (mountain size) wheels but with smooth tires, like Panaracer Pasela 37 mm. If you want a full size wheel, a Surly long haul trucker is a good choice, or a Soma Saga. The Soma Buena Vista is a very cool mixte style that is worth a look too.
I do the exact same thing, I have a double trailer. I have a MTB bike that I set up with a Shimano LX Trecking crank. It has a 48x38x26 front chainrings and a rear MTB 9 speed with a 11x32. I now even use a trail a bike for my 6 year old and then pull the 4 year old in the trailer as well. I highly recommend a trail-a-bike especially one with gears. Even if they are not used to the gears, you can change them for them after stopping ata rest stop. Any help you get pulling these guys around is appreciated by me for certain. If you have a MTB bike or get one, then look for a Trecking crank set or simply get the chain rings. This allows you to go faster when you need to and take it east on an uphill into the wind when you need that. I really recommend road tires for the road rather than keeping the knobby MTB tires on as well. It is a lot eaier to find a new or used MTB bike for a good deal and you can always use it on your own or the kids can when they are older. I built my own up jsut for pulling the kids around. My Full suspension MTB bike does not pull trailers well and my road bikes are double chain ringers or fixed gear. I do charity bike rides and the boys love it as they stop at all the rest stops and eat cookies. They like the t-shirts they get with registration too. I swear they actually get heavier by the time I finish even a 45 mile route on these events.
Good suggestions from several others -- I suggest looking at a hybrid rather than a full road bike. Since you are not likely to be riding all that fast with the kids in tow, aero bars won't get much use anyway, and you are likely to get lower gears (you will need them on any sort of hill!) and more powerful brakes (remember, that extra weight will make stopping, especially on downhills) somewhat slower too.