As several Ironhorse owners have discovered, that really should be the first commandment of Ironhorse ownership.

Why? Think about it for a minute. First, if your friend had a trailer, he/she wouldn’t be borrowing yours. Second, if he/she doesn’t have a trailer, what’s the chance that he/she’s got any idea how to handle yours?

Oh, but your friend has a boat or utility trailer you say. That’s good, as far as it goes. That means he/she probably knows how to hitch and unhitch a trailer and maybe how to back it up. But those skills don’t help much when he/she tries to back an enclosed 8.5 feet wide Ironhorse through an eight foot opening. Nor do they keep him/her from towing your pride and joy through a fast food or bank drive thru. Or even when he/she cuts a corner short and drags it up on a curb and back down again.

Likewise, what’s the chance the borrower knows anything about loading a bike(s) into a trailer with a ride on step off wheel chock(s)? The open “wings” on the front of the wheel chocks that look so inviting from the bottom of the loading ramp are a lot harder to see as you ride into the trailer. And what do you suppose happens if your front tire is so far to one side that you ride up on the end of the wing? Just what you would think. When 500 lbs. comes down on the end of a piece of steel two inches wide and ¼” thick standing at a 45 degree angle from the floor, something has to give. In that case, it is typically the two inch wide and ¼” thick connector between the cradle’s front and rear “wings”–it twists the front “wing” and the connector to the side the tire rode up on.

That kind of episode leads to some highly strained and sometimes heated conversations. What are you going to say when your buddy brings your trailer back saying that those ride on step off wheel chocks don’t hold the bike up straight like you said they would? Or, better yet, how do you think he/she’s going to react when you tell him/her that it’s going to cost $700 to fix those three inch long scratches and/or gouges in your custom paint job.

But surely these kind of things are highly unusual. Not really. The basic truth is that nobody else will ever value your trailer as highly as you do. Even if they are trailer-proficient, they aren’t going to care for your trailer the way you do.

All in all, it’s pretty simple. If you value your trailer and your friendships, DON’T loan your buddy your Ironhorse.