LINKS TO SOME OF MY OTHER STUFF
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Big Homebuilt El Cheapo Bicycle Cargo Trailer
First off let's give credit where credit is due. This is not an original idea. It is a modified design from an original post on MAKE that shows you how to build a $30 trailer. Mine came out at $34, not bad.
The main body
I used 4 pieces of 1 X 2 lumber and some left over plywood I had. I built a ladder type frame by using 90 degree brackets and screwed everything in. I then used steel cover plates for electrical boxes for my wheel support braces. Everything was screwed and glued into place.
The trailer arm
I recycled a cheap car bicycle rack that I wasn't using anymore, bent and cut the thing into shape. I got the part I needed and some sweet revenge for all the times that the thing made me scream and yell! The finished arm was bolted tight to the frame and seems pretty solid so far.
This is the part that makes every homebuilder sweat! You need something solid and that will allow for all the free movement that bikes are known for. I think my solution is pretty simple and cheap as well. I used one of those electrical cover plates that I folded in half, made a hole and bolted it on to the wheel and frame of my bike. I then bolted an eye bolt on that bracket. I think it's a bit too big, but it does the job well. I put a U-clamp that can be locked in place with a screw that I put in a hole that was drilled in the trailer arm. There is a lot of play and you can feel some jerking motion when you pull the trailer. But hey! That itch cost less then $5 to make, it's strong and allows all the free movement that you need. You will never flip the trailer while doing a crazy slalom maneuver. I've put some electrical tape over the eye bolt to kill the clanking noise that is inevitable with this set-up.
Wheels and hardware
The wheels are a pair of 16 inchers that were lying around my backyard. I need to get some matching tires now. I always build my projects with the strict minimum of new parts. That way if the project fails, I'm not out by too much money. I put in some eye screws to hold the cargo with bungee cords. I might make sides to the thing, but I have to paint it first since it will live outdoors.
I built this cargo trailer pretty big because I wanted to be able to carry big stuff. I don't do that everyday, but I now have something I can use instead of the family, gas guzzling, money pit mini van. By the way, I don't know how much the trailer weights, but it's lighter than one of those minvan seats. I will be building a smaller version with two plastic containers bolted to the frame for grocery runs. If you decide to build one, do it the size you are most comfortable with. A rule of thumb for the width is not larger than your shoulders, this way you can safely use the trailer on bike paths. I will update this post everytime I make changes to the big el cheapo cargo trailer and I'll make a new one for the smaller trailer.
This trailer is designed for cargo only. I do not recommend building one for carrying your kids. A good used one would be a much better solution. When the kids grow out of it, you can still use it to carry groceries, treasures found at garage sales or a complete kit for a picnic with your significant other. However, if you plan to do this anyway, make sure that the kids cannot get their hands in the wheel spokes. Also, test the living daylights out of your contraption before by loading it with twice the weight, ride in the worst possible road conditions and do the craziest stunts. If the thing is still in one piece after that and hasn't tipped over, then you might want to trust the health of your kids in your contraption. I wouldn't.
If you want to build a small grocery getter trailer for your bicycle, check out this artcile on how to build one.
Tip of the day: reuse, repair, recycle and have fun doing it!
Posted by Gerry Lauzon at 4:40 PM