My first idea was to build this from broken hockey sticks. New lumber is always green and it never comes out straight. Hockey sticks are always straight, strong and broken ones can usually be found for free. But no luck in finding hockey sticks at this time of the year, but I did find a baby crib in the trash and that would do just fine. It also came with a board to cover the frame, bonus! I also found a kids bike with 14 inch wheels and tires in the trash and an old abroller to make the trailer arm. Broken dreams of easy perfect sixpack abs would now be transformed into sexy strong leg muscles! I salvaged parts from the bike as well that can be used on full size bikes, a sidepull brake caliper and pads, brake cable and housing, chain, a headset washer for my CCM Galaxie project, a bell, various nuts and bolts.
Second, I screwed the frame
Third, take some electrical box cover plates to make wheel mounts. Cut them in half. Drill a hole and then with a hacksaw, cut a channel for the axle to go in. I made one a little higher than the other to allow for some camber in the wheels(The wheels tilt inward if you look at the trailer from the front or back). This makes the trailer more stable. Mark your plates "inside" "outside" so you don't mix them up during assembly. Mark the middle of the frame and the middle of the plates. Drill some holes and bolt the plates to the frame. Put on your wheels and make sure that they are both parallel and straight to the frame. Take off the wheels and paint the frame.
Fourth, reinstall the wheels and make your trailer arm. I used an old abroller, but any piece of steel or aluminium tubing properly bent will do. The distance between the trailer and the hitch attachment should be 16 inches, I have a 26 inch wheel bike . I screwed in a piece of wood to the frame to elevate the arm to the proper height and then screwed in the arm in that piece thinking it would be strong enough...WRONG! At the first test ride, I almost lost my trailer into rush hour traffic, I had put in a safety strap just in case and that saved the day. I went back and drilled two holes through the arm, wood spacer and the frame. I used two front wheel axles to bolt everything solidly together. I ignored my first rule of homebuilt vehicles: When in doubt, ALWAYS OVERBUILD!
Fifth, Screw in the carrying box to the frame and use some washers. I bolted the box at 6 places. I also added a small tool box in the front to carry my lock and bungee cords in the same fashion. Leave some space between the tool box and the main carrying box so you'll be able to open its cover. Screw in some hooks around the frame so you can attach bungee cords to lock the lid in place or to strap down extra stuff carried on top of the box. Install a reflector on the back of the box or a light if you plan on using it at night. Pin to your bike and go get stuff.
The first grocery run
I used the trailer on the very first day. I went out to get $60 worth of groceries about 3km away. I used to go and get whatever I could carry in one bag or on my rear rack, which is not much. People where looking at me funny when I came out of the store and headed for the bicycle stands with my grocery cart! I had bought the following:
- 2X 2 litres of Diet Pepsi
- 1X 4 litres of milk in three bags
- 1X 1 litre of skimmed milk
- 1X 1 box of 8 frozen hamburger patties
- 5X Packages of various cold cuts
- 4X Cooked 3 pieces fried chicken meals with coleslaw, fries and sauce.
- 12X hamburger buns
- 12X hotdog sausages
- 12X hot dog buns
All of this fitted inside the box without any problem. I had some doubts when I started unloading my cart at the check out counter, but my doubts were squashed soon enough.
I carried this home with no problems and I felt great. I'm happy with my new toy and I hope you build and enjoy one yourself.
-Lumber = free
-Wheels = free
-Steel tubing = free
-Hardware = $8
-Box = $8
-Leaving the gaz guzzling, money pit, breaks at the worst possible time minivan at home for getting stuff I need = priceless!
'Til next time, keep your hands dirty and Godspeed.