Well, after using the trailer a couple times, I became a little concerned that the surge from the old spring-based hitch might become a problem as the weight climbed (eg, 20-40lbs of rabbit litter). So I decided to try and build a hinged universal joint that would do the job. You can see what I can up with below:
I settled on shelf brackets (which are nice and rigid) mounted to a piece of electrical box cover for the hinge on the bike, and a pair of straightened brackets for the trailer arm hinge. The result seems to work fairly well, demonstrating noticably less surge than the previous design. You can read a bit more about it on the Bicycle Trailer page.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I still needed to build a box for my trailer. Well, how better to spend my holiday monday than to do just that? Below you can see the fruits of my labour:
And, of course, a close up:
As you can see, I built it from some exterior grade plywood and 2x2’s. And before you ask, yes, it’s heavy. Probably 20lbs, if I had to guess. But it seems pretty solid, and should do the job nicely. It’s also quite roomy (40x20x16 inches, give or take), which means I can haul around even more junk!
Interestingly, while the wood was fairly inexpensive ($13 for the sheet of plywood, plus about $6 for the 2x2s), it was the fasteners which ended up being surprisingly expensive. Heck, the wing nuts which are used to fasten the box to the trailer frame were a buck a piece! But, such is life, and at least my project is complete! Now, to find things to move…
Update: I’ve summarized the project in a separate page entitled Bicycle Trailer. Catchy, eh?
Man, it’s been a while since I’ve written, but I have a good excuse, I swear. You see, I’ve been busy. Very busy. With the weather being as fantastic as it has been, I’ve felt compelled to pull out my tools have some good DIY fun! So, what’s the latest? Well, see for yourself:
Oh yes, I built myself a bike trailer! Using the fantastic directions provided by the generous Mark Rehder, who got the design from “The Cart Book, with Plans and Projects” by William L. Sullivan, I combined some parts scavanged from my old bike with some EMT and other goodies from the local hardware store, and, over the span of three days, voila! a trailer was borne.
Now, the most difficult part of a bike trailer project is coming up with a hitch design. Many people use things like bungee cords, or even purchase one outright (there are some nice ball-and-socket hitches on the market). Me? I came up with my own, inspired by the hitch used in this design. It uses a spring I took from a storm door kit (that just happens to fit the 3/4” EMT precisely) to provide the necessary flexibility:
It seems to work fairly well. Of course, the attachment to the bike is a total hack, but it does the job. And while there’s a bit of surge, it’s not too bad. Though I still need to install a safety line (basically a cable running from the tow bar to the bike), just in case.
In the mean time, I also need a box. I’ll probably build something out of plywood with a base that sits below the main frame. This lowers the center of gravity and allows me to move heavy loads more safely. I also plan to make it easily removable (probably fastened with bolts and wing nuts), so I can easily convert it into a flatbed.
By now you’re probably be asking yourself, good lord why?! Well that seems obvious enough: I want to move stuff by bike! But what, you ask? Well, first and foremost, I had my telescope in mind. Being able to find a nice dark sky is difficult at the best of times. But for one such as myself who has stubbornly, some might say, cowardly… ly managed to avoid getting his driver’s license, this is especially true (unless you want to drag your unwilling, license-possessing wife along). A trailer makes it possible for me to transport my scope by bicycle. Combined with some camping gear, I may have finally found a way to burn some of those holidays I have stashed away.
Of course, I’m sure there are many other things I’ll find the need to move: groceries, construction materials, slave children. That sort of thing. In fact, I’ve already used it to recover some scrap 2x4’s and 2x6’s from local construction sites (it worked quite well, I’m happy to say). Heck, I’ll probably have fun just coming up with new reasons to tow stuff around.
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