So, when we went ahead with building our deck, I chose to rely on Roy to make sure it matched the building codes of Alberta. Looking back, this was probably not the greatest idea, since, if I was at least semi-knowledgeable in these things, I could ask questions and verify things as we went along.
Well, my buddy Chris has begun working on his deck, and he decided to actually read up on a few things, and now I’m starting to wonder about a few things myself. The biggest concern I have is that our lower tier is set up on 2x6 joists with an 8’ span between the two beams, and has a total depth of 12’, which means a 24” cantilever on either end, give or take. The problem is that, according to the building code, with 2x6 joists you can only have a 16” cantilever (actually, 15”, or 2.5 times the width of the joists). Whoops. Additionally, according to a safety officer Chris talked to, as of July 2005, they’re telling people to use 3 ply beams. We used 2 ply. Hopefully it’s just a suggestion…
Consequently, I think we’re just not going to apply for a permit any time soon. :) You don’t need one until you sell your house, which we don’t plan to do for quite a while (if ever… getting our armoire out of our bedroom is, I suspect, nigh on impossible), and even then, the buyer can choose to purchase anyway and the previous owner may be subject to a fine. And, I gotta say, at this point… I’m tempted to just wait it out and pay the fine.
Well, apparently Chris went and asked the Rona folks about their deck packages and conformance with building codes. Turns out they knowingly sell deck packages which don’t conform to our local building codes! Specifically, they use 2x6 joists and 2-ply beams with a 24” cantilever. How nice of them…
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.