I know what you are thinking - "Geez, another bicycle trailer?" There are a bunch of great bike trailers on Instructables, I know because I studied (here's the COLLECTION I created). I studied because I've been wanting to build one for years. As luck would have it, I just traded a bulky office partition for a Yakima CaddyYak. This is actually quite a nice kid transporter and, as I recently learned, Yakima does not build them any longer. This trailer folds up into a neat little package and will hold up to 100 pounds. I'm going to strip it down and rebuild it for my own purposes.
Reasons To Own A Bicycle Trailer:
- Yard Sailing in the neighborhood.
- Journeys at Burning Man - ice gathering and day/night trips.
- Cruiser ride - KA-Boom Box and beer cooler transporter.
- Grass clippings and yard waste - I don't own a wheelbarrow.
- Beer runs.
- Picnic in the park.
- Kids grew up.
- Removing the nylon cover and keeping it intact for later use.
- Removing the child seat - I had to cut it off.
- Attaching to my bike - The CaddyYak requires that you use a special axle to clip onto your bike wheel. The axle was not included in my trade. I'll think of something.
- Creating a floor bed - The vinyl was the floor bottom and I want light and sturdy metal for the base.
- Servicing the wheels, tires and inner tubes.
- Adding safety lights and reflective gear.
- Making a new flag - Ms. Zoid has volunteered for this task.
I had trouble finding information on my new trailer so I called Yakima, the nice lady on the phone sent me a PDF of my model (which I have shared on this page).
Yakima CaddyYak Hack
- I added LED lights to my trailer for a nighttime cruiser ride with my friends. You can view it HERE.
Step 1: Removing the Nylon Covering
This process was fairly easy and somewhat intuitive. I only had to cut several pieces to remove the whole covering. My goal was to save the outer covering and possibly reuse it if the need ever came up. The pieces that I cut were related to the seat and, not having children, I plan to never reuse.
- A sharp cutting device
Refer to photos for additional information.
- Remove the wheels by pressing the rubber on the hub (photo #2) and pulling the wheel away from the cart.
- Unbuckle and undo all the straps and velcro. Be sure to save them as you will need them later.
- Unlock the roll bar and slide the seat back off of the bar.
- Push in the metal buttons and unlock the red stabilizers by pulling away from one another and then twisting up.
- Now pull up on the stabilizing handles as you press the cart together from the sides.
- You should now be able to pull the cover off of the frame. If you are having trouble, on of the many straps may still be attached to something.
- The only nylon remaining should be the seat assembly.
- Tip the cart onto one side and locate the seem shown (photo #9). Using a sharp knife, carefully cut along the stitching. Flip the cart over to the other side and repeat.
- Save all of the pieces from the seat assembly. We will cut and reuse the buckles and straps
- And now you have the naked frame (photo #12).
Step 2: Building the Floor Bottom
Now we need to find a floor for the trailer. I would like to use metal to give my cart some durability and stiffen it up. I just happened to luck out and find some metal kitchen shelving tossed out by a neighbor and found a shelf to be a near enough fit. The shelf measured ___X___ and needed very little adjustment, I was super happy that it worked so well and took very little work to fit.
- Wire clippers
- Sharp blade
Refer to photos for additional information.
- After finding a base you think will work, place it under your trailer to see sizing (photo #2).
- Mark and prepare to clip the shelf to fit your Trailer.
- As you can see in photo #4, i found a great fitting base for my trailer.
- Clip all the necessary wires and place the shelf onto your trailer.
- The clipped end wire can now be bent down to help support the shelf to the frame (photo #8).
- The strap that is riveted to the frame (step 1 - photo #8) can now be adjusted and used to support the shelf. Click!
- Locate your the nylon seat assembly and remove all of the straps. These straps will be used on each side of the trailer to secure the floor. This will require a sharp blade and possibly scissors (photo #11).
- Make four adjustable straps out of the materials you have left over. There just happens to be enough to make four additional straps as shown in photo #12.
- Clip them securely to the trailer and floor in a method that secures them both together.
The manor in which I secured everything allows the trailer to be broken down very quickly as it was originally intended. As it turns out, I didn't spend very much money on this project. The additional items I used I had laying around, so I might have actually spend under $4.00.
Step 3: The Trailer Hitch
This trailer requires that you replace the axle on your bike with a special one that hooks to your cart. I was not given the axle so I had to modify how the trailer fit to my bike. As it turns out, the rest of the hitch just happens to fit to my bike frame. I was amazed.
Attaching The Trailer To Your Bike:
- Loosen the screw by pulling the red cylinder in and turn counter-clockwise to open the connecter.
- Slide the hitch on to your lower bar and slip the locking mechanism into place as seen in photo #3.
- Now slide the whole hitch back (photo #4) until your are able to put the pin in around the upper chain stay.
- Tighten the know until it is secure as shown in photo #6.
- Clip the safety link to something secure on your bicycle that isn't the trailer (photo #7).
You are now ready to carry all the things.
Step 4: Additional Modifications
Reflectors - (photo #1)
- Adjustable pliers
- Hanger strap
- 1 3/4 inch screw, nut and washer
- Reflectors from your trailer cover
- Remove the reflectors from the nylon covering we removed previously.
- Using hanger strap, wrap enough around both bars so that it overlaps and you can screw it together with a nut and bolt.
- I used an old piece of inner tube to keep the hanger strap from scraping the trailer frame. Cut this in two sections about 3 inches apiece.
- Now bolt the hanger strap together, tightly with the nut, screw and a washer.
- Now you can attach the salvaged reflector with the screw it came with.
Heat Shrink Tubing - (photo #2)
I used sections of 3mm (I believe) to finish off the ends of my shelf. These can be purchased at any hardware store, I got a large package off of eBay for $2.00.
- Heat shrink tubes (3mm)
- Cut pieces to your desired length.
- Slide over the exposed wires on your shelf.
- Using a lighter, gently heat the tubing until it wraps tightly around the wires. Do not apply too much heat, just go over it quickly several time to heat slowly.
Music - Ka-Boom Box, of course.
Tool Kit - Tools, a tube, patch kit, pump and an extra beer cup.
LED Lighting - I have the lights and a sealed lead battery waiting to go. Updates soon. Update - Bicycle Trailer LED Lights.
Camping - Well suited for this purpose. We'll see how long I last.
Burning Man - This trailer was built to go to Burning Man with several ideas in mind like a full day trip and ice missions. We just sold our tickets for this year but next year will be even better. At least i completed one project. Haha.
Step 5: Trailer Adventures - Updated 2/19/2015
On this page, I will send updates of where my trailer has been and loads it has hauled. I plan on doing many things with this cart so be sure to check back in occasionally to see where we've been.
- My initial test ride was to secure some beverages for a celebratory ride.
- This photo shows the weeds I pulled from the front yard and transported to the back alley.
- I modified my trailer with LED lighting for Ms. Zoid's Birthday Cruiser Ride. You can check it out HERE.
- Photos 4 and 5 shows how compact my trailer becomes when stored. It hardly takes up any room.