Instructables
Picture of Cargo Trailer for Bicycle
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Update 4/23/08: I have removed the (removable) backpack frames from the roof and installed a permanent, relatively waterproof, "hardshell" lid. I've added two pictures to the instructable - the large white panels of plastic are a giveaway as to which are updated pics. The lid is lined on the top with garden/hardware mesh (plastic coated steel mesh, not visible in this picture) for placing things on top of the lid. Under the metal mesh is a thin layer of white backsplash plastic material (visible in this picture)- this same material was used to enclose all the sides as well. The hinge is a piano-hinge made of brass. I used a (home) window lock as a latch to keep the lid down and eliminate vibration of th lid at the same time. I used L-stock and flat aluminum once again as structural support across the perimeter and inner field of the lid itself. I found that quality (high in acrylic) construction adhesive ($5 per big tube) works great as an all around waterproof and strong glue for almost any of the materials used - it even sticks pretty well to the plastic - (but don't rely on a plastic bond.) The white plastic sheeting is about 1/16" thick and should be able to be purchased as 4'x8' sheets (<$20?)from most home centers, though I only found it at Lowes. It was best cut with beefy scissors. In general, I attached the plastic it by using 1/16"x1/2"-wide aluminum strips on all edges - glueing them with construction adhesive while using little stainless steel bolts every 16" or so. Sometimes I sandwiched the plastic (edges) between aluminum L-stock and flatstock - always using construction adhesive to seal all joints - to keep vibration down and seal water out. Note that the plastic is neither really light or heavy - it seemed well suited for my beefy trailer in terms of weight. As with all aspects of my trailer, this took a long time - probably 20 hours - a lot of it trial and error - testing and scrounging for parts. I guess the main thing I want to convey is that the combination of aluminum stock, steel hardware mesh (gardening section of store) and plastic sheeting can be made into a nice waterproof lid for a cargo trailer, provided you have the patience of dealing with attaching it with little bolts and construction adhesive. Once more thing - I used thick, tough, tubular (with a flat section for attaching) weather stripping as a sort of anti-vibration / water seal / drip-edge on the underside lid perimeter (visible in pic).

This is a description of how to make a cargo trailer that attaches to the rear hub of a typical bicycle. The two main parts are the trailer itself and the hitch which is permanently attached to the bicycle. The relatively heavy "core" (near the axle) of the trailer was made from wood and common steel bracing and mechanical fasteners. Attached to the core is a system of aluminum pieces that comprise the main "basket" of the trailer. Most all the aluminum can be joined with woodscrews (to the core) and stainless bolts and nuts (for aluminum-only joints). I finished the wood with polyurethane and filled annoying gaps with epoxy paste filler. All the above parts can be found at a typical hardware store.

I also used certain recycled materials and added optional features using special new materials. I used a piece of tubular steel from an old ironing board (leg) as the angled connection between the bicycle hitch and the trailer core. I used a steel bar from an old exercise machine in the hitch, but that could be purchase easily. Also, I left space open in the lower portion of the core for a set of three batteries since I would connect my trailer to my electric bike. I see electric assist as a luxury, not a necessity. The wheels are 20" diameter (from recycled BMX bikes), but can really be any size you like, since the main body can be built to conform to any size wheel you have laying around. Two recycled backpack frames and some stretch-cords were used as a cargo lids, but these, like the batteries, are optional. I found a $10 grill cover that can be used as a stataionary cover as well as adapted to be used as a cover while using.

The aluminum was the most expensive part of this project and also added to the difficulty in assembly since it requires the drilling of many holes, some preferrably with a small drill press. Other that that, only typical hand tools are needed.
 
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Hi using This sorta layout If i used Thicker wheels (Or two Bicycle wheels parallel either side) And steel instead of aluminium What weight do u think i could hold I have this Mad idea to create a bicycle pulled caravan And if it works ill make a recumbent Bicycle Built in so its like a motorhome lol
CameronSS7 years ago
+1 for now, but I would recommend adding more steps to better show the construction process. That looks like a very well-built, very strong trailer!
Ditto. Very clean looking build (+1) but the instructable does need breaking up into more steps, annotated photos, etc.
yep, I'd like to work on this entry more - as the weather gets worse I think
Is the weather still too nice? Hehe ;) I'd really love a remake on this instructables. You're trailer looks awesome. I see you take it cyclo-touring (the old school backpack mount!) I went touring a few times and am seriously contemplating a trailer. It would be awesome for doing the groceries too. Could you pleeeease finish this article?
Iconoclastic Technocrat (author)  xsmurf6 years ago
I've been lazy about this, sorry. I have to say that I posted this more to show off the general idea, not to be able to give step by step instructions. This really took a long time - we're talking at least 15 or more 8 hour days, drawn out over 4 months or so of weekends. In hindsight, I'm hesistant to encourage someone else to start on the same unending path. If I want this to be a realistic project that others could duplicate, I need to simplify the design - basically redesign it so that there is less need for precise measuring/cutting, especially with all that aluminum. This thing is more like an art project that got out of hand. This is another reason why I can't really go back and describe exactly what I did - the end product is the cumulative result of many small additions - of me staring at it, staring at my available materials and deciding what I could add on that given afternoon or weekend. Also, I already changed the design, removing the backpacks and replacing it with a solid hatch. Also, I have two electric hub motors (front and rear wheels of the bicycle) which baically allow this thing to be driven like a car -with no pedaling at all. All I can promise is that I'll look over the instructable again, perhaps add new pictures if necessary, but I'm sticking with the idea of trying to keep people from exactly duplicating it, bolt by bolt. I have to say, I often find I have problems sorting/uploading/inserting my pictures in the instructables site - another reason I dread editing my entry. Thanks for your interest in my bike trailer. I have to say that I like using it - though I wish that bike racks were more accessible to it - that is, I can't get this thing up over a curb easily. Other than that, I find it a very useful device, especially for groceries. I'm not a touring cyclist - just a on/off commuter cyclist who occasionally decides to build some off the wall stuff.
Possibly re-publishing it as a Slideshow might alleviate some criticism, since a Slideshow does not need full instructions. We could all pitch in and copy our comments over there...
I understand... maybe you could re-open it as a collective?
thanks, I suspect I can hold 500 pounds or so without it breaking. I can certainly get into it fine - and I'm 220 lbs
xsmurf6 years ago
Same as above, +1 cause it looks damn nice! But the instructable needs some polishing. This looks like the best trailer I've seen (and there's been a lot on this site alone)! What's with the electronics? You have some break lights?
PC.FREAK7 years ago
can you please post a detailed list of what you used? i would like to build one, but i need to know the sizes (on the metals, woods) .... the number of screws .... etc. thank you in advance.