Introduction: Convert a Child's Bike Trailer Into a Cargo Trailer.
After 7 years of loyal service, our bicycle trailer was of no use anymore because our children cycle by themselves. However, as our type of cycling trips shifted to longer distances (multiple days), we required a luggage trailer instead.
Instead of investing in a cargo trailer or building one, I decided to convert the old one.
This instructable will show you how to convert a Burley Child's trailer (d'Lite) into a Cargo trailer, with a mininmum of new components and no welding.
The picture below shows the modified trailer on our 4-day trip along the Canal du Midi in Southern France. Because we were pretty sure the weather would be nice, an ordinary rucksack did the trick, but there are many water proof bags available.
Step 1: Stripping the Trailer
Although it doesn't look like this in the picture, the fabric of the trailer is severely worn after 7 years. We have used the trailer on many holidays, but for commuting and transporting our groceries as well. However, the frame is still in excellent shape.
The trailer is constructed with a minimum of welds, so disassembling is quite easy. Basically it is a flat frame with wheels in it with a hinged cover mounted on top. To convert the trailer to a cargo trailer you need to:
1 Reduce its height as luggage does not need to be stowed as high. This can be done by cutting the top frame at the right place (step 2 of this I'ble)
2 Reduce the wheel basis (width) to have a more agile trailer. This can be done by cutting the base frame in the front and rear end and installing a bolted peg (step 3 of this I'ble).
Disassembling is quite easy: remove the fabric first (by cutting the stiches). Now the construction becomes very clear.
Step 2: Reducing the Height.
Cut the frame just above the horizontal bar that runs above the tyre. This is about the heigth of your luggage. Install rubber plugs on the 4 cuts.
Step 3: Reducing the Width.
Basically you need to remove a piece of tubing on the front and the end and reconnect it with a peg (and bolts). The peg is made of wood and fits exactly into the tubing of the frame.
In this step it is important to make sure that the "new" width still allows the trailer to be folded!
Step 4: The Connection to the Bike.
The bike connector is excellent, there is no need to mess about with it.
However, now that the trailer is slimmer, the current hinge forces the trailer to the left, giving it an ackward shift with respect to the bike.
This is solved by relocating the tube connector to the outside. It's just a matter of reversing (un bolting) the rig up.
Step 5: Base Plate
An Aluminium sheet is used as a base plate. Existing holes and bolts are used to attach the plate to the frame. First I made a plywood base plate to see if it would work and to figure out the exact dimensions as there are quite some cuts to be made in the base plate.
Note 1: Tie Rib = Tie Lock = Zip Tie
The maiden voyage was 250 km over fairly rough terrain and it held good. Most of the damage was done by an angry French Train Guard who tried to force the thing into an already filled train. I would recommend to drill a few more holes (than suggested in this I'ble) through the frame and base plate so you can apply a bit more tie ribs (on one occasion one of the tie ribs snapped while hitting a bump).