Instructables

X-country Ski Kit for Chariot Bike Trailer

Picture of X-country Ski Kit for Chariot Bike Trailer
Chariot sells a cross country ski kit for their bicycle trailers. They're spendy - around $200. I decided to make my own. The kit you buy consists of two skis, their mounts and a harness to pull the rig. I decided to pretty much copy the commercially available unit.

Supplies:
A pair of skis
2' pvc pipe
electrical conduit
foam floor padding thingy
old seatbelt
1' wide nylon strap
nylon strap buckles

Tools:
I don't exactly remember what all I used.

Sourcing:
Skis: I found the skis I used at REI on closeout, clearance,we've got a bunch of these and NEED to get rid of them for a low, low price of $17. They are simply a pair of child's cross country skis. I think they are 110cm long. Had I not stumbled on that incredible deal, I'd have visited thrift stores, watched garbage piles and/or made my own from pvc maybe?

2' pvc pipe: Environmentalists relax, yes I know pvc is bad stuff. I found a piece of it in the rafters of my garage. It must have been leftover from a project performed by the previous owner.

electrical conduit: I bought mine at Home Depot. No real mystery here.

foam floor padding thingy: This was one of those puzzle piece square foam play mat things. I used a scrap I'd kept after cutting it to fit the floor in my basement so my little one would have something softer than concrete on which to play. Approximately 1/2 of a 2' x 2' square, so 1' x 2' was perfect.

old seatbelt: When I was in college I worked in a shop maintaining the college's fleet of vehicles. At some point we had a big 15 passenger van with only the front two seats. Strangely whoever removed the seats left the seat belts. We removed the seat belts and the guy in charge threw them in the trash. At the time, I didn't know what I'd use them for, but I knew I'd think of something eventually. I saved them. Now 10 years later, I've finally thought of something to use one of them.

nylon strap: More stuff I had on hand. Most of it came from an old mounts on the back of your car bike rack. I think one piece was something I picked up on the street and the final two were from a backpack maybe?

strap buckles: Surprisingly I had these on hand too. Maybe from that backpack or ???
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
Andromeda3021 days ago
Muy buena idea , me gusto , le dejo este otro video, saludos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJ3XD6ibEg

DSC_0044.jpgDSC_0045.jpgDSC_0046.jpgDSC_0047.jpgDSC_0048.jpgDSC_0049.jpgDSC_0050.jpgDSC_0051.jpgDSC_0052.jpgDSC_0053.jpgDSC_0054.jpgDSC_0057.jpg
This is awesome, and I"m excited to adapt your idea to my older Chariot, because Chariot doesn't make a ski kit for it. I pulled my boy around (walking) this winter in his tiny toddler sleigh, but he is now 30lbs and too long, so it won't do for next year. Since I have an older Chariot, the only ski option would have been to buy a completely new Chariot with kit, no thanks! Originally I was going to try to create a contraption out of some bent pipe to attach to the ski, more like the existing Chariot ski kit, but this is a much simpler and more elegant solution. I like the idea that the skis can come off whenever you might feel like it, on a walk, etc.

Did you consider two separate tow bars, like the existing ski kit has now? You could attach it to the sides of the hip belt, and maybe it wouldn't have as much play or pull the belt into a v-shape that you described. Another idea would be to do that, plus use a padded fanny pack as a waist belt (one for hiking), and attach the poles firmly to the sides of the belt. The belt might perform slightly better?

I was thinking that the tow bars themselves would simply be useful for hiking, using the wheels. My husband and I took our Chariot on a backpacking trip last summer with our then 18 month old. Although it could handle fire road "ok", I wasn't strong enough to push it up hills with it being full of toddler/gear, but I think I could have pulled it. It would be more manoeverable that way, as well. The existing Chariot backpack kit has shoulder straps, which don't appeal to me because they put the weight on one's shoulders, where it really shouldn't be. Having a hip belt also would allow you to carry a backpack while pulling.
Goodluck (author)  bubblewrap741 year ago
Glad you like it. I think I was concerned about my ability to turn and that is why I didn't go with two bars, one on each side. Though since one doesn't generally turn very sharp on cross country skis anyway...

To be honest, I've never used it much for skiing. I built it the winter of my son's 1st year. The winter of his second year, I think we used it just once (busy life). The winter of his third year, we had very little snow and no skiing at all. The winter of his fourth year (this year) he's really gotten too big/heavy to be pulling around and we've not been skiing at all.

I'm thinking I should unscrew the 'sockets' from the skis and buy him a set of boots, bindings and poles for next year.
I think it's great. I mostly walk with my Chariot and may not use it for skiing very much, but I really like the tow bar system of the commercial kit. It would be great for walking with skis on in winter, and hiking with wheels on in summer. My husband and I pushed it up a fire road last year for a backpacking trip with a kid and gear in it, and it was hard. Pulling would be easier. I've also seen people use tow bars for rollerblading. The ski part would be a bonus.

I am currently undecided as to what kind of tubing to use for the tow bars. I plan to try separated tow bars. My chariot is older, so the holes in the frame are 1" square. I could still use round tubing, since it has a pin anyway. My Chariot is a double, so the bars have to be bent upward as well as inward, which would be easier to achieve with round bars (just rotate the bars inward and drill the pin hole accordingly).

Approximately how long is your pole from where it attaches to the Chariot to where it attaches to your waist belt? I'm not sure how long to make my poles, as I don't plan to make them adjustable (at least not at first). I have never skied with a Chariot but I've seen that people put one ski into the track, so it needs to be far enough away to avoid interfering with my ski. On the other hand, walking and rollerblading don't really need an excessively long pole. So I'm just not sure about how long to make them.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!
Goodluck (author)  bubblewrap741 year ago
Our Chariot has square holes too. The 1 inch EMT conduit works just fine. I built a jogging wheel with it and a small bicycle wheel, it gets a lot more use than the ski kit and has held up well. I chose conduit because it is commonly available, cheap (~$6 for 10'!), and easy to bend. I've known people who need only one or two bends who 'borrow' a bender off the shelf at Home Depot and bend it in the aisle before buying. I built a bender out of plywood, thinking I'd want one at home - more trouble than it is worth. I'd imagine it would be pretty cheap to rent one from a tool/party rental place... or they might agree to let you take it to the parking lot and do your two bends there for no fee.

I'd just do as you suggest and put one bend in the tubes, then rotate in to your hips, drill and pin them there.

I could measure the poles for you, but off the top of my head... 6 feet? 7 feet? I think I put my skis on in the basement, assumed a skiing stance and had my wife measure how far back the rear tip of the ski was from my hips. I think I then made the tubes long enough that the rear tip of the ski would be just in front of the front of the Chariot.

If you look at the photos in step 5 where it is installed, you can see that the tube sticks back through the socket pretty far. Even with the measuring, I was worried about length. I figured if it ended up too short, I could just slide them forward and re-drill the pin holes; the bends wouldn't be right up against the socket, but it'd still work. Something like this could also work for some adjustment for different activities. Slide it out for skiing, slide it in for walking or rollerblading. Of course, with how cheap the conduit is, buying more and making another set isn't a big deal.

Oh, lastly EMT conduit cuts pretty easily with a hacksaw, but my preferred method for non-electrical use is a pipe cutter for copper plumbing pipe: http://411plumb.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Ridgid-no15-Tubing-Cutter.jpg
Works just fine in the soft steel - a little more work than copper perhaps. Makes a nice square cut, leaves a fairly burr free outside edge. The inside has a good sized burr, which is why they don't use them for electricity; the burr doesn't play well with wire insulation.
BillBiker3 years ago
Very cool! I am thinking of James Bond 007 here! Imagine if there were some sort of way of cutting the skis enough to let the tire come down by some sort of switch when you hit dryer pavement? Could also mount a small rocket system for turbo boost lol, just joking on this sentence ;). Serious though on the tire meeting the road thing though.
after looking at the pictures again I think if you put blocks on the skis that had a way to pivot on the frame of the trailer and set the skis so they were less than an inch or two higher than the wheels you would have a ski wheel combination that wouldn't need to be adjusted to go from snow to road and back.. a cable to keep the ski tip up off the road might be needed though.
Goodluck (author)  BillBiker3 years ago
One could maybe work up an equal length control arm setup that would be spring loaded (bungee cords) to keep it in the up position, then go 'over center' in the down position to keep it down. Actually, probably just mounting the skis so they are maybe a couple inches above the ground would allow the wheels to roll on the hard, but allow the skis to float it over the deeper stuff.

Last winter, it was an inch of snow here, an inch there so they didn't plow (they don't plow the side streets unless it is 3" or more), but it built up over time.They've done a mostly excellent job of plowing this winter as we've had many snowfalls heavy enough. As such, the wheels have been working well this winter.
ski airplanes have skis that only contact the snow after the wheels have sunk in an inch or two, cables that run to the ends keep them in the correct plain so they don't flip up or down around the center pivot near the axle for the wheel. (My old boss has a cessna 150 on skis) on the airplanes the skis are fatter than the wheel and have a notch near the middle that the wheel extends through.
Yeah that is kinda what I was thinking about! Glad to hear it is working out for ya either way.
Slick --any updates on performance?
Goodluck (author)  milesfromnowhere3 years ago
I haven't had a chance to use it this winter. Life always seems to get in the way of living doesn't it?
3 Leg3 years ago
Looking forward to trying this out. Has this worked out for you?