Converted 3-wheeled Adult Trike to Bike Trailer for Cheap!




I wanted to re-purpose my dad's old 3-wheeled Schwinn Meridian. My mom bought it for him and he wound up running into it with the car. The main reason she bought it for him in the first place. My woman and I have a couple of dogs and I wanted to find a way to bring them to the local park and ride the wonderful bike trails at the same time. Sure I could have bought a normal bicycle trailer, but then I wouldn't be sharing this Instructable! 

Parts list and links at the end. 

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1:

My dad, who had suffered a few strokes decided to drive the car into the bike, ruining two of the tires. Schwinn Meridians don't have normal bicycle tires. The hubs are bigger to allow a thick axle to go through, as one side turns with the axle when you pedal. I debated on how I could get the one rear tire repaired. More on the tires later. 

Step 2:

I toyed with the idea of hooking the front forks of the 3 wheeler to the back forks of my 18 speed. 

Step 3:

I stripped the trike of all unnecessary parts. I kept the handlebars to be used to attach the frame to my bike.  

Step 4:

I skipped the idea of attaching the front forks of the 3 wheeler to the back of my bicycle, because when I turn on my bike, I lean. Hooking the bike up this way wouldn't work. After searching, I came across someone who used casters as the solution I was looking for. So, off went the front forks. 

Step 5:

I decided to re-use the handle bar to be the connecting rod between the two. It curved up and over my rear tire of my bicycle and lined up with the seat bar just perfectly. 

Step 6:

A trip to the local Menards got me a pair of casters with some bolts and nuts, along with some quick release pins.  Here you'll see how I tied them all together. I removed the tires and bolted the casters together back to back. Then I drilled a hole in the handle bar aka connecting rod. I later changed out one of the bolts that tied the handle bar to the frame to one that went all the way through the frame to give it more rigidity, as the two short bolts held, but allowed the handle bar to rock inside the frame.

Step 7:

Drilled a hole into the seat bar and hooked the two together. 

Step 8:

Now I had to tackle the issue about what to do with the broken rear tire. I looked into getting a different type of axle or pricing a new tire. Schwinn wanted $80 for the rim. My local bicycle store had a rim in stock for $20 but charged $60 to put the old hub in it and balance it. I debated a month over this one. I finally bought the rim and a tool to do it myself. The spokes weren't broken and I had spares from the front tire, so what the heck? 

Step 9:

And there you go. All put together and ready for a test run! Now all I got to do is build an enclosure for the dogs. I've got an old mid-sized travel box for pets I'm thinking of using in place of the basket. 

I originally wanted to attach the goose neck from the handle bars to the seat bar, but I snapped it when I pried it open and tried to close it again. I also drilled a few too many holes in the frame, trying to connect this to that. I didn't go through this with any plan in mind, but a desire to do so.

Parts I used were casters, nuts with bolts, and quick release pins. This set me back about $10 bucks. I also had to buy a $20 dollar rim and a $5 dollar spoke wrench.  If you're tires are good you can save $25 or so when doing this. 

Tools I used were the typical hand tools, both electric and non powered type. Drills, wrenches; you get the picture. 

A big Ahh-HAH! goes to this instructable for the swivel hitch: 

nother big thanks to the guys at my local bicycle shop "Tern of the Wheel" and their website:

 final note:  I took it out for a ride. It handled perfectly until I tried a sharp turn at a fast speed. The trailer rolled over. At slower speeds it turns perfectly. The center of gravity is higher and will be even higher after I swap out the wire box for a dog box with two dogs in it. I could add some weights to the axle and/or frame to offset this, but that's just extra weight to pull. I also adjusted my brakes to allow myself to slow down quickly, but not locking up the tires, as I removed the brakes from the rear axle when I removed the gears and chains. 

Weekend Projects Contest

Participated in the
Weekend Projects Contest

Great Outdoors Contest

Participated in the
Great Outdoors Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest

    10 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Having 2 casters is redundant.

    Use 1 caster and a couple of U-bolts to attach to seat stem.

    No need to drill holes in the seat stem then.

    A block of wood cut into a wedge to compensate for the angle of the stem will help turning as well.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    try looking on 4 the parts u may need beware it can take up to 15 days to get them in tho


    6 years ago on Step 7

    heres an idea use a bike seat alignment clap as your bolt in clamp. that way u can keep the strength of your seat pole intact.

    1 reply

    I wanted it to be a quick-release setup. Would the seat come off every time I unhooked the trailer? I don't think I did too much to damage the strength of the seat pole, as it is a thick piece of steel I drilled though, and a small hole at that. Something to consider if the hole starts to rust out and I need to replace the pole. :-) Thanks for stopping by and your comment.


    6 years ago on Step 9

    some times u can just go to the good will place an buy a cheap bike or yr dump may or may not depending the policys allow u to take a wheels

    1 reply

    The inside diameter of the hub on the tires are different than a standard bicycle, as the shaft that turns inside the hub is bigger than a normal axle. The bearings are also non-standard. I didn't think to look around a dump for a 3-wheeled adult bike. Thanks for the comments. :-)


    6 years ago

    good job. make great use to an old bike. don't know if possible but would try to make the cart closer to the riding bike back wheel.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago

    I wanted to make this without any welding or special tools needed, as not everyone has a welder (okay, I do have one). To lower the center of gravity I could chop the frame down and weld it back together, but welding aluminum isn't for everyone.

    Thanks for your comment spyder2021. I could shorten the handlebar aka connecting rod to get it closer, but to what advantage? My turning radius would be shortened.