Tow a Boat With a Bike

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If you live near a lake but not on the lake; a bike boat trailer is the way to tow your small boat to the neighborhood lake. This trailer is made from black iron pipe and wheelbarrow wheels. It uses standard threaded pipe fittings so there is no welding involved.

The boat is 9 feet long and weighs over 100 lbs by itself (and the trailer of steel pipe is not exactly light weigh). You can see in the video it maneuvers nicely, and is not a problem to tow (though I wouldn't want to take it up any steep hills!)

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Step 1: Trailer

Step 2: Gimble Joint

Note: the center joints are "loose fit" (not fully tightened). This allows the for the 6 degrees of freedom required for the joint to rotate along the X,Y,Z axis.
(Darn Rust - it has held up well over the last 5 years since it was built considering I didn't paint it)

Step 3: Wheels

Pneumatic wheelbarrow wheels provide the suspension to absorb road bumps and at bike speeds there is no worry about burning out the bearings.
The axle is a 3/8" steel rod with holes drilled in the ends for cotter pins (with washer) to hold the wheels on.
There is a reducer pipe fitting on the inboard side of the wheels to reduce the diameter of the 1" pipe to provide a better fit for the 3/8" axle.
Note: a joining fitting is required at the center of the frame to tie the two side of the trailer frames together.

Step 4: Roller

Urethane roller used on big boat trailers. I got this one at a sporting goods store.

Step 5: Connection

The connection to the bike is made by partially unthreading the fore/aft connector pipe. As it is being unthreaded from the trailer side make sure it is being threaded into the top elbow on the bike.

Step 6: More Photos

My two tow vehicles side by side.

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    34 Discussions

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    PitsM

    3 years ago

    I had a dream last night that I was towing my boat with a bicycle. I had to check it out and see if it had been done. In my dream my boat fell of a bridge and people were laughing at me.

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    KeithM9

    3 years ago

    What is the approximate weight of the trailer by itself?

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    tsmith106

    6 years ago

    This is great, a very practical instructable and easy to understand.

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    bailzbigmac

    6 years ago on Step 6

    that is really cool i am going to modify one for my small 12ft tinny and see how it goes fingers crossed it works if it does ill think about adding it to this :) thanks

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    onemoroni1

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I like this instructable. The idea and concept is very adaptable and open to design upgrade. As for the hitch, there are a 1000 ways to do it, yours is a K.I.S.S. design that has not failed. Thanks for sharing it. Peace

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    bikinearly

    7 years ago on Introduction

    As a rider who has towed 100+ pounds on occasion my hat's off to you. It's a great looking invention. Must get a lotta looks in the neighborhood. Good luck

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    pmn9393

    7 years ago on Introduction

    that awesome. i cant help imagining the irony of pulling a paddleboat though

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    richardsan

    8 years ago on Step 5

    ...this connection worries me, just a little.
    why not use a union and a couple nipples to make this "loose" connection, and make it able to dis-attach...?

    this is really a cool DIY project...i'm also looking for something i can rig for my vespa...came here first...thanks for forging this idea!

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    richardsan

    8 years ago on Step 3

    that fitting is called a "union"...;)

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    Evox_Rider

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome project! I am putting together one for my Sportspal canoe, but its 14 feet long. I would like to find a little boat like yours, it would be a perfect one person fishing boat!

    1 reply
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    chiefredelkEvox_Rider

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You can make a small wooden boat..VERY cheap.. google Puddle Duck.. or contact me for help.. Use Luan and Titebond II glue. Staple the boat together with an air compressor. Paint it with Latex house paint. I made mine for less than 100 dollars..

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    cbooms

    8 years ago on Introduction

    awesome! i have a pelican 10E and it is a pontoon style boat. do you think it would still work or would i have to make the trailer a little differently? awesome idea!

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    ubercurioussdhardie

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    hmmm.... narrow the distance between the supporting rails, raise the v-section towards the front to support the keel, make the back part with the roller adjustable in length to support anything from river to sea kayaks, use pvc instead of metal to lighten up the whole shebang, etc etc. I've been wondering the same thing!

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    White_Wolf

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I love it.... wish I had a bike now..... I have a 10 foot Livingston tho... This looks like about a 6 or 8 foot right? My only suggestion would be to use a pipe coupler instead of screwing in one side while unscrewing the other. It seems like it would be safer and less likely to come loose. :0)

    You should get a stainless steel water bottle. ;-) P.S. Cool idea. I could imagine that being quite a workout on anything but level ground.

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    coppeis

    9 years ago on Introduction

    That's really cool but what is that boat called(and name) please and thanks

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    lsmith254

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Fabulous. Balance, ease of use, maneuverability-it's all great! My only thought was, what about the cooler filled with ice? LOL. What a great idea...I clicked on this one because, of all the bike carts, one that can haul a small boat seemed the most challenging. You nailed this one!