A bike trailer can expand the abilities of your bicycle by enabling you to carry larger items. You can spend a lot of money on fancy, lightweight, factory-made bike trailers. If you've got more creativity than money, make your own bike trailer for a fraction of the cost. Pick up old bikes whenever you see them being thrown out or given away; their parts are always useful for projects such as this.
Items you will need
- Wheelbarrow frame
- Old child's bike with small wheels
- 3/8-inch diameter threaded rod, 32 inches long
- Piece of hollow tube to slide 3/8-inch threaded rod through
- 2 nuts to fit 3/8-inch threaded rod
- 4 bolts with matching washers and nuts, 3/8-inch diameter and 3 inches long
- Scrap wood
Find an old wheelbarrow at a junkyard or pawn shop; it needs to be the kind with a single curved metal bar comprising the ground supports, handles and front wheel bracket.
Take the bucket part and the wheel off of the wheelbarrow frame.
Cut off any parts of the handles that will be unnecessary or in the way of the bike trailer platform using a hacksaw. If you picture the frame as a trailer, you can see where you need to cut off the handles. The two wheelbarrow legs become the struts to which you will attach the wheels. Picture the frame with a hitch on the front, the wheels attached to the bottom and a wooden platform sitting on the top.
Remove the front fork swivel from a child's bike with a hacksaw. This is the part above the fork holding the front wheel. The swivel is the junction of the bike frame and the front fork, and has the bearings inside of it.
Separate the inside of the swivel from the outside, taking care to keep all of the bearings and making a note of where they go so you can re-assemble it again.
Weld the front of the wheelbarrow frame to the outside sleeve of the swivel. If you don't have a welder or welding skills, you can have this done at a machine shop or by a friend with a welder.
Make a rear fork extension for the bike that will be pulling the trailer out of the rear fork from the child's bike. Cut the rear fork off the child's bike with a hacksaw. Remove the outside nuts from the rear axle of your bike. Place the axle struts from the child's bike fork over the protruding bolts on your bike so that the child's bike fork extends back beyond the rear wheel of your bike and replace the nuts. Attach the top struts of the child's bike fork to the rack on your bike by removing the nuts that hold the rack on, adding the ends of the struts to the bolts, replacing the nuts and tightening them. Weld the inside part of the swivel from the child's bike onto this extension so it sits behind the back wheel of your bike.
Slide the outer part of the swivel that is now welded onto the trailer frame over the inner part of the swivel that is now connected to the bike.
Drill two 1/4-inch diameter holes horizontally through the bottoms of the frame supports on the wheelbarrow frame. Position the metal tube between these holes so it fits snugly and lines up with the holes.
Put the threaded rod through both holes and the metal tube so it extends across the bottom and sticks out on the outside of the supports on each side of the wheelbarrow frame.
Remove the wheels from the child's bike and slip them over the ends of the threaded rod. Secure them with nuts and washers on both ends of the rod.
Cut a piece of 3/4-inch thick plywood to a size of 24-by-36 inches to use as a platform on top of the wheelbarrow frame.
Bolt the platform onto the frame by drilling holes through the frame and the wood, inserting bolts through these holes, and applying washers and nuts.
Attach a wooden rail on the platform to prevent things from falling off by screwing a 3/4-inch-by- 2-inch piece of wood around the perimeter of the platform. Drill holes through the edges of the wooden platform at intervals of 10 inches to hook bungee cords on for securing cargo.
Tips & Warnings
- Ride carefully with a trailer attached to your bicycle; it drastically changes the handling of the bike.
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