A Tale of Two Trailers

It’s been a long day. Work was moderately physically demanding this afternoon (swinging a sledge hammer in the hot sun) followed by several hours volunteering at the local bike co-op.  Plus the daily 22km commute. I’d kind of like to go to sleep now. But tomorrow is World Car Free Day and  I do feel that I should celebrate the day by publishing an appropriate blog post.

Not having a car definitely limits one’s lifestyle in a number of ways. Living in a city a person can usually work around these issues but occasionally you are reminded of the usefulness of owning a car. In particular, cars are great for moving things around. While I can carry a lot on my bikes eventually there is always something just a bit too big. I have a nice bike trailer that I have used to haul my kids around in but it won’t fit large objects. The solution to this is a cargo trailer and early this summer I made that a project.  In particular, I wanted a flatbed trailer. Thinking that I should be able to convert a kid trailer for this purpose I watched the Kijiji classified ads closely waiting for a trailer at the right price.

This manifested itself as a Nakamura trailer for $10.00. The canvas was badly faded and it smelled like the previous owners had let their pets use it a s a latrine. A utility knife quickly removed the canvas and fixed that problem. My wife allowed me to use one of her old IVAR shelves for the platform. This was quite a concession, as she patrols Kijiji for that stuff the way I do for bikes. Thanks, Dear Spouse! I attached the platform with some metal brackets and electrical conduit clips and PRESTO: Instant Cargo Trailer! After the first couple of trips, I decided the hitch wasn’t very good so I upgraded it with  a home made contraption. At least, I THINK it’s an upgrade. So far it works. Time will tell, I suppose.

This project went well enough that I recently made a second trailer. This one I intended as a present for a friend .  I also found this second trailer on Kijiji and it was a much better trailer, a Burley (I had a crisis of conscience and I almost kept it for myself ).  I didn’t push my luck by asking for another IVAR shelf and instead made a platform out of scrap reclaimed hardwood flooring I had in the garage. These were pieces that were to warped or otherwise unsuitable to use. However, they made a very spiffy looking (and strong!) flatbed. The hitch on this trailer (a burley classic hitch) worked fine so I didn’t change it.

The following pictures show the trailers and some of the loads I hauled his summer. Unfortunately, I neglected to take any  pictures of the first trailer before the conversion. Oops! I am a poorly organized blogger. In any case, it’s been fun and productive.


This is the trailer being loaded for its first trial run.

It worked just fine!

You earn bonus TukamoreDew points if you can spot the box I almost lost in transit.

This was the longest load.

This load required the most creative use of bungee cords.

This load earned me the most strange looks from motorists.

This was the most potentially breakable load.

This was the original chainstay hitch that kept slipping.

To make my hitch I started with this hunk of metal I cut off a scrap bike.

Which became this.

Now installed.

The trailer end of the hitch looks like this.

The second trailer started like this.

And became this...

Spiffy looking!

My horrible carpentry skills are evident here.

The platform is attached with 4 of these.

Ready for delivery to its new owner.


10 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Trailers

  1. While it is true that I do occasionally go on Kijiji looking for IVAR (I’ll pay up to double for vintage, btw..), it’s more like every few months. There is not a day that goes by, however, that I don’t see you on that site trolling for bargains. You make me look at some of the best bikes buys, ask my opinion, I say you should buy it, and then you go “Nah. I’m done my bike purchases for awhile.”

    Tiresome dance, really….


  2. You are nothing if not resourceful. Another excellent project. I’m afraid I remain hopelessly wed to my automobile and truck, in which I hauled over 5,000 pounds of wood this weekend. I’m afraid there is no hope for me! 🙂


  3. Great Photos of the trailer, I recently made my own trailer out of bamboo.The idea for the attaching to the bike with the end of the front fork is a good one.


    • Thanks, the trailer has mostly performed well. I still want to replace the springy part of the hitch with with something more rigid as I don’t like the surging that results with heavy loads. I cut that hitch component from the rear triangle of children’s bike that was thrown in the dumpster at work.


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