Here’s a fun project and a good way to stand out on tour this year: build your own bicycle trailer, out of bamboo, plywood or any other material you can get your hands on.
Free plans for this nifty bike trailer come courtesy of the folks at Carry Freedom, who also make and sell the Y-Frame trailer. The home made trailer will be heavier and less efficient than its store bought cousins but it has a charm all its own.
Aside from the fun of building it, the trailer is exceptionally good value, as long as you can spare a couple days to build it.
None of the parts are particularly expensive, assuming you can salvage the wheels from old bikes. You can make the bike trailer out of any material (though good quality bamboo can be hard to come by) and you don’t need to weld anything or bend any tubes.
Best of all, the plans seem very easy to follow, even to my un-technical mind.
Simplicity was exactly what Nick, the owner of Carry Freedom, intended when he drew up the plans. The original idea, credited to bike tourist Cass Gilbert, was to make plans that anyone, anywhere in the world could copy, regardless of wealth or available materials.
“Cass was in Nepal leading a guided cycling tour, he left his Y-Frame in a Village for a few months. It was endlessly used for carting rice and many other things between villages. But while the villagers loved the trailer they could not copy it or repair it locally,” Nick writes on the Carry Freedom website.
“This got me thinking about how it would be possible to make a cheap trailer for poor villagers. Poverty is many things, but fundamental to wealth is the freedom for people, goods and ideas to move. By making it easier for villagers to move things around their world becomes a richer, bigger place.”
Nick’s thinking resulted in the bamboo trailer plans he now gives out for free. Dozens of people have since built their own trailer. The results are ingenious. One man made a portable tent out of bamboo so he always had a bed on his bike. Another used PVC tubing when neither wood or bamboo were available.
See the pictures of trailers other cyclists have built on Carry Freedom’s Flickr Stream and thanks to Nick for allowing us to the photos!