We’ve wanted to try a trailer for some time now, but buying a new one is too big an investment for something we might not end up using that much.
We also didn’t want to spend time salvaging parts from other bikes, or do anything complicated like welding.
For us, the solution to this dilemma was to look for a kids trailer that someone was throwing out. This is easier than you might think. Many people get rid of trailers because after a while the fabric becomes sun-bleached and ripped. We put our request on a local mailing list for expats. A day later, we were offered this trailer.
The wheels aren’t very high quality, but the trailer is rated to carry up to 100 pounds and was not damaged in any way. Best of all, it didn’t cost us a cent! The people we bought it from were going to take it to the dump because they recently won a cargo bike. We got straight to work, stripping off all the fabric and removing the frame that holds the fabric in place.
That left just the bare, bottom frame of the trailer. We debated about what to put on it as a base. From looking at other cargo trailers, plywood seems like a popular choice. We wanted something lighter though. After some debate, we found metal grating in the garden section of our local hardware store. It was exactly the same width as the trailer, but a little long.
As we fit the grate over the top, we realized the extra grating could be bent right around the trailer. This saved us the trouble of finding a way to cut through the stiff wire, and added more strength to our design. Before trying to bend the wire, we zip-tied the corners of the grate into place on top of the trailer.
With the grate held tightly on the trailer, we flipped the trailer on its side and started to bend.
Soon the grate was wrapped right around the trailer. At this point, we realised we could take a cross-bar off the frame, and put it on top of the grate to help hold the wire in place.
The last thing we did was add a few more zip ties all around the trailer, to make sure the grate wouldn’t shift from its place on the frame. Then, we gave our new trailer a test run. It worked perfectly!
Of course, we wanted to see how it would perform with weight, so we went to the supermarket and bought a lot of stuff – including 48 bottles of beer. We estimate the total load was about 75 pounds. We used cargo straps to keep things attached to the trailer, as well as an old plastic basin that we found in a garbage skip on our way to the supermarket (the plastic basin has small slits in the bottom, so we could strap it firmly to the grating).
The trailer pulsed a bit when we went over speedbumps too quickly, but otherwise it worked amazingly well. The grate didn’t bend at all, despite the heavy load. We will definitely use our new trailer around town, and we’ll try it out for touring too. Total cost: just €12.
Want even more trailer inspiration? Check out these links:
- Jogging Stroller Repurposed Into A Bike Trailer
- Tough And Light Trailer From Standard Gauge Angle Iron
- Trailer From A Stroller and Broomstick
- From Trashed Kid Carrier To Cargo Trailer
- Bamboo Bicycle Trailer Plans
- Bike Trailer Made Out Of Electrical Conduit
- International Bicycle Fund Cargo Trailer
- Single-wheel Bicycle Trailer
- Trailer Fuilt From A DIY Wike kit
- Bike Trailer From A Golf Bag Caddy