more than you ever wanted to know about my bike trailer

(another post inspired by another blogger… vegan activist asked about my other bike trailer, which i mentioned in a recent post where i showed off the new one we got for taking the puppy on road trips, so here’s way more than anyone ever really wanted to know about it!)

this is my bike trailer, full of groceries and resting on its lower edge:

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here’s another view, now resting on its hitch:

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(as an aside, i must say that the hardest part of this post is showing y’all pics of my groceries, cuz i’m the sort of asshole who judges people based on what food they buy so i tend to expect the same from others… actually, that would be a really good sort of behavioural-modification exercise for me, if i posted photos of all my groceries… not so exciting for the viewer, but a chance for me to get the fuck over my issues)

i bought this trailer for $50 at a consignment shop seven years ago.  the guy was asking $65, i asked if they had a student discount, and he said he’d give it to me for the lower price if i paid cash.  done!  since then, it has been used for countless food not bombs servings, dumpster diving missions, and house moves.  it has carried individual large humans in a completely sketchy sort of way, and on several occasions, one or two small ones, nicely secured and contained.

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i love this trailer because it is rugged: as you can probably tell, i almost always store it outdoors, but the only damage is some superficial rust.  though it does not fold up like other trailers, it has a narrow profile when sitting upright (see first photo) and can be leaned against a wall.  the wheels are quite large, allowing it to easily ascend bumps and curves.  i added the metal hooks around the sides and bottom edge, so that multiple bungee cords (or old inner tubes!) can be used to strap in a big load.  like all two-wheeled trailers, it has a tendency to flip if one wheel hits a bump, particularly at high speeds when there’s little weight in the trailer, but this can be avoided by careful riding.

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the hitch goes around the bike’s seat post.  originally, there were just two carriage bolts held on by wing nuts, in front and behind the seat post, but this rattled quite a bit and damaged the metal.  i found the kevlar hitch in a random bin at the community bike shop, and replaced the front carriage bolt with the linchpin, simultaneously securing the metal outer ring and the kevlar inner band.  i like it because there’s so few parts that there’s very little that can go wrong.  also, the long shafts make the trailer very convenient to use as a wheelbarrow or hand cart, because seat post level is around hand level so it’s comfortable to pull/push the trailer to the grocery store like we did this morning.

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i don’t like the fact that a child (or dog!) riding in this trailer faces backwards, but at least the solid plastic offers more protection than the tent-style trailers… better for a kid than a puppy.  however, there’s nothing to shelter a passenger from wind or rain!  with mo being so bloody cold all the time anyway, i think any attempt to get him to ride in this open-style cart would have him hating all bike trailers, which is why we’re happy to have gotten the other one for him.

luckily, he was happy to act as a model for this last pic: as shown above, the molded seats are quite good for holding boxes.

i don’t know if i’d ever take this trailer on a trip, though i’ve seen photos of the same one in the road trip section of a bike book… the cyclist had even strapped a whole extra wheel across the underside of the trailer’s hull!  it’s not particularly aerodynamic, and must be packed carefully to avoid having too much weight resting at the lower edge, which causes the hitch to slam up against the bottom of the bike seat.  also, it collects water, and requires a cover that can pull tight around the edges and some drainage holes.

however!  as an all-purpose, haul-everything, so-worthwhile-it’s-practically-paying-ME-every-time-i-use-it sort of a tool, this is pretty much the best $50 i’ve ever spent.

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4 responses to “more than you ever wanted to know about my bike trailer

  1. Aww!

    Your first photo totally gave me a flashback. This was exactly the same model (only black, not red) that I rode in as a child! It was simply referred to as “The Buggy,” and is the source of many happy memories of bouncing along behind my mamma – and stern warnings not to reach outside or try to touch the wheels while we were moving!

    How sweet that it serves a double purpose. My parents long ago got rid of theirs, and I never would have thought to keep it as a useful tool. Too bad! But I’ll be on the lookout now.

    Thanks for the detailed post about your Buggy. I mean, bike trailer. :)

  2. Do you know the brand name of your bike trailer. I have been trying for some time now to find one but I don’t know what they call them?
    It would be a great help in my search.

  3. feralgeographer

    Hi Sammy,
    I’m sorry, but there doesn’t seem to be a brand name anywhere on it, at all. Weird, hey? Good luck.

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