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How to Build a Cargo Bike Trailer

3/15/2013 4:47:00 PM

Tags: Cargo bikes, cargo bike, cargo bike trailers, how to build a cargo bike, bicycle cargo trailer, green transportation, bike cargo trailer

Cargo bikes are a transportation success story — a freight train that shows no signs of slowing. Once considered a purely European phenomenon, cargo bikes have hopped the pond and been adopted by city dwellers interested in practicing eco-friendly transportation. It's not uncommon to see a cyclist pulling a cargo bike trailer topped with furniture or groceries in one of North America's bicycle-friendly cities, such as Portland, Ore.

Retail outlets offer consumers many different bike cargo trailers — one sign of cargo bikes' popularity. But new models costs hundreds of dollars and are out of the price range of many cyclists. Here's a cargo bike project offering a better option for frugal do-it-yourselfers. 

Portland Pedalworks' instructional YouTube video (below) demonstrates how a bicyclist disassembled a garage sale find, and then reassembled it to make a cargo bike trailer. The video lays out the project in the simplest terms: Find a used bike trailer (the type that can carry small children), remove its fabric cover and wheels, and unbolt the frame. Lay out the frame members in the shape of a rectangular skeleton, overlap the ends and bolt them together so they'll support a wooden platform. The platform can be wood recycled from another project or purchased new for the cargo bike project. When the wheels are attached to the reinvented frame, you're ready to roll. The universal hitch system already included on readymade child bike trailers makes this an ideal DIY project, because there's no need to buy or adapt a hitch.

As Portland Pedalworks explains, there's more than one way to approach human-powered transportation of goods. This DIY bicycle cargo trailer project is an example of green transportation at its best.


Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, where her beats include DIY and Green Transportation. She's an avid cyclist and has never met a vegetable she didn't like. You can find her on .



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