How to build a bicycle trailer

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Build a bicycle trailer with a double-ball hitch that is well-balanced. This trailer is both lightweight and simple to build. The trailer supports a small load but is more than sufficient for most students using the trailer to carry a backpack so that it does not compromise their balance. This trailer involves no welding or pipe bending. The only tools required are a drill and wrenches/screwdrivers for attaching tires.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Two bicycle wheels
  • Drill bit (same diameter as two wheels)
  • Spare bicycle fork
  • Ram mounting system with coupler (screw to crate -- see Resources)
  • Spare ball (to screw to frame -- see Resources) Plastic milk crate
  • Tomato paste cans
  • Drill
  • Glue (like Gorilla glue)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Create the bed of the trailer. Make the bed strong and light by using a plastic milk crate as the base for the trailer. Position the crate with the widest part of the crate sticking out on either side of the trailer for added stability. Drill a hole on each side at a location where the wheels will be at the same height and the same distance back from the front. This will depend on the type of crate that is chosen but should be low on the crate and at a location where the plastic is well supported.

  2. 2

    Strengthen and reinforce the holes for the tires. Drill a piece of metal made by removing both ends from a can of tomato paste and flattening it out. This metal will support the plastic and makes a backing for both sides of the hole if a plastic tub is used instead of a crate. Glue on the backing with glue that holds both metal and plastic (like Gorilla glue).

  3. 3

    Attach more parts to the crate. Screw on the wheels to the two holes after the glue has dried. Use a ram-clamp base attached to a C ball to form the hitch on the trailer. This hitch is meant to be for attaching a GPS unit to a motorcycle but should serve our purposes well.

  4. 4

    Build up the hitch on the bike. Scavenge a fork from another bike. The fork is the part of the frame where the wheels mount below the handlebars. Attach a ball hitch to the top of that fork. Screw the fork to the rear wheel of the bike that the trailer will be mounted on. This fork should stick out toward the trailer and will be the location where the hitch is attached to the bike. Some bending of the fork may be required to make it fit the bike that it is being added onto. Strip both balls (the one on the trailer and the one on the fork) of their anti-slip coatings.

  5. 5

    Couple these two hitch balls together using the ram clamp. The ram clamp is made from two pieces of metal that clamp down on either side of both balls but allow them to rotate. A screw is in the middle of both balls so that the tension on both balls is roughly the same. If one of the balls is purchased as part of a ram mount kit, this should be in the kit. Remove the anti-slip coating from the inside of the ball clamp before attaching it.

  6. 6

    Tie a rope or chain to the fork (where the hitch is attached) to support it. Attach the rope to the fork where the fork splits and then wrap around one of the side forks a few times so that the rope will go to the side and not contact the rear wheel. The other end is to be attached to the frame of the bike just below the seat. This will help support the scavenged fork so that it doesn't come loose easily. Check all parts before and while riding to make sure that they are holding up well.

Tips and warnings

  • Mind the wheels on the back. With a wide trailer, it is easy to forget that the trailer cannot go everywhere the rider can. If desired, add fenders around the wheels to protect the trailer from damage.
  • Test this trailer before extensive use to make sure that everything is working as it should. This trailer is not designed for "off road" type abuse. Make sure that anything in the trailer is strapped down before moving. Do not put things in the trailer that are excessively heavy and never use the trailer for live cargo.

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