How to Make a Low-Cost Bike Trailer

Written by jagg xaxx
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How to Make a Low-Cost Bike Trailer
Bicycles are low-cost, low-impact transportation. (bicycle image by Brett Bouwer from

Bike trailers are an ideal way to leave the car at home more often. Even if you prefer bicycles to cars, you still might need a car when you have groceries or other large items to carry. A bike trailer can increase the amount of cargo you can carry on your bike. A simple bike trailer is cheap to build and free to use. Bike trailers can't go everywhere that bikes can go, especially when they are loaded. Avoid riding over curbs and large obstacles.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Old wheelbarrow frame
  • Old child's bike with small wheels
  • Welder
  • Hacksaw
  • Piece of threaded rod, 3/8 inch thick and 32 inches long
  • Piece of hollow tube large enough to slide 3/8-inch threaded rod through
  • 2 nuts to fit 3/8-inch threaded rod
  • Wrench
  • Scrap wood

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  1. 1

    Salvage a wheelbarrow frame; it should be the metal kind that has a single curved bar that makes up the handles, front wheel bracket and two ground supports.

  2. 2

    Take the wheel off the wheelbarrow frame.

  3. 3

    Cut part of the handles off of the wheelbarrow frame. Picture the frame as a trailer in order to determine where to cut the handles off. The two legs on the wheelbarrow frame that support the wheelbarrow are going to be the struts that you attach the bicycle trailer wheels to. Picture the frame with a hitch at the front, wheels on the bottom and a platform on the top.

  4. 4

    Cut off whatever parts of the handles will be in the way of, or unnecessary to, the platform.

  5. 5

    Cut the front fork swivel off of the child's bike. The swivel is the part just above the fork that holds the wheel. The swivel has the bearings inside it and is the junction of the front fork and the frame of the bike.

  6. 6

    Take the inside part of the swivel out of the outside part, being careful not to lose the bearings and noting where they go so you can put it back together properly.

  7. 7

    Weld the outside sleeve of the swivel onto the front of the wheelbarrow frame, the part where the wheelbarrow wheel was before you took it off.

  8. 8

    Build an extension of your rear fork onto your bike and weld the inner sleeve of the front swivel from the child's bike onto the back of this extension so it is just behind the back wheel of your bicycle. This extension can be made out of salvaged parts from the child's bike. Secure the extension to the back axle of your bike and to the bike rack over the back wheel.

  9. 9

    Slide the outer sleeve, which is now connected to the trailer, onto the inner sleeve, which is now connected to the bike.

  10. 10

    Drill horizontal holes through the bottoms of the two frame supports. Place the hollow tube between the two frame supports so it lines up with the holes.

  11. 11

    Slide the threaded rod through the holes and the tube so that it extends across the bottom and protrudes on the outside of each support.

  12. 12

    Take the wheels off of the child's bike and attach them to the protrusions of the threaded rod. Secure them with nuts on the ends of the rod.

  13. 13

    Build a wooden platform that sits on top of the wheelbarrow frame. The platform should be around 24 by 30 inches, or just large enough to protrude over the wheelbarrow frame by a couple of inches on each side.

  14. 14

    Secure the platform to the wheelbarrow frame by drilling holes through the wood and the frame and bolting it on.

  15. 15

    Build a low rail around the wooden platform to keep things from sliding off. Drill holes through the edges of the wooden platform so you can hook bungee cords to them to strap things on.

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