Friday, January 4, 2008

New Toys 1 - Homemade Trailer

Late last year I finally got around to painting the trailer which I had welded together at a night class (read club for men without sheds) in the first half of the year. I'd been toying with having it powder coated, but that was too expensive. It was supposed to be cheaper than a bought one, even with the cost of the night class counted in. Galvanising seemed like a great proposition, until I learned how many drainage holes I'd have to drill before they'd go near the thing. So finally I bought a can of Hammerite and painted it by hand. It was actually fairly easy, but I put it on a bit thick. Choosing a hammered copper finish probably didn't help with that as it didn't go on uniformly and I was perpetually uncertain what coverage I had achieved. The paint seems to be holding, however, and I have plenty left after cautiously upsizing to 250ml.

I had planned to make a canvas bed, but was so pleased with the two bamboo garden stakes I lashed on for my first trial that I'm sticking with them. I hope to get some flattish segments from a neighbour's large bamboo offcuts to make good cross-wise supports, but the scrounged wooden cross-pieces pictured hold up if I don't hit bumps too hard.

My course finished before I got another bar on the front to stop cargo sliding forwards. This conveniently allows me to put heavy loads right at the front where there are more structural supports underneath. Presumably this dramatically increases the tongue weight and makes the bike work harder, but it gets the goods where they need to go.

The trailer rides quite comfortably. I have it hooked up to an old, upright bike which is fairly heavy itself. The two parts look good together, and I think that the bike engenders a suitable riding style for the trailer.

The trailer hitches to the rear axle. Consensus on the internet seemed to be that axle mounts ride better than hitching to the seat post, and so far it has ridden nicely for me. I did get shunted by the trailer until I tightened the connecting pin really firmly into the trailer arm. On the other hand, Aaron, who I got trailer plans from, has switched to seat mounting because it gives him a better handle for trundling into supermarkets etc.

I do recommend Aaron's plans. They were easy to work with, although he suggested using galvanised materials which makes for terrible nasty fumes during welding.

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