I had been wanting a trailer so I could tow my 17' canoe behind the bike. For a while I was thinking I'd have something custom built, but then I found an old steel Gerry baby jogger in a dumpster. It had two 16 wheels and one 12.5" wheel, and it folds up. The plastic and nylon bits were all ruined, so I discarded them, and removed the front wheel, leaving me with a folding frame with two 16" wheels. This, it turns out, can be inserted into the cockpit of a kayak or strapped to the front seat of the canoe....
So yesterday I finally got around to something I'd been meaning to try for a while.
I attached the canoe and two paddles to the former stroller, connected the other end of the canoe to the seat of my Downtube Mini with a strong chain, and packed a lunch in my rack trunk.
I did not invite my wife on this expedition, because her bike --an old lady's bike with 26" wheels-- will not fit into the canoe. My son's bike is too big as well, and anyway, he was up to his ears in the new Harry Potter book, and didn't want to come. My daughter, however, is still on 16" wheels... so we headed out on our bikes. We rode about 5 miles to Carman River, which is a creek that turns into an estuary flowing into the Great South Bay of Long Island. The ride was uneventful, but we took it slow, typical cruising speed about 9 mph. The last hundred yards were off-road, and we had to walk the bikes separately from the canoe; but no problem. I folded up the Mini and the trailer, and stuck them, and my daughter's bike, into the canoe; we switched our helmets for sun hats; and off we went. We paddled down the creek and into the bay and kept going all the way to a marina where we pulled out, unfolded the bike and trailer, and rode home. We saw herons, egrets, geese, ducks, a turtle, some fish... nothing really thrilling, but it was nice to be out on the water, and especially nice to be able to put in at one place and pull out at a different one without worrying about the logistics of getting back to the car.
Total time elapsed, somewhere around three hours. About 7 miles on bicycles, about 6 miles in the canoe.
The jogging stroller is not quite ideal for this purpose. Its wheel base is a bit too narrow, so it can tip over on uneven ground (though this did not happen yesterday); and since the wheels were far to the back end of the canoe, it put a lot of weight on the seat. It would be better to put the wheels a little closer to the center of the canoe, but that too would have its drawbacks. I had to accelerate slowly due to the Mini's natural tendency to pop a wheelie, which is exaggerated by the weight of the trailer mounted to the seat. At one point, going up a sudden incline, the end of the canoe scraped the pavement for a second. All in all, though, this was a success; and maybe after a little tweaking, I think I'll try it again.