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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 09-27-06, 09:57 AM   #1
nlee1875
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DIY Cargo Trailer Hitch

Please post your ideas here for your DIY Cargo Trailer Hitch.

Many people have equipment around the yard / garage that can be easily converted to use as a bicycle cargo trailer.. but have been stumped as to how to fabricate an appropriate hitch and tow tongue.

Let's see / read what you can come up with!
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Old 09-27-06, 10:53 AM   #2
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What does your DIY trailer/tongue look like? A scrap piece of garden hose around the chainstay with a short quick release skewer and washers makes a pretty good flexible hitch.
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Old 09-27-06, 01:53 PM   #3
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Check out Wike (http://www.wicycle.com) they sell kits and trailer parts. I believe you can just buy a hitch from them, then put it on your own invention.
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Old 09-27-06, 01:55 PM   #4
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September 27, 2006

Hello...

For those who want to make DIY bicycle cargo trailer and is stumped for ideas for a trailer hitch.....

Here is a simplistic solution that might work for you.

BILL of Material..

Cargo Trailer for infrequent use...

1. Two wheel garden cart / hand truck.
2. 18 gal Rubbermade Tote.
3. 2 U-bolts to secure Tote to garden cart by drilling holes in the tote and securing the tote to the cart frame.
4. Clevis hook -- (a eye bolt would be much better but I didn't have one handy) secured to the garden cart handle.
5. 1 - U-bolt to secure the clevis hook. Use as many U-bolts as you deem necessary.


Hitch.( Make sure to take appropriate measures to protect your frame be it cloth tape, etc.)

1. 6" adjustable wrench (a box end wrench -- would probably work better but I don't have one to spare). I probably would slip a cut inner tube of appropriate length to cushion the wrench grip when the wrench is secured against the bike frame.
2. 1 - strapping clamp to secure the top of the adjustable wrench to the seat stay tube. A proper size U-bolt might work better -- but I didn't have one on hand. Use as many U-bolts as you deem necessary to secure the wrench to your bike frame. Note that the position of the adjustable wrench. The wrench head helps to prevent the strapping clamp from slipping off.
3. 1 U-bolt to secure lower part of the adjustable wrench to the chain stay.
4. 1- Ball Joint (mine has 5/16 hole diameter) and attached to the hanger hole of the adjustable wrench then tightened and positioned where the ball joint opening can handle the attaching bolt (hitch pin) in a vertical position. I suppose a eye bolt can be substituted for a ball joint.
5. 1 5/16 bolt.for hitch pin -- 5 inches long attaching bolt treaded through the clevis hook and then through the ball joint. I didn't have the accompanying nut so I used some rubber band at the end of bolt (ie tool free quick release)
6. Finally, 1 stretch cord to wrapped under the ball joint for vertical support.

Note #1: In my illustration. I used a longer 5/16 bolt than necessary because I could not find a accompanying nut. I found the extra length beneficial because it allowed extra play so I can lay down my bike on the ground while the trailer remained upright. I cut inner tubes into rubber bands as a poor substitute nut.. but the extra length bolt mitigates the need for a nut -- a quick release solution. I suppose you can drill a small hole near the end of the bolt to accompany a cotter pin.

If you choose the right length bolt and nut.. buy a correct size compression spring to slip on the bolt before securing the bolt (hitch pin) to the ball joint. The compression spring works well to dampen the metal to metal vibration noise especially when the trailer is empty.

NOTE #2: Since the garden cart was not modified, the trailer will ride left of the bike much more than (in traffic) if a tow tongue was used.

Yesterday, I hauled 5 1 gal (roughly 35lbs) Tampico fruit punch drink with NO problem..

Much obliged.
Nick Lee
Sparks, NV
car-free since January 2000.

PS.. search my user id on bikeforums.net for more ideas on cargo trailers.
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Old 09-27-06, 02:14 PM   #5
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I've seen a few DIY solutions that I like.
For a single wheel trailer, I think it'd be hard to beat cloning the U-hook over axle extensions of the BOB trailers.
For two wheels, a rubber hose is decent, but I think I might go with an air chuck as a quick release and a couple of 3/8" ratchet universal joints, all welded/brazed/whatever together. I've seen both used.
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Old 09-27-06, 02:43 PM   #6
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My trailer is on and off daily so I wanted something quick and simple. I went to the hardware store and got a pneumatic hose coupling and a few feet of hose. Got the female fitting into the hose and secured with a hose clamp. Then bolted that into the hollow arm on my cargo trailer.

I was stumped about the male end and tried a few different combinations with flat bar stock that worked just ok. Basically bend it in a square U and put a hole in the end for the male coupling and on both sides to put the skewer through. It's a copy of the Bike Friday/BicycleR Evolution hitch and I couldn't get it to work correctly (not much access to power tools). So I just ordered that section from Bike Friday and it works perfectly.

I'm very proud of it as it's very professional looking, very secure, and very easy to use. I haven't been on a long ride with really heavy cargo yet so I'm a bit worried that the hose might rip out of the arm but so far it's carried moderate loads fine.
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Old 11-01-10, 07:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nlee1875 View Post
September 27, 2006

Hello...

For those who want to make DIY bicycle cargo trailer and is stumped for ideas for a trailer hitch.....

Here is a simplistic solution that might work for you.

BILL of Material..

Cargo Trailer for infrequent use...

1. Two wheel garden cart / hand truck.
2. 18 gal Rubbermade Tote.
3. 2 U-bolts to secure Tote to garden cart by drilling holes in the tote and securing the tote to the cart frame.
4. Clevis hook -- (a eye bolt would be much better but I didn't have one handy) secured to the garden cart handle.
5. 1 - U-bolt to secure the clevis hook. Use as many U-bolts as you deem necessary.


Hitch.( Make sure to take appropriate measures to protect your frame be it cloth tape, etc.)

1. 6" adjustable wrench (a box end wrench -- would probably work better but I don't have one to spare). I probably would slip a cut inner tube of appropriate length to cushion the wrench grip when the wrench is secured against the bike frame.
2. 1 - strapping clamp to secure the top of the adjustable wrench to the seat stay tube. A proper size U-bolt might work better -- but I didn't have one on hand. Use as many U-bolts as you deem necessary to secure the wrench to your bike frame. Note that the position of the adjustable wrench. The wrench head helps to prevent the strapping clamp from slipping off.
3. 1 U-bolt to secure lower part of the adjustable wrench to the chain stay.
4. 1- Ball Joint (mine has 5/16 hole diameter) and attached to the hanger hole of the adjustable wrench then tightened and positioned where the ball joint opening can handle the attaching bolt (hitch pin) in a vertical position. I suppose a eye bolt can be substituted for a ball joint.
5. 1 5/16 bolt.for hitch pin -- 5 inches long attaching bolt treaded through the clevis hook and then through the ball joint. I didn't have the accompanying nut so I used some rubber band at the end of bolt (ie tool free quick release)
6. Finally, 1 stretch cord to wrapped under the ball joint for vertical support.

Note #1: In my illustration. I used a longer 5/16 bolt than necessary because I could not find a accompanying nut. I found the extra length beneficial because it allowed extra play so I can lay down my bike on the ground while the trailer remained upright. I cut inner tubes into rubber bands as a poor substitute nut.. but the extra length bolt mitigates the need for a nut -- a quick release solution. I suppose you can drill a small hole near the end of the bolt to accompany a cotter pin.

If you choose the right length bolt and nut.. buy a correct size compression spring to slip on the bolt before securing the bolt (hitch pin) to the ball joint. The compression spring works well to dampen the metal to metal vibration noise especially when the trailer is empty.

NOTE #2: Since the garden cart was not modified, the trailer will ride left of the bike much more than (in traffic) if a tow tongue was used.

Yesterday, I hauled 5 1 gal (roughly 35lbs) Tampico fruit punch drink with NO problem..

Much obliged.
Nick Lee
Sparks, NV
car-free since January 2000.

PS.. search my user id on bikeforums.net for more ideas on cargo trailers.
Thanks for this article/DIY. It really helped me a lot. thanks again.

Last edited by tinaflux; 11-08-10 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 11-02-10, 11:58 AM   #8
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You guys are all going to to much work to get a bike trailer behind your bike.

All you need is here..........
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...e-Trailer.aspx

http://www.motherearthnews.com/multi....aspx?id=67956

I built one of these years ago with scrap/salvaged/left over materials and still use it yet today.
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 11-08-10, 07:40 PM   #9
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uhmm. so i dont really need to order things online? like the hitch pin, the carrier and all? is this more practical?
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Old 11-08-10, 08:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
You guys are all going to to much work to get a bike trailer behind your bike.

All you need is here..........
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...e-Trailer.aspx

http://www.motherearthnews.com/multi....aspx?id=67956

I built one of these years ago with scrap/salvaged/left over materials and still use it yet today.
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Originally Posted by tinaflux View Post
uhmm. so i dont really need to order things online? like the hitch pin, the carrier and all? is this more practical?
Go back and re-read my post. You will find ALL that is needed in the linked article to build a really good trailer from salvaged materials with everything else found at the local hardware store.

Order off the internet? Now really...........
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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