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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 04-15-08, 09:14 AM   #1
Buglady
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Looking for a trailer in Calgary

It looks like it will be quite a while before I can swing an Xtracycle, so I'm now thinking trailer for my weekend farmers' market trips. I make and sell jewellery and it's not so bulky that I need to take the car to carry it 3 miles! (The rest of the week I think I will continue to do fine with big panniers. I may get some folding baskets at MEC today).

My LBS has the Burley flatbed for $269, and MEC has the BOB Yak for $339. I'm kind of wondering if there might be a cheaper way to do this. Has anyone had any luck with concerting a child trailer for cargo? (edited to add, there's one on Craigslist for $100 - http://calgary.en.craigslist.ca/bab/631668260.html ). Or how about building something?

Thanks for any suggestions...

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Old 04-15-08, 09:22 AM   #2
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It looks like it will be quite a while before I can swing an Xtracycle, so I'm now thinking trailer for my weekend farmers' market trips. I make and sell jewellery and it's not so bulky that I need to take the car to carry it 3 miles! (The rest of the week I think I will continue to do fine with big panniers. I may get some folding baskets at MEC today).

My LBS has the Burley flatbed for $269, and MEC has the BOB Yak for $339. I'm kind of wondering if there might be a cheaper way to do this. Has anyone had any luck with concerting a child trailer for cargo? I might be able to find one of those secondhand. Or how about building something?

Thanks for any suggestions...
Free radical kit is $400 USD. If you think it is a better route and you can't find something cheaper, I might be tempted to just get it. If you don't have to provide the display table, you could probably get away with two large panniers. If all else fails, there are Nashbar trailers that are fairly cheap.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:37 AM   #3
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Unfortunately with shipping from the US, plus tax and Customs fees, the FreeRadical ends up at somewhere over $500 Cdn. My budget is about half that.... plus the bike I was thinking of as my Xtracycle base is going to need more work than I thought. I need to re-do the whole drivetrain and probably replace the wheel. Probably should have specified that, sorry!

I do need to have at least the potential to bring my own display table, which is the other factor. Most of the time the markets I go to can provide a table, but just in case... That Nashbar trailer looks a bit small, I'm afraid, though the price is good.

I am thinking here that I may be able to take the flatbed trailer and construct some kind of display surface right on it. Hmmm. I have my stuff in 2 big totes, I bet I could just lay a tabletop right over those and have it at a decent height. Add a tablecloth and my sign, and away we go.
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Old 04-15-08, 02:05 PM   #4
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There's a couple more to choose from on Used Calgary right now too. I was looking around at this myself the other day

People have definitely used child trailers for cargo before. They might be a bit heavier than a BOB, and not move as gracefully as one, but they both haul the same stuff. I wouldn't know about a BOB for a table either, its not that big. A burley flatbed would probably suit it better.
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Old 04-15-08, 02:30 PM   #5
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I am very fond of my Burly Flat Bed. It is as versatile as a Xtracycle if not more so. I can carry my big cooler on my flatbed, there would be no hope of attaching it to the Xtracycle.
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Old 04-15-08, 03:44 PM   #6
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Judging by the traffic at Madison's Saturday market, children's trailers work very well for cargo. Often, parents will have a toddler or two and a large pile of groceries. The two wheel trailers are very popular around here (saw at least 5 on my errands today) and handle well for city riding.

There's a thread knocking around in here about the Nashbar trailer. Verdict seems to be don't bother as it's not very sturdy. Given that, I'd shoot for a used children's trailer.
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Old 04-15-08, 05:21 PM   #7
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There's a couple more to choose from on Used Calgary right now too. I was looking around at this myself the other day

People have definitely used child trailers for cargo before. They might be a bit heavier than a BOB, and not move as gracefully as one, but they both haul the same stuff. I wouldn't know about a BOB for a table either, its not that big. A burley flatbed would probably suit it better.
I thought you might know!

Yeah, I looked at the BOB at MEC today and I was not impressed. They had panniers that looked as though they'd hold mor stuff!

I may give one of the kid-trailer sellers a call. One was $80 so that is not bad.
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Old 04-15-08, 05:25 PM   #8
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I am very fond of my Burly Flat Bed. It is as versatile as a Xtracycle if not more so. I can carry my big cooler on my flatbed, there would be no hope of attaching it to the Xtracycle.
That's what I'm thinking... I currently have all my display stuff in 2 big plastic totes (the 100L size I think) and if I can just plunk them straight on something, that would be ideal. If I can leave everything on the trailer and transform it into my display stand, so much the better!

Also, I just blew my budget getting new panniers, helmet, lights, and other goodies at MEC (I really should not be allowed int here unsupervised!!!) so a secondhand kiddie trailer is looking better every mnute
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Old 04-15-08, 09:22 PM   #9
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I thought you might know!

Yeah, I looked at the BOB at MEC today and I was not impressed. They had panniers that looked as though they'd hold mor stuff!

I may give one of the kid-trailer sellers a call. One was $80 so that is not bad.
The thing about the BOB that I like is, what it says for its weight capacity *is* its weight capacity. Unlike those racks I bought which said "75kg weight limit" that were turned into twisted metal noodles by loading with less than 30lbs. You can load up the BOB, take it cross country and it'll hold fine.

If I knew you in person, I would totally say that you could borrow the Xtracycle for 2 months if you want i'm leaving on the 29th for Ottawa.
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Old 04-15-08, 10:02 PM   #10
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Also, I just blew my budget getting new panniers, helmet, lights, and other goodies at MEC (I really should not be allowed int here unsupervised!!!) so a secondhand kiddie trailer is looking better every mnute
You'll be fine with the kiddie trailer. They hold more than you might think.

There's one to my left in this pic.


And quite a few besides the heavy haulers in this one.
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Old 04-15-08, 10:49 PM   #11
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Unfortunately with shipping from the US, plus tax and Customs fees, the FreeRadical ends up at somewhere over $500 Cdn.
Rarified in Okotoks is an Xtracycle dealer and I am pretty sure their price for an Xtracycle is $450cdn + gst. Still over your budget, but a better deal than ordering from the US.

The Xtracycle stuff isn't listed on their website yet - so if you want details call and talk to Patrick:

* 403.939.4042
* info@rarifiedonline.com
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Old 04-16-08, 08:58 AM   #12
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Excellent info, thanks Vik! I'll file that for future reference...
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Old 04-16-08, 08:59 AM   #13
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Cool pics Donna! I'm impressed by the guy hauling the couch!! It does look as though people have fit a lot in those kid trailers
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Old 04-16-08, 09:02 AM   #14
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If I knew you in person, I would totally say that you could borrow the Xtracycle for 2 months if you want i'm leaving on the 29th for Ottawa.
Aw, thanks! I'd be scared to death of something happening to your "baby" while in my care, though. You're not riding it on the tour??
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Old 04-16-08, 09:23 AM   #15
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Here are some links:

- check out this trailer for $235 USD http://www.actionbent.com/twtrailer2.html
- there are free plans online for building a trailer:
http://drumbent.com/trailer.html
http://www.instructables.com/id/Bicycle-cargo-trailer--200-lb-capacity,-$30-for-pa/
http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Bicycle-Cargo-Trailer
- here are some alternate trailers you can buy down the road:
http://www.tonystrailers.com/cargo/
http://www.bikesatwork.com/bike-trailers/
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Old 04-16-08, 09:32 AM   #16
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Thanks again! That Instructables one looks really good. I have a neighbour who LOVES to build stuff...

I have several pieces of very good plywood left over from our kitchen reno. Heavy, but strong - it's 3/4" oak!
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Old 04-16-08, 12:01 PM   #17
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Aw, thanks! I'd be scared to death of something happening to your "baby" while in my care, though. You're not riding it on the tour??
Nope. Maybe crazy, maybe not, but i'm going to be riding my new Dahon Mu P8. The Xtracycle shipping estimate to go to Ottawa was ~$175, and required that the bike would be broken down and boxed up, then shipped separately - all things which made me nervous.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:35 PM   #18
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Wike trailers are in Ontario, but their shipping within Canada is very reasonable. The DIY kit is pretty cool, and cheap. It would allow you to make it the right size for the containers you already have.
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Old 04-16-08, 07:28 PM   #19
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The BOB is good for touring, because you typically stuff the trailer with lightweight but bulky stuff. But for shopping and other stuff, I would definitely recommend a 2-wheel trailer.

I went with the Burley Nomad because I also wanted to have it when I tour with my children, and therefore I didn't want a trailer that was too bulky, too heavy or acted like a parachute in the wind. If it's mostly local, the Burley Flatbed is probably a better option; just attach a large plastic bin on it (with straps) if you want to carry groceries.

Otherwise, a child trailer is a good option, especially if you can find a used one. Ideally, you should find one with a top that can be opened (like the 2nd one of the 2nd photo posted by Donnamb). If the floor is too soft, double it up with a sheet of coroplast (a used electoral sign). And to increase its versatility, remove the seat.
I had a Chariot which not only had fabric all around, but also a major frame component going across the top. While it offered extra protection for the kids, I couldn't load it from the top (useful for heavy items) nor could I carry something tall inside. I could have done surgery on the fabric, but not on the frame.
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Old 04-17-08, 09:41 AM   #20
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Wike trailers are in Ontario, but their shipping within Canada is very reasonable. The DIY kit is pretty cool, and cheap. It would allow you to make it the right size for the containers you already have.
Thanks for the link! I will crunch some numbers... my only fear there is that the basic wheels look pretty fragile to me, I'd want the 20" alloy ones, plus they don't include the tubing (it's another $20, or I would have to look for it locally). Anyway, that puts the price up to $160 or so.

I do LOVE their landscape, shopping, and large cargo trailers though.

Edited to add - AHA! They sell parts separately. That may solve my hitch problem. I can get the wheels and framing here, I think.
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Old 04-17-08, 09:30 PM   #21
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Actually, those wheels are not fragile. They probably are as strong as the 20" alloy ones. I had similar ones (albeit 20" on my child trailer). They still have a few drawbacks and differences:

- Only 16" rather than 20". It means the load is lower and therefore more stable, but if you ride off road or on bumpy roads, holes seem deeper with smaller wheels.

- The plastic rim is very strong, but if you bang it really hard, it may break. There is no bending or truing the wheel to make it straight. It works (usually and for a long time) or it breaks.

- These are not hooked rims, so the tires can't be inflated at more than 30 psi. Not a real problem for typical touring or grocery loads (typically 30-60 lb), but you might feel the drag if you travel long distances with a heavy load.

- The hub uses cartridge bearings. Most people don't wear them, but I went through a set after 3-4 Winters.
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Old 04-17-08, 10:49 PM   #22
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Good to know, thanks. 30 psi tires would be a bit of a pain in the neck... The other reason plastic worries me is the climate here. It can get very cold, very quickly, and plastic anythings tend to have a short lifespan!
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