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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 10-24-11, 04:58 PM   #1
memnoch_proxy
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Bikes for Hauling Cargo on Farms?

I got into a conversation with the farmer that I have a subscription with about putting bikes or trikes to use on his farm. I know that any mountain bike might do well, but the few times I've ridden my Xtra or hauled a trailer behind a bike on muddy unimproved trails, I tend to bog down quickly.

Have you seen bikes or trikes in use for hauling boxes of veggies on farms? Should one be avoiding small 20" wheeled trailers, or are cargo trikes more effective on unimproved roads?
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Old 10-24-11, 05:21 PM   #2
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just guessing the fattest tire is needed where there's the greatest load and a low load carrier like the CETMA would make it easier to load and ride. There you go, a CETMA with MoonLander tires.
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Old 10-24-11, 05:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by memnoch_proxy View Post
I got into a conversation with the farmer that I have a subscription with about putting bikes or trikes to use on his farm. I know that any mountain bike might do well, but the few times I've ridden my Xtra or hauled a trailer behind a bike on muddy unimproved trails, I tend to bog down quickly.

Have you seen bikes or trikes in use for hauling boxes of veggies on farms? Should one be avoiding small 20" wheeled trailers, or are cargo trikes more effective on unimproved roads?
Not on American farms/ranches. Anything low volume would be the domain of the working quad or "Mule"
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Old 10-24-11, 06:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by memnoch_proxy View Post
I got into a conversation with the farmer that I have a subscription with about putting bikes or trikes to use on his farm. I know that any mountain bike might do well, but the few times I've ridden my Xtra or hauled a trailer behind a bike on muddy unimproved trails, I tend to bog down quickly.

Have you seen bikes or trikes in use for hauling boxes of veggies on farms? Should one be avoiding small 20" wheeled trailers, or are cargo trikes more effective on unimproved roads?
You mean like this?

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/...factories.html

http://bikecart.pedalpeople.com/gallery.html
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Old 10-25-11, 02:17 AM   #5
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I have built and sold several pedal powered quad, drop-side 250 kg capacity tipper trucks for use in and around equestrian stables and free range poultry units. I also have a prototype pedal powered quad tractor/tool frame undertaking evaluation work doing light tillage, hoeing and granular fertiliser and liquid spraying duties in a set of very large commercial vegetable growing glasshouses. The wheels that I am using are 16 inch motorcycle wheels and tyres, spoked to bicyle type hubs. The 16 inch motor cycle rim just so happens to be the same diametre as 20 inch BMX wheels.
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Old 10-25-11, 05:03 PM   #6
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just guessing the fattest tire is needed where there's the greatest load and a low load carrier like the CETMA would make it easier to load and ride. There you go, a CETMA with MoonLander tires.
I agree.
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Old 10-25-11, 05:16 PM   #7
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something electric with the hub on the front wheel? maybe one of those torque sencing deals where the motor works when the rider pedals for constant assist. i guess if there's power all over the farm he could charge it anywhere on the property (and not worry about range unless it's like the ponderosa) or have a solar something out in the fields or a small hydro type generator by a creek.
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Old 10-25-11, 05:47 PM   #8
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When I was developing the cargo trailer I'm currently selling I made one like this. It actually worked pretty well but I didn't go with these wheels because they were ungainly - it might be just the thing for the farm application.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:48 PM   #9
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Nighshade,
Those pedal powered machines are neat, thanks for sharing those. The Pedal People link is also quite inspiring. I will definitely share these with my farmer. I had not seriously considered the merits of a 26-29" tired trailer. Hauling hay bales actually looks feeasible. And the notion of dual-duty as a push cart is also inspiring...reminds me of a dock cart but with a bike-friendly center of gravity.
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Old 10-25-11, 10:08 PM   #10
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Gareth,
That's really impressive. I have forwarded the link to this thread to my farmer. I would never have considered that an option, how very intriguing!
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Old 10-26-11, 03:55 AM   #11
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The pedal powered quad tool carrier is a joint venture project that I am in partnership with the local university. It is basically a test bed to see what we can do with new materials that are being developed, what I can do engineering and possibly production wise, and placing it into the commercial glasshouses that are also part of another long term project being run by another department of the same Uni seemed a good idea; it is also local to me so I can quickly and easily address any problems or glitches it may encounter, swap out parts for testing and evaluation, or quickly pull it out and turn it around for major development changes . .... .... this project ticked a lot of the official boxes and has attracted some development grant aid.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:25 PM   #12
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Human Powered Machines in Eugene Oregon has some serious hauler trikes,
a front steered front wheel drive one with a 1/6 ton carrying capacity. as an example .

As a small builder , they may even be up to a modified long john/Bak Fiets ..
to use wide 26 " wheels.

and Jan van der Tuin loves CSAgriculture , and will be exited
to tailor a build to your needs.

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Old 10-27-11, 04:41 AM   #13
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I got into a conversation with the farmer that I have a subscription with about putting bikes or trikes to use on his farm. I know that any mountain bike might do well, but the few times I've ridden my Xtra or hauled a trailer behind a bike on muddy unimproved trails, I tend to bog down quickly.

Have you seen bikes or trikes in use for hauling boxes of veggies on farms? Should one be avoiding small 20" wheeled trailers, or are cargo trikes more effective on unimproved roads?
It depends hugely on how firm, smooth and level the ground is that he would like to drive on. A front-box trike is a lovely way to move things around on rather firm, rather smooth and rather flat areas. It gets ugly if the ground is soft. Mud really brings things to a stop quick. On a trike when you get stuck you don't fall over, and you might be able to rock yourself free (and spin a tire!), but thats something you do to entertain the kids, not get work done.

For moving cargo in difficult terrain, despite my fondness for three wheels, I be inclined to get a Surly Pugsley or even more extreme, and a trailer with the biggest possible tires. (Hmmm, a Moonlander trike, that would be a nice option...)
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Old 10-27-11, 05:05 AM   #14
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I would go for a two-wheel-drive delta trike, with jackshaft drive to each rear wheel rather than an axle with a differential. If one drive wheel loses traction, you still have drive at the other. With no axle between the wheels, the cargo box could be lower to the ground to improve stability. Fit 24"-26" wheels with fat tyres for muddy terrain and it should be quite capable. A front hub motor could be useful for hauling heavier loads and would also give you three-wheel-drive where needed.
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Old 10-27-11, 06:08 PM   #15
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The trailers sold to transport chairs and umbrellas on the beach come to mine, paired with a fat tire bike
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Old 10-28-11, 05:27 PM   #16
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I agree.
electric motor front wheel might help.
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Old 10-28-11, 05:33 PM   #17
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umm.. I live on a farm not a big one but a farm none the less.. I actually have a schwinn high timber I think it's called (fairly bottom of the bottom low end bike) that I put a rack on the back and ended up securing a front bag ahead of the handlebars... I wouldn't exactly haul crops in with it but it sure is handy! I can take almost any set of tools I need just about anywhere on the farm and haul back just about anything that isn't bigger then 2'x2' I'm already experimenting with different homemade trailers for it.. but I suspect the quadcycle is the best bet I've been tinkering with the idea myself so that it could have a cargo area... BIKES ARE WONDERFUL ON FARMS!
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Old 10-29-11, 03:49 AM   #18
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On our small farm we used a wheelbarrow for small loads up to about 50m, then a small tractor with a large metal box on the back for larger loads and longer distances. The main use of bikes would be to travel between house, barn and tractor.
The soil was too sticky and heavy to permit cycling on farm tracks in winter, you had to wait until they dried out otherwise the sticky clay just clogs up everything. This is the main reason that many local flatland MTBers use fixed-gear for off-road riding.
I think, given the physical work of farming and the fact that it is an essential activity, we can give a free pass to use hydrocarbons.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:24 AM   #19
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The soil was too sticky and heavy to permit cycling on farm tracks in winter, you had to wait until they dried out otherwise the sticky clay just clogs up everything. This is the main reason that many local flatland MTBers use fixed-gear for off-road riding.
Its impressive the variety of different challenges there are with farming different locations.

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I think, given the physical work of farming and the fact that it is an essential activity, we can give a free pass to use hydrocarbons.
It all comes down to how much farmers can afford to pay at the pump vs everyone else.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:27 AM   #20
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I would go for a two-wheel-drive delta trike, with jackshaft drive to each rear wheel rather than an axle with a differential.
If you need so much traction to get through the mud I doubt you have the time or strength to do it in a productive way.
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Old 10-31-11, 03:01 AM   #21
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I have received several emails asking for photos and information of my quad pedal powered tool carrier.

This is a commercial prototype project for me: I have invested a lot of money into it, and I will not be posting any "spoilers" until I am ready to launch into the market place, which will be in about 5-6 months time to coincide with the the start of the main European growing season.

What I am prepared to tell you about the project at the moment is the following:

4 wheel drive pedal powered quad, with freewheeling style jack shafts (at the moment) to the front wheels, (in-house developed) differential to the rear wheels, with a manually engaged "lever on, spring off" diff lock.

Lockout lever and latch manual mechanically selectable steering modes: Front only wheel steer, rear only wheel steer, and all wheel steer.

Common attachment quick change for front, rear and centre tool mounting.

Up to an additional 24 inches of adjustable row crop style wheel width settings in 4 inch increments with quick no tool adjust tie rods incorporating full Ackerman steering at all pre-set width settings.

This pedal powered project quad was not designed for field work and will never be suitable for this, but has it has been designed for yard, stall and glasshouse work
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Old 11-01-11, 05:35 AM   #22
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4 wheel drive pedal powered quad, with freewheeling style jack shafts (at the moment) to the front wheels, (in-house developed) differential to the rear wheels, with a manually engaged "lever on, spring off" diff lock.

Lockout lever and latch manual mechanically selectable steering modes: Front only wheel steer, rear only wheel steer, and all wheel steer.
That sounds really complicated.

That said, it sort of makes me wish I had a 4x4 "bike" just to see all the bits doing their thing while I drive over things.
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Old 11-01-11, 09:24 PM   #23
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I would go for a two-wheel-drive delta trike, with jackshaft drive to each rear wheel rather than an axle with a differential. If one drive wheel loses traction, you still have drive at the other. With no axle between the wheels, the cargo box could be lower to the ground to improve stability. Fit 24"-26" wheels with fat tyres for muddy terrain and it should be quite capable. A front hub motor could be useful for hauling heavier loads and would also give you three-wheel-drive where needed.
Like this one?

http://mnhpva.org/Meetings/Jan_02/MarkTrike.html

I took a different approach to 2WD. OEM pedal power to the LH rear wheel, and 350w assist to the RH wheel. Both drives are completely independent but can be seamlessly combined together.



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Old 11-04-11, 03:49 PM   #24
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I think, given the physical work of farming and the fact that it is an essential activity, we can give a free pass to use hydrocarbons.

Once one takes away the need for rapid acceleration it's amazing how little hp is needed to move loads. 10hp can move a lot of stuff around at 5-10mph. There's a serious limit what 1/10hp of human power can do.
Paved/packed roads enable bicycles to be worthwhile alternatives to moving 3500lb of vehicle for one 200lb driver but trying to get 200lb of person to move 100lbs of stuff on bad surfaces is expecting a lot.
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Old 11-07-11, 03:32 AM   #25
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..... but trying to get 200lb of person to move 100lbs of stuff on bad surfaces is expecting a lot.
Just this weekend I took my ~70lb trike shopping with my ~40lb son, and decided to drive on a freshly cut semi-wild field. So this isn't quite as nice as a lawn, but not too far off. It was a lawn once.

On the way out, it was a lot of work to go slightly uphill with 26 gear-inches but I did it. On the way back I might have had another 50lbs on board, all on the front tires (20x1.75 - 47-406). Standing on the pedals was simply not enough, I had to rock the trike a few times, and lift really hard on the handles while sort of standing on the pedals. I spun the tire a time or two (gotta watch out when going that on a trike, because you might sit on the seat in way you didn't intend). This was on nearly flat ground, slightly lumpy, basically dry, and reasonably firm. I just can't see 100lbs of cargo on a loose dirt with any bike tire I've ever seen.
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