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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 03-04-12, 09:16 PM   #1
AlmostGreenGuy
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Grocery Cart

I decided to take AdamDZ's magnificent cart design, and adapt it to my gutted Instep trailer. The square shape of the frame beams makes the In-Step very easy to work with. I used angle irons to attach the box to the frame. The holes in the angle irons give me the option of moving the box further backward later on if needed. The way that the bolts attach to the recessed areas inside the box should keep items from being scratched by the button heads.

I still need to finish trimming the angle irons down to size, but that's merely a cosmetic thing. Reflectors and other accessories will be added on later.

I also bought cross braces too attach to the angle irons, underneath the box, but I'm not sure if they're really needed. The setup feels pretty sturdy the way it is.

I'll post more as the design evolves.






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Old 03-04-12, 11:34 PM   #2
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Great work!
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Old 03-06-12, 08:52 AM   #3
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A very nice job! Did this trailer start out as a kid trailer before you removed the fabric? About the only things I'd do: Cut back and slide/fold old innter tubes over the ends of the angle iron to reduce the chance of a nasty cut or snag, and put some trailor reflectors, reflective tape, and lights on the back (maybe a bullseye for irony <grin> ). I'd consider reinforcing the bottom of the box where the bolts are located with two strips of aluminum sheet or plate, thin plywood or pegboard, or fender washers. Depending on the material used, the plastic may be prone to cracking over time.
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Old 03-06-12, 12:31 PM   #4
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Sorry but those protruding added angle brackets are a injury waiting to happen. Either cut them off flush with the trailer frame of remove them completely. A simple 3/8" plywood bed the same size as the trailer deck will serve you better and safer.
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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 03-06-12, 12:45 PM   #5
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Sorry but those protruding added angle brackets are a injury waiting to happen. Either cut them off flush with the trailer frame of remove them completely. A simple 3/8" plywood bed the same size as the trailer deck will serve you better and safer.
If you try hard and keep practicing it is always possible to find something negative to say. Did you notice he wrote: "I still need to finish trimming the angle irons down to size, but that's merely a cosmetic thing. Reflectors and other accessories will be added on later."? Actually they both said the same.

I think they did a great job. I wish I could find such big boxes w lid around here!

Last edited by badmother; 03-06-12 at 12:47 PM. Reason: zPelLiNg
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Old 03-06-12, 09:15 PM   #6
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Yep. Angle irons will be cut down on Saturday. Just didn't have time last weekend.

I'm not so sure that plywood would be an upgrade either. The aluminum angle irons are relatively light in comparison to wood, and give me some very nice mounting points for reflector brackets and other accessories.
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Old 03-07-12, 04:24 AM   #7
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Yep. Angle irons will be cut down on Saturday. Just didn't have time last weekend.

I'm not so sure that plywood would be an upgrade either. The aluminum angle irons are relatively light in comparison to wood, and give me some very nice mounting points for reflector brackets and other accessories.

Sounds right. Plywood would be more heavy, and need much more maintenance not to look ugly fast. The "bucket" should be sturdy enough not to need an extra floor.
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Old 03-07-12, 11:41 AM   #8
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If it was my trailer, I would not cut the angle iron or aluminum off, whatever it is. I'd cut notches in it so I could bend it straight up and attach it to the corners of the container. That way, the lower, bottom corners (on the front at least) would be protected from accidental damage.

I also noticed your box doesn't cover the entire floor of the trailer. If you want a bigger box, you might be able to find one of those
ABS plastic truck-bed boxes that would fit.
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Old 03-07-12, 12:12 PM   #9
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if you try hard and keep practicing it is always possible to find something negative to say. did you notice he wrote: "i still need to finish trimming the angle irons down to size, but that's merely a cosmetic thing. Reflectors and other accessories will be added on later."? actually they both said the same.

I think they did a great job. I wish i could find such big boxes w lid around here!
no.....
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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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Old 03-07-12, 01:31 PM   #10
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About the only "change" I can think that I'd make is to use machine bolts with acorn nuts, placing the nuts inside of the box. And installing hasps of some sort so as to be able to lock box to keep people honest.
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Old 03-07-12, 02:51 PM   #11
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About the only "change" I can think that I'd make is to use machine bolts with acorn nuts, placing the nuts inside of the box. And installing hasps of some sort so as to be able to lock box to keep people honest.
Hmmmmm.... If they had the proper spacing, to fit through the holes in the angle irons, u-bolts would work quite nicely on the outside. Then the nuts go on the inside. The lid of the tub has holes that go through the lip of the tub itself, which could be locked closed.
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Old 03-07-12, 08:43 PM   #12
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I once made a trailer with a plastic top it didn't have hasps but it was lockable. I got it from www.uline.com
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Old 03-08-12, 08:29 AM   #13
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I also noticed your box doesn't cover the entire floor of the trailer. If you want a bigger box, you might be able to find one of those
ABS plastic truck-bed boxes that would fit.
I am thinking that this trailer was made for transporting children. The main weight of them would be where they are sitting and I would expect that to be close to the axels. Feet are not so heavy but they need room.

When this trailer is converted you still want most of the weight close to the axels, so mowing the box forwards is not a good idea in my opinion. I would maybe slide it backwards a bit. the empty space is empty space, unless you can carry something light and bulky there from time to time.
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Old 03-10-12, 04:56 PM   #14
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I am flattered Totally so!

If I may: I would consider moving the wheels more towards the middle of the trailer so the weight is supported by the trailer wheels rather than the tongue and the bike's rear axle. Or at least move the box back as far as you can. Great work otherwise.

I don't think you need the cross braces: this tote is very strong and can handle the weight; what you have seems plenty enough to keep the tote securely in place as well.

Oh, what I found great for protecting edges and stuff is a washing machine hose that you can also get in your Home Depot or Lowe's. It's just thick enough and seems to have the perfect balance of hardness/softness for such applications: it can be attached over tubing or cut into smaller pieces and folded over edges and fastened with zip ties.

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Old 03-10-12, 08:46 PM   #15
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I got the angle irons cut down this afternoon, and had my daughter assist me with a 60lb load test. Hahahaha. It was a great ride.




I also stopped by Home Depot and picked up some clevis pins tonight. I'll slide the tub back on the angle irons tomorrow, and see if I can use the clevis pins as sort of quick connects either for the angle irons or the tub. I'm not sure which. I just know that I'd like to be able to easily remove the tub for storage reasons.



Adam - Great to see you chime in Obi-Wan!!!!
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Old 03-11-12, 05:12 PM   #16
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Nothing like an able assistant for testing

I was thinking about some sort of quick connect/release as well, but I didn't have a concrete idea, or actually... any idea. Mainly to be able to swap the box with a flat floor, to convert to a flatbed. I will need to revisit that when it gets warmer outside.

One way would simply be to install the flat floor and attach the tote to it with a few bolts with butterfly nuts through the tote's floor, but it would raise the center of gravity when the tote is loaded. But that might be the compromise I'd have to go with.

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Old 03-11-12, 07:06 PM   #17
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I use this SmartBin that I attach by straps when I need a bin to haul stuff:

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Old 03-11-12, 08:41 PM   #18
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Many of the bike trailers I've seen have the wheels halfway between the rear and the middle--about 3/4 toward the end like this.



Are you going to bring it in the grocery store?
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Old 03-12-12, 06:20 PM   #19
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Many of the bike trailers I've seen have the wheels halfway between the rear and the middle--about 3/4 toward the end like this.



Are you going to bring it in the grocery store?

Uhhh, look at the top of this forum and you will see the sticky thread about trailler construction tips...there is an actual formula for placing the wheels on a home built trailer...I followed that formula when I built mine and most dog/kid trailers do not follow that formula...
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Old 03-18-12, 04:48 PM   #20
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I haven't had time to play with the quick disconnects yet, but did have time to move the tub back closer to the rear axle, mount some reflectors to the tub, and to mount the flag to the frame. I had a second bike mount for the trailer, so I added the extra mount to the rear axle of my daughter's trailer bike.

Abby and I had a ton of fun testing it out yesterday. We loaded the cart with kites, a cooler, and lots of outdoor play toys, visited a few playgrounds, and ran some shopping errands. The combination of my $25.00 garage sale Schwinn bike, $50.00 Craigslist Burley trailer bike, and the repurposed trailer cart earned a lot of attention at our various stops. Lots of kids wishing that their parents had a fun method of transportation like we did, and lots of questions from parents on how to build such a thing.


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