The Bike Trailer

Bob and Dick liked to go places on their bicycles. However, they were limited in how far they good go because they had to get back home by night time.

Let’s build a trailer

One day, Bob had an idea. He said, “Let’s build a trailer that we can pull with our bicycles. Then we could use it to camp out overnight. I saw a picture in Popular Mechanics of a bicycle trailer. But let’s make one that is big enough for both of us to sleep in.”

Boys with Bikes

“Yeh,” Dick said, “and you will expect me to pull it all by myself while you ride along ahead.”

Bob replied, “No. Since it will be wide, we can attach it to both bikes and pull together.”

“OK,” agreed Dick, “we have some used lumber at my house and we can build it there. We can build it on the concrete slab where we used to have a shed.”

“And I have some wagon wheels that we can can use,” offered Bob, “and I have some short axles that we can attach to the trailer. The axles have holes drilled in them to hold a pin to keep the wheel from sliding into the body of the trailer.”

Let’s get started

Dick said, “Let’s get started.”

First, they nailed together a frame and a floor that was about 4 feet wide and 6 feet long. This size was chosen because they had been given a pad that size that could be used for a mattress. They then turned the frame over to attach the axles.

Dick asked, “How are we going to attach it to the bikes?”

Bob answered, “Don’t worry about it yet. We have to see how it is shaped so we can decide where to mount the attaching pieces.”

They turned the floor piece right side up and mounted a two by four post at each corner. The posts at the back were about 18 inches tall and the ones at the front were about 30 inches tall.

Bike Trailer axle
Bike Trailer floor
Bike Trailer design

Almost done

Then they nailed on some 1 by 4 boards up to the top of the rear posts. After that, they made a roof; and then the open places were filled with screen wire. A small door was made in the back for access to the interior.

Bike Trailer detail

Put on the wheels

“Now, how do we connect it to the bikes?” asked Dick.

“First we have to put on the wheels and prop up the front so the trailer is level. Then we can make some measurements,” answered Bob.

Bike Trailer

“Now that it is nearly done, let’s get inside and see if it is roomy enough for both of us,” suggested Dick.

So they did and decided it was really just what they had planned.

When they got out, Bob took one look at it and said, “I don’t think we need to worry about how to connect it to the bikes.”

“Why?” said Dick.

Trailer fail

“Take a look at the wheels. The axles are bent!” explained Bob. “I thought it seemed awfully heavy when we pried it up to put on the wheels.”

Axle fail, cabin success

Later, Bob figured out that they must have put 250 pounds of wood into the construction and with another 250 pounds of boys inside, that was too much weight for the axles that had been weakened by the holes drilled in them. Even if the axles hadn’t bent, the boys couldn’t have pulled that heavy thing with their bicycles!

But it wasn’t a total loss. Some kids pitch a pup tent in their back yard for a campout. Bob and Dick had a “cabin.” Furthermore, other kids also got to use it for a campout.

Trailer Cabin
Tags: 1930s | bikes | trailer
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