Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A bit of a rant ... ...

Are people who use bicycle trailers strange ? I don't think so, I use one.
But it seems to me that the majority of people must think it odd to have a trailer on a bike, I mean why not use a car ? at least that's must be what goes through the minds of some people.

As I said I have a trailer for my bike, it's a means to an end, I don't drive, in fact I have only taken my driving test once, that was when I was 17/18 I failed and haven't bothered since, I'm 34 now and whilst I admit a car would be handy, we seem to get by with out one.

I built my first bike trailer 2 years ago, as a why to move heavier stuff about on my bike, balancing shopping bags from each handle bar is a little precarious at times, so a cart/trailer was a plan (necessity is the mother of all invention after all) the mk1 :-) was built from the remains of my sons first buggy, it was one of those 3 wheeled things, the rear wheels made a great chassis, and I built the rest out of some steel tube and wood salvaged from an old bed (yes I did say bed) I used the buggy wheels at first, but soon found they couldn't cope with a lot of weight, so I adapted the trailer to use the wheels from a sack truck (and the mk1.1 was born)

The trailer was quite heavy and quite low as well, but it did the job, I carted cement bags and all sorts about in it, I also collected a 27inch tv in it, not a flat screen, but it eventually gave up, and so I set about constructing the mk 2.

Now the next trailer was built from scratch, I've used two 26inch mountain bike wheels, and steel tube for the frame, the sides and front and back are made from thin wood to keep the weight down, I used the same method to hitch the trailer to my bike, which is basically an eye bolt on the towing bar of the trailer and a d shaped bracket bolted to the bike, I join the two using a d shaped shackle for easy removal, I also incorporated a padlock and cable as well, just in case the main hitch fails, which to be honest is unlikely, unless I try transporting an elephant about.

Here's a picture of the basic frame, there's no towing bar etc because bikes vary and the hitch would depend on the bike and how the trailer was to be hitched.

The Mk 2 :-)
As you can see it's nothing elaborate, but it can hold a lot of weight, in fact when I'd finished building it (which was just after christmas 09) I weighed around 15 stone, so I used myself to weight test it, and it easily coped, of course after a few months of using it to get the weekly shop and other stuff I now weight a stone and a half less :-)

So why am I ranting ? well apart from the odd looks I seem to get when I use the thing, the nail in the coffin was when I was out doing the weekly shop, I had just stuffed the many bags of food and such like into the trailer and was just setting off for home, nothing odd you say ? well as I left the car park of the super market I rode past a chap with his daughter (she was about 6 or 7 maybe) she turned to her father and said look dad that man's got a trailer on his bike, nothing wrong with that, but it was what her father said in reply and more importantly the way he said it, almost with venom in his tone of voice " it's because he's an environmentalist " 

My first thought was wtf ! Did I just hear that right ? I'm all for being green, recycling and wind farms and the like, but this blokes comment made me feel like some kind of subversive.
I've wondered what kind of message this gave to his daughter ?

I'm not 100 % sure, but I'm willing to bet money that he got into a massive  4 wheel drive type vehicle (the fashion type 4x4's not the practical ones) and I live in Norfolk, no hills to speak off, and unless your a farmer who needs to drive out across wet muddy fields in the middle of the night for a sheep, why do you need what is basically a step down from a monster truck ? (that last comment is not meant to cause offence, just an observation)

I'm all for being green and such like, but the fact that this bloke didn't seem to consider any other reason for me using a trailer really wound me up if I'm honest, so bring on the bike trailers I say, the more the merrier, they are great things to have, cheap to run, good exercise and apparently annoy people who have 4 wheel drives :-)

I will be updating this post with some pictures and such like, to maybe give you some inspiration on how to build (or how not to build) your own trailer, and in the mean time have a look at this check out the " related " section on the right hand side, loads of different trailers :-)

Thanks for reading.

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