Return of the bamboo bike trailer

My friend Danny and I are working on building a bamboo bike trailer. Extra stars go to any readers who remember the first post about it over a month ago. Basically, our goal is to build a relatively light-weight trailer for under $100. For several reasons, we decided bamboo would be a great material for such a project. It’s relatively light, cheap and strong. Best of all, it can be grown fairly cheaply all around the world, and it looks cool.

We are basing much of our design on plans by Carry Freedom. However, we have hit several design issues that have required multiple trips back to the hardware store and design modifications. First, we were planning on using two-inch bamboo and bought a bunch of bolts and nuts to fit that concept. Then we went to Bamboo Hardwoods on Roosevelt, where the helpful clerk pointed us to a Vietnamese variety of bamboo that is stronger, thinner and cheaper than the variety we originally wanted. Awesome, but that’s a lot of bolts to return…

Today, we set out to make the frame. Instead of using nuts and bolts, we decided to try connecting the joints using only blown-out bike tubes. This worked wonderfully! So our design may end up lighter and cheaper than we originally thought. Good news.

Danny pulling a bike tube tightly around the joint.

We have a vague idea about using derailleur hangers as dropouts to hook the wheels onto the bamboo. It looks like it could work, but we’ll see what the test run shows. We are also in the process of trying to figure out how to create a good joint to connect the trailer to the bicycle axle. We have some 1/8″ sheet metal and plans showing how to form it so it works, but we do not have the tools to make it happen. If anyone knows a place that can help us cut, drill and bend 1/8″ sheet metal, let me know. Turns out, that’s pretty damn thick (it doesn’t sound that thick on paper…)

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1 Response to Return of the bamboo bike trailer

  1. Mary says:

    I love the blow-out tube idea. It’s so sustainably perfect. You guys are great – and Danny shaved his beard!

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