Bicycle Cargo Trailers

I have about ten years' experience building and using bike trailers to haul all kinds of things, from boxes to bikes to kayaks to couches. My design philosophy is of simplicity, utility and versatility; it produces no-nonsense cargo trailers that keep items safe, secure and dry.

I am available for custom design consultation. Examples of my work can be found below.

Tyler Linner

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gridLESS 4P (Pedal Powered Pollinator Patch)
During my day job as the director of the Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative (NAZPHI), I dreamed up this mobile pollinator garden.Collaborating with three NAU Sustainable Communities students, we then brought the project to life-- literally! The garden was built with re-used wood on a Surly Ted bike trailer that was previously used to pick up NAU's food waste for "velo" composting. But the highlight here is the foliage.

Attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinating critters means planting lots of flowers and, in the case of the ailing monarch butterfly, milkweeds. We planted both native flowers and native milkweeds in the shallow garden bed. Because these plants often need some water, there are 14 gallons of rainwater storage underneath a false floor. Each of the four catchment trays drains to these storage tanks, and the storage tanks can be emptied into a watering can by two separate ball valve spigots. Essentially, when it rains this trailer will collect and save that rainwater for later.

Of course the entire upper section can be removed by taking out four bolts and disconnecting two standard drain connectors. This makes maintenance much less complicated than one may expect. The trailer is still a bit of an experimental test bed, but with the planting of native perennials we hope it will live far into the future with minimal upkeep.

Short Trailer 
This is my general purpose trailer loosely based on an InStep kid-hauler. I've been using and modifying it for several years so it's currently on Version 2 (Version 1 shown below).

The steel frame has custom welded steel side supports with wooden rails. There are six stainless steel eye bolt tie-downs- two on the front, two on each side. Its wooden cargo bay is strong and lightweight. I also installed a fork block so the trailer can haul another bike- useful when taking a broken bike to the shop.

Weather protection consists of side panels and full-coverage fenders made of corrugated plastic. It uses standard 20" (406mm) wheels and tires.

The hitch is based on a caster wheel. The standard InStep hitch receiver was modified to hang from the bike's rear disc brake mount and is extremely sturdy.

This trailer can support 200 pounds. The wooden rails keep bulky cargo off the wheels, but also allow the trailer to be stood on end to conserve garage space.

Hauling home free pallets for a reuse project

Version 1 of the Short Trailer featured a basically stock InStep frame with 16" quick-release wheels. Modifications included bolt-on OSB side supports with 1" tie-down holes and a cargo bay made from plywood over two 2x4's. It worked pretty well, but Version 2 is better in almost all respects.

An early test of this trailer- taking my truck's wheels to be refinished and fitted with new tires. Heavy!

Long Trailer 
This is a "haul anything you please" trailer custom fabricated to my specifications. It's been a bit of an experiment for hauling 8' lumber and other large items. The frame is 1" square steel. Its side supports, fenders, and wheels follow the Short Trailer's design, while the hitch is a stock InStep unit. The cargo bay (not shown) is a tentative solution at this time, as most things I carry sit on the wooden rails. The eye bolts are vital to this trailer, since the cargo here is most often larger, heavier and more unwieldy.

While any trailer can carry very long items when they are cantilevered off the back, this leads to bad weight distribution and instability. Therefore, the main reason I built this was to allow more space between the bike and the trailer axle.
One trick feature here is the adjustable axle position, an attempt at allowing optimum weight balance regardless of the cargo. This trailer is not 100% finished at this time, but it serves its purpose regardless.

The "2500HP HUMAN POWERED" decals are a play on GM trucks' "2500HD" badges.

Other Attempts

In 2013 I experimented with building a bike trailer for $30. It featured a reused hitch assembly from a $10 Craigslist trailer, a frame made of free reclaimed pallet wood and inexpensive wheels. It was a great learning experience!

Bringing home a "new" bookshelf from the thrift shop.