DIY Cargo Bikes Haul It All - From Kayaks to Compost

Girl Rides With Kayak photo

The basic kayak-carrying trailer costs $669 US. Photo credit Tonys Trailers.

When I wrote about cycling and the homeless recently for EnzymePDX, I happened to find out about Tony and his trailers through a work colleague. A one-time Tour de France participant, Tony Hoar is also a tireless bicycle advocate thinking outside the traditional cycling mindset. Cargo hauling is his passion. He has designed some fantastic bike cargo haulers, made to carry everything from a few surfboards, to a stack of kayaks, to a movable bedroom.

Puppies In A Bike Carrier photo

Photo credit Tony's Trailers.

Yet the really notable thing about Tony's Trailers' designs are that they are open source - aimed at the DIY enthusiast, and allow for constant innovation in bike cargo carrying.

Take the B-Train line (named for the "binners" that gather Toronto's recyclable bottles and cans and redeem them for cash). This is a kit that costs $ 175 and allows you to take a shopping cart (or even two) - acquired legally, we hope - and hitch them to a bike. Hoar believes that much of a city's recycling could be bicycle-based, and he's not only come up with inexpensive solutions for individual binners, but also for professional recyclers such as the Cowichan Recyclists in Duncan, British Columbia.

Futon Frame Cargo Carrier photo
Old futon frame becomes an extremely roomy trailer ready to be hitched to a bike. Photo credit Tony's Trailers.

Hoar would like to spread the knowledge of how to build trailers to homeless people all over the U.S. and Canada...and he's not exactly in it for the money. He worked hard to fashion a bike trailer/tent shelter that would be practical for people living on the streets, and gave his first few prototypes away, until he realized that the value of the trailer was just too high, and thus didn't stay long with its original owner.

Tent Bike Trailer photo
This finished Nomad tent/trailer, ready to be hitched to a bike, sells for $US 912, but Hoar would like cities to find a way to build their own. Photo credit Tonys Trailers.

That's when Hoar moved to more of a DIY model. Hoar said the best solution would be for cities and municipalities, instead of only concentrating on building housing as the solution to homelessness, should also create programs that allow street people to both repair their existing bikes, and build their own mobile shelters. Hoar says high schools' machine shops would be one perfect place to open up to the community of street dwellers.

In the meantime, in addition to the four basic heavy-duty hauling models Tony's Trailers manufactures and has available for sale, Hoar has also come up with ingenious trailers for handicapped and wheelchair bound people, and one of my favorites, a roomy trailer made from an old futon frame - Hoar says this is a cheap, abundant and easily accessed item at second-hand stores, which is why he chose it as the basis for an inexpensive trailer.

Hoar's ultimate wish is for people to buy his ready-made trailers but also to foster cargo and trailer making in their own cities.

Read more about the best cargo bikes at TreeHugger:
Five Cool Cargo Bikes and the Return of the Long John
Bicycle Cargo, Chapter 1
The Future of Cargo on Bikes (and the Present)

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