We live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A beautiful area of the United States where outdoor activity is a major pastime for more than just a few of its residents. We like to ride our bikes on the extensive bike trails that crisscross all over our area and can take us into some wonderful wilderness areas that we really enjoy.
In times past we would pedal to some specific location wishing that we could have taken along our picnic cooler, lawn chairs, cameras, binoculars, and other things that would have enhanced our experience. Oh sure, there are any number of devices designed to carry cargo on a bicycle. But given the numerous hills we must climb in our area, loading our bikes down with extra weight didn't sound appealing to us.
So, I started thinking about a trailer. Not just a tag-along trailer, but one that would carry its own weight, so to speak, and perhaps help me up those hills. Electric power seemed to be a possible answer and so I began researching possible motors and batteries on the Web. I soon found a great deal of information on Electric Bicycles and conversion kits. While I thought that my idea was original, i.e., a cargo carrying device that would cancel out its own weight and help propel the bicycle by virtue of its drive system, I quickly found that it was not an original idea at all!
Here is a 1948 news paper article I located during my research showing just such a device. In spite of the fact that this idea is not new, I do believe that my design offers an elegant new solution. It's simple and straightforward. It uses off-the-shelf components for the most part, and it's really not that tough to build. PLUS .....it works great ! It uses a brushless Hub-Motor type bicycle drive system that is widely available on-line from a number of sources. If you search on electric bicycle conversion kits, you'll find plenty of systems. Look for 20" front wheel drive 500 watt systems.
It should be stated here that the use of an electric drive system is NOT meant to replace pedaling or to be the main propulsion source for the bike. It is suggested that you use electric power only when encountering hills as a means of assistance or when a burst of speed is desirable. The more you use the electric power the shorter it's overall run time will be and the less likely that power will be available when you really need it. I rarely find the need to use the throttle while riding on flat paved surfaces.....I save the batteries for the inclines!
So, if you're interested in building a Cargo-Carrying Push-Trailer for yourself, we offer you a comprehensive plan set with drawings, photos, sources, and building tips that will explain everything you need to know about fabrication. Shop skills and access to shop tools are recommended. This project will provide you with a fun and satisfying experience as well as provide a great enhancement to your bicycle trips!
2015 David Meyers and Marilyn Feaster