Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Wheelie bins

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

While around a quarter of all the energy we use in New Zealand is for transport, two thirds of the trips we actually make are less than six kilometres. If you calculate the embedded energy used to get your food on your table (how much energy is used for the farmer to fertilise the field, to run the tractor, package it, transport it to market, etc.), you are likely to double that amount by driving to the supermarket to do the shopping. It’s relatively easy to make big energy savings here and you’ll be better off health- and wallet-wise in the process.

I got into making bike trailers a few years ago after I realised that most of my car use around town was for carrying stuff. I had attempted load-carrying with a bike by tediously stuffing and unloading too much shopping into panniers that were too small, putting my neck out carrying heavy loads in a backpack, falling off my bike when bags over the handlebars caught in my front spokes, and dropping cardboard boxes and contents all over the road that were precariously bungied onto a carrier. It was my bass guitar and amp that finally got me into constructing a trailer, and suddenly everything got much easier for load-carrying by bike. In this article I’ll describe how to make a wooden bike trailer using an aluminium hitch that I’m producing.

Obtaining your materials

Bins: Two bins are very convenient for shopping as they fit in the shopping trolley for direct loading at the checkout. Making a trailer with a deck is ok, but the load sits higher and makes the trailer less stable, and things have to be bungied on. Avoid cheap and nasty bins as they crack easily – Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Stowers have good selections of strong bins for $10-$25 each. A free option is a couple of banana boxes with a strip of wood glued and screwed to the side. These will last a surprisingly long time if kept dry.
Second-hand bike wheels: 20” wheels are very good stability wise. 26” wheels on a narrow trailer are more prone to rolling with higher centre of gravity, but give good clearance for deep bins, although don’t use wheels any larger than this. 24” wheels are a good compromise between clearance and stability. Garage sales or dump shops are good places to find an old bike to pinch wheels off – using a set of wheels from the same bike (one front and one rear wheel) is quite acceptable. Check the bearings and re-grease if they are sticky. I’d also recommend you remove gear clusters, although this is not absolutely necessary.
Wood for the frame: 6 or 7 lengths of wood, around 800-1000mm long and between 75mm and 100mm wide and 25mm thick. Such wood can be easily obtained for free from old packing crates.
Hitch, tow bar and dropouts: Available by emailing steve@cycletrailers.co.nz, for $50 (+$10 to courier).

Create the H-frame FIG 1

1. The rectangular wooden frame is built to suit your chosen bins, which should be of equal size. Measure the longer width of your bin, just below the lip. Cut your centre strut to this length.
2. Calculate the lengths of the two side struts by measuring the shorter width of the bins (again, below the lip), multiply by two and then add the thickness of the centre strut. The outer struts of the completed frame are as long as the H-frame’s side struts, so cut four struts of this length.
3. Screw your ‘H’ together using two 50mm screws in each joint to make it strong.

Finish the frame FIG 2

4. To calculate the length of the front and rear struts, take the width of the H-frame, add the lengths of both wheel axles, and then add the widths of the two outer struts. It may help to measure the wheel axle by attaching the dropouts to the axle first and to then measure the distance from dropout to dropout.
5. The wheels’ axle lengths will be different, so when attaching the front and rear struts to the H-frame, make sure to leave the appropriate room on each side. Use two 50mm screws in each joint.
6. Finish the frame by attaching the outer struts so they sit flush with the ends of the
front and rear struts.

Attach the wheels FIG 3

7. Drill at least four wholes through each dropout, and use 40-50mm screws to attach them to the underside of the frame, making sure the dropouts don’t hinder the bins going in and out. Hacksaw the
dropouts if required for bin clearance.

Attach the tow bar FIG 4

8. Attach the aluminium tow bar using the bolts provided. Drill the hole that’s closer to the end of the tube at least 25mm in from the end so it doesn’t collapse. The Nylocks provided don’t vibrate loose, so don’t over-tighten them, which could also result in collapsing the tube.

Attach the hitch FIG 5

9. Attach the hitch base to your bike underneath the rear wheel nut or quick release lever (on the left hand side). The
hitch base stays on your bike all the time. It is important to horizontally level the hitch with the tow bar and quick-disconnect ball joint coupling to allow up/down movement over bumps. If there is a permanent angle on the tow ball there may not be enough play and the ball joint may bend or break.
It is also important to make sure the quick-disconnect ball joint coupling can rotate at least 90 degrees on the bolt thread in both horizontal directions. It would pay to get in the habit of checking this every time you connect the trailer on as it can tighten up over time and will damage the ball joint if it cannot rotate freely.

Weight test

Weight test the trailer by standing on it with your weight over the wheels. I recommend carrying loads less than 50kg routinely, with maybe an occasional load up to 70kg if it’s well balanced. Most people can pull 20kg up hills just by changing down a gear and going a bit slower, and you hardly notice it on the flat.
Loads of 30-40kg slow you down a bit more, but most people can still easily cruise at 15-20km/h, even with a heavy load.

Other resources

carryfreedom.com: I’m not the first to try a wooden bike trailer. Carry freedom have very good instructions for making a bamboo trailer (carryfreedom.com/bamboo.html), but bamboo can be difficult to source, whereas old pallets are very readily available. The site also describes how to make your own hitch, which is a bit more technically challenging.
cycletrailers.co.nz: My website has details on building various trailers, from one using an old bed frame, to a full aluminium model. You can get the hitch used in this project there, or learn how to make one using an old trampoline spring. For an overview of my trailer options, see ‘Product List’ on the site.

Bikes and fashion go together

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

We went to Wheel Stylish yesterday, the bike fashion show in Wellington, put together by the clever folks from Frocks on Bikes Wellington at the BNZ Harbour Quays Atrium. A nice concept: bring city bikes and sustainable fashion together and show cycling can be very stylish.

The better part of World Sweet World, Hannah, was taking part in it as a model, and happily showed off pieces by kowtow. The other labels were emma, starfish, voon and de nada, and there were some pieces from hunters and collectors, all presented by a number of other beautiful models, but the actual combinations of labels and models completely escaped me, having to juggle Otis and at the same time trying to aim at moving fashion targets.

The other main ingredient of the show, the bikes: they were personal beauties and showpieces, and a handful of mamachari bikes Jason and the crew donated for the day. Tres chic – the Cycle Chic Fashion show:

-Thomas

Way to roll

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Here’s another Frocks on Bikes event that shouldn’t be missed:

You can celebrate summer, promote taking the lycra out of cycling and normalising it as a means of transportation, enjoy a leisure bike ride to Island Bay, fall in or out of/ be in/ stay in love with your cycling partner, and even be in two win prizes – ALL IN AN AFTERNOON!

All the info and chance to register is available on frocksonbikes.org.

- Thomas

Flocking for shopping, part 2

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Due to unruly weather in Wellington, Frocks on Bikes had to postpone “Flocking for Shopping” and make use of the wet weather date. The shopping and cycling event is rescheduled for Saturday, the 12th of December now. Join in!

Frocking and flocking

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Hello everyone,

get your frocks on this Saturday and cycle to Martha’s Pantry at 10.30am, to join the Wellington Frocks on Bikes people for cycling and shopping fun. The motto: “Shop ’til you puncture!”. So while you get to see interesting shops with a bunch of like-minded gals, you can at the same time promote Lycra- and sportsgear-free inner city cycling

Here’s the programme for the morning:

Meeting spot #1: Rendezvous at 10.30am at the delightful Martha’s Pantry for a cup of tea and a safety talk (situated just off upper Cuba St on the bypass). At 11am we will set off for a little leisurely cycling to our first frock-stop: ‘Emma’ in Berhampore is offering “nana treats”, so the ride across town will be well rewarded.

Meeting spot #2 and #3: If you’d prefer, feel free to meet us at Emma in Berhampore (476 Adelaide Road) 11.30am; or at Pixel Ink/People’s Coffee on Constable St at 12.15pm.

More info on frocksonbikes.wordpress.com/wellington, under “Flocking for Shopping”.

International Day of Climate Action, 24th October

Monday, October 12th, 2009

350.org.nz just reminded us that the International Day of Climate Action is getting close.

On 22 August, over 150 of cyclists came out to support safer cycle lanes in Wellington and the 350 movement promoted cycling as a low carbon form of transport:

350-wheels-wellie

And here’s what’s happening on the day, 24th of October:

Cycle Aware Wellington is organizing another huge cycle ride to raise awareness for safer cycle lanes in Wellington and cycling as a low carbon form of transport – and, of course, because cycling is fun, fast and free!

This time, CAW is drawing attention to the Great Harbour Way, Wellington’s beautiful coastline, and the necessity for a safe cycle route connecting Eastbourne, Hutt City and Wellington City.  So mark your calendars for Saturday, 24 October, oil your chain, grab your helmet, water bottle, patch kit, sunscreen and let’s ride!

Please do forward this info on to your networks, friends and lovers of 2-wheeled transport!  You don’t need to be an excellent cyclist to come along – the route is about 17km, but is all flat and it won’t be a race! So come join the fun – but you cannot ride with us without a helmet!

The Route: Start in Days Bay, Eastbourne, through to Wellington Waterfront. Final destination is the International Day of Climate Action Festival, Taranaki St Wharf by Mac’s Brewery.

Meeting Spots:

Days Bay Wharf: 10.30am

Petone, westernmost pulloff on the Esplanade (opposite south end of Waione St): 11.00am

Ngauranga (East side of Hutt Road): 11.40am

Wellington Railway Station: 12pm

Shine those shoes, sew that helmet cover…

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
frocks
Intersect, the young professionals’ sustainability network has issued a challenge – to get 350 frocks on bikes on the 6th of December (Global day of Climate action). That means we have to glam ourselves up, take cycling back from the lycra-wearers and promenade through our cities looking divine. SIgn up to Intersect to join the discussion, and to find out what’s actually happening on the day.

Hoorah for changing the world, one frock at a time!

Hannah