Cargo Trike/ Bakfiets
The following information is a sort of journal on the construction of the cargo trike. Thus,  the most recent developments will be on top
with the earliest developments listed at the bottom. Once the trike is completed, there will be a new page in a more direct "how to" form.
GoFeral Home

April 17

The trike is almost finished. I built the box, painted and stained the whole thing, and assembed it. Currently, I'd like to add support chains to the gate, and I need to reattach a lock. I'd also like to plane some of the sides so as to make the whole thing look better.

April 10

On Satuday I managed to get a little more work done on the trike. To start with, I decided to reattach the front end, mainly to get a look at what the thing would look like. Thankfully, I noticed that the pivot shaft was a little off, and that clearance between the back end of the platform was resting on the boom. I was able to saw the welds enough to free the shaft. The welds didn't quite break free, but I realized that I could manipulate the shaft angle and so I reassembled the trike, checked lean angles, and rewelded the shaft a bit. After removing the front of the trike again, I finished the weld. I also straightened the rear triangle that was leaning right a little bit. The problem is that the top pillow block and pillow block mounting plate is interfering with the  platform steering. I'll have to grind that all down a bit. Probalby touch up the paint there.

So now, there remain a few things to do.
Wednesday: Pick up ply wood, more primer, and truck bed liner with Clacky and transport it to Karens. Work on cutting the wood to size and build the box. Will need to head to Ace so as to pick up nuts and bolts.  Spray truck bed liner on boom assembly areas that need it.

Thursday: Finish box if need be. I'll also need to work on grinding down any sharp edges on the front end, and grind down the pillow bock and mounting plate as needed. Weld box mounting brackets to platform frame and attach box. to frame.  If so I'll remove all parts from the platform, strip it and paint it.  While I wait for coats to dry, I'll be sanding down  the box to prep it for staining. Maybe I'll even be able to stain it. However, Amanda is coming over to overhaul Clacky, so that will cut into my time.

Friday: I'll need to get a new axel for the good BMX wheel that I bent during the trike crash. Its got a lot more spokes than the wheel that replaced it, so I'll see what I can do. I'll  also get a new set of pedals after destroying the old ones. If all goes well over the three day period, the box should be stained, the platform should be painted, and  it all should be ready or nearly ready for assembly.  I'll then have to reattach the platform to the boom, attach the drive system and gears, and maybe it will be able to move to RamRide. If not, which is quite possible owing to the fact that this trike has been  delayed about  6 months longer than originally intended, I'll have to deal with things later. This weekend I'm busy with other things.

A look at what I have so far:

April 8

Over the last couple of days,  much work has been done on the trike. First, I found that I had run over some thorns with the tires. Bummer. After fixing that, I rode the rusted thing to Karen's house, with a stop over at the Co-op. I picked up Angela and gave her a ride home as she had no bike. I dragged it through the gate, and work started. First, I had to seperate the front end from the boom assembly. I ground off the weld bead holding the thing together,  and then started stomping on the boom to get the peices to seperate. After stomping a bit, I grabbed a hammer and started hammering. Finally, the parts came loose. Then I had to saw off the front end pivot shaft assembly (I should come up with an exploded view labeling each part and assembly) Once that was done, I could get to the welds holding the pivot shaft on the assembly. The flat stock was then rewelded to the bike, and then the new pivot shaft was welded to the front end. That done, it was time to start painting. I first removed everything from the rear boom assembly. Then I grabbed the grinder with a wire brush attachment and went to work removing old paint and rust. I put down a few coats of flat black primer and left. The next morning, I realized that I hadn't removed all of the old paint from the rear triangle. There was an ugly wrinkle. I decided to stip that area again, and repaint it. I then realized that I hadn't properly stipped all of the old yellow paint, and so I spent a couple of hours doing the job right this time. I hope at least. Towards the end of the day, I put on the first two coats of gloss enamel. The photo is from the first coat of primer.


March 24

Well, I found that my trike has 2 flat tires (both front) and this is a bit weird. There was a lot of snow on the ground and cold so I didn't get a good look, but there you have it, the trike is grounded until I can figure out why they are flat and go about fixing the problem.

March 12

I did some more brake testing and Not a whole lot has changed. The trike seems to be holding up well, I have thought of one more mod to perform. My idea is to lengthen the pivot shaft. Then I'll run a brace from the front of the deck to the bottom of the pivot shaft. This should eliminate front/back flex. Its not a hugely noticable thing, but I think I can make it just that much stiffer. I was thinking about lightening it a bit, but the fact is, it doesn't feel all that heaving on flat ground. Even when you load it up with people or or anything else, it still feels solid, but not heavy. I wheeled it around Home Depot, but didn't ride it inside. I got lots of comments but wasn't kicked out. My box will be 2 feet tall and will probably be constructed in April. Painting will follow.

March 2

    Well, I finally got the last parts for the shifter in and then I rigged it all up and got the trike shifting. I changed the chain from the front ring to the middle ring. See below for gearing info. I'm not planning to redo the trike currently, though if there is a reason to fix the front end, I'll certainly jump at it. But for now, I have lots of hours invested in the trike and money spent, so I'd like to see it finished.
    I did some more brake testing and found that it can skid about 90 degrees in a turn. You have to really lock the rear wheel and keep it locked the whole time. For one thing, the rapid turn feels all funny so you kinda quit skidding about 90 degrees. The other thing is that after that, the trike tends to be stopped. In a turn if the inside wheel comes up, slamming on the brakes really seems to help. However, I'm not sure if thats the best thing. More testing is needed.
    I rode the bike to the Home Depot, but chicked out and did not ride it inside. I did walk it inside. They didn't seem to have any problems.
    I currently have another project that will tie up Karen's garage for at least 7 days. Then Spring Break rolls around so I won't do anything then. Maybe the following week. I'll have to dress up some welds, and I plan to shave all the teeth off the big ring I think. This will turn it into a sort of chain guard. I plan to make the box about 2 feet high. Thats probably adequate to keep most things in and will keep cost and weight down. Cost will probably run me 35-40 bucks. After that, I'll set to work cleaning out Karen's garage. Finally, if it all goes well, I'll take it apart, scour the rust off of it, dress up any other welds. I think the shifter mount weld is really bad. Then if all is ready, I'll paint it. Then I'll try to either have someone else store it or just get rid of it and maybe start on a lighter unit.

Febrary 16
Went for a ride to classes today. All I can say is this. The bike is great in the snow, but it really shows how heavy it is. I'm almost considering rebuilding part of it to lighten and increase the stiffness of the bike.
 Bike in snow

Bike in the snow.
You really can ride a
bike in snow that deep.

February 15

    On Tuesday, I ran out of time to fix the trike. So it had to wait until Wednesday. By then it had snowed, and was really cold. But the ice on the roads made a regular bike a challenge to ride, and thus I decided to try to fix the trike. First, I had to go to my friend's house and get his rig. They say a man with a truck has many friends, but I say a guy with a bike and righteous trailer has friends, too. I'm one of those friends. I loaded up the wrecked trike onto his trailer, and then started out.
    It took me a little bit to get the rig over to Karen's as the trike kept slipping. Once I got it to her place, I had to get the parts into the garage, which was no easy task either. I ripped off an old braket used to hold the floor in place getting it through the narrow gate to her backyard. A bonus to be sure, as I was going to do that anyway.
    I turned the welder to its highest setting, and it was crackling nicely, until the breaker tripped. Darn, that explains why did such a poor weld last time. I turned it to setting 3 and continued to weld. About ever 10 -20 seconds I had to get up in the dark and reset the breaker, but I managed to finish it. I might see about upping the breaker limit in the future, but I'm not sure right now. I removed the damaged wheel, and then changed over the tube and tire. After putting the new wheel on, I ratcheted the wheel on, and began to figure out how to return the trailer and the trike. I was too lazy and cold to want to take the trailer back, then return for the trike in a seperate trip. So I managed to set the trike on the trailer. It kept wanting to slip off, so I put a cooler under the front. This was adequate. Once I took the trailer back to Raf's I rode home.
    I did a couple of skid stops, but the trike is nearly impossible to "spin out." Actually, you can't really skid rotate the whole thing more than a few degrees, and thats if you work at it. For one thing, the pivot rather prevents a skidding rear from getting the front to rotate. The trike leaves a trail of three lines running down the road, and if you skid the rear, you get it to fishtail so there is a squiggly line between two straight lines.
    Of course, you can steer the trike pretty well even with the rear wheel locked up in the snow. I found this out when I locked the rear up and then tried to turn into a driveway. It worked pretty nicely, except I ran over somone's newspaper, so there is a line running up over the paper. I'm sure the people thought somebody did it on purpose if they saw the lines before more snow fell.

BikeLoad1Bike Load 2Bad Weld


Photo 1 and 2 shows how the trike was loaded on the trailer. Sorry about it being blurry. 3 shows a close up of the boom. Yep, its a pretty bad weld. 


February 13
The Accident

    Today I took the trike to campus. I figured it would be a good use for a fun vehicle. During my lunch break, I decided to take the trike to a store. I left campus, and then entered the bike trail, which was on a descending right hand turn into a tunnel. It was partially blind. I decided to take it quickly, so as to have some fun, er, test the trike a bit. However, two things occured that ruined my plan, and my trike.
    The first was a woman coming out of the tunnel. This eliminated half the bike trail, and would require a sharper turn than I had anticipated. The second problem was that the bike had accelerated rapidly, and was now going much faster than I had originally anticipated.
    To avoid the woman, and her dog, I had to tighten the turn. The inside (right) wheel came  and the trike was in danger of tipping. I brought the wheels straight to allow the right wheel to come back down. Then I started to turn right again, as I was pointing directly at the woman now. For some reason, I forgot about the new coaster brake, and don't think I activated it. It probably would have saved my trike, but after the wheel came up, I think I panicked.
    The right wheel again came up, but suddenly, I heard a loud snap and felt the rear triangle start to lean left. I somehow managed to avoid the woman while this was happening, but the trike was heading for the wall of the tunnel, and I realized my sitatution was getting very bad. I decided it was time abandon ship.
    And not a moment too soon it was, as the trike slammed into the wall with a deafening crash. The mangled rear triangle was now leaning 80 degrees off vertical. I tugged at it and it came right off. I was happy to see that there was no damage to the wall, proably due to the overhanging wooden floor of the cargo space.  The woman never seemed to realize just how close I was to loosing control and running her over. Well, I think I had lost most control, but retained just enough of it at a critical moment to avoid her. The left wheel was also damaged in the incident.

    What did I learn? First, slow down with this thing in blind corners. Second, I need to practice with the rear brake a bit to gain experience. Finally, crashing a trike into concrete wall is friggin' hysterical. I wish it had been video taped. I also need to carry a camera with me from now on, especially when on a bike, so I can take pictures of the wrecks as they come to rest. I'll have to add a full complement of photos and diagrams to fully explain what happened to curious onlookers.

Bikeway1Bikeway2Bikeway3Bikeway4Bikeway5WreckageBent Wheel

                       PHOTO 1                          2                           3                              4                             5                                6                       7

Left to right: Entrance to bike path, and pictures 1-3 show lack of view of tunnel until you are already in the turn (4 &5) Photo  6 shows how the bike is "self towing." Photo 7 is a close up of the bent wheel.


February 12

    Well, the wheel came on last Thursday, and I put the thorn resistant tube, the tire, and installed the 22T cog. Today, I decided to take advantage of the really nice weather and put the rear wheel on. I however ran into two problems: my chain tool was elsewhere, and so where my allen wrenches. The old derailer was in the way, and the chain was much too long. After grabbing my regular bike, I made a quick stop at the Harbor Frieght tools and got 25 allen wrenches in both metric and SAE for just $2.50. I'm sure I'll end up breaking the smaller ones, but then again, maybe I won't. Either way, the one I needed was of addequate strength to remove the old derailer, and the shifter. I continued on to get the needed chain tool. I might order the shifter as well from Performance Bike. However, thats only if they can guarantee it in on Tuesday.

    I returned home, and shortened the chain. However, due to the limited adjustment range of the drop outs, I found that there wasn't enough space for the master link. Its now on the largest front ring, as I do not have the shifter, and thus, the bike is locked in low gear.

Gearing info.
NOTE: all numbers are approximate and rounded to the nearest whole number.Speeds are calculated at 60 revolutions a minute, though I tend to pedal closer to 70 rpms.

    Currently set up. 44T front ring, 22T rear ring, Nexus 3 speed internal set in low gear (no shifter right now) Gear inches: 38  Speed: 7mph
Result: Overall, a great gear for right now. If you only had one speed, then this would be it I'd say. Its pretty slow, but I think you could still handle a load on a level surface, and even some moderate hills. However, since I have an internal hub, I'll not be using the 44T when I get the shifter in. If you want to use a coaster brake hub, but don't want to spend the money on an internal hub, go with a 32T front ring and a 22T rear cog. This is equivalent to what I have right now. Of course, you can always get a smaller rear cog to speed it up, at the expense of ease of pedaling. Still, once I get the hub shifting, I'll probably want to use the 32T ring, as it will give me 28-51 gear inches, and a relaxed speed of 5-9mph. Probalby closer to ten mph though for me, and thats not too bad I'd say. About the speed of your average college student I think. I might also find that a 20T rear sprocket works well, as that would boost the top end by at least 1 mph, and might probably won't affect the pulling power that much. The 22T front sprocket might be good if you have to go up a huge grade, but I think one might find that excessive for normal use, and painfully slow.

    To finish my test ride, I went through the drive through of Wendy's. Mcdee's doesn't serve bikes, at least last time I was there, and I was surprised that Wendy's would serve me. I might try Mcdee's again to see if they will serve my trike.


Low Gear

Mid Gear

High Gear

38 gear inches 7mph @ 60rpms

52 gear inches 9mph @ 60rpms

71 gear inches 13mph @ 60rpms


Low Gear

Mid Gear

High Gear

28 gear inches 5mph @ 60rpms

39 gear inches 7mph @ 60rpms

51 gear inches 9mph @ 60rpms


Low Gear

Mid Gear

High Gear

19 gear inches 3mph @ 60rpms

26 gear inches 5mph @ 60rpms

35 gear inches 6mph @ 60rpms

February 7

Can I find glitches or what? I called the guy about the wheel to see if I came in or not, and guess what! The distributor sent the wrong wheel. Sent a coaster brake wheel, not the 3 speed with coaster brake. Seems I can root out incompetence wherever I go. The proper wheel (can it be sent?) won't likely get here until Thursday. Of course, the shifter probably won't get here until Wednesday, so its not that much of a delay.  The principle of the situation is still annoying though.

February 6

Got the wheel ordered and its on its way. The wheel cost me $96. I then picked up a chain ($7) a 26 inch wheel ($19) and a thorn resistant tube ($6). The shifter seems to be a part that nobody has, otherwise I would have gotten one of those locally. Its on order, and to top it off, the bike shop assumed I wanted the grip shifter, but I needed the trigger shifter. So no matter when it comes in, its a part that I can't use. On the other hand, the correct shifter should be ordered on Tuesday, and it might get here on Wednesday. However, I'm worried that the part may not come in on Wednesday. The question is whether or not I can run the bike without the shifter for a bit.  We'll have to see.


February 2   

Just got word that my wheel is on back order. Not a whole lot I can do right now. Maybe next week the wheel will get here.

January 31        

  OK, so my friend wanted to build a rickshaw and this will mean that Fort Collins will now have a second large, hard to store vehicle. I feel that my cargo trike can easily be outfitted to carry a person or two. I figure the best thing to do is to get it working. The real question is,  how will it work out? I decided to go with a Shimano Nexus 3 speed internal with a coaster brake. Picture this, you are riding a vehicle with a combined weight of about 320 something lbs. No cargo, unless you really want some fun. You lock up the rear brake. Yeah baby, that might be fun. I'll probably end up replacing rear tires  pretty often. I figure I'll remove the troublesome front shifter, and find the best gearing  set up to work with the 3 speed. I ran the gear ratios through the Sheldon Brown gear calculator, and found the speeds to run from about 6-over 10 mph. I also figured that my usual pedal speed is about 70-80 rpms, so  we'll see how that goes.

To recap now: The front brakes are relatively poor, but hopefully with the wonderful rear brake, I can much more easily stop without putting massive amounts of work into the front brakes. The bike makes clicking sounds when I try to lean it. Not sure why, but I suspect the pivot shaft. its too short. My options are either try not to think about it, or get a longer shaft. The trike is over built. The front frame could probably be rebuilt to shave off over 20-30 lbs. It's still not finished, and will only get heavier. The go part of the bike should be fixed up nicely with the 3 speed, and the shifter should function nicely. My gearing set up will hopefully be such that 2 is general purpose light to moderate loads, 1 is hills with light loads, or flat with moderate to heavy loads, and 3 is down hill or flat with light loads or empty. Stay tuned, we'll see how it goes. The wheel should be hear Friday maybe, and it might be workable on Saturday. Or Sunday.

January 24

There hasn't been a whole lot done, but there have been some new ideas, and new developments. First, I figured on just adding a second brake to each front brake. This might add twice the stopping power.  Secondly, the rear wheel was jacked. So its kinda having some problems. Thats all for now.

October 9

Lately I have been just testing it a bit. The shaft can flex, but this is mainly just an annoyance. I was planning on getting drum brakes, but that will cost me about $200, and I just discovered
Carrara, a 3D program, so there is no hurry on the drum brakes right now.

     I got a flat tire on the front, and rear, and I'm not sure if they are just bad patching jobs. I can't patch a tire to save my life. I got thorn resistant tubes, and replaced the right tube. I needed to buy one for the rear, and will replace the left tube at a later time.

 September 26

I added a bead to the shaft to prevent it from allowing the box and boom to separate.  Road it around a good bit. Installed the front derailler, but did not install the handle bars. Perhaps that will take place on Wednesday. Photos will come later, as I'm having problems logging into bravenet.

September  25

Here is what I wrote in a live journal entry about the overhaul. Total spent was something like $60 bucks, and it took me one Sunday, mainly because Saturday was the Tour de Fat.


Backfiets, Overhaulin' the results
Well, I managed to carry out the planned modifications. To start with, I replaced the "boom" with a 2.5 inch pipe. It is massive and quite heavy. However, in the grand scheme of things, adding 15 lbs to a 80 lbs bike or somehing like that isn't very noticable. And when you factor in the fact that I plan to carry several hundred lbs, it isn't that much.The pivot consists of two pillow blocks bolted to a 1/2 inch thick (probably could have gone with 1/4 inch thick) plate which is then welded to the boom. The box has a shaft welded to it that then slides into pivot assembly. Right off the bat, the boom dropped away from the box, as I hadn't properly affixed the shaft into the bearing asseblies. I plan to figure out a way to really get it to stay. I might even add a weld or two. I can always unbolt the bearing asseblies from the plate if I ever need to detach the box. It will be much more secure.

How does it ride? There is ZERO play due to the bearing assebly. I had some with the one piece bottom backet used before. The box also is connected with thicker metal. I can stand on the rear of the box (191 lbs) without the box flexing much. Perhaps an inch, but there is some 2 inches of clearance between the boom and the box. To find out why I did not try to stand on the front of the box, read below.

The major problem with the previous version of the trike was "boom rotational flex" where the rear triangle could lean left or right. This was a minor annoyance when going straight and pedalling. However, it seemed to be a major problem when turning. For one thing, the rider was slung to the outside of the turn, and the rear triangle leaned over too. This made the bike want to turn harder, though it wasn't very noticable. The big thing was that the handling felt weirder and unpredictable. The other thing was that it made the inside wheel lift up much more easily as more weight was to the outside of the turn. With the thicker boom in place, the trike is much more stable. I haven't done too many hard test turns due to time contraints and it being dark, but moderate S turns and even some fairly hard turns were done with very little tendencey to have the inside wheel lift up. Due to some worries about the box and boom seperating again, I wasn't too hard on the trike, figureing on waiting until I can make sure that there will be no chance of it comeing apart.

On a side note, if you put 191 lbs on the front of the box with no rider, the rear will lift up. The rear of the bike will swing to the side and will slam against the stop. So apparently, some care in loading is needed as if you try to put a really heavy object to the front of the cart, you might have problems. In this case, I was just sitting on the front at the beginning of the overhaul while actually working on a trailer.

So in summary, to anyone who wishes to build a backfietsen.
1) Make the pivot super strong, and make sure that there is no play in the pivot, a one piece BB is not recommended; a three peice might work though.
2) Make the box to pivot connections stiff, so that there is no box flex, or very little.
3) Make the boom really stiff to prevent the rear triangle from leaning over.

Photos and more information will be coming, pending a few days of testing.
Planned for Monday:
Install a new handle bar set up.
Install front derailler.

Build a wooden box
Purchase a nine speed chain (current one is part 9 speed, and part 7/8 speed, and thus, it doesn't work on the smaller cogs)
Add thorn Resistant tubes to all tires.
Redo brake cable set up.
Add oversized materials brackets (more info on this idea at a later date.
Install trailer hitch (hey, you never know when a trailer might be needed to be pulled)

Finally, Paint frame, perhaps black
Stain wooden box, something nice looking.

And lastly
Enjoy the constant stream of positive comments that I have been getting while riding this thing. People seem to like it more than my tall bike.

September 20

This is kinda by memory, but here goes. I road the trike down to the metal supply section of town. After a few miles, I had gathered materials needed to make a trailer. I was heading up to the building location. At some point, the bottom bracket making up the pivot went out. I noted a lot more play, and the flex was really bad. I grounded the trike pending repairs.

This is what I wrote about the occurence in a live journal post:
Flex was just awful with the Bakfietsen. The whole rear triangle would roll several degrees one way or the other. Finally today the bottom bracket I was using for the pivot went out. This was just 3 days after I started using it. But I did find something more suitable I think. It is called a pillow block. A picture of what they are can be found here The one draw back is that they are expensive. The ones I am looking at will run me about 28 bucks for a pair. To cut the flex, I plan to use a much bigger tube with thicker walls for the problematic flexible tube. This will be a 2.5 inch steel tube. Again, it is pretty costly. But I don't want this thing coming apart on me later.

Basically, I wouldn't suggest that you use bottom brackets or steer tubes for your pivot. Build it last with trouble free operation and look into other solutions for pivots.
This is the plan. The cost will be about 50 bucks, which is more than I have spent on the thing so far. I expect it to take me one Saturday.

September 18

The crank nut is stripped, so I welded it down to keep it tight. If the pivot needs to be serviced, I will just saw it all off and put a new bottom bracket. I think a three peice would be a better bracket    to use. There is still a bit of movement due to the bottom bracket though.

After  riding it a bit, I have this to say about it.
The pivot is really annoying me, and there is a ton of flext with the rear. That is my one complaint about mild steel. The seat and rear triangle thus can lean left and right. I would like to be able to cut this out, but right now I am not sure how best to do that. Perhaps weld more metal to the boom.

I tightedn the pivot down today, and the tool slipped. I skinned off a bunch of skin. That's gonna leave a mark.

In general, the handling is very good. In turns, the entire triangle leans over, curtesy of the boom. This is a bit  odd to get used to. The trike wants to lift the inside wheel in sharp turns. The steering effort seems to be minimal, and the bike must be steered at all times. If the rear triangle leans over, the bike wants to turn. So you are fighting the steering a bit most of the time. However, the trike is    so easy to turn the front end, this isn't a problem.

Braking is very good, with the dual side pull brakes. However, with the before mentioned handle placement, using both brakes at the same time can be a challenge in turns. The inside brake shouldn't be used, as the inside wheel unloads during turns. Thus the outside brake should be used, but it is hard to reach. If you use the inside brake, the wheel can skid if it comes off the ground. Its not a big deal, but a sudden unexpected stop is like this. One brake is grabbed, causing the trike front end to swing towards the active brake. This turns the trike, unloading the wheel. It lifts or skids. The operator tries to stop the turn and the braked wheel comes back down. The sudden contact catches the opeator by surprise again and a turn is initiated. And so on until the speed drops. I need to put both brakes closer together and make them easier to use.

September 17

I  didn't do much up to this point as I ran out of cash. I got some more, and began to make some headway.  To start with, I added some more metal to the pivot area. This helped cut out a lot of the flex in that area.

I added brakes. They are two side pull brakes off of the rear wheels of bikes. I welded some metal, I think it was 3/16 to bolt the brakes on. This works pretty well. I think the brakes need a bit of attention, but they are very effective for now. I had to buy the cable. It cost me a ton of money, and I will need to redo them. I'm going to have to go to some place to find cheaper brake cables.

The crooked wheel was sawed off and rewelded. It is straight now.

I added two of the four corners to the box. I was stumped as to what to use for the handlebars. I didn't really have a lot of money, and more to the point, the metal store was closed. I decided to saw apart the forks I made for a chopper and use that. I think it is 1.25 or 1.5 inch conduit. I welded the brake handles to that. Later riding would let me know I needed a cross bar.  I plan on ripping the tube of, getting some .25 or thicker flat steel for the sides, and then using a wooden dowel. I can add brake handles to this, stain it later, and it will be very nice and pretty.

Finally, I worked on the deraillers. The front can not be installed right now. I need a shim. The rear is on, though it took me a couple of times to adjust it. Later I got a new derailler cable. I had one laying around. 

Future plans. I hope to get new handle bars as described, deal with the front derailer, get a new chain, and then work on building the box. Perhaps in that order, perhaps not. After I am satisfied enought so that I can expect the cart to last a few months or so without it falling apart, I will pull out the grinder and clean up the welds, and joints. The paint will be black, and the wood will be stained a nicecolor. Something dark I think.

Karen rides the trike. Note the widely spaced handle bars. This is not really comfortable. It will be taken care of at a later date.

The brake handles are just welded on. They are hard to reach. Again, this wil be fixed. The handle bars are the most likely thing to get fixed during the next round of additions.

If you work at it, you can ride it on 2 wheels, though I hear this isn't good for the wheels. Its crazy looking though.

During sharp turns, the outside bar is hard to reach. Thus, you grab only the inside bar. However,    the outside brake handle (the left in this case) is unreachable. The brake handles will be moved closer to the center at a later date, I also plan to make them operable with either the left or right hand, or independantly by positioning them close to one another. Using one lever to control both brakes is an option, but I think it is important to be able to control both brakes independtly.

A bit blurry, but it shows the brakes and bars. The duct tape is used to control the brake cables, and does not serve any structural purpose. In the past I might have ductaped the thing together, but I welded everything for this car.

Stay tuned for a performance and handling report.

September 13

Today not a whole lot was done. I chopped apart a piece of bed frame. I used part of this for the rear triangle support brace. The other pieces will be used to build the box. However, I will hold off welding those on until  I finsih the bottom of the trike, as I don't want to have to worry about bending or ripping off something if I flip it over.  I cut up a base for the trike. I also discovered that the plywood I used for the base had enough left over to form one side. I also cut off the right wheel, and rewelded it, however, it was still crooked. I added the front derailler, rear derailer, chain, and front ring set. The chain needs to be shortened a bit. I might have Raf do that, as I want it to be perfect.

On Friday or Saturday: I will purchase the rest of the metal needed, a drill bit, and possible the rest of the wood I need. I will reweld the wheel on, put the tire on, install brakes, add a rear control mount, and build the box I think. I will put the brake handles on the front handle bars, but I will likely end up with the gear shifters on the rear triangle somewhere. To put them on the box would need a huge cable run, and have a lot of loose cable there.

September 11

Here's the plan for the next week or so. Right now, I'm pretty much out of money for the week. I needed to buy more mig wire and that stuff is expensive ($65 a roll). So far, I have probably used 3/4 a pound on the project. Basically, every pound is $6.50 or so. I wil start budgeting for that now one.

None the less,here goes.
Monday, I will try to collect a 20 inch tube and tire for the bike, and two side pull brakes. I will also sort through my own stash for a seat post.
Tuesday, I hope to cut up the bed frame, weld part of it to strengthen the rear triangle joint, saw up the plywood for a base, and install things like pedals , chain, and othe bike items. I will also try to turn a little girls bike into a fixed gear. Probably organize my toolsl.
On Thursday, I will probably make some extra cash. On Friday, I will buy some wood, steel, and perhaps do some welding. On Saturday, I will finish the cart if it is not done, and begin riding it. On monday, I might take it to Rafael's and work on some of the bearings.

September 10

Today I made huge headway on the the trike. I discovered that my earlier plan was flawed. I thus started over. By and by, I came to change plans again. The result is temporarily acceptable, but it has too much flex so I will have to adjust a few items. It looks like I will need about $10 more to finish the frame. I have enough metal to build the framwork for the box. I also have a bottom for it. However, I do not have sides yet.  I also have to break a drop out and move it, as one of the wheels is slightly off.

Major items that I still need are: Tire and tube for one of the front wheels; handle bar; brakes and brake mounts for front wheels; new crank for something like a BMX, or I might just use a mountain bike set and use the smallest ring. Maybe I will even add a front shifter. Rear shfiter and cable. Somehwere to mount said cable and shifter. 

Of course, all of this must be  set up. I will probably not do much until Tuesday. Monday I will pick up a few things from Raf, and tuesday I can probably pick up the needed metal. Once the bike is ridable, I shall take it to Rafeal's and redo the pivot bearings I think. Or maybe not. Either way, I wil begin to put  it through it's paces soon.

September 7

Today was not a free day so nothing was done anyway. I did however find a more suitable frame to use. I wanted to find a bike that would take a 26 inch MTB tire, as I have one with 9 cogs on it. I found one and took it. I also got word that my welder will be here Friday. Until then, I will just stop work and wait for it to come. My current welder seems to be failing me. It was a cheap one anyway. I don't expect much to happen Thursday. I think I will move the newer MTB frame over to the building site, but that's about it.

September 6

Work started. Most of the day was spent gathering  materials. To start with, I grabbed the road bike I picked up yesterday  and then headed down the the metal store. There I learned that the price of the metal I wanted was 1.50 a foot. I got one 24 foot long peice, cut it at 119 inches, and also picked up some 1/4 inch flat plate. Later I got my recumbent figuring I could reuse as much metal as possible.

I cut and mitered the axel, and welded it onto a one peice hub, which has the pedals cut off. This will be the pivot. I purposely cut the axel peices a bit too long. Once I had welded it on, I measured and found that I was 1.5 inches too long. I cut .75 inches off each side and it is now 36 inches. This will be the width of the cart. I cut a few other peices and then left for the day. Actual time spent working and not moving stuff around was probably 2 hours. I've spent 40 something on materials, plus some more on cutting discs, an extension cord, a carpenter's angle, and a face mask. Last time I was using my grinder I got something in my eye; I'm trying to avoid that this time.

Cutting the tubing at the supplier.                  So far, only the axel has been completed.

September 5

Today I found a source for my 3 peice bottom bracket I need. I also found a bike to get a rear triangle from. I wanted a complete mountain bike, but instead I will be making due with some old road bike. It has 2 front rings and I am guessing a 5 speed rear derailuer. I found a rear wheel with 5 speeds on it. In the future, I think I will replace the front rings with something more suitable for a cargo bike.  I checked the old recumbent and found the longest peice of usable metal to be 36 inches long. I don't think it will be terribly helpful, but I will find out soon enough. Tomorrow I will need to fix my trailer and then carry the metal from the supplier to the building site. I might be able to start work soon.

September 4

A building site has been located. Logistics will be a challenge. To start with, the drill press is likley to be required in the building. This is located near Lemay and Elizabeth. I have my recumbent, which will be used for parts of the bike, at the Bike Against Co-op. I also will need parts from two bikes, both of which will come from there. I will also need to carry 4-5 10 foot lengths of steel pipe from Colorado Iron and Metal to the site.

However, I couldn't have asked for a better place to build it. There is a garage to store the work in progress, and also to work out of the elements. Right now, I could start work in a few days, but that is iffy, as I have much reading to catch up on. I suppose tomorrow I will try to gather the parts I need from Rafael first. Then on Tuesday, I can gather the metal perhaps. I might start work, but that is still not for sure.

I also have an alternative design for the axel pivot. The original design called for many lengths of tubing to be used. Some 60 inches of tubing to be exact. The BB shell was to be attached to the boom, and the cank bolt was to be attached to the axel. The new design calls for the BB sheel to be attached to the axel, 1/4 inch steel plate to be used as reinforcement, and the crank bolt to be attached to the boom using more 1/4 inch steel plate.  Not sure how much steel plate I will need, but It might be a good bit. Its also not cheap. On the other hand, it will be a simpler process, and perhaps stronger.

September 3rd

Right now, I have just begun preliminary design work. Here are two images of the prototypical design.


Towards the end of the 05 spring semester, I damaged my first bike trailer, a $25 Radio Flyer. While it was a nice little unit, it had several problems. The first was it was incredibly noisy. Having solid rubber wheels, it really made a racket. The second was it had poor traction when lightly loaded or empty. Taking a sharp turn, it was not uncommon for the little wagon to skid to the outside of the turn. This probably was really hard on the wheels. Another problem was it was really small. However, it could fit through doors and stuff, and I had even been known to take it into stores, load it up, hook it to my bike, ride home, unhook it, and wheel it to my residence.  Once I broke a front wheel, I gave it to a lady to use in a wedding, though she never talked to me again, so I don't now how it worked out.

My second trailer was built from plans I found on the internet. To make up for the small size of the Radio Flyer, I built a trailer that had a bed 6 feet long, and 2 feet wide. With the tounge and wheel wells, it was over 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. This obviously did not go anywhere indoors. For its huge size, I ran into numerous problems. To start with, I had never used a conduit bender before, and the wheel wells were too wide. An extra bar fixed this problem. The entire thing was to have numerous measuring errors as well. most of these could be taken care of. The worst problem was that I didn't take the time to properly miter each joint. Thus, the welds have been prone to failure. The site said a cart would take about 15 hours for the first one. I however took about 6 hours on mine, which is less than the site claimed an experienced builder would take. The lack of time really shows.

However, it could handle over 165 lbs in motion, and I could stand in it, so I know for a fact that the trailer is capable of carrying 165-200 lbs, and perhaps more. It has carried 9 foot long bikes and many other things. But with it breaking nearly everytime I use it, repairs are getting to be a major hassel.

My next design might be a tricycle. My plan is to cargo carrying bike that is well built, more practicle and easy to use, and expandble. The Bakfiets seems to fit the bill. Or maybe not. They cost thousands of dollars to buy. I hope to build one for less. Mine will be build using square tubing, which will be easy to weld than the round tubing in my other trailer. This will in turn lead to better welds, and a  longer life.  Repairing welds really sucks. It will be much easier to use. For one thing, this will have wheel gaurds, a feature my trailer does not. I could add them to the trailer, but it just isn't well suited to have this done at the present time. A cargo box will allow me to throw in nearly any loose item, and not have to worry about securing it. I can see my load at all times, and thus, should something fall out, I can see it doing so, and pick it up. Finally, this bike should be able to carry large items, and as the frame is suitable to adding many differnt types of "cargo management systems," I can in turn handle many types of cargo. The expected negatives I will encounter with this bike are a few. For one, it will likely be heavy. It might also be hard to store this at times. Unlike a trailer, which I could unhook and leave at many places, this the cargo management system of this trike is one that can not be detached, and thus, empty of full, the weight will be substantial.