Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Haul Big Stuff on Your Bike

One of the bigger, more valid, reasons why a bicycle cannot replace the car is its inability to handle large loads. Sure, you can load up your bike with panniers, or you can get a special, long wheelbase cargo bike, but the former makes your bike handle weird and puts heavy stress on wheels, and the latter requires a special (expensive) bike.  For handling bigger jobs without getting a new bike, you really need a trailer. Burley, known for their excellent kid carriers, is probably the first name in trailers. They offer a couple cargo trailers: one flatbed model based on their kid carrier, and another (the Travoy) that is more upright and suited for tight, urban riding.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, something to really compete with a car or truck’s carrying capacity, you should check out Bikes At Work. The company makes platform trailers that will give your gas-guzzling rig a run for its money.

64ad-side-view 96a-bike-trailer-for-midsize-loads

The length for cargo areas for a Bikes At Work trailer start at 32″ and go to 96.” Cargo widths range from 19.25″ to 27.25″. You can, of course, go longer, wider and higher with your load as the bed is very flexible. Cargo capacity for their smallest unit is an amazing 300 lbs–enough to carry lumber, major appliances and much more. Their larger, heavier duty unit is rated to an even more amazing 600 lbs!

Cargo weight is limited to available horsepower, but if you have a multi-speed bike and don’t live on Lombard St, we imagine that in a low gear the loads are pretty doable for someone of average fitness.

Prices range from $600 to $1025 depending on the size and strength of trailer. We won’t indulge, as we are wont to do, why this is not that much money. Suffice to say, these trailers, without purchasing a new bike, would allow you to haul 90% of the things your car does–all while getting a great workout and cutting your carbon footprint. Okay, it might not be the best thing for carrying stuff cross country or really anything over 15 miles, but for those smaller trips carrying big stuff, Bikes at Work trailers make a lot of sense.

Via Mr Money Mustache

  • Jon

    In the spirit of the sharing economy, these need to be able to be rented in the city.

    • David Friedlander

      wonderful point. this is definitely not something that needs to be individually owned to be enjoyed.

  • George Sears

    I think these are trailers that redefine bike trailers. Clearly, the impediment is going to be any real grades. The grades around here, maybe 5%, do triple the effort to climb, and adding 300 pounds would make it pretty difficult.

    A lot of electric bikes have motors with 500 watts output. I think up to 750 watts is legal in the US (still a bike). That kind of wattage would help a lot. The e-bikes are getting pretty sophisticated, with mid-drives and automatic gearing. A lot of it is wasted for basic transport, but it would be quite helpful for major loads like this.

    I used a bike calculator to get some rough numbers. If you figure a 450 load, rider and cargo, going up a 5% grade with 100 watts of effort would be at a speed of 2 mph. That’s a normal, flat, effort. Adding 500 watts of motor power would get you close to 10mph. Just rough, but the motor helps a lot. These kinds of hub motors are cheap, but you need batteries and controllers.

    I don’t think it is going to catch on any time soon, but who knows. It’s nice to see. I’m trying to imagine bringing home a washer with a bike… I think a car coming up from behind would have to respect a biker with a washer?

    • David Friedlander

      thanks for the thorough response. i think the e-assist would make a huge difference, and frankly the folks that’d be attracted to this sorta thing would be a bit above average fitness.

  • Dusty Yevski

    The “Surly” brand, known for their great steel-frame bikes and leading the way on popularizing the fat bikes, also sells their “Bill” (http://surlybikes.com/bikes/bill_trailer) and “Ted” (http://surlybikes.com/bikes/ted_trailer) model cargo trailers. They appear more sturdily built than the Bikes at Work models featured in this write-up (have to admit I have never seen one in person), but also more expensive.

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