Friday, 28 February 2014

Bike Trailer Mark 2

This is the progress of my second prototype trailer, to make it i am using steambent ash laminated together using a Bio-Epoxy resin, the same way that i will be laminating the bike frame. Although this technique has worked well, the frame will have to be re-made to ensure that there are no gaps between the layers so it is both stronger and more aesthitically pleasing.

This is the main frame of the trailer;

To create this curve i have used 4 layers of 5mm ash laminated together. To keep the trailer waterproof, the whole trailer will have several coats of the bio epoxy resin which will also serve to protect the trailer from knocks and scrapes. The cross bar is there to hold the axle in place securely.
This is the arm of the trailer which will be bolted to the side of the frame and attach to the bike axle via the hitch from CarryFreedom.
This curve is in the arm to avoid the back wheel of the bike rubbing against the arm, especially when turning tight corners. Creating this free standing curve (as opposed to the frame where it is attached back to itself anf is therefore self supporting) was difficult because when force is applied to the curve the layers start to come apart. For my second atempt at creating the arm i will but bolts through the curve clamping the layers together and stopping them from coming apart.


CarryFreedom Trailer

To create my mark 2 trailer i have decided to source parts from CarryFreedom who make arguably the best bike trailers around. Although i will create the frame, arm and basket for the trailer, i have sourced the wheels and axle which have a simple quick release mechanism to remove the wheels. I have also sourced their bike hitch which attaches the arm of the trailer to the axle of the bike.

These are the wheels and two halves of the axle i will be using. The axle will be put together by slotting a piece of 2.5mm square tubing inside both halves of the axle and then it will be bolted to the frame of the trailer.


This is the hitch, the red part is made from a strong but flexible plastic to allow for movement between the bike and trailer and the metal part is screwed to the outside of the axle. the trailer can be easily connected and removed using this pin.

These parts have been designed and made after much planning, research and testing and so for me to make these parts, i am not going to be able to achieve this level of quality which is why i have chosen to source them from CarryFreedom

This is an image of the CarryFreedom Y-Frame trailer. To visit the CarryFreedom website, click on this link;

CAD Drawings


These are my most recent CAD drawings of the bike. As i am laminating thin layers to make the bike i have made two different layers that when overlapped create a strong join. This is the first layer;

The finger joints help create a much stronger connection to form each layer. This join is so strong because of the large surface area created between the two surfaces. I plan to use a laser cutter to cut out these layers which will ensure that it all fits together accurately.
This is the second layer;
The triangles on the bars will be cut from the middle 5 of the 11 layers that make up the bike. This means that the tubes of the bike will be partially hollowed out to save on the weight of the overall frame without compromising strength.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Scale Drawings

These are my scale drawings of the bike frame.

This was my first drawing, and although all the lengths are correct there are some aspects of the design that have been changed for practicality of the making process including removing the rounded corners and widening the bars of the frame for strength.

This is my most recent design, but this is likely to change as the designing/ making process goes on.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Bike trailer mark 1

As well as making a wooden bike, i also plan to make a bike trailer. This is my first attempt at a trailer design.

Here are some of my design drawing for my mark 1 trailer;

Although the idea of a folding trailer and pannier rack could work, it was overly complicated for my project and the amount of moving parts weakened the trailer. 

Here are some photos of the mark 1

For the axle and wheels, i used mountain board trucks, but they proved too small and the springs allowing the trucks to turn made the trailer unstable. The idea of the extendable arm worked well but my choice of material was poor, using solid douglas fir meant that the grain weakened the design especially on the pannier rack above.

Because of all these faults i chose to not to fully finish the trailer to give myself more time to start on a new design and i am currently making the mark 2 trailer now using steam bent ash.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


22 Chapel Street 
Brighton, BN2 1RQ

Open Tuesdays 3-7pm
Fridays & Saturdays 11-5pm

01273 693 477
cranksbikes (at) gmail com

Cranks are a DIY bike maintenance workshop in Brighton and is entirely run by volunteers, so the service is free and if you are not confident with bikes one of the volunteers will help you fix it as well as teaching you how.

They also recycle and sell old bikes, but as a non for profit organisation this is just to cover costs of running the workshop.

As well as promoting organisations such as this, it may be possible to team up to gain some expertise in maintenance as well as any other useful information they may be able to offer.

I have put their contact details here to contact or visit Cranks, however to visit their website, click this link;  

Brighton Bike Project

Brighton Bike Project is a community organisation that aims to promote and support cycling in Brighton & Hove.  As qualified cycling instructors we want to get people cycling safely and confidently.
The Brighton Bike Project will be running different projects as well as organizing maintenance and other cycling courses.

This is an ad for She Rides, a social cycling club for women of all ages and abilities trying to build up the confidence of cyclists as well as teaching bike maintenance and road safety.

Although i am primarily trying to promote Sustrans, i also want to promote cycling in general, especially in Brighton and there are many worthy cycling related organisations and businesses that i think should also be mentioned.

To visit the Brighton Bike Project website to see some of the other projects they are doing, click this link;


Sustrans are a leading charity focusing on sustainable transport. They work with communities, policy makers and partner organisations to allow people to choose cheaper, healthier and cleaner journeys.

Their main project is the National Cycle Network, a series of paths spanning 14,000 miles across the UK allowing people to travel in safety and comfort. their aim is that these paths become not only the most sustainable option but also the most convenient and enjoyable one.

I worked as a fundraiser for Sustrans over the summer 2013, and as a keen cyclist i strongly agreed with the work that they do. However taking to people about the charity only a few had heard of the name Sustrans although most were familiar with the NCN (National Cycle Network), and this prompted me to start this project promoting cycling with a specific focus on Sustrans.

To visit the Sustrans website and learn more about the good work they are doing click this link;

Below is a map of all the Sustrans routes, purple representing on road routes (small roads or cycle paths on road) and green representing cycle paths.

Ligneus bikes

Ligneus bikes, otherwise known as Nick started a project to make a laminated wooden bike based closely on Renovo design. This project was especially useful to me because of Nicks relative lack of equipment, experience of making etc making it more similar to my project.

I emailed Nick for some information/ advice on the project, here are some of the most useful points;

 I ride mine all the way through the winter. In fact I sold my other bike so that is my only bike at the moment..... until I build the next one!

I genuinely have little woodworking experience but am an engineer by profession so its kind of my job to understand joints and stresses!

I worked out that I spent around 100-120 hours on it....excluding procrastination time! 

I'd recommend making a very basic jig to make sure you get the drop out spacing correct and make sure the stays are straight. 

I will use some different techniques to Nick, but generally the techniques will be the same, the only difference being the high quality wood he has used. Even so, it is reassuring to know that he made a fully functioning bike with little experience. 

Renovo bikes

Full Image
Renovo Tourer
  • The Renovo Signature Smooth Ride, nothing else comes close. 
  • Lightweight, brute strong.
  • Stiffest and most durable frame of any.
  • Made of hickory, an axe-handle-tough wood easily repaired without special equipment anywhere in the world
Renovo are a Oregon based company that hand craft hardwood bike frames, and are probably the best in the world. 

The Renovo frame is monocoque, composed of two halves bonded together side-to-side along the long axis of the bicycle. Each frame half consists of four pieces, precision jointed with the strongest and most reliable of joints, the finger joint, then bonded with oven-cured, high temperature epoxy.

Renovo Hoodoo Triathlon

Kona qualifier Tim Winestorfer of Vancouver, Washington rode our prototype Hoodoo in the World Triathlon Championship in Kona, Hawaii, October 9th, 2010.

This is impressive for a wooden bike, however my aims are much more modest than this. Renovo have years of experience making and testing their wooden bikes using the finest materials, equipment and technology, whereas for me, my bike will be more of a prototype, using recycled wood, limited testing and very little technology.

Monday, 3 February 2014


In this project I am going to work in partnership with the cycling charity Sustrans and am going to make a series of cycling related objects (including a bike frame) out of recycled wood in order to promote the charity. I plan on using wood throughout the project in situations where it may not be the obvious choice of material to show the versatile qualities it possesses, including strength and flexibility but also sustainability. This will be a key aspect in the project, working with sustainable materials where possible as well as low impact processes. Sustainability will also be a key outcome in the fact that I am making and promoting the most popular form of ‘sustainable transport’ which is what Sustrans stands for.
 As well as there being a strong link to cycling through the relationship with Sustrans, I want the objects themselves to encourage cycling in their own right. Once the bike and series of other objects are finished, I plan to use them to raise support and awareness of Sustrans so it is important that the objects function well together to make a practical series of objects.