Build your own wheelie bin bicycle trailer

wheelie bin bicycle trailer

We love cargo bikes, but they are expensive and can be tricky to store if you’re short on space so we set ourselves a challenge to boost a conventional bicycle’s carry capacity to 240 litres on a budget of £50 (and make sure it remained easy to store). For reference, the cheapest 20-litre pannier we could find online was £22.50.

With our £50 we bought a new 240-litre wheelie bin for £37, a length of 22 mm copper pipe for £11, a pipe fitting and a handful of nuts and bolts. The only tools required are a hacksaw and a drill. Watch our short film to see how we did it.

The result is a 240-litre bicycle trailer that is cheap to build and easy to store – when you are back home after shopping or the school run, simply park the wheelie bin trailer next to your real bins.

Adding a couple of cushions makes it possible to carry a passenger and there is still space for over 100 litres of storage.

wheelie bin bicycle trailer


Cycle insurance for your bicycle and trailer

Here at the ETA we believe a combination of bicycles, cargo bikes and trailers has the potential to radically transform our towns and cities for the better. If you need insurance for your utility cycling, give our friendly team a call or get an instant quote below.


Our wheelie bin design is by no means the most unusual bicycle trailer idea of recent years. RCA graduate Daniel Durnin built the amphibious vessel as way of taking a sustainable micro break without venturing too far afield. “an escape from the stresses of city life, the Water Bed encourages users to find temporary respite in and reconnect with the city’s existing waterways and wildlife.”

bicycle trailers

The Water Bed is constructed from marine plywood and a lightweight aluminium frame, which supports two bicycle wheels for towing.

bicycle trailer canal boat

 

Comments

  1. Reverend Christopher Hickmott-Arnold

    Reply

    Anything to save our planet is a good idea.

    • The ETA

      Reply

      Thanks Christopher – we try to present environmentally friendly messages in as fun and engaging a way as possible

  2. David Beacham

    Reply

    I would seriously question the safety of that, what with a copper tube for support and flimsy attachment system it would be a death trap for a child!

    • The ETA

      Reply

      The 22 mm copper pipe is more than up to the job of towing the trailer – as is the attachment. During the build, we upgraded the size of cable tie we used and it’s likely we would fit a small castor wheel to provide greater support to the trailer and create a trike configuration. We didn’t build this project to encourage people to transform their bins into trailers but rather to rekindle a culture of ‘make and mend’…some people refer to it these days as ‘upcycling’. It’s a skill most of us have lost, which is unfortunate because it’s environmentally friendlier than unbridled consumerism and fosters self reliance. It also questions the way we treat children – we’ve become so risk averse that many kids are now ferried to school by car – a behaviour that creates the very road danger that parents fear.

    • Neil Woolford

      Reply

      I share the misgivings about the structural use of copper pipe – it is known for work-hardening and becoming brittle..

  3. antvren

    Reply

    Fully laden, the bin hinge looked terribly close to the road surface, likely to damage itself. Would need a higher mount on the seatpost and/or stronger bar: even if the cylindrical pipe was hammered into a vertical oval it would be stiffer in that plane.

    • The ETA

      Reply

      Hi Antvren – thanks for your observations. I think version two would have a small castor wheel to support weight at the front of the trailer – effectively transforming it into a trike

  4. Tony

    Reply

    Crazy! but why not? It just shows what you can do if you turn your mind to it.
    I love your wacky, practical,inventions. keep them coming.

    • The ETA

      Reply

      Thanks, Tony – we’ve have many more projects planned. I think that as a society we’ve lost the ‘make and mend’ approach to things so I hope we inspire people to do more upcycling

  5. Paul Harding

    Reply

    I welcome the excellent work done by the ETA – not least the inspirational make and mend approach shown here – but I too feel there are some engineering concerns to be considered – as above, work hardening of the copper pipe, the number of coupling cycles the push-fit connector is capable of, and the speed rating of the bearings in the bin wheels… All power to you all there, though.

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