Daily Archives: April 21, 2013

Thoughts on a sturdy but cheap cargo trike on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I think I mentioned that I was volunteered to organize replacing using golf carts as mini-pickup trucks with cargo bikes/trikes instead. I have been contemplating on how to do that for things that are too heavy or bulky to throw on the back of Blue. I have also been wondering how to make this doable for people who can’t ride a bike. The answer is a trike made just for hauling of course.

The quickest was to do this would be to add an HP drive unit to an existing cargo trailer, add a 12V headlight and a power source for the rest of the lighting system, and call it good. I was thinking about using this trailer as it has more than enough load capacity to carry what needs to be carried plus a rather large power unit, and the modularity of the construction allows replacing the drive portion when a better design drive unit is built by just unbolting 4 bolts and placing those bolts on the new unit.

Obviously this will have to be a FWD drive unit as there is no way to send power to those tiny wheels. I’m really busy trying to figure out how to add brakes to it much less trying to drive those tiny wheels. Obviously I will have to fabricate something to put a brake caliper on the axle and a disk on the hub, but the design work on that will have to await actually having hands on the trailer to see what I have to work with. For simplicity this will have to be a single-speed drive with fairly low gearing, but that’s OK because there is a blanket 5MPH speed limit on the property. The only vehicle allowed to exceed that is the golf cart ambulance that brings injured or ill people to the medical facility on property, and to the front gate if they need to be transported off property. And even that unit needs to be replaced as it ages out of service. But that aside, this will have to be a very simple and slow unit capable of moving significant loads over a very rough road system, but with only one significant hill/valley area to negotiate to get to the front gate.

So, I’m thinking something on the order of a 20″ front wheel with either direct drive (Unicycle wheel) or basically the same thing with a crank, chain, and coaster brake. Making this a very large adult tricycle with either the seat mounted to the fork and the handlebars mounted to the trailer for making tight turns and reversals, or the seat on the trailer and the handlebars on the fork for higher pulling power for climbing out of that valley I mentioned. I’m thinking at this point that the ability to ride backwards to get out of tight spots is a feature that will be little-used, while the ability to climb away from the Troll Bridge with a heavy load is something that will get frequent use, but I could be wrong. Or it could be that both abilities are vital, so I would need to build more than one trike, a light version for getting in and out of tight locations with a moderate load, and a heavier version to ferry people and supplies to the front gate over the Troll Bridge. After writing that I think the front gate hauler would get more use, especially if it had a seat that would allow it to be used as a pedicab so that people who don’t walk so good (like me?) could get a lift to gate duty for their community service.

Doesn’t this sound like a fun project?

PSA, Opus