How to Carry Major Appliances on your Bike

Right around the same time I bought this new fixer-upper house, I bought a special piece of equipment to help make the project more efficient.

With the new house a five minute walk from the old one, commuting time was not an issue. But with the hundreds of trips carrying tools and materials required for a project like this, I didn’t have the right vehicle.

On foot, although I try my best I am simply not badass enough to drag a table saw and miter saw along with a stack of 2x4s for much distance down the street. My old Burley bike trailer will easily carry a load of cordless tools or a few weeks worth of groceries, but does not have the capacity for real construction work. But my construction van,  a 1999 Honda Odyssey with seats removed and a plywood floor, is overkill for minor daily hauling. This is a luxury construction rocket, a leather-appointed 220 horsepower Rolling Cavern. It is well-suited to carrying thousands of pounds of goods or people on multi-state voyages at 75MPH, but I would be a wasteful car clown if I used it to haul a tool belt and a compressor up and down the small hill in old-town Longmont*.

So with your entertainment in mind, I acquired this extremely large and badass bike trailer from a small Iowa builder called Bikes at Work:


These things are highly configurable due to the modular design. Lengths range from 32 to 96 inches, width is 19 or 27 inches, back wheel can be mounted in various spots to accommodate an overhanging load up to about 15 feet (such as a canoe), and you can even get a Duallie version with two wheels on each side that will roll 600 pounds.

I picked the longest 96A model but skipped the “wide” and “heavy” options since this still provides plenty of space and I figured 300 pounds is plenty of capacity. The empty weight of my 96A is 47 pounds – very trim given its size.

The idea was to test both the trailer and myself over the duration of my fall/winter/spring construction season and see how well we perform together (measured by just how much duty we take away from the big Honda). And I can now say that the results are very positive. A few shots of the trailer in action:


A complete patio set including 4 chairs, a 6-person table, and an umbrella (250 lb)


The kit for my radiant heat system (2000′ of PEX pipe, plus various pumps, tanks and valves)


The old electric range that came with the house, on its way to be donated to the recycled building materials store .

Note that for some of the loads pictured above, I used the trailer in bare form – no load floor. But for strapping down smaller items, you’ll want to cut and mount in a piece of 1/4″ to 3/8″ plywood to create a flat surface more like a pickup truck. Another option is to just get a few 17-gallon Rubbermaid bins with lids – the trailer is designed to hold these perfectly and they barely need to be secured.

What I Like About This Trailer

These Bikes at Work trailers are solidly made and trouble-free. That would make them ideal for the owner of a bike-based business that needs performance without maintenance downtime. There is also some nice Bling in the form of well-finished fenders and a beefy curved aluminum hitch arm.

The trailer shipped with a bountiful set of the best bungie cords I’ve ever used. Plenty to strap down almost everything, although you’ll want some racheting straps if you are carrying really awkward items (like last week, when I brought my gas barbecue up from the old place:)


Plus a few spare propane tanks, added after this picture was taken.

A trailer like this also comes with some unexpected prestige. People tend to smile when they see you riding by, the unfortunate drivers of jacked up F-250 farm trucks stare in envy, and cool people inquire earnestly about the features. In mid-December, I was strapping down a Christmas tree and a bunch of ABS drain pipes in the Home Depot loading area as a crew of bearded carpenter/snowboarders was preparing their own cargo for a work trip to Vail. They strolled over to see the setup.

“Kudos Dude, that is awesome”, was their assessment. And while I had become pretty accustomed to the trailer by this point in my ownership, the comment reminded me that yes, it is pretty awesome to be able to carry large stuff around town without a car or truck.

Things That Could Use Some Improvement

The most glaring problem with Bikes at Work stuff is that it is expensive. At $750, my 96A trailer cost me more than twice as much as my bike. Financially speaking, I’d need to displace at least 1500 miles of van driving before this trailer pays for itself, and this will take me about 5 years given the current rate of use.

On the other hand, a more casual carpenter or homeowner could use a trailer like this to completely replace a pickup truck or SUV, and live with only a small car (or no car at all)  in which case it would pay for itself instantly. When I finally finish building my current house, I may sell my own van and reap the life simplification benefits.

Plus, measuring the benefits of biking in strictly financial terms is a foolish exercise. We are comparing sitting on your ass pushing some power-assisted pedals and levers to pulling some fucking major appliances up a steep hill using the power of your own bulging quadriceps. This is the difference between a slow passive death and a long vigorous life. Obviously, any time you can replace driving with cycling, there is some powerful winning involved.

The other thing that really needs re-engineering is the Bikes at Work hitch connection system. They provide a sturdy welded stainless steel bracket that clamps to your bike frame, but installing and removing it is a fussy and haphazard affair. Let us compare their hitch installation to the excellent one that comes with a Burley brand kid trailer by taking a look at this picture:


Although “several minutes” sounds like a fussy thing to whine about, it is a significant issue for me because I switch between the two trailers (and riding with no trailer) on a daily basis depending on the size of my cargo. Luckily, with the power of Welding, I can create a new hitch for the big trailer that installs quickly. I’ll update this article once I get it built.

A Clever Upgrade

The obvious drawback of a huge cargo trailer is the huge amount of human energy required to pull it any significant distance. This isn’t much of an issue for me, since my building supply stores and the recycling yard are all within 3 miles of my house, and the elevation gain from the lowest point in town to my house is only 100 feet. But for larger cities or those days when I’m in a rush and tempted to drive instead of cycling, an electric bike conversion kit** (or a complete electric bike) would make an ideal companion for a trailer.

A Frugal Do-it-Yourself Alternative

Close inspection of the Bikes at Work trailer reveals that it looks an awful lot like a half of an aluminum extension ladder, with a hitch and axle bolted on. While not completely trivial, a handy person could make a trailer like this by combining an old ladder with some reused and reinforced parts from a Burley trailer. In fact, one reader wrote in to share his own photos of such a project here. Or you could mix various home-sourced parts with components from Ebay or the Bikes at Work parts list. Complete trailers also very occasionally show up on Craigslist, but as a very niche product, this is a rare occurrence.

My hope is that as we move the United States further towards its inevitable future as a Badass Utopiaeveryone will need a good bike and a trailer or two. Pickup truck sales will drop by 95% as they return to farm-only use, and bike trailer prices will drop as the market grows.

Here's the new place in its current state, seen from a guest's vantage point as the summer party season begins.

Here’s the new place in its current state of construction, seen from a guest’s parkside vantage point as the summer party season begins.


* I can only imagine how embarrassed people must be to use one of these Odyssey behemoths to drive 50-pound kids to school, and yet it seems to be the most popular vehicle for this task.

** I’ve been pondering the systems at EBikeKit for inclusion in a follow-up science experiment. I even contacted the company with the hope of getting them to send me one for evaluation purposes so I can share the results with you here. But they never wrote back. If some of us click that link to let them know how interested Mustachians are in learning about electric bikes, it might get their attention and they could send me an email :-)

Update: that did the trick. Company founder Jason Kraft got in touch right after publication to rave about an unprecedented rush in  traffic to his site. Thanks Mustachians! Now we have some great plans in the works for an E-bike experiment in August, when I get back from the upcoming trip to Canada.

  • Little House June 24, 2014, 8:19 am

    That looks like a pretty awesome bike trailer. I haven’t had the need to haul such heavy or large stuff, and I’d probably get run over by an angry driver if I did (I live in Los Angeles – carcentric indeed!), but I might have to investigate these things a little more.

  • Rosewind77 June 24, 2014, 8:59 am

    Inspiring…..I’m just starting on my way to a truly thrifty life. Did’nt think things like this were possible. Thank you.

  • Shawn June 24, 2014, 10:16 am

    MMM – If you decide to undergo the E-bike conversion project I would definitely suggest you go all out and build your own battery pack. You can save yourself a huge portion of their cost by going with the motor-only kit and purchasing your batteries from All-battery.com. I’ve built several hobby projects with their cells and always been pleased. You can build their 13Ah battery pack with relative ease for <$500. It also means you can make it configurable since you may find that you don't need all 13Ah or need even more than the 20Ah they offer.

  • sara June 24, 2014, 11:06 am

    This might be a dumb question, but how do these trailers handle potholes? A person on a bike alone can steer clear of potholes, but I don’t see how you could do that with a giant trailer like this.

  • Parker June 24, 2014, 11:08 am

    This is what I call being a ‘bike-clown’ or using a bike for a few tasks that could easily be accomplished much more efficiently with the car and with little gas, but with the intent of proving a point that it can be done. I’m all for bike transport and errand running and have lived car-free at times, but sometimes you have to say this is a task that is deserving of car transport. Now if you were hauling appliances 2 miles on a daily basis, then it might make sense, but for once-in-a-while use, I don’t quite see the appeal. Not to mention, going downhill on a bike with several hundred pounds pushing you…seems like a potential for a badass wreck! Use the Honda MMM, we don’t want to lose you!

  • Neil June 24, 2014, 11:09 am

    I love Bikes at Work trailers. Given the price, for most casual users, collective ownership is a good option, and where I live, the bike co-op has several (5, I think). If you have a bike co-op in town, you might want to suggest to them that they have a few available to borrow/rent. Although I own a small car, there are occasions when I want to carry larger things, and grabbing a bike trailer to do it is far easier and cheaper than renting a truck.

    As far as hitch design, I’m not sure the alternative you’ve shown would be up to the kind of weight that you might put on a BaW trailer, so it’s hard to compare the two. The cheap/easy replacement of the hose clamps are also a plus when sharing ownership…if someone screws up and breaks something, the whole hitch doesn’t have to be replaced.

  • Andrew Esposito June 24, 2014, 11:12 am

    It would be great for road surfing too.

  • Mark Gershfeld June 24, 2014, 11:13 am

    Hi Pete,
    That’s a fantastic trailer! I have had my eye on these for a while:
    I recently traded my cross bike for a Surly Ogre that can carry way more weight on itself. And it has built in mounts in the frame for their trailers. But I really miss Panda’s old trailer for serious errand running. We recently moved into a house with only a shed, no garage. One it’s organized, I will be looking for a new trailer and try to cram it in there.. All of our essentials are in Basemar and Table Mesa plazas so there’s no reason to fire up a car.

  • former player June 24, 2014, 11:27 am

    The bike trailer is fine. The window configuration on the back of your new house is awesome.

  • Crass Cash June 24, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Jesus you are hardcore! Keep up the posts, I never would have gone to that extreme.

  • Jen June 24, 2014, 9:07 pm

    New favorite phrase, and oh so true :)

    This is the difference between a slow passive death and a long vigorous life.

  • Innkeeper77 June 24, 2014, 9:31 pm

    That is awesome!

    A note on electric bikes: You may find a e-bike kit like you linked does well, or you may find the opposite. Those hub motors are usually set up for lighter loads, and flat terrain. Although not cheap, or set up for your bike, mid drive motors that drive the bike chain, and therefore can use lower or higher gears, should have a much easier time. One example of this is the stokemonkey, at http://www.ebikes.ca

    *My wife and I are considering such a kit and a cargo bike as a car alternative. Even if it isn’t the best financial sense, we believe that the lifestyle improvement would be fantastic, and cheaper than running a car!

    • Ken Wetherell June 25, 2014, 10:42 pm

      Ah! I didn’t see your post before making mine in reply above (sorry… late to this thread). I should have just said, “What Innkeeper77 said!”

      With many 1,000’s of miles on my Stokemonkey + Surly Disc Trucker + Xtracycle, I can say with my hand over my heart that the Stokemonkey is a ‘beautiful system’. You and your wife will not regret it for it’s ability to make a car much less necessary. In the spirit of the Sharing Economy, perhaps you can go in one with some of your neighbors.

  • Scott June 25, 2014, 12:04 am

    Hello, Recently discovered your blog and have been attempting to implement some of the principles to my life. Ironically, I have been debating purchasing an electric conversion kit for my bike and wondered if this would violate the MMM ethos, given the price of these kits and the fact you could use your muscles….
    Nevertheless, as an avid road rider, mountain biker, and commuter for 30 years now, my lower back is beginning to fail me. My justification, then, is if the electric kit will allow me to stay on the bike and not in the car, then the expense should be acceptable….
    Nevertheless, I have been leaning toward the BionX pedal assist system and now that I know you are considering a kit, I am wondering if you have researched this one relative to the one you mention?
    Really enjoy your blog. Apologies if mentioning the BionX is deemed to promotional (I have no association). Please delete me, if so.

    • Chris I June 26, 2014, 2:39 pm

      The BionX system is top of the line when it comes to e-bike conversions. If I had the money for a kit, I would go with that one, personally. I have ridden a Surly Big Dummy built up with a 350W BionX system, and it was fantastic. The power application is seamlessly integrated into your pedaling effort, and it can even utilize regenerative braking on the downhills.

  • Ladia June 25, 2014, 1:11 am

    Man can be suprised considering how big load is capable take by bike. Try also my favourite way of transporting things by bike. Xtracycle. It is smaller than your trailer but practical. It has still one track only so is able to cut through traffic easily and is able to pick up peope also. I ride it with my son to school regularly and with my wife occasionally. Check these examples
    Windsurfing board https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi8IdsO345U
    Two boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK9JQyj7uZQ
    Child trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXBijjNRKO0
    Basic info https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXBijjNRKO0
    Made by http://www.xtracycle.com/
    What I use is basic steel mountain bike with FreeRadicalKit plus WideLoaders, LongLoader and Footsies.

  • win June 25, 2014, 6:10 am

    Have you written an article on what kind of bike to buy?

  • Songbird June 25, 2014, 10:33 am

    I am very intrigued by this concept. During the school year, I am an itinerant music teacher, traveling to three different schools around town. As you can imagine, this sometimes means that I am carrying around a wide variety of instruments, paperwork, and other assorted apparel. What would be an ideal bike configuration for this sort of thing, especially as a fair proportion of this material needs to be in a waterproof carrying environment? If at all possible, I’d like to do at least some bike commuting once the school year starts up again in August.

  • Thiago June 25, 2014, 11:08 am

    The best hitches I’ve seen are the ones by Wike Cycles Trailers (Made In Guelph, ON!). You can see them in this short promotional video (” Connecting your Bicycle Trailer: Quick Release”).


    Because the hitch has this rubber part a lot of trepidation is absorbed, so you get a more comfortable ride. And it’s pretty easy to connect and disconnect.

    I carry the kid to daycare and commute to work everyday on one of those. It cost me $250, used from Kijiji, and I estimate that it saves me around $36 a week only in gas,. So it pays for itself in less than a year, without mentioning the other benefits.

    And BTW, if your quads are burning too much, you are probably doing it wrong ;-). Try to use some glutes!

  • Nicola June 25, 2014, 11:16 am

    Wow, you are so cool! I’d smile at you too if I saw you riding along pulling that – you also have to be quite fit to manage big loads of materials. What will it be like in snow/ice?

  • Bartell June 25, 2014, 2:01 pm

    While I’m not sure about the mustachian-ness of my latest venture, and I am embarrassed about the exorbitant cost of it, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my electric bike. Mine is not just a kit or any normal bike but a pretty fancy contraption called an ELF (Electric Light and Fun) made by Organic Transit http://www.organictransit.com
    I need to be able to get to work (12 miles from home) with a load of stuff (books and lunch and work out clothes etc.), and this does an awesome job for me. I was recently thinking to myself….why would anyone chose a car of this….this is fun, and a car is a waste of time and energy and pollution! Kudos to this blog for convincing me that we need to start thinking of the cost of car ownership. At 6 grand, I know it will take several years for my ELF to pay off in terms of cost, but I’ll take that bet, and my health will improve the whole time too. And the kids think I’m the cool dad – its my version of a sports car!

  • Joe June 25, 2014, 7:22 pm

    I’m not familiar with that ebike conversion kit but will look forward to the review. Have you seen new products like the Copenhagen Wheel https://www.superpedestrian.com/ or FlyKly Smart Wheel http://www.flykly.com/smart-wheel ? They are rear wheels that convert any bike into an ebike, and the battery/motor/everything else are all contained in the wheel – seems like a more elegant solution, though I haven’t tried them. Includes things like regenerative braking, connects to smart phone, etc. It’s not quite the same as a full ebike, it’s more like assisting your pedaling, but hey, muscle over motor, right?

  • Enginer7006 June 25, 2014, 8:14 pm

    I wonder how quickly such a setup would cause metal fatigue in a bike frame? I’ve seen bike frames fail a coujple times in the past on my old roomates bikes, but he was putting 2000-3000 miles a year on his bikes and weighed in the upper 200lb range.

  • Credaholic June 25, 2014, 10:27 pm

    Can I ask what kind of windows you went with at the new house? We’re doing a similar style house right now and debating whether to go with vinyl or splurge on aluminum.

  • Dan June 25, 2014, 11:22 pm

    wow! thats a nifty looking trailer, and a lot more sturdy than I figured it would be. But $750 like others said is pretty pricey, although for you MMM I guess it isnt much $$. I suppose it depends on how much use you’ll get out of it.

    ” I can only imagine how embarrassed people must be to use one of these Odyssey behemoths to drive 50-pound kids to school, and yet it seems to be the most popular vehicle for this task.”
    I had to lol at this. I dont think any of these people are embarrassed at their vehicle choice. I dont think it even crosses their mind that they should be embarrassed. I know it certainly doesnt cross mine when I use my 4 cyl SUV as a daily driver. I only drive around 25,000 km a year, pretty much nothing compared to everyone else i know. Thats $900 a year on gas, not bad at all for an SUV, and certainly better than the 454 cu v8 truck I used to own. I applaud those who follow the full mustachian way of life, but you’ll pry my car from my cold dead hands!

    • Chris I June 27, 2014, 4:26 pm

      You can’t just calculate gas as your vehicle cost. You need to factor in gas, depreciation, wear and tear, maintenance, etc. For a vehicle like you described, you are looking at $0.25 per mile, roughly. If it is newer, depreciation will be higher. Bicycles have very little depreciation, and maintenance is cheap and simple. Operating costs are closer to $0.01 per mile.

  • jestjack June 26, 2014, 5:08 am

    Well….You are the “real deal”…Your bike trailer makes my attempts at frugality in construction and destruction by combining trips and hauling full loads in my Ford Ranger(4 cylinder)…inadequate. As the Home Depot guys said….”Kudos to you! “

  • Ken June 26, 2014, 10:21 am

    This Sh#$t is straight MMM Gangsta!

  • Bill Quigley June 26, 2014, 10:50 pm

    Agree with Jim G: the Burley axle-mounted hitch is the way to go, you will be able to use either trailer without removing hitches.
    Also agree with other posters that Xtracycles are awesome. EVERYBODY should have one. The way to go is the Free Radical kit on as cheap a mountain bike as you want to go. Mine is mounted on an aluminum MTB that sold for $199 at Dick’s Sporting Goods, although the guy who built it up added nice stuff like Surly forks and disc brakes. I routinely carry my 2 kids on the back (100 lbs total), sometimes with both of their bicycles on the racks at the same time, and have carried 100 pounds of topsoil and compost. In terms of bang for the buck to reduce the number of pointless car trips you take, absolutely nothing even comes close.

  • TJF June 27, 2014, 9:58 am

    Like this post. I recently bought a super cargo trike from a company called Wike in Canada. It is essentially the back half of a bike attached to a big box. Designed to carry kids or cargo. They also sell various trailers including a DIY kit that you build your own frame out of 1″ square aluminum tubing.

  • vskid3 June 27, 2014, 3:23 pm

    I’ve been commuting the last couple months on an ebike I put together and its been great. I converted my Giant Revel 3 hardtail mountain bike (that I bought new to use for my commute, only did it a handful of times on leg power) using a 48v 1000w rear hub motor kit from ebay (seller xcceries, yescomusa.com sells the same kit) and a 48v 15Ah LiFePO4 battery from pingbattery.com. Total cost was about $1000, excluding the bike. Top speed is over 30MPH on flat ground, no pedaling, I have it limited to 27MPH and have a range of 25-30 miles at that speed (haven’t ran the battery dry yet). I can do my 5 mile commute on 25-35MPH roads in about the same time as by car and barely break a sweat even when its 100F out.
    I sold my 2000 Honda Insight to fund the conversion. Between gas, insurance, registration, and maintenance, the ebike conversion will pay for itself in about a year. And that’s not even including what I got for selling the car.

  • Cheesepare June 27, 2014, 4:02 pm

    My fellow Subject,

    I guess as a born Canadian, you must have the same Sovereign as an Englishman?

    You and I seem to live in parallel worlds. Mine is sometimes colder and generally wetter but equally beautiful as we live on the coast near the English Lake District. We live frugally but exceptionally well, I am pleased to report. I am renovating our house and I cycle all the time, especially to the local town, along a rather fine esuary. Having largely acquired enough money to secure my needs, I work when I want, rather than when I have to.

    Our local town is largely Victorian – a former industrial centre. The housing was built efficiently for the time, and it occurred to me some time ago that the lifestyle led 150 years ago was reasonably comfortable and done on what today would be regarded as a pittance. Today, although property is expensive, it is attainable by ordinary people, food is at an all time low and opportunities are endless.

    We have all the mustachian tools to hand in the modern western world. Our great grand parents would have been struck by the opportunities we have for self-actualisation which were denied to them. While they might have found an odd half hour for self-improvement after a long day of exhausting work, often we do not see how easy it is to take advantage of the opportunities around us and fritter time away on TV and meaningless, manufactured celebrity “culture”.

    Some time back I made the connection with my bike trailer and my electric bike.

    I will soon be remodeling it with an old ladder to take my canoe down to the water.

    Many thanks for the ideas.

  • Rob June 28, 2014, 4:38 am

    Talking of E-Bike conversions, I have to make a mention of Japan, which definitely ranks as a badass biking utopia. The level of bicycle usage must approach 90+% in and around Tokyo for daily life. Just parking a car costs insane amounts of money. In fact it would be cheaper to hire a car every weekend than just to pay for the parking. For the school run specially designed heavy duty bicycles are commonplace, which can have a kid sat in a seat between the handlebars at the front as well as another on a carrier seat at the back. The same bicycles are also available in an electric version off the shelf! We regularly carry home 20kg+ of shopping on our kid bicycle even without a trailer, and at the station there is a special dual level parking facility for thousands of bicycles. We love it here.

  • Doug June 29, 2014, 9:51 am

    Wow, you’re a world class bad ass mustachian if there ever was! While I do a lot of biking around town rather than driving for many reasons (like $1.39 CDN for a litre of petrol) I still use a car for when I need to haul a lot of stuff around. You got me beat!

  • JC June 29, 2014, 1:17 pm

    “Tricked-out cargo bikes give SUVs a run for their money ”

  • JC June 29, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Do e-bikers lock down drives/batteries for daily public parking?

  • PETER STANLEY BALLERQUEST June 29, 2014, 2:40 pm


    For your next operation, consider commissioning for my EXTRA BIGASS BIKE TRAILER. It is rated 1200lb, overloads up to 2000lb. It can handle 3 pallets plus pallet jack, or 4 appliances, and costs only slightly more than BikesAtWork trailers. Its flush dropdeck allows you to just throw stuff on it without worrying about shooting your load, just like a pickup truck. Using EXTRA BIGASS BIKE TRAILER, you might have accomplished your whole move in one trip. It does not seesaw. Its tongue is waist height, so unhitched handling is painless and easy. It can jacknife both directions up to 150 degrees at trackstanding speeds with shifting passengers.

    Its square-tube steel construction is repairable by any halfwit welder.
    It stands on its tail for compact storage, is useful as a billboard, for parading, and more. Finally, its wheels are 20″ BMX, so there is no need to cry when you break a wheel or bust an axle.

  • Tom June 29, 2014, 8:30 pm

    I’m very tempted to convert the carpentry side of my income to bicycle only. I have no doubt I would get lots of business from well monied people with granola leanings. I’m perched centrally between two well heeled older districts in my town, with a convenient building supply located midway between the two. I think that for smaller jobs a battery powered trim nailer would remove the need for a heavy compressor and a small table saw does everything you might want except cabinet sized panels or other custom cabinet or furniture work. A lot of renovators keep a full inventory of tools in their 20′ trailers, but with bit of planning for the days work, and some storage room, I think it could be easily done on a bike, which is totally badass.

  • Sam June 29, 2014, 10:01 pm

    This is so badass!:-)
    Not to sounds like a car clown or offer a substitute for a totally awesome way to haul stuff, but a lot of people do not know about car trailers – I’m surprised how many people I’ve met that keep a monster truck around for an occasional “big haul”. Harbor Freight (among many other places) sell trailers that cost around $150-300 and can haul about 1200-1400lbs (that’s official rating – pretty sure one can get away with more – I’ve loaded over 2600lbs in a little beater Ranger truck that’s rated for 1250lbs – not proud of, just saying:-) – had to lower tire pressure and spend a lot of time to distribute weight properly) Here’s a picture of one: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachments/f137/31381d1310407227-4×8-h-f-trailer-worth-250-dang-straight-img_0502.jpg. And pretty much any car is rated to tow this much – 1.5l to 2.0L 4 cylinder cars can do it easily. HF trailers fold in half so they can sit in garage not taking much space at all. I’ve hauled concrete bags, 1000lbs bags of sand/gravel, furniture, etc in a small 4 cylinder Impreza like it was nothing. Of course, carrying stuff on bike is a much more rewarding activity, but sometimes it won’t cut it due to the weight/dimensions of cargo.

  • Emily June 30, 2014, 10:32 am

    I’m fairly new to this site and have been getting tons of inspiration to get my financial ducks in a row. I’m very impressed with the biking philosophy and have been encouraged to ride my bike more. I’m not quite willing to commit to riding to work as I tend to be a heavy sweater with any form of exercise so am not too comfortable with going to work all sticky and sweaty. That said, I am riding my bike outside of work for purposes of recreation with my kids, exercise for myself, and just running errands (library, drug store, grocery store, etc.). I just have to say I’m shocked at how just running errands on my bike has been a complete money saver! I last filled up my car on the 8th of this month and I believe I will be able to make it a full 30 days before I fill it up again. Everything I need to get to is withing about 2 miles of my home, so it’s not like I’m driving (or riding) 15 miles to get to the nearest grocery store. I drive a 15 yr old Toyota Camry. Previous to riding my bike I would usually fill it up about every two weeks on payday-I will typically be down to about a quarter of a tank when I do this. I will say my AC went out on my car a couple of months ago and I haven’t bothered to fix it yet-not even sure I will. Not sure if lack of AC this summer is contributing to my fuel effiency. No matter, I’m loving using two wheels rather than four for at least some of our transportation needs!

  • Matthew M June 30, 2014, 12:51 pm

    I have been thinking about this blog entry for a while. What are the reasons for not using a truck to move major appliances? You mentioned that nail guns are a marvel of efficiency and human productivity. Aren’t moving trucks in the same category? I bike myself and understand all the health benefits of biking. So is that the main reason? If so, then why shouldn’t we all use hammers for the health benefits of pounding nails with our own muscles? Maybe it is the initial and recurring costs of operating a truck. Gas or electric trucks have a very high initial cost as well as recurring costs for insurance, registration, fuel, etc. A bike trailer only costs $750 with negligible recurring maintenance costs. A nail gun is pretty cheap and cheap to operate, but much more expensive than a hammer. I don’t get it. Does any of this come into play, or is it just fun (badass?) to haul stuff with a bike and use nail guns so the time is well spent?

  • CargoRider June 30, 2014, 3:21 pm

    I have one of these BAW trailers and while, yes they are very expensive, it is due to their quality and being a small artisan shop, not a costco shop with crap made in China. I use ours to pull bicycle valet gear to the farmers market for folks who bike down.

  • Alexandra July 1, 2014, 10:42 am

    Hi Mr. Money Mustache,

    I have been reading your blog a ton lately and seriously reconsidering my way of life in exchange for living the Mustachian way. I have a self-induced dilemma that maybe you can help me figure out.

    I purchased a 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe last year in June for $22,000. My loan is for 6 years, at 3.750% interest (I’m paying $338 a month). After reading your blog I am coming to the realization that fancy NOW means absolute crap, compared to the ability to be financially independent in a few years. I really want to get rid of this car, buy something cheaper for getting to work during the summer (I live in Phoenix) and bike to work during the rest of the year. However, I am big-time underwater and not sure what I should do about it. I still owe $18,300 on my loan, but the car on Kelly Blue Book is only worth $11,500. What is your recommendation?

    Thank you so much for all your efforts with this blog… it is really an eye-opener.

  • Thomas July 2, 2014, 11:08 am

    This is amazing! I bike to and from work but never considered using my bike to haul stuff around town. BTW, have you seen that Portlandia episode where they start a bicycle moving company? It’s pretty funny.

  • nina July 3, 2014, 4:39 pm

    whew! Just read the blog from start to finish…..I absolutely love it!

  • GreenGirl July 7, 2014, 10:38 am

    Should have pretty a good resale value, so maybe not so expensive as it seems, in the long run.

  • Anna Z. July 8, 2014, 1:53 pm

    A friend of a friend here in Madison, WI recently started a business that offers bike-hauling services! https://www.facebook.com/wheelhauler

  • Todd Nestor July 14, 2014, 2:25 am

    I found instructions online for a trailer that I want to try to build: http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Bicycle-Cargo-Trailer that way I can make it as big or small as I need.

  • Ted August 13, 2014, 11:55 pm

    Great website!!! This was my introduction to MMM and I am really impressed. One thing does feel contradictory, paying $750 for a trailer and thinking $1000 is too much for a bike??? Both seem to be hot topics in the comments. I’m in the boat were you can buy what you can afford, be it bike or trailer. I personally only have one bike “to rule them all”. A mountain bike that takes me everywhere.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 14, 2014, 10:16 am

      Well, to be clear I think $750 is a little crazy for a trailer and $1000 is a very fancy bike. But neither is “too much” if you can afford it, and you use it to its fullest on a regular basis. I currently have my main city bike ($350 or so), a really nice road bike (bought used for $600), and a full suspension mountain bike (bought at 50% off for $900 back in 2004). And we share a cruiser bike, bought for $90 from a friend.

      So, clearly plenty of ridiculousness on my own books as well!

  • Katt February 16, 2015, 11:27 am

    This post leads me to ask… what do you consider prudent if someone is trying to get to less car, but has health problems? I have unstable joints and a decent stack of skeletal issues which make me prone to injury from minor scrapes.

    I go through physical therapy, but setbacks are inevitable from small accidents turning into chronic pain. Where do I go from here?

    • steve April 7, 2016, 5:19 pm

      I would suggest either an electric bike or an electric tricycle. With sufficient battery capacity for your travel needs either would allow you to pedal as much, and as hard, as you wish, while also giving you the option to simply “scooter” from location to location without needing to pedal at those times when your joints are acting up or you are, perhaps, sick or simply tired.

      • steve April 7, 2016, 5:20 pm

        Also, you might want to even consider a recumbent trike (electrified).

  • Markphilips September 1, 2015, 11:52 am

    I was surprised how much the BAW trailer cost now. We bought our 96A back in 2012 for under $500. Since then I have carried a lot on it. To help out people who’d like to try this trailer in the San Diego area, I listed the BAW trailer on Spinlister. Also, some families with cargo bikes rent out on Spinlister anywhere in the USA.

  • Vince September 20, 2015, 7:20 am

    Lol I live in China and I’ve seen three refrigerators being transported on one bicycle.

  • eric November 27, 2016, 8:30 pm

    I made a trailer for my 100 lb. aluminum canoe out of 2x4s, plywood, two old 20″ kids bike wheels and a hitch I got from wicycle (http://www.wicycle.com/index.php/parts-and-support/). It works pretty well and I bet it would hold more than 100 lbs. The whole thing cost me about $40. If you want to save money, DIY.


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