As part of the Leeds Uni Green Fund Green Action received a very generous grant to get tools and equipment for the student run allotments. Included in the bid was a bicycle trailer that we wanted to build ourselves. 8 people took part 4 current Green Actioner´s, 1 researcher, one Ph.D. student from Sheffield and a photographer from London. Our guide for the day was Ben Milner a Leeds bike mechanic come environmental activist and ex Green Action coordinator!
Our requirements were that it was large enough and strong enough to move useful materials to the allotment such as recycled doors and timber )for the upcoming shed project!), compost and tools. We needed it to be transferable between bikes and easy to store, the plan eventually is to keep it on the allotment =in the shed). Ben has a selection of bike trailers of his own which we have borrowed in the past and admired so we put our heads together created a plan.
We used Aluminium salvaged from the tip to make the frame, wheels reused from abandoned kids bikes, steal tube for the arm that attaches to the bike and stainless steel for the hitch between bike and trailer. The shape and size was deigned to hold 3 or even 6 supermarket crates, reclaimed from the streets
We used lots of exciting tools including a circular pipe bender, a circular power saw and angel grinders. Needless to say the day was full of action learning. We used tools we had never used before and took part in a transformation of elements into a functional system. There were a lot of creativity used as we tackled the challenges of creating a bespoke product a huge thanks to Woody for all his hard work and support with this!
The climax of the project was creating the hitch which needs to allow motion in every direction to facilitate the bike directing the trailer. There are commercial products on the market but they come in at a hefty price and Ben likes to rise to the DIY challenge. From 20cm of stainless steel box section )very hard wearing and valuable metal) we cut, filled and drilled a hitch more durable than those on the market and graceful in its movement. This truly took the day above and beyond our expectations as we worked into the night! We eventually took the trailer on its maiden voyage at 1am, 15 hours after we started!
Ben was our guide for the day and he truly delivered a master class. He is inspirationally resourceful, putting this to use with incredibly diverse skills combined with patience and generosity unparalleled in Leeds. Check out his new project http://leedsbikemill.org/ and a massive thanks to Pedelars Arms for letting use your space http://pedallers-arms.org/ for more information and activities that Green Action is involved with visit http://greenactionleeds.org.uk/ .