BICYCLE CAMPERS

Every once in awhile I find myself looking online at bicycle campers. I don’t know, maybe I have some nomad in me. I ponder over pulling a “small home” behind my trike and living out of it as I travel along in my final days of life on planet earth. In time past I have written about bicycle campers. In fact, I have featured Paul Elkins before including this very camper featured in the video below, but unfortunately the post no longer exists. I only have two posts from the past which are about a bicycle camper. Click HERE to view the first one and HERE to view the second one.

You can buy the complete set of plans of this camper from Paul for $20. Paul has invented and constructed many different things and has videos covering many of them. Click HERE to check out his other mobile shelters.

One of them he calls Conestoga.

Another one he calls Bug Out.

There are factory manufactured campers available to buy. Of course, they cost a lot more than these DIY campers. Unfortunately all of them I have seen are made in Europe. It would cost quite a bit to have one shipped here to the U.S. One of them I really like is the Wide Path which reduces to half it’s expanded size when pulling it. Here it is fully expanded …

And here it is at half size being towed along …

It is almost hard to believe that this is the same trailer unit. One thing that all of these campers lack is a toilet and shower although Paul Elkins did make an outdoor shower on one of his campers.

There have been a few different campers people tried to bring to market but failed in doing so.

Here is one which is a little different … tow, float, sleep …

I would not want to get the wheel hubs submerged when weight is added to the boat.

Foldavan makes a rather simple offering good for sleeping only I would say. Of course, I guess one could simply take shelter inside of it.

Dealing with wind could be interesting. A strong wind or wind gust could cause the trailer and trike to tip over. That could really mess up one’s day. And it could cause considerable damage and possible injury.

Hey, I just found a manufacturer here in the U.S. In fact, they are located in nearby South Bend, Indiana. BikeStream-RV sells their camper for $2395. They have a Facebook page as well.

As you can see it is only big enough to sleep in. The video below does a pretty good job of illustrating it.

There is not much extra room inside most of these but at least they would get you out of foul weather if you had no where else to go.

One last option which may be appealing to some as it is small, light and inexpensive. A bicycle tent camper can be had for $390 on Ebay. It is made in China so I don’t know the quality of it. It has 16 inch wheels which I would not care much for. Maybe 20 inch wheels could be installed in their place, but that would mess up the frame work support legs which sit on the ground with the 16 inch wheels. It sets up and tears down quickly so that is a plus. One can also carry up to 50 pounds of extra gear on it when it is all folded up. I would think having a tarp along to place over it might be a good idea … in case of rain or snow. It shows that it comes with a rain cover. I would still want the extra tarp anyway.

I just ordered one of these tent campers so I will let you know what I think of it.

Update: I received the main frame and tent part of it. I have not received the wheels and tongue yet. It is shipped in two different boxes. Anyway I set up the tent in the living room and crawled inside of it. There is lots of room and lots of ventilation available. I don’t think I would have any trouble sleeping in it. I did have trouble setting it up however. The roof poles were difficult to bow and get into place. I got three of them, but could not get the 4th one into place. I hope that changes with use. It comes with tent stakes and rope which I don’t have a clue what they are for since this sits on it’s own frame up off of the ground. It sure took a lot longer to set up than the video made it look. I wore myself out trying to get the roof poles in place. If I had to go thru that at the end of a day’s ride I would be ready to climb in and go to sleep. Anyway, so far I am fairly impressed. Everything seems to be made pretty well and I am hopeful it holds up. Now if I can just get the second box with the wheels and tongue.

UPDATE:  I received the second box with the trailer’s running gear and assembled it. The running gear is cheaply made and poor quality compared to the tent and its frame. I fully expect it to fail me as I am riding along.  Definitely this trailer with the wheels on it is way too wide to fit thru most bollards. That is going to be a problem. Oh, BTW, this does not come with assembly instructions. Howerver, there is a video available to watch. However, if one is mechanically inclined they probably can figure it out on their own as it is fairly simple. I recommend putting the tongue on before putting the wheel on that side as it will allow you to get a straight run at the screw head. With the wheel on you don’t have a straight run.

 

Here is a homemade tent camper. It is far more elaborate but has some good features. Definitely it is not one which you set up and take down as quickly as the other one.

Well, that’s about it for this topic. Who knows what the future may hold? I may someday own one such camper and be seen pulling it along … at least until I am done for the day and can find someplace to park it to crawl in it. I readily admit that I would be concerned about two things … 1) finding a place where I could park it and use it … and 2) my personal safety. I may want to get a German Shepher or Rottweiller dog for both companionship and helping with my safety.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

RECUMBENT VAGABOND

Meet fellow triker, 67 year old Marty Feely, who rides “Greta”, a Catrike Expedition. He is about to take an epic adventure on his trike riding from the west coast of the U.S. to the east coast. He has a YouTube channel where you can watch his videos. Marty resides in southern Utah.

Marty is delayed in getting started on his journey for good reason. My heart goes out to him as he is dealing with the loss of his friend (his cat). Having watched his video of his “shakedown cruise” where near the end he arrives back home and his cat awaits him and they interact with one another it touched my heart. Then I watched this video …

Sorry, the video has been removed.

I know what it is like losing a much loved pet … having to say goodbye to a best friend. Marty says that there won’t be much in the way of new videos posted during his ride as he plans on riding and not taking time to edit videos to post. He plans on pulling a trailer rather than carry a heavy load on his trike. I wish him well and a safe journey.

According to his planned route at this time he won’t be riding anywhere near me. It would be great for fellow trikers to meet up with him and ride with him for awhile as he journeys along offering him support and encouragement.

If you are interested in helping financially supporting Marty on his trike journey you can do so HERE.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

RIDEKICK TRAILERS ARE COMING BACK

If you don’t want a motor on your trike but would like some help that an electric motor can offer there is an option. It is a trailer you pull behind your trike which has a motor and battery inside of it. It is not “pedal assist” but merely a hand throttle which the rider uses to have the motor operating to push the trike. The trailer can also be used to haul stuff in. It has a locking lid. The trailer has a built-in LED taillight.

This trailer known as Ridekick is not new. It has been around for several years but they stopped production awhile back. Now they are going back into production once again and should make their appearance next Spring the company says.

Three different models are available. They are all the same except the battery size. Their lowest cost model is $799 and comes with a lead acid battery good for only 8 to 10 miles. The middle model sells for $1418 and has a 20aH Lithium battery good for 25 to 30 miles. Their top model comes with a 30aH Lithium battery and sells for $1644.  Even their most powerful battery, a 30 aH, gets poor performance. 35 to 40 miles is a very small number compared to most smaller batteries used with crankdrive and hub motors. My 20aH battery provides about 55 miles of riding and I weigh a whole lot more than the weight of the rider they show for their test purpose. I don’t baby my motor but use it hard much of the time. I am sure if I were to try I could increase my mileage number on up to 70 or more. I also carry a lot of weight on my trike and I ride dealing with hills which they don’t in their testing.

Inside the Ridekick trailer is a rechargable battery that’s used to power the electric motor which provides a push to assist the rider in propelling the trike.

Here is their top model with the 30aH battery:

Ridekick power trailer LR30
$1,644.00

This Ridekick power trailer gives a boost for 35 – 40 miles on a charge. With about 1000 charge cycles, this battery affords the rider about 40,000 miles of support over the life of the battery.

Every Ridekick power trailer system comes complete with trailer, electric motor, controller, throttle and hitch plate, charger and the battery of your choice. It comes ready to assemble (10 minutes), install on your bike/trike (10 minutes) and hit the roads!

Like BionX this company takes advantage of people by charging very high prices for their batteries. The 30 aH battery costs $945. That is 2 to 3 times as much as it should cost. It always saddens me when these companies take advantage of their customers charging such high prices. It is just my opinion but I think this was the demise of BionX. They had a very good product but they charged way too much for it.

HERE is a review of the Ridekick trailer. It provides lots of detail specifications and information which you can read.

Personally I am not a fan of pulling a trailer with any kind of vehicle. I would much rather have everything ON my trike. However, I am sure that there are those who would like this option and will look into it.

There were at least two other entities which attempted to produce a similar product. Neither of them were successful. One was Wheezy which I  wrote an article about on this blog. The other was Brouhaha which I also mention in the same article.

It will be interesting to see how this company fairs in the marketplace.

So if you like the idea of not modifying your trike but instead pulling a trailer and having a “tailwind” behind you this might be an option for you.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DOGS ARE PEOPLE TOO

Yeppur, dogs are people too. At least some of them think so and some of us do too. That’s okay. For sure they are part of the family.

Some of us even look like dogs. Did I really say that? I better restate that … sometimes we have dogs that resemble us. Take a look – – –

(In all fairness as far as I know neither of these national leaders own these dogs they are pictured with. Somebody just made up the images in jest. It is probably true of the images below as well.)

And some not quite as well known …

My point is … let’s see … I knew I had a point when I started this. Oh yeah, we are attached to these critters so it is only natural we want to take them along with us when we go out riding our trikes. Now some people pamper their pets to the extreme and only haul their furry friends in a trailer or basket. That is okay for some of the time, but hey … they need exercise too. So there are options available. Some dogs do better than others when it comes to catching on to what they need to do to walk and run alongside of us or perhaps up in front or even behind us. They learn quickly what is expected of them and what they need to do (or not do) to be safe. Other dogs need help and help is available in the way of devices to attach to our trikes which they in turn are attached to. Using these devices they walk and run safely alongside of us out of harms way. Well, they are unless we run them into something. With extra width these devices add to our trikes we need to be careful we don’t do just that. Some dogs even need a special shield alongside of the rear wheel to keep them from getting into it and getting hurt. Anyway, here are a few of the options available:

http://www.dogpoweredscooter.com/

In my opinion and experience it is best to have a means of both hauling your dog as well as walking and running him … at least if you are riding far enough with him where he needs a break from walking and running. If the dog is small enough he can be hauled in a basket aboard the trike, but a larger dog definitely requires a trailer to accommodate him.

Some people just prefer a trailer anyway regardless of the size of the dog. And, of course, some people have more than one dog so a trailer is pretty much a must to take the dogs along safely and comfortably.

And then there are the MUSHERS … dogs who love to pull

Some dogs are pullers, some dogs need to be pulled and some dogs are pretty much neutral … they just walk or run alongside without pulling or being pulled. It is important to “know your dog” and ensure he is getting his exercise without overdoing it. He may need to ride for awhile and then go at it again. Some dogs may only be good for a mile or so at a time while others can walk and run several miles before needing a rest.

Dogs On Trikes Facebook Group

Me with my dog. He was one great dog …

one could not ask for a better dog.

Some dogs are better trained and behaved than others. Some dogs seem to be more easily trained than others. Consequently some dogs do fine without being fastened into a basket or trailer while others definitely need to be “contained”/”restrained”. Keep in mind that in case of a tip over a dog being hauled in a basket is probably more likely to be injured than a dog which is somewhat free to move about some as he can jump out and avoid being injured … or least being less injured than if he would have been restrained in the basket. Unfortunately there are dogs which will jump out if they are not fastened in and that could be very bad especially if you are moving along when they jump. My wife and I had a dog once that jumped out of the window while we were driving down a highway. The only thing that saved him from serious injury is he had his leash fastened and my wife was able to pull him back thru the window before anything happened.

Keep in mind also that carrying a dog in a basket up high off of the ground raises the trike’s center of gravity considerably making it all the easier to tip over.

I have noticed that most dogs enjoy the view as well as the wind in their face. They often tend to move about just to see what there is to see. This can sometimes be a bit challenging for the trike rider as the movement of the dog can effect the handling of the trike.

Please don’t allow your dog to run loose on his own. It is irresponsible. It is dangerous for your dog and for others. Many “accidents” have happened as a result of dogs running loose. It is bad enough when a dog gets injured in these accidents, but it is far worse for innocent people getting injured as a result of the dog owners negligence. I have known friends who have been seriously injured when a loose dog went right in front of them. Sometimes dogs chase after other cyclists which can be very intimidating. And it is against the law to allow a dog to run loose!

And if you are taking your dog along with you please be a responsible and law abiding owner.

Unless you have a special dog who cleans up after himself, be sure you do it. It is the right thing to do.

It is absolutely disgusting to deal with this scenario … dogs owners who do this deserve to have their faces shoved down into this pile of shit.

Yeppur, dogs are people too as far as enjoying tadpole trikes. With our help and with our responsible behavior we can all …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

THE PEDAL INN, A HOMEMADE INSULATED CAMPER (NOMAD LIVING)

Pedal Inn 1

The Pedal Inn

Over the last few years I have seen pictures of quite a few bicycle campers people have built. This is the most recent one I have come across. It is unique in that it is low cost and highly insulated … so much so he reports that his body heat alone will raise the temperature inside by 30 degrees when the temperature is 20 to 30 degrees outside. Using an alcohol heater set on it’s lowest setting he says it will raise the temperature to 70 degrees in only 10 minutes. There is one problem he reports that he needs to work on … condensation … he needs some additional ventilation.

HERE is a link to his blog where you can read about this camper. (I purposely chose this url in case anyone is interested in reading what he has written beyond this camper and about his recumbent bike and trike writings.)

Pedal Inn 12

Black Gorilla tape holds the 1 inch thick insulation boards together. Here is a closeup look at the insulation board.

insulation board

He says it is amazingly strong and light weight. He guesses it weighs somewhere between 20 – 30 pounds total. That is very light considering its dimensions.

Pedal Inn 2

14 square feet ain’t much, but when you are pulling this rig with a bike or trike ya’ gotta’ keep it to a minimum. The over all length is 7′. The first 4′ it is 2′ wide, 38″ at the highest and 33″at the lowest. The last 3′ is 22″ wide by 26″ high. The two windows are each 8″x15″ and are scavenged plexiglass.

Pedal Inn 4

There are 2 shelves for storage of clothes, canned goods, toiletries and a folding chair, among other things. All in a space that he wouldn’t be using anyway, as it’s too small for any other part of him other than his legs.

Pedal Inn 8

He has a fold down shelf for a cookstove.

Pedal Inn 9

Pedal Inn 14

The door is simply hinged using Gorilla tape and the latch is made out of a metal clothes hanger.

Pedal Inn 17

Sleeping inside of a sleeping bag I am sure he is toasty warm protected from the external elements in his motorless camper. And come summertime the insulation should help keep it somewhat comfortable since it will reflect the sun’s rays as well as insulate. All he needs to do is make some screened windows so air can flow thru it (which he mentions on his blog).

Pedal Inn 11

I have previously written an article about nomad living and the various trailers folks have come up with. Unfortunately that was back on my first endeavor with this blog which I decided to close and delete so it is gone forever dreadful sorry Clementine. I can’t say WordPress didn’t warn me. It was just a bad decision on my part which I will probably always regret. Anyway, I thought I would post some pictures here of some other camper trailers. Most of them are homebuilt, but one or two are factory made. Please remember that when viewing images on WordPress blogs you can place your cursor on the images and left click your mouse to have the images open up in their own window and usually appear larger. To return to this page just use your browser’s BACK BUTTON.

bike camper 1 bike camper 2 bike camper 3 bike camper 4

bike camper 6 bike camper 7 bike camper 9 bike camper 10

bike camper 11 bike camper 12 bike camper 8

bike camper 13 bike camper 14

For those who are interested in a “micro camper nomad life” check out this video  by Paul Elkins:

And here is another one of his videos about another micro camper he made:

He sells plans for some of the stuff he has come up with. Visit his website for the plans HERE.

And HERE is his main website.

Here is a video he made showing some of the various things he has made.

Paul has made other micro campers which he features in videos. Check out his YouTube channel.