Building a recumbent carrier

Sometimes I go on trips where I want to use my recumbent trike, that are further from home than I can reasonably cycle to. The trike can fit inside my Land Rover’s loadspace, but getting it in and out is cumbersome (particularly now that I have started to develop rotator cuff problems), and for some time I’ve been thinking about how to carry it more conveniently.

The first idea I came up with was a rear platform, cantilevered out from the rear cross-member (back bumper), and perhaps tiltable downward, and so I bought a used “Hi-Cap” rear tub to adapt. Once it arrived, I realized it would be too heavy, and I also looked up the regulations on rear overhangs of vehicles, and found it would be too long. I’ve still got it; I’m planning to turn it into a trailer.

The main structure, tacked

The main structure, tacked

So I re-thought it, and decided to carry the trike on a framework hinged onto the back of the vehicle, that I could load it on the ground and then swing it up into place behind the back door. I went with steel for cheapness and ease of welding, rather than aluminium for lightness, and used my rather basic welding skills to tack the main parts of it together. It’s in two parts, one fixed relative to the vehicle, and the other attached to that by a hinge. The fixed part is held on by the pin that normally holds the adjustable towing bracket onto the drop plate, and stabilized by tubes going into the jacking points in the rear cross-member.

The support

The support

The hinge is two diameters of round tube, that nest reasonably well together, with the outer tube cut into sections and alternate sections welded to the stationary and moving parts. The part that is fixed onto the vehicle could potentially be used for attaching other things to the back of the vehicle (for example, a tray to hold things that wouldn’t fit through the door), by making a matching piece of tubular hinge. I had to shorten the vertical part of it, as in the form shown it caught on the slope of my driveway. I had originally made it that deep in the expectation of using it to cantilever a platform onto the back.

Built, and in place

Built, and in place

Having completed working out the design, I took it to a local metalwork company who completed it.

Painted, for visibility

Painted, for visibility

I thought drivers behind me might get a bit confused by the extra metalwork and collide with it, so I painted wasp stripes onto it. It probably still confuses people, but I think they’ll be less likely to bump into it.

I mounted a small winch on the front of the roofrack, which lets me pull the carrier and trike up into position with less risk of injury and damage. It’ll also be useful for opening the tent cover (which is quite heavy, being made from a Land Rover roof), and the bonnet (with heavy spare tyre on it), as I have a shoulder injury and don’t want to risk making it worse. I’ve already started to rewire the winch, so that instead of its hand-held control pendant on short thickish wires, it will be controlled by a couple of relays arranged in an H-bridge, with lighter control wires from buttons in various places.

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