Chariot for the Kids (aka Makeshift Pedicab Trailer)

For our third Burning Man experience (2010) my wife and I decided to take our kids with us. We knew they would have a blast riding their bikes across the flat expanses of the playa. But having experienced the sheer size of Black Rock City in years prior we also knew that the distances travelled to get from one art installation to the next would quickly tire our children. So I began to think of a solution that would allow us to bike across the open playa as a family.

The main mode of transportation in BRC is by bicycle. The obvious solution was some kind of bike trailer in which to pull the kids around. In 2010, I had not yet begun building custom and mutated bikes.  I had no welder, grinder, or materials.  Heck, I didn’t even have a workshop back then.

So, my trailer design needed to be simple, and built from repurposed items. I searched Craigslist for bike trailers, and found a used one for $30.  The canopy was torn and dirty, but that was fine because all I needed were the wheels and bottom frame.

I removed the canopy and canopy’s support rods. As luck would have it, the steel frame had four brackets welded to it for connecting the canopy’s supporting frame.  These brackets were positioned nicely for attaching a chair to. The chair I had in mind was a reclining camp chair, which I already had.

Again, as luck would have it, the width of the recliner’s legs matched the width of the trailer’s frame. When opened the recliner’s legs fit nicely between the front and rear canopy mounting brackets on the frame. I then securely fastened the recliner to the trailer frame and took it for a spin.

Success! My first build — pre-welder days. Of course, I admit I got lucky that the used trailer I picked up and the camp chair that I had in the garage sized so well together. Also, the design of the recliner was such that when the rider reclined the center of gravity remained over the trailer’s wheels and axle.

Pictured below is my daughter in “The Kids Chariot” at Burning Man 2010.

Of course what Burning Man chariot wouldn’t be complete without some protection from the sun. In the photo below you can see a repurposed beach umbrella stuck inside a piece of PVC pipe.


This was a quick and easy DIY build and would mark the beginning of many more bike builds to come.

Our family at Burning Man 2010.

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