Cycling Gardening Equipment

I often get emails from other prospective cycling gardeners (and other trades) asking about my trailer and other kit so I thought I'd put some details on here. I've been using this kit for years now and everything has been well tested.

Trailer Base

The base of the trailer is a Large Carry Freedom Y-Frame. It's been amazing but I do need to note a couple of things.

Firstly, and most importantly, the hitch. The original hitch was downright dangerous in my experience as the plate that attaches to the bike bent, allowing the trailer to unhitch even with the pin attached. On contacting the Carry Freedom I was informed that hitch wasn't up the the job and a "proper" replacement (see below) was provided.

Secondly the wheels can very easily stop being removable. I greased the axles regularly as per instructions until one time I went to do this and the wheels wouldn't come off. When I tried again and with some force found that they are completely stuck. Note that I store the trailer out doors, under a tarp. I bought a second large y-frame off Ebay planning to swap so that the wheels were removable but found that they were stuck on the new trailer too. After about 5 years it was time to replace the bearings which, despite my worries, I managed to do without too much problem.

Hitch

The replacement hitch Carry Freedom provided was a chariot hitch, designed for kids trailers and using a sturdy metal socket which attaches to the bike and a elastomer ball attached to the trailer. The elastomer splits and eventually brakes over time (1 year for the first one, over 2 for the second) so you've got to keep an eye on it. I've found that a normal quick release skewer works fine.

Carry Freedom have designed a new hitch using an elastomer lollipop which looks like is should work better than the original. I've used one for a while now and it works great, no complaints at all really. Other have said the bracket sticks out too far from the bike and can be an ankle biter but I've had no trouble.

I'd probably suggest speaking to Carry Freedom about what you have planned as I don't know what hitch the trailer comes with now. I should point out thought that you can buy the trailer more cheaply online than direct from the manufacturer.

Box

I removed the flat bed that comes with the trailer and bolted on a lightweight wood and aluminium trunk. I bought a large boarding school trunk from LogicLine - www.storagetrunks.co.uk My first trunk worked well for about 3 and a half years and then worked badly for another year and a half before I got round to replacing it. My replacement is also from storagetrunks.co.uk but differs from the original in 2 important ways. Firstly it's slightly longer - Size 04 L 97 x W50 x H51 cm which has made a HUGE difference. Everything actually fits now! Secondly, I got 2 corner wheels fitted (cheaper than I could have bought the casters myself!) so when I move of the trailer off the bike it rolls rather than drags.

Couple of notes: the trunks aren't waterproof and the fixings rust fairly quickly. I'm sure they're not designed to live outside under a tarp though I suppose. I've given the new box a couple of coats of yacht varnish to try to waterproof the box and rust proof the fittings. I expect the new one to last a bit longer as it's not getting scraped along the ground and it's not getting twisted all the time trying to get it closed.

I've attached 2 u-bolts to the outside of the trailer (on the side that opens) directly above the axle to hold the Wolf Tools multi- change handle. Everything else fits inside, mower and all, with the lid closed.

I tried to get a discount based on the fact that the box is supposed to come with a lifetime guarantee and that I'm promoting their stuff here but no joy. They claimed to only make £5 on each box which sounds like BS to me. Hey ho.

Tools

"Buy the best quality tools you can afford when you start" was one of many very good pieces of advice I took from How To Start Your Own Gardening Business by Paul Power. I went to a local gardening equipment shop and bought their best shears, loppers, spade, fork and lots of the Wolf Tools multi- change range (see below). The Wolf Tools (premium bypass) loppers and (traditional hedge) shears are both still perfect. The stainless steel fork I bought snapped and they helpfully told me stainless isn't as strong, when I took it back... The stainless spade lasted about 7 years. I use a trug for carrying tools, watering, mixing cement, moving rubble etc. It's a bit of a pain in the box but definitely worth it. I use Niwaki secateurs and holster (pretty expensive) with a Silky Super Accel pruning saw which are all excellent, frighteningly sharp...

Wolf Tools

I only use hand tools so I can't comment on the various multi- head petrol machinery that is available. I use Wolf Tools multi- change tools plus various other hand tools. The Wolf Tools have in the main been very impressive. Some are poor and some are a waste of time altogether. Here's what I've used:

  • Aluminium Handle - 150cm long I think, flawless.
  • Mini handle - used with patio scraper, trowel, fork etc, all good.
  • Patio Brush - used on every job I've done, flawless.
  • Patio Scraper - Great tool, I've worn two out I've used them so much.
  • Hollow Tine Aerator - total waste of time. Gets clogged immediately and then breaks.
  • Draw Hoe - don't use it much but it works fine.
  • Lawn Edger - only used a few times, works fine, might work better with the spade handle.
  • Soil Rake - I've hammered this and it's still perfect.
  • Spring Tine Rake - works well, bit annoying to have in the trailer all the time though.
  • Lawn Rake - broke 2 of these, get an all metal one ^
  • Leaf Rake - very good, less troublesome in the trailer than the metal one and lighter.
  • Professional Lopper - very good so far, gets heavy over time, very sharp though.
  • Weeding brush, these are great, mine only lasted 6 months but the head is replacable and worth the expense.

Mower

I use a Brill Razorcut Premium 38 and it's great. Don't bother with the grass collector box, it doesn't collect the grass, useless. You can get them delivered for under £100. You can even sharped the blade on the new models, a very sensible development. Mine's still fine though.

Ladder

I use a multi folding ladder which fits perfectly in the box with as long as you don't need to take the trug. I got mine from ScrewFix.

Phew

That was more of a mission than I'd expected. I hope it's of use to some folks out there though. Feel free to email with questions, comments or suggestions. I'm sure there are better ways of doing things out there...

 

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