Bikes That Work

Staging Before Rolling Out

Planting Trees by Bike

One of my looking forward to activities of winter is volunteering with Friends of Trees (FoT) on their Plant-by-Bike teams.  My first planting by bike was in 2012 as both a tree owner and planting volunteer. I was hooked and  have been volunteering every year since. Nothing  like getting to watch the trees you helped plant mature through the years. I not only volunteer in my neighborhood, but other neighborhoods east of the Willamette River.

I started out with just my bike, then used a FoT trailer, then I bought and updated a child trailer, and finally use a Surly Bill trailer. The creativity of the build and design of trailers is very impressive to say the least. Quite inspiring to all the possibilities.

Surly Bill Trailer
Surly Bill Trailer
Bikes That Work Trailer
Bikes That Work Trailer
Chrome-moly DIY Trailer
Chrome-moly DIY Trailer


 Planting by bike removes the barrier that using multiple cars maintains, you are able to more fully connect with your fellow planters not only while you are planting, but also as you are traveling between planting locations. Also, several often bring their children who are always a joy to watch participate – they are gosh darn hard working!

And, save for that rare snow, ice event, we are out planting in any weather.

I strongly recommend trying a plant by bike with Friends of Trees. You will meet some awesome people, do a great thing for the environment, there is always an amazing, free lunch at the end, and you get to do a classically, Portland thing. How cool is that?

My Trailers

DIY Utility Trailer

DIY Trailer
DIY Trailer

Impressed by how versatile trailers can be, I watched sales listings for a good deal on a used child carrier with the goal of modifying it for goods hauling. This trailer serves as both a shopping hauler and can do a very good job of carrying trees.

To handle the higher weight stress, the canvas floor was removed. A lengthwise tube added and several cross tubes added. The side rails are fabricated from tubing, bent to use the existing mounting hardware. My only wish was that it was a little bigger to more easily carry longer items like the shovels, brooms,, and stakes.

Trailer Loaded with Groceries
Trailer Loaded with Groceries

The trailer can certainly handle more weight than my legs can pull. This set up is perfect for grocery shopping, especially nice paired with my Reuseit Grocery Cart Bags.

For rainy times, the original rain cover still works and adds a bit of content security to the grocery hauling. This is a perfect, small capacity hauler. I should note I have used it for bike transport, as well. I just mount a roof top rack to it and secure the bike. Nothing like transporting a bike, by bike.

Heavy Hauling Trailer

Loaded for Planting Trees
Loaded for Planting Trees

Last fall, I had the opportunity to purchase a Surly Bill trailer at a price I could not turn down. To get the hitch set up to work with my Bridgestone MB-1, I had to modify the lower, rack mounts so the yoke style hitch would drop on to the axle mounts.

The last couple of plantings I have been the designated “long things” hauler, which works out quite nicely. The load is stable and is certainly well within the trailer’s capacity. Because of the very low profile of the trailer, I made a safety flag holder and use a bamboo flag pole that easily comes out for loading ease.