Quentin of Farfarer Bicycle Trailers and Racks recently wrote in to tell us about his interesting line up of handbuilt bicycle trailers and racks. I asked Quentin to to tell us a little about his inspiration for getting started with his bike trailer designs. Here is his story about the inspiration that lead to his intriguing new single-wheeled bike trailer design.
I have been scheming to create the perfect bike touring setup ever since I started riding my early 80s silver Fuji Touring Series IV with 27-inch wheels from Santa Cruz to Big Sur on Fridays after class in college. In all those hours pedaling down a lonesome road, the mind wanders, and in my case tends to settle on new things to build. I inevitably come home with a journal whose pages are crammed with scratchy little line drawings from every possible angle.
The plan for the first one-wheel trailer I ever built came to me riding a tailwind somewhere around Pescadero on the way home from San Francisco one day. A modular assembly of threadless stems bolted onto the curved aluminum tubes of two reclaimed windsurf booms, I designed it to serve double duty as a railbike outrigger. The railbike element of the plan never made it more than 100 yards down the track before derailing and tossing me onto the ballast, but it did lead to many interesting conversations with passers by – including one story about driving an old Chevy Bronco into the tracks and letting the air out of the tires to make a rail-4×4.
The trailer, which at the time was secondary to my dreams of touring abandoned rail lines along the Eel River, turned out to be the best part of my brainstorm. In those days my main bike was a first-generation, carbon fiber Specialized Epic, with the little tiny carbon fiber tubes glued into aluminum lugs. I called it the Plastic Fantastic and rode it all over the place on pavement, on single tracks and everything in between. I was amazed to find that with the trailer, I could ride no hands down washboarded dirt roads with 40 pounds of gear, on a bike that was about as inappropriate for dirt touring as you can get.
I proceeded to tour all through Northern California, on every kind of fire road and track, carrying gallons of water, extra gear for group meals, and cases of beer to drink around the fire at night, without any of the broken spoke or bent rim issues that often plague dirt touring expeditions. Carrying a normal backpack in the trailer as opposed to panniers has allowed me to combine bike tours with backpacking and mountaineering adventures during late summer trips down the Eastern Sierras. Id stock up on extra food in Mammoth, stash the bike near Devils Post Pile, and climb peaks in the High Sierras with a minimum of logistics.
Lately, there has been an exciting increase in the production and sales of cargo and work bikes as well as sturdy touring bikes. At the same time, race bike technology is giving us amazing, under twenty pound, road, cross and mountain bikes that are incredibly fun to ride but are not well suited to taking racks and panniers – or even having a trailer attached to the rear dropouts. I believe there is a useful niche for a seatpost-mounted trailer. Its a way to convert your zippy everyday bike into a work bike or touring bike only when you need the capacity, without sacrificing performance.
With this in mind, I started Farfarer with ace welder Darren Larkin, and weve been busy testing prototypes as we refine my early DIY trailer designs into a solid and good-looking product. We build the trailer chassis out of U.S. made cro-moly aircraft tubes, bent on custom jigs and fillet brazed together. The frames get powder coated locally and the bags are also sewn here in Santa Cruz out of U.S. made Cordura nylon cloth. Its satisfying to move an idea that been on my drawing board for years into production. The result, a trailer weighing under ten pounds, makes your 20 pound cross/road bike into the funnest, fastest, lightest cargo/touring bike around. And we think theyre pretty, too.