90s MTB with a Kayak Trailer

Something like a decade ago, I encountered a cyclist in the Adirondacks trailing a canoe behind his bike. Perhaps because it was a hot summer day, his struck me as an obviously perfect idea, and it has stayed with me.

More recently, I was given a 90s-vintage mountain bike, that I didn’t have an obvious need for. So I decided to spiff it up, and use it for hauling kayaks around.

There was a fair bit of rust to remove, and fresh grease needed throughout, but mechanically it’s nice to work on these older bikes–they’re so straightforward, and durable.

For the trailer itself, I bought a cart on Amazon. These all seemingly come from the same factory, so i chose a cheap one. It’s made from aluminum with hard plastic wheels. It’s slow, loud, and unstable, but it was inexpensive and it basically works.

The tow bar has two parts: a clamp, cut from ash, and an extension made from red cedar. I use a piece of innertube, between the clamp and the seatpost, to give it some extra grip, and prevent the soft aluminum from scratching.

Particularly on warm days, it’s a nice way to get down to the water. The Wald 1392 basket, which is their larger size, is perfect for carrying immersion gear and refreshments. Additional supplies can be carried in the kayak itself, but it’s important to get the trim right.

Once, I got it wrong and managed to crash the trailer, coming down a hill. It took some time to stop, and by then there were long gashes in the kayak’s skin. I patched these with VHB tape, and paddled it like that for a while. But I always felt uneasy offshore, after that, and eventually re-skinned it.