Saturday, January 25, 2014

DIY Cross-Country Kid Sled from a Bike Trailer - PART 1: The tow poles and skis

We rented a ski Chariot and both my son and I were impressed by it while cross-country skiing.  He was comfortable, and it was a breeze to pull, even as a novice at cross-country skiing.  It had ample storage, and a nice waistband.  The sled nicely rotated when I would go side to side and turn.  I only felt slightly weighted down, and not pulled, even on hills.  My son loves the Burley Bee we use for the bike sometimes, and the Chariot is likewise designed with the child's riding comfort in mind.  We made it for an hour until he wanted to do something else.  That's pretty good for a 2.5 year old to sit still and watch the world go by.

On another cross-country trip, we rented a Kindershuttle and hated it- it was uncomfortable for my child (he kept sliding all over), and it tugged and pulled on me, I think because of its sled bottom instead of ski bottom.  We made it barely out and back and don't want to use it again.

They, unfortunately, don't make a kit for the Bee, so we would have to either make something or get another bike trailer to convert.  At this late stage in the child-riding-along-instead-of-participating game (ages 2.5 and 5.5), we thought it best to make something instead of shell out at least in the $300-range.

For inspiration, we looked to ye olde internet, and formed our plan.  Here was our inspiration:

Here are the kids playing with the design elements.  The skis are 130s I got from the local shop for $20.  They were last year's, and hadn't been used.  We were playing with PVC for the towing.  You can see the wheel from our jogging stroller in front.  We were debating using it instead of the bike trailer, and decided on the bike trailer because of its rain cover (ie no snow in kid's face and slightly warmer).
The kids had to spend a few days towing each other around.
My husband used a jigsaw to cut a 2x4 into the shape of the wheel, with the idea to mount it onto a ski and mount the wheel on and off the skis using a quick release of some sort.
These are 4' lengths of EMF, bent slightly upwards so as not to tip the passenger back too much while being towed at waist height.
The EMF is attached with a hold drilled in it and a carebeaner permanently attached to the side without the towing bar and the EMF pole on that side clips on and off.  It threads through a zip tie to keep it in line.  On the other side, it is attached to where the bike tow bar attaches.  We decided to use two towing poles instead of one for balance and control.
My husband had to test it out by walking.
The waist ends are attached to a fanny pack with 1/2" PVC T's.  They have a hole drilled through and a quick release snap bar (like the one that holds the Burley Bee's bike tow bar to the bike for added support) attaching the PVC to the EMF.  The other part of the T is laced through any strap on the fanny pack.  I may sew something better (than a fanny pack).
This is the 2x4 that will connect the wheel to the ski.  This is before the coats of varnish it is getting.  It needs to be varnished because it will be used in wet conditions and we don't want it to mold.  The indentations are for the snowboard bindings that we will use as quick release holds between the bike trailer and the skis.  We got them at the local ski shop for $10 each.  We wanted to use bindings like this so we could tighten them up on the fly- as the tires deflate in cold weather.
Here are the bindings with the other pieces, as a work in progress (inside shot), then (in the outdoor shot), they have been attached together.

One finished ski!  My husband used stainless steel screws of varying lengths (to correspond to their location on the wood), and sealed the bottom (ski-side) hole with candle wax- two coats.

The kids had to make their own version of a ski sled.  His PVC pieces are poles, and his skis got left behind on the lawn in the back of the photo.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this project!!!

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  1. Thank you! This is exactly what I have been trying to figure out how to build to pull my 2 year old with cross country skis. Is there a part 2 yet??

    1. Hi! It worked! Sorry I never posted the Part 2! Good luck to you!



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