How to Make a Food Vending Bicycle Trailer
We occasionally receive requests to build a bicycle trailer for food vending. While we don't specifically build a trailer for that purpose, several of our customers have built their own using one of our 64A or 64AW bicycle trailers as a base.
Sam Bosco of Bici-Cocina recently sent some photos of the food vending trailer they made using a 64A trailer. They did such a good job on the trailer that I thought it deserved a blog post.
Sam was kind enough to describe his business and provide details on how they built the trailer. Even if you don't plan to start your own food vending business, I think you'll find Sam's description interesting.
¡Bici-Cocina! is a pedal-powered mobile food service that serves healthy and fresh latin american street food in Ithaca, NY. Here's their story from their website:
Bici-Cocina was born out of our love for CULTURA- the culture of Latin America, bicycles, and community!
Sam and Carolina founded ¡Bici-Cocina! from their respective knowledge of bicycles and genuine Colombian cuisine. When they met, they immediately started cooking and biking together, and that naturally transitioned into a desire to bring new culinary creations to the world (or at least Ithaca, for now) all via our favorite vehicle... bikes!
Sam described their business and the cart this way:
¡Bici-Cocina is made up of three essential pieces:
- A Bikes @ Work 64A Bicycle Trailer
- The kitchen cart. Custom made at the Ithaca Generator's welding studio (a Maker's Space in Ithaca, NY)
- Bicycle. In our case we use a Gary Fisher Tassajara with Xtracycle FreeRadical as well as a Trek H400. To increase the range of where we can go, we are experimenting with using electric bicycles supplied by Boxy Bikes, Ithaca's Electric Bike store
About the Cart
The Kitchen Cart was designed specifically to match the dimensions of the B@W 64A and also meet criterion such as workspace height, sturdiness, capacity (volume and weight). It was also designed to be removable so that the trailer could be used stand-alone. ¡Bici-Cocina! was designed and built at the Ithaca Generator, a Maker's Space in Ithaca, NY
The bones are made of welded 1" aluminum square stock, and 1" channel stock along one length for sliding cabinet doors to access the belly of the cart. Some funny things had to be worked around, such as the square spacer of the hitch assembly, and that the rectangular rear crossmembers stick up several millimeters above the height of the channel segments.
Chain rings cut into quarters were welded into the frame for added shear stability, mounting for artistic panels, and bike-themed style accent.
The cart is stopped with a solid piece of 3/16" sheet aluminum. The rear panel folds out to be additional counter space where. The materials for the cart itself cost about $400 (aluminum stock, hardware, wood).
The cargo space created holds the following things:
- 1 60qt cooler
- 1 20qt cooler
- 1 15gal storage tote for dry goods (napkins, cups, cutlery, bar mops, etc.)
- our 45lb cast iron double burner (35,000 BTUs each) stove
- Small plastic tote of serving equipment
- several bowls
- fire extinguisher
On top of the cart we strap down:
- 10'x10' pop-up tent
- compost buckets
- propane tank
- extra coolers
Additional items can be carried on the cargo bike.
When fully loaded (w/ food, ice, propane, etc.) I estimate that the cart weighs between 200 and 300 lbs, maybe more.
¡Bici-Cocina! is perhaps the only bike food cart of its kind in all of NYS. We are certified by the county as a "Catering Service" and our cart is permitted as a "Mobile Pushcart". Most food bikes that are emerging across the country utilize "tadpole" style trikes and serve already made and packaged food. What makes ¡Bici-Cocina! unique is that we cook our food fresh on the modified trailer.
- built-in cold storage
- extendable roof/awning
- space for sharing/displaying events and promotions from community orgs and other social enterprises
You can learn more about ¡Bici-Cocina! at:
- website: www.Bici-Cocina.com
- Facebook: BiciCocina Bicycle Food Cart
- Instagram: @Bicicocina.Ithaca
- Twitter: @Bici_cocina
Sam asked me to also include links to the organizations that have helped support ¡Bici-Cocina!:
- CULTURA Ithaca
- Boxy Bikes, Ithaca's Electric Bike Store
- Southside Community Center, their commissary
- Full Cycle Delivery, a pedal-powered delivery, courier, and hauling service
Thanks, Sam, for providing the information and the photos.