Mon. Jun 17th, 2019

Frances Cycles and the Farfarer Trailer

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We had been fairly intrigued by the Farfarer Trailer once we first heard about it a pair months in the past, so we stopped in to Frances Cycles in Santa Cruz to fulfill its maker, Joshua Muir. Learn on for our dialog with Joshua, together with a variety photographs of his store, the trailer, and his bikes…

compose Logan Watts
time Apr 10, 2019
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Out of all of the bike trailers I’ve seen over time, the Farfarer by Frances Cycles might be probably the most intriguing. First off, as an alternative of getting a platform or coated compartment, it has a tubular steel body that suspends a well-designed hammock to retailer gear. This retains it moderately easy, and really light-weight—below 10 kilos, the truth is. It additionally has a separate, simple hitch system that slides onto the seat put up with an acetal hitch bushing, holding it comfortable and permitting rotation. On high of that, a lateral thru-bolt connects the trailer to the hitch and secures with a C-clip, making it straightforward to take away.

Frances Cycles Farfarer Trailer

Whereas I haven’t ridden with the Farfarer, I’ve learn experiences that it’s nice for tough and rowdy driving. Based on Frances Cycles, the lengthy, curved tubes give the Farfarer a little bit of compliance to stop bouncing. Moreover, the laterally rotating thru-bolt hitch supplies the flexibility for the whole trailer to flip up and over the bike and relaxation on the handlebars. This enables it to simply be carried throughout creeks, or shouldered for portage.

The Farfarer’s simplicity additionally makes it simpler to pack for journey than different trailers on the market. It options two mid-point couplers on the lengthy tubes to permit the trailer to interrupt down and ship in a 36 x 16 x 7″ (91 x 41 x 18cm) field, or, based on Frances, pack into a traditional bike field with a bicycle.

Frances Cycles Farfarer Trailer
Frances Cycles Farfarer Trailer

Whereas the Farfarer has been round for some time—and apparently examined on some moderately arduous journeys—it was not too long ago re-worked by Frances Cycles proprietor and body builder, Joshua Muir. We had an opportunity to fulfill Joshua at his store in Santa Cruz, California, the place we requested him a couple of questions on Frances Cycles and the Farfarer Trailer.

Frances Cycles Joshua Muir

How did you get began constructing bicycles?

My fascination with bicycles began as a younger teenager, first with BMX (freestyle and paper route driving) after which I found street bikes and going locations on a motorbike. So lots of the steps towards fabricating metal bikes begin with an individual. My Dad took me touring at 10; I acquired turned on to build up bikes by Clyde on the High Wheel in Merced, who constructed up a Faggin with me for little or no cash and taught me methods to do it; Josh Thayer turned me on to mitering and brazing tubes collectively after which driving what you constructed. It’s an extended street of discovering the following layer of expertise and approach to create an affordable course of to realize constant outcomes. As I mentioned, it fascinates me.

I’m fortunate I get to do what I would like; I’m lucky to have a store and other people to make issues for. That doesn’t imply it’s straightforward, however I do know I do it as a result of I need to.

Frances Cycles Mixtehaul

The Frances Cycles Mixtehaul, an on a regular basis cargo hauler.

There’s fairly the group of bicycle makers and fabricators right here in Santa Cruz. How has this formed your work and concepts?

I’m a scavenger of supplies, concepts, adventures. I acquired a Bontrager Racelight working on the Bike Co-op once I was 20. I put flared drops, slick tires, and a rack on it. That was the 12 months Bontrager went out of enterprise, and I went to the public sale/clear-out on the cannery. I acquired some small fixturing bits and some tubes that I didn’t have any concept what to do with. A good friend purchased a field of three/four″ x .028″ True Mood tubes, those with the flared finish to sleeve to the wishbone. The field languished within the redwoods someplace however ultimately I found it and made my first Smallhaul cargo bike with an outdated Argos street bike and people tubes and took my canine Soupy on tour in Massive Sur and elsewhere. Paul Sadoff at Rock Lobster and Rick Hunter are huge influences as effectively. Paul is beneficiant along with his approach and time—I nonetheless want I’d take him up on some TIG classes. There are nonetheless stashes of Bontrager tubes, braze-ons, and bits on the market and I’m fortunate that a few of them discover their technique to me. Nearly each bike (and trailer) that I make has a little bit of Bontrager on it.

When, the place, and why did you’re taking your first bike tour?

My Dad labored in Washington, D.C., for some time, and once I was 10 he took my brother and me for a journey on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal: 4 days, 200 miles or one thing. I rode a Nishiki Mixte that we purchased for $10 at a neighborhood store and glued up. I nonetheless love mixtes. Highlights embody saddle sores, sleeping luggage on handlebars, my dad driving with an exterior body backpack with the heaviest outdated gear doable, and him driving instantly throughout my again after I crashed in entrance of him.

Frances Cycles Joshua Muir
Frances Cycles

Frances Cycles

Quentin Lindh initially conceived the Farfarer Trailer again in 2005. Are you able to inform us how you bought concerned, what drew you to it, and the way it’s modified because the unique design?

Someplace round 2004 the Bike Church obtained a pair bins of “Wilder” 1 1/eight″ threadless stems and together with the arced aluminum tubes from a windsurf growth. These turned to foundation of the primary “Farfarer” that Quentin constructed. That trailer went so many locations (I discovered it at a good friend’s storage sale final 12 months, so it’s nonetheless round). I watched Quentin drag it throughout California and I pulled it as much as Tahoe and again on all kinds of terrain, so I knew it labored effectively.

Many of the adjustments I’ve made are refinements, and the unique structure is just about intact. I minimize new dropouts, added some bends to the rear finish, added braze-ons, designed the rack, put in flag and fender mounts. Vince Waring makes the baggage and sometimes tweaks the design with minor enhancements.

For which varieties of terrain and driving are the Farfarer finest suited?

The Farfarer performs effectively on all terrain. Being a single-wheeled trailer, it tracks tight behind the bike and handles slender, winding trails or metropolis streets effectively. The lengthy body flexes vertically, so it dampens huge bumps and tough roads. The important thing issue to the trailer’s efficiency is the load and the place it’s positioned: weight that’s positioned low within the bag doesn’t have a lot leverage over you and your bike as you cant aspect to aspect to climb a hill. Because the mass and peak of the load will increase, it will get more durable to swing it backwards and forwards.

What’s the load of the Farfarer (with out the fender and rack)?

The Farfarer trailer with inventory wheel/tire, able to journey (no fender/rack), weighs 10 kilos (four.5kg). The rack weighs 9.5oz (272g) and the fender is three.75oz (105g)

How a lot of a load can it carry, when it comes to weight and quantity?

Weight capability has extra to do with efficiency than structural pressure. Dealing with will get worse above 50 lbs, however the place the load is positioned is extra necessary than how a lot. I’ve put over 100 lbs in mine. Quantity within the load bag is roughly 20 gallons (75 liters).

Frances Cycles Farfarer Trailer
Frances Cycles Farfarer Trailer

Immediately above: the optionally available Surf Rack consists of fender mounts and sells for a further $175.00.

Have any fascinating tales about journeys people have taken with the Farfarer?

I like to see all of the issues individuals do with the Farfarer: musical excursions (Australia), surf journeys (Australia, California, Mexico, Central America), and life-long cyclists who discover they’ll do extra on their bikes with the additional cargo capability.

What are your favourite native trails or dirt-roads across the Santa Cruz space?

I’ve all the time beloved lengthy dust rides, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve turn out to be much less tolerant of trafficked roads. Using with automobiles isn’t that nice and I’ve misplaced associates and been swiped myself by a automotive doing 50+. So, I’m fortunate to be right here in Santa Cruz, the place I can journey from dwelling and discover myself within the woods with hardly a street. My favourite street or path is one which’s new to me and much sufficient out that I’ve that feeling of journey or exploring or working laborious. Nowadays my driving is generally utilitarian—taking the child to high school, getting elements to color, the mundane on a regular basis errand—however all these errands are a journey, and as soon as I’m on the bike, it feels fairly good.

The Farfarer Trailer begins at $550.00, which incorporates the tire, tube, QR wheel, load-bag, hitch, and bushing. You can even order add-ons equivalent to a Surf Rack, rain fly, fender, and extra bushings in a number of sizes. Go to for full particulars. Additionally, be certain that to observe this video displaying the Farfarer in motion.

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