Ira Ryan is known for his gorgeous, understated, classic bicycles. This year at NAHBS, though, he is also turning heads with an unexpected handbuilt object: a trailer.
Born out of a collaboration between himself, Trucker Racks, and local Portland restaurateur Jason French, owner of Ned Ludd Restaurant, the trailer not only fills a practical customer need, but does so in a way that reflects the underlying philosophy of all involved: marrying craftsmanship with quality.
“Jason needed a trailer he could take to the farmer’s market three times a week and load up with enough produce to keep his restaurant going,” says Ryan. Filled with fragile fresh produce, the trailer needed to protect its cargo by giving it as smooth a ride as possible.
To solve this problem, Ryan designed a coupling system built with Chris King headsets that allows the trailer to move both laterally and vertically – each independently of the other, so that hitting a bump or a curve with the bike doesn’t rattle the tomatoes in the back.
Another innovative touch is a rear disc parking brake activated by a downtube lever found on the hitch of the trailer.
“That way, if you have to disconnect the trailer and park it by itself, or if you’re on a hill, you don’t have to worry about everything rolling away,” says Ryan.
The trailer quickly attaches and releases to the rear axle for easy take on/take off, another touch that French needed, as he sometimes has to quickly run out the door to the market for last minute provisions.
Painted a gleaming candy apple red, bedazzled with those anodized Chris King components (and hubs), and crafted with the same attention to detail found in all of Ryan’s bikes, it’s no wonder that people stop to stare for reasons other than novelty: it’s the trailer we all wish we had, even though we’ve never thought about owning a trailer before that moment.