Guest Post by Barry Howard Studio

Three things have always been part of my life: art, travel and designing and building small living spaces that move.

I have converted school busses into two-story homes that featured wood cookstoves, lofts and stained glass windows.

I built a home in vans, VW busses, mini-vans, a VW bug, and a 24′ trimaran, and I have built several micro houses on flat bed utility trailers and a couple of them on the ground.

My current project is one I have had in my head for several years… It’s a gypsy caravan that can be pulled by a bicycle.

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I decided to make it fold down for cruising as a bicycle trailer is pretty narrow and anything much above the level of the seat gets to be a bit too top heavy.

 

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It’s about 12 square feet of floor space which is actually a bed. I wanted something I could carry art supplies in as well as a fair amount of finished paintings.

 

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All storage is under the bed. Three removable panels under the sleeping pad, which folds, provide access to the art supplies, my clothes, and the galley.

 

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The bed can also be converted to a sitting space with a small table which can be used for dining or computer work.

 

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A table mounts on the side, as does the small sink, and the one burner camp stove sits on the table, which doubles as counter space for preparing meals.

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About 80% of the materials I used are recycled and repurposed. The aluminum that makes up the chassis and framing for the port-side wall came from an old broken pop-up craft fair booth, as did most of the screws and bolts.

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The hitch came off a church organ that I dismantled, the wheels from my folding bicycle, the rear stabilizing legs came from a camera tripod I cannibalized, and the fabrics and much of the wood came from my recently deceased mini van camper.

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My next project will be a full size gypsy caravan which will be my permanent home. I will probably build it on a flat bed trailer around 10 or 12 feet long.

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With the bicycle version I was very restricted by the weight factor and I would be able to include a lot of goodies on my next one that would be too heavy for this caravan.

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I am available for hire if anyone needs a gypsy caravan of their own. I do all of the design, building, decorative painting and stained glass myself. Anyone interested can call me at 530-355-1319 or email me at barryhowardstudio@yahoo.com. To see more of my work check out my Facebook page here.

Even more photos are available here. You can connect with Barry on Facebook here.

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Alex

Alex has been living in small spaces for more than 7 years, he's the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter, and has passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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{ 14 comments }

  • alice h July 6, 2013, 9:20 am

    That is absolutely brilliant in design and execution! Love it! It would make a perfect little backyard grandkid sleeping space and easily tucked away when not needed. Also a perfect thing for our local parade which has a lot of bicycle stuff.

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  • Ralph Sly July 6, 2013, 10:50 am

    Finally, someone has shown me what absolute art is in tiny houses is. And what an interesting character Barry Howard must be! Inherent from mother, a costume designer I have a dream, I wake up and have to see, hold and feel that dream in some physical form. So I build it, draw it or simply write plans to do so. With my lifestyle in the commercial world, the time factor didn’t allow full scale projects to materialize, I became too consumed with purchasing instant material things for me and my family and work consumed me. Oh, how, when I see this I left that side dormant for so many years is actually a sin.

    Some people site “art” in many of these TH,s and I look at it and say, yes, a consummate craftsman certainly built it and pray he knew something about weight distribution, the decor is flawlessly crafted by someone with a flair for the arts. I have conceded not to debate my opinion on what is art because we have to give credit, even what I would consider cheap crappie art to be, has admirers and it’s all in opinions. This is what I am talking about as my perception of art combined with craft, ingenuity undoubtedly an eye for the slightest detail and imagination. I feel Mr. Howard has been called somewhat eccentric once or twice. I would have messed it up by trying to turn the wagon into a drive force (through electric motor device from a wheelchair or whatever) by using the bicycle as an articulated steering mechanism. You captured the charm of a gypsy lifestyle with old world technology. Give me a break with the tri pod supports, I will bet you found one heavy duty tri pot to find those.

    We could probably go toe to toe on the amount of vehicles and small dwellings, and dang you bud, I always wanted to do a bus with two stories, but I can assure you, anything I put together was nice, built for convenience of comfort for a reason, work, pleasure as in a specific trip, some necessity for comfort, generally temporary or a few extended months. I doubt very much that I turned out anything of the quality you have. Barry, this is beautiful Thanks so much for the post. (you have to dump the water jug, no ww2 canteens around? LOL)

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  • Ellen July 6, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Amazing and very beautiful!

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  • jerryd July 6, 2013, 8:51 pm

    Great design and shows just how little space one needs to live. And so well set up much thought was well used here.

    I used various light dinghies, shallow v bottom canoes as bicycle trailers in Ft Laud and Key West as my only transport for 12 yrs transporting boat, house building supplies and stuff to sell at the flea market, etc.

    Sadly I can’t peddle well anymore so I’m about to build another one for my MC’s to tow. Likely be a boat hull bottom for sleeping or having to lay down from back pain while traveling, shopping and it’ll be used to carry plywood, lumber, etc.

    With a trailer it turns a very light vehicle into a viable transport especially with low cost EV drives, lead batteries. I convert golf cart EV transaxles and MC front ends into low cost EV trikes for commuting, shopping, etc and tow my multi use trailer with them.

    Maybe adding an EV drive might nicely increase your unit’s usefulness, range, electric supply for fans, light, etc?

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  • Jim July 8, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Beautiful work. I have an old pop up camper with a bad top that I want to convert to a gypsy wagon. I will not be able to match your artistic ability but I thank you for sharing the ideas.

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    • Alex July 8, 2013, 8:58 pm

      Good luck Jim! Keep us updated

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  • Paul July 14, 2013, 12:36 pm

    Very nice craftmanship! Very curious what the weight of this all is.

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  • Kim January 5, 2014, 12:26 am

    How much to make one of these little babies… My friend in Arizona could use one of these, as he is now living in the park since he lost his job and his apartment. He bicycles all over Phoenix and this would be awesome instead of sleeping on the ground or a park bench and he could keep some of his belongings tucked neatly away out of sight and out of mind.

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    • jerryd January 5, 2014, 5:37 pm

      You could build a low cost version for $100-200 or so. I’ve never figure out why more ‘homeless’ don’t make themselves a low cost home like this. It could be made from shipping crates for MC’s, etc.

      Most motorcycle stores have plenty of surplus packing crates, many using Mahogany/Luan as the building material is just 1 free source.

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  • Cat January 24, 2014, 3:42 am

    I just posted a link from here to the Permies.com’s new Bicycle forum at http://www.permies.com/forums/f-148/bicycle. Check it out!

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    • Alex Pino January 24, 2014, 8:11 am

      Cool, thanks Cat!

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  • Jim Osage January 24, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Wow, absolutely beautiful.

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  • Jen Arnold June 16, 2014, 10:06 pm

    The bicycle caravan makes my gypsy heart sing ❤️

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  • Mark October 26, 2014, 8:10 am

    Way too heavy to travel any distance! For a homeless person though would give privacy/place to sleep without the friendly neighborhood cops seeing you and trying to “assist“ you.

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