Designing and Creating a Customized Mountain Bike Trailer

What was your driving question?

How can we design and customize an enclosed trailer to store and transport our school mountain bikes?

Grades Involved


What PBE principles were highlighted in this project?

Project Description

This project was entirely student-led, from an informal proposal through the final reflection and defense meeting. As a school, we mountain bike on our property and at an adjacent, local park (Camrock). Two students wondered how we could travel as a school to bike in other areas of our state. They gathered information from mountain bike teams and mentor schools, then began sketching their own ideas. The students developed a plan and a budget. Once funds were secured, the students did everything from shopping for materials to problem-solving during the final build. The end product will be a legacy of sorts for these seniors, as the school will utilize the trailer for many years to come.


How did this project connect to your local or regional community?

This customized mountain bike trailer will allow our school to expand the lifetime fitness, mountain biking curriculum to include exploration of other regional mountain bike trails. This expansion will allow students to learn about local ecosystems and Wisconsin’s forests and geology while engaging in physical activity.

How did this positively impact the community? How was it shared?

This project will positively impact our school community in that it will provide additional opportunities for students to develop a love of biking (lifetime fitness) and a connection to our state forests, trails, and biking communities. This project will also encourage regional travel allowing new opportunities for our students to learn about Wisconsin history, geology, ecology, economy, and public lands.

Reflection: What was the biggest challenge? What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

The biggest challenge was related to the pandemic and the increase in the cost of building materials. The students had to learn to recalculate the costs of their project throughout as the prices and supply availability varied. The most rewarding aspect for the students was the autonomy provided. The teacher demonstrated a lot of trust in their ability to design and build this on their own.

Any advice for a teacher or student that is implementing a PBE project for the first time?

“We discovered that our first idea had a flaw but we were able to problem-solve together and determined that we could drill upwards, from underneath the trailer, creating the stall fit that we were seeking.” – student participant