Introduction: Bike Wheel Laundry Airer

Picture of Bike Wheel Laundry Airer
Here in the UK, we love drying our laundry outside . . .

It is free, 100% environmentally friendly and it is always raining in England.
Oh well, did I mention that it is free?

So check out this bicycle-related Instructable that I actually use.

  • Approx 20 feet of drying space.
  • Design turns in the breeze to dry laundry more quickly.
  • If grey clouds appear, can be carried indoors with one hand (fully laden).
  • Manufactured from reclaimed materials.
  • Technology utilises wind and solar energy to dry your big, animal print Dr. Pepper® Y-Fronts!
I am far too mean (and/or green) to waste energy on something which nature does for free!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
  • An old bike wheel (mine is a road bike wheel).
  • Clothes line x 24 ft (min), the cheap nylon-core stuff is best.
  • Cord lock x 2 (from an old jacket etc.)
  • Paracord or nylon tent cord (length as required).
  • Store trouser hanger, S-hook, carabiner (or similar*).
  • Fingers.
  • Patience.
  • Tools, if you need to remove spokes, tyre etc.
  • Clothes pegs (US: clothespins). 
* Hook needs a swivel to enable the airer to turn in the breeze (optional).

Step 2: Strip and Clean the Bike Wheel

Picture of Strip and Clean the Bike Wheel

1. Remove the tyre, inner tube, rim tape and all the spokes.
(I kept them for spares and for other projects -- like making potstands for alcohol stoves!)

2. Scrub and clean the wheel, rinse and allow to dry.

Step 3: Prepare the Clothes Line

Picture of Prepare the Clothes Line

1. Find the centre of the clothes line.
(If you can reclaim an offcut of clothes line, you will be extremely green!)

2. Make an overhand knot at the centre.

3. Choose 2 spoke holes as a starting point, it does not matter where.

Step 4: Thread and Tension the Line

Picture of Thread and Tension the Line

1. See the photo for the threading pattern (I know, it is obvious).

2. Do not pull the line too tight at first, just get it into position.

3. Now tighten the line from the centre cords to the outside, keeping both halves the same tension.
The spoke holes grip the plastic on the line and so should hold the line tight, if you need to let go. 

4. I made 12 passes, which is approx. 20 ft of line space on my wheel.

Step 5: Tie Off the Line Ends

Picture of Tie Off the Line Ends

Sore fingers yet?

Pass the line in and out through 2 more spoke holes, then tie off by working an overhand knot up to the wheel.

If you want the line really tight, you can use pliers for more grip (I did not bother).

Step 6: Suspension Lines

Picture of Suspension Lines

You can use any type of cord for this part, even leftover clothes line.

You can tie this however you like, as long as it is symmetrical and uses one continuous length of cord.
The summary points below are explained in more detail on the photograph captions.

1. Start with an overhand knot, tucked between the clothes line and the wheel.

2. Place a loop into the cord lock.

3. Pass between the wheel and clothes line again.

4. Span 10 spoke holes.

5. Repeat 1-3 in reverse for the other side.

Step 7: On the Level!

Picture of On the Level!

The reason for the continuous piece of cord and the cord locks is for levelling.
The technique works, whatever type of hook or carabiner you hang it from.

When you get the airer level, the cord locks keep it that way -- without the need for knots.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Laundry!

Picture of Enjoy Your Laundry!

Enjoy your Instructable, which saves you money, helps the planet -- and reminds you of cycling.

Why not go for a bike ride while those clothes dry?

Thank you for your interest.
Johan J Shaw's Blog
ohan J Shaw's YouTube

Step 9: UPDATE

Picture of UPDATE

I straightened 2 thick wire coathangers. I did not shorten them.

I measured to find the centre of each and bent them down about 90 degrees.
I bent the ends up about 2 inches, a little less than 90 degrees.
The ends hook through the wheel, equally spaced (8 holes between each wire).
The centres hang over an S-hook.

This is simplified - and greatly improved!
It does not turn in the breeze as much, but the stiff wire and the higher pivot point prevents tipping.
Now it also folds flat for storage!

Weight: 8 pounds approx. (full of wet laundry). No problem!


marcellahella (author)2013-05-06

such a cool idea!

louis.m (author)2013-04-12

This proves,
The simple ideas are often the best.

tukmol (author)2013-04-11


Soose (author)2013-04-11

Neat work, cool green project, well-done instructable! Makes me wonder why I never saw the drying rack in the bicycle rim before...

HelenaTroy (author)2013-04-11

great idea, and very green!

Tupulov (author)2013-04-09

Well done! A simple, space saving solution. Well done indeed!

bertus52x11 (author)2013-04-08

Why didn't I think of this? Very nice!

rimar2000 (author)2013-04-08

Very clever recycling!

tonybest (author)2015-08-04

VERY clever and a good post

alcurb (author)2015-05-22

Very clever.

marcus paskewitz (author)2015-01-11

my mom loves it really cool

uersel (author)2014-06-12

Thank you for the inspiration! Had a spare rim left and took the chance...

eblackman1 (author)2013-09-08

I'll be doing this. nice work.

snotty (author)2013-04-20

Holy hella pair of Y fronts.
5 stars just for that.

Gadisha (author)2013-04-12

I love this, have been looking for a durable alternative for those 'made in china' plastic laundry drying wheels for a while now and this is perfect!

oilitright (author)2013-04-11

I like projects for which I can identify a need that I might have someday and when they are within my ability to replicate is double good. 3D printers and arudinos being totally out of my reach.

LesB (author)2013-04-11

Nice undies

DeeRilee (author)2013-04-11


I wonder if suspended from 3 lines of equal length, instead of 4 lines, the "balancing problem" would be solved. You could use a snap-swivel, or something similar, to let it rotate.

liquidhandwash (author)2013-04-11

If only I had a wheel off a penny farthing...

anneangersbach (author)2013-04-11

wow! Why have I never thought of this?! The possibilities are endless! Make it a bit more sturdy than the clothes-hanger/thread (use wire instead) and you could use it to hang plants.
Or for balcony/garden decoration add some christmas lights on the outside (or inside). With glass-beads or old CDs... Thanks for sharing this! :) I'm so inspired right now, I gotta find me an old bike wheel. :)

Thanks! The hanger's days are numbered. I thought it would have broken by now. I will make something better to replace it. Glad you found this useful.

alisonb (author)2013-04-11

I love this. As a fellow UK'er who likes to dry washing outside it is a great way to save line space for your 'smalls'.

Are spokes easy to remove? I have dodgy arthritic fingers and thumbs so don't have much gripping strength anymore, I may have to bow down and ask the live in human monkey to do that bit for me.

JohanJShaw (author)alisonb2013-04-11

Spokes can be tough to remove, especially if corroded. I let a bit of WD40 soak in, then used a screwdriver bit on my drill and a spoke wrench. I suppose you could just cut them off, but I was trying to save them. Arthritis? Monkey help sounds good...

thematthatter (author)2013-04-08

did your underwear scare the other clothing on the wheel?

Rule #1: It's not nice to aire your dirty laundry in front of others.

i just run the leg holes on a ceiling fan blades and let them spin.
5 blades for 5 days.

then that would be centrifugal or was that centripetal force to account for the black stripes on the wall?

caitlinsdad (author)2013-04-08

Hmm, maybe keep the wheel on the bike to spin dry...

About This Instructable




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