Introduction: Cart Bike

Picture of Cart Bike

Combine a derelict shopping cart with a bicycle for a ride with ample cargo capacity. This is a nice way to save a shopping cart and a bike that might otherwise end up in a landfill. It is quite the head turner but not a good corner turner.

Any mention of this project must provide a link to with credit to Ryan McFarland.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

You will need:

A bicycle
Shopping cart
Socket set
Hex key set
Dremel tool
Utility knife
Zip ties

A note on shopping carts: Please don't steal them. This one happened to be floating around our downtown area for over a week before I grabbed it. The bicycle is almost ten years old and still works fine but I just bought the bike shop in town so suddenly have access to plenty of cycling materials.

Step 2: Remove the Handlebars and Shopping Cart Handle

Picture of Remove the Handlebars and Shopping Cart Handle

Use the allen key set (probably number 6) to loosen the stem bolts on the bicycle. Use the socket set to remove the shopping cart handle. Ideally the diameter of the cart handle is close to the handlebar center. As you can see i was able to just bolt the handle right in as a replacement. Remove the front wheel. You also can remove the front brake.

Step 3: Install the Brakes

Picture of Install the Brakes

In order to attach the brake i had to cut off the plastic handle. I used a rotary tool to cut a line down to the metal and then used a chisel and utility knife to peel back and cut off the plastic handle. I then used a screwdriver to slightly pry open the brake lever and gear shifter enough to slide it on. I also slid the handle grip on since the end had already been cut off for the bar ends.

Step 4: Stabilize the Forks

Picture of Stabilize the Forks

The bike needs to articulate a little for the irregularities in the road. Leaving the forks hanging free makes the bike prone to leaning over when you turn. Just using a few zip ties to connect each fork to the shopping cart frame helps stabilize the bike and prevents it from falling over. I would like to find a more permanent solution. It needs to allow the fork to swing forward and back but prevent too much side to side sway.

Step 5: Test Ride

Picture of Test Ride

The front brake lever won't be useful unless the shifter is attached to it. I will modify the left handlebar for the shifter when i find one without a brake lever attached.

On test rides it does not corner well. Steering is very wide turns and sometimes the cart teeters on two of the wheels on one side. I'll definitely be playing around with the details. This will make a great rig to make trips to the post office for the bike shop. The cart bike will be a great addition to our town parades.

Please note that this is not the first cart bike. See some of my inspiration here and here.


JacobK41 made it! (author)2016-05-26

I tried putting a diy camper in the front

ErickC4 (author)JacobK412017-11-21


glinuxlab (author)2017-09-24


Gavbpr01 (author)2017-06-29

You can use the springs from an old washer!

silm (author)2017-04-22

very funny unique cart bike idea

undanganpernikahan (author)2017-01-05

Well, I need to roaming downtown area first, to find abandoned shopping carts.

pattiemelt (author)2016-07-07

Good idea, but using stolen parts is not a good idea. Even if you 'find' a shopping cart, the vast majority of them have identifying labels (i.e. handle wrap & seat flap) so they can be returned to the store. Using them is the same as stealing them off the lot yourself.

JacobK41 (author)2016-05-26

I built one a few years back, but i didn't secure the front forks. I ended up face first in a shopping cart haha

Frankie Pintado (author)2016-05-06

It should be a fixed gear.

eitaknella18 (author)2016-03-29

LOL! Great Idea!

mdbuckley (author)2015-12-19

I love the idea, but I'd only recommend this build if you like skin grafts and cincussion. The handlebars and are not designed to take the wight the front wheel carries. If the the forks were solidly connected to the shopping trolley it would be great

buck2217 (author)2015-07-01

First corner----------------------- disaster!

DANKL1 (author)2015-03-26

Put some shoes on you're scaring me XD

Msfan59 (author)2015-03-24

I think that if I were to make this I would modify the wheels to be a little bit larger like wheel barrow wheels that air up to help on the pot holes and the ease of movement. But other than that this is an AWESOME idea.

aattura1 (author)2015-03-24

Big Bad Baby Twinkle
<-- sez "This is a GREAT Kat Fud Transporter!"

YaënD (author)2015-03-24

I have to do this to go shopping with my son Bat-Boy

araiza444 (author)2015-03-09

It seems to me that finding a cart that is not broke would be the toughest part of this build : ) I would totally go shopping with this thing...

smartmiltoys (author)2015-02-23

Great bike for family!

I love it!))

Doctor-X17 (author)2015-01-02

I laughed pretty hard when I saw this XD but if you need to transport things, I'm sure this does the trick!

I'm curious, how is the ride with this? Is it smooth, or really bumpy since the cart has hard wheels?

A suggestion: You might get a better turning experience if you get a cart with free-turning wheels in the back, like at Ikea. I love those carts, they can go any direction, including sideways!

Oh, I love your furry assistant. I know my kitty is always very helpful :P

davidbarcomb (author)2014-11-28

Nice idea, wouldn't suit me though

jsfinley (author)2014-08-24

Funny, my friends and I actually built something like this. Instead of mounting at the handles, we fixed the forks onto the bottom rod of the cart, and welded the two together. For the handles, we really just took them off, and use the shopping cart handles to steer.

jsfinley (author)jsfinley2014-08-24

Oh, the picture is before the handle removal

dA SQuiD (author)2014-05-14

so why would you make this reg bike is better

Glockenator (author)2009-12-09

fat cat( or is he just fluffy?)

astral_mage (author)Glockenator2014-01-24

the cat is thinking. hmm minion i need u to fill my dishes now!!!!!!

zieak (author)Glockenator2009-12-09


Glockenator (author)zieak2010-02-26

Just like my dog

Chowmix12 (author)Glockenator2010-06-20

same here.. the <<< the pic is deceiving...

cdncycler (author)2012-11-02

I don't think this would be good in my area with snow..

Chloe8 (author)cdncycler2013-06-26

same here...

acf99oc (author)2013-05-22

Thanks for the idea. My cart had a bar above the rack on the bottom. It was the right size that the forks could hook onto it. I kept the handlebars and strapped them to the handle. I also tied the forks to the cart at all different places. The forks being hooked on the cart makes for very easy turns.

mrcurlywhirly (author)2011-05-08

I love your ingenuity but would not touch this design, looks pretty dangerous to me.
Seems to me you are comprimising the ridability of the bike and your safety by using the shopping trolley on the front end. If the basket is what you want then wouldn't it be safer to hack the unroadworthy trolley wheels and frame off, get a short axle and put some bicycle wheels (or lightweight bigger diameter wheels) onto the basket, then fashion a tube hitch and use it as a bicycle trailer?
Probem with this design is that shopping trolleys are relatively heavy, and only designed for short trips on smoothish surfaces. For anything to do with bikes you want something as lightweight as possible.

bo88y (author)mrcurlywhirly2011-05-09

The smaller diameter of the shipping cart's wheels make this unit unable to roll over any obstacle higher than about 1-1/2 to 2 inches. A temporary roadwork trench could send the rider end over end.
Years ago, when people still returned shopping carts back to the front of the store, I was doing just that, and because I was in a hurry, I was moving at a pretty good trot, and I hit a nicely cut little trench cut into the pavement of the parking lot, filled with asphalt to a couple of inches below the rest of the pavement. The handle of the cart got rammed back into my stomach, pinning my hands to my stomach, and I went head first into the cart as it went end over end with me in it.
Having entertained my friends during my misspent youth by taking head-first tumbles down staircases and walking away as if nothing happened, I was well prepared for the shopping-cart mishap, and didn't get hurt, but for those without specialized skills for rolling around on pavement, this sort of thing could be painful, especially with the higher speed of a bicycle.
This bike requires more alertness to conditions than most, and while it might be OK for short trips, ti wouldn't be good for commuting. Safety-wise, this project has "Don't try this at home" written all over it. But other-wise, it shows some great, um, imagination.

cubesquaredtothe1 (author)bo88y2011-06-20

So is there some special class you have to take to learn how to roll on pavement or do you just learn on your own? Because I think I can join you in knowing how to roll on pavement, I've fallen a lot too.

I love the look of this project, but was going to mention the safety if it was not already said. The ingenuity is great.

@cubesquaredtothe1 there are classes, but I think a lot of people just learn. I took a couple Aikido classes a while back, and am comfortable with my ability to roll on pavement from a standing position.

Thanks, because my knowledge of rolling on pavement is limited to personal experience and I was kind of confused on the topic.

joshua5000 (author)mrcurlywhirly2012-09-30

Build it, Build it, Build it, Build it!

spamified88 (author)2012-11-21

From what I can gather, to increase stability while steering the fork would have to be vertical so that the shopping cart would remain on the ground throughout the turn. This could be addressed by using a larger rear tire and a smaller front tire. Granted, that could pose potential problems with the pedals contacting the ground. The only vertical forked bikes I've seen are portable bikes, which would result in even more strange looks from passersby.

Mr. Chunks (author)2012-11-21

junior jus is my farv

papercrafter408 (author)2012-09-04

thats the best idea EVER!

The Ideanator (author)2012-09-02

How does it like potholes?

zieak (author)The Ideanator2012-09-02

It does not like potholes - not at all!

Megiepoo (author)2012-09-02

Oh my gosh. I will make one and drive my friends around town! Genius.

Ali8bongo (author)2012-08-08

Have you tried walking round the store with it yet?

lastgudguyleft (author)2012-04-13

Very cool idea. Maybe if you flip the handlebar stem upside down it would fix the cornering issue.

Speakup (author)2012-03-05

Dude! That pic just kills me.

You could put just a single larger wheel under the cart, maybe like from a wheel barrow with bolt on brackets.

Cool idea.

builtbyben98 (author)2012-03-02

this is awesome but i have one idea.

on many shopping carts the wheels are real cheap and squeak a lot. maybe theirs a way to upgrade the wheels with some sort of small bike or training wheel

susanchen2011 (author)2012-03-01

It is convenient.

Alberta Leong (author)2012-02-26

wott! what a brilliant idea!! haha

mr.a.rice (author)2012-02-08

good idea,how about a folding granny cart?i have spare front 26in wheel want to explore tricycle option.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!
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