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.
spamified882 years ago
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.
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.
Build it, Build it, Build it, Build it!
I should probably expand on the 'dangerous' comment.

Suspension front end bikes do the majority of their braking on the front wheel - as opposed to solid front end bikes. How will you stop this machine with even a half load of shopping in it?

Imagine a slight downhill incline, fine misty rain, and the Volvo wagon of death slowly turning right across your path... maybe an airbag, ejector seat, or a parachute brake could be a good inclusion!
couldn't you remove the tires on the shopping cart and install a single tire to the shopping cart? then you could also get the entire cart to articulate and it would be a regular bike only with a giant basket.
ginofultano4 years ago
Cool idea, however I wonder if cutting off the solid wheels and installing larger pneumatic tires would help with high speed stability. Harbor freight has wheels with for pretty cheap.
arpoky5 years ago
Perhaps cutting off the back wheels of the cart, making a wheel-well, and leaving the front wheel of the bike on might make it work better? It will take out a lot of room in the cart basket, and may just defeat the whole purpose of attaching the bike to the cart. I don't know, its just a thought.
clisnek arpoky4 years ago
genius.... im going to make this and when i do, im going to do what you said but make a longer fork to use with a bmx wheel which would jsut take some storage space from the under carage
mmm aint it hard to control and i think you would have to avoid shopping at asda
I built one of these about 10 years ago. Had a blast designing, scavenging, and then building it. A couple of things I did different was I cut the under carriage off the cart and used forks and front wheels from two like bikes and mounted them to the sides of the cart with muffler clamps. Then I took and hooked the front wheel mounting hooks on the fork of the bike used in this to the little bar running across the bottom of the cart basket at the back of it. It was a pretty stable ride but, as you have mentioned with yours cornering had a lot to be desired. My girlfriends youngest son loved riding it all over the neighbor hood and was always ready to head to the corner store just so he could show it off. You have done a very nice ible here too bad I didn't know of this site back then or I might have beat ya to this......LOL.
Chris D.5 years ago
I once did this after getting a flat front tire in the middle of knowhere.. all I did was use my bikes front tube to tie the front fork down and onto the bar where the front axel would sit onto the cart, then tied it down as good as I could.. I made a 10 mile ride back and got all sorts of unusual looks lol
what if you left the front bike wheel on then just cut pieces out of the shopping cart to accomodate  for the wheel.  with the cart handle through the handlebars the cart should still turn without the wheel getting caught in it. you could make some sort of cover for inside the cart to cover the wheel (older bikes had those metal protectors over the tops of the wheels) you could easily affix a wood box to fit over the wheel so you could store stuff in the cart and not get caught in the wheel. i dont think the structure of the cart would be compromised with as many places as they are welded and the strength of the metal and even more so with a plastic cart.  in that case you could probably raise the handle bars to lift the back wheels of the cart off the ground and make it even easier to turn with just the front wheels though that might make it off balance when you turn? just some thoughts. 
i also dont think it would work as well on the back of the bike unless the front wheels are off the ground because i think it would have problems turning with so many wheels having to turn.  hope these help improve it!
my bf just suggested if you didnt want to take a ton of space out of your cart you could put a smaller tire on too :)
daniel.b6 years ago
how do you turn
you can turn. the handle of the cart is on the fork allowing it to turn
dasdew26 years ago
can you ad a softer seat and motor
gitar5866 years ago
You should try and jump that.
danamos6666 years ago
the main problem with the stearing would probably be coming from the anglae of the forks, ive done this before, and with 100% vertical forks it works better, if not completely wonderful
sebberdreng6 years ago
Is it hard to ride when the front is a cart and can you turn good?
Waldie7 years ago
I can see why it would be rougher to steer than an "Army Lorry". We're trying to turn a bike, which leans to turn, into a tricycle. A trike is inherently stable - three points define a plane. The situation could be eased with some means of flexing the frame, vis-à-vis the cart - Hmmmm - cut the handlebar post past the knucle, and rejoin with an internal spring? Yes, that would work, but a simpler fix, pending finding the spring on the "discount" market, would be a cut, with a sleeve inside that the stem rolls on. We then replace the zap-straps with springs. It might help to put a dummy axle in the drop-outs, around which the springs can wrap.
zieak (author)  Waldie7 years ago
I did that - sort of. I put a threaded rod through the drop-outs and connected that to the lower part of the cart. The only problem came when the rig rolled over a rise or dip. Then cart wheels lifted off the ground because it couldn't articulate. I considered suspending the bike from chain so it could lean also.
Waldie zieak7 years ago
Yeah - I can see that that's what would happen then. The trick is to get a single point of articulation, the stem, and hten connect the forks with a spring system, so it would generally stay erect, but could lean and pivot back & forth as required. If one could eliminate the nose wheels on the cart, then one should be able to concentrate on the lateral flexion. However, that might (in extreme loads- but who are we kidding - isn't that the whole point?)put too much stress on the steerer and the handlebars. We'll have to think about this.
Gridnack5727 years ago
ya know you could leave the front tire on and just rig the cart to the BACK of the bike you would still have style AND steering .... although i'm pretty sure most of you have thought that one over but still a "cartcycle" as i would call it looks cool
rotinaj7 years ago
You could use some old rear shocks instead of zip ties.
nuentoter7 years ago
I think if you added a horizontal bar across between where the 2 rear wheels of the cart are, and placed small tires there, possibly 2 tires 2-3 inches apart, and leave the front as is. it might work a little better.
Post a video!
heathbar648 years ago
Hey cool idea! this would firmly cement my title of mad scientist. It seems like the small wheels on the cart would fall into the tiniest little chuck hole in the road. Why not install small bike wheels on the back of the shopping cart. If you, removed the front casters, the whole thing would then steer like an articulated machine. you would just have to fix the bottom of the forks more securely to make it work that way.
Berkana8 years ago
You can't steer easily because the front wheels of the shopping cart are not casters. On its own, the shopping cart steers from the back, like a boat steering with its rudder, whereas the bike steers from the front, like a car. By hitching the two together, you're not going to get a very good steering effect; the front wheels of the cart will resist your steering because they won't want to slide. My suggestion is to hack the cart so it has one set of middle-mounted casters. Get rid of the front wheels of the cart and re-weld the rear casters to the middle of the tubes they're connected to.
zieak (author)  Berkana8 years ago
This cart has casters for the front and the back are rigid. I think the head tube angle forces the rider to fight the back wheels a bit - but i'm no engineer.
Berkana zieak8 years ago
Now that I've looked at it again, it does seem that the casters are in front. Hmmm. . . The head tube angle definitely will try to tilt the cart, which will resist that. Considering the head tube problem and the rest of the factors involving steering, I'm not sure you can hack a conventional cart to a bike and get ideal steering; a hack extensive enough to make that work would probably not be worth it; better to buy a cargo towing rig or massive panniers.
frankly19708 years ago
I have been thinking this thin over (maybe a bit too much). I like the idea of somehow attaching a cart to a third element, as sort of go-between. The go-between (for a lack of a better term) could attach at the rear wheel's axle and head back to attch to the store's shopping cart. The idea is that you could ride to the store, clip the cart to the go-between portion and head home. Having said that then what? Return the cart later? Collect them in your garage? I thought it sounded smart when I started. Now I am not so sure. Also the size of those little casters and the hardness factor is a real problem. Its like a giant attempting to dance with a dwarf. Somewhere things will get funky.
frankly19708 years ago
I would probably get some good insurance before heading to Safeway for the weeks shopping. I would likely choose to fit the cart behind the bike, hacking out several of the chromed rods to allow the back tire to fit through the cage of the cart. Pulling weight would be much easier than trying to stear this thing full of beer and potatoes. It looks fun though.
zieak (author)  frankly19708 years ago
On the insurance: Check. And i definitely listed it in the not liable category. I scored another shopping cart at the dump this week and might fiddle with making it a trailer of some sort.