Picture of Long John Cargo Bike
girls in box1 lightened.JPG
Bicycles are great. They make moving about much more efficient and fast than walking, without having to worry about fuel, tax, insurance, parking etc etc. But if you need to take some stuff with you it gets more difficult. Cargo bikes come in two basic types; ones where you put all the stuff behind you, and ones where you put all the stuff in front of you.
Putting stuff in front of you seems better to me. You can keep an eye on it and it seems like a more efficient use of space. Putting the cargo behind you means extending the chain and keeping things clear of the space your feet need to pedal in.

Since I mainly wanted this bike to carry my two daughters I really wanted them to be in front of me where we can talk more easily and they have a good view.
Bikes with extended front ends are commonly called "Long Johns" and although they can seem more difficult to make at first, with the need for a steering linkage and an extra headtube, it really isn't that difficult to make one.

I dont know if this is a new way to make a Long John I made it up as I went along and it removes the need to have much in the way of jigs etc. I have a lathe and a pillar drill so I made the most of them, but with a bit of imagination you could manage without and do this whole thing with just a hand drill, a hacksaw, a file and some patience.
Even if you dont want to make a Long John I hope that you enjoy reading this instructable and it gives you some inspiration to do something else in the same way that I was inspired to write my instructables by reading other peoples'.

If you do decide to build something then make sure you stay safe, be careful with tools and don't ride any kind of bike unless you know it is safe. 
BillyBodger2 months ago
Excellent project. I look at the photo and see a man i remeber teaching me to build wheels in ride uk many moons ago! Together with sheldon brown you've taught me a lot glad to see you are still involved with bikes!

Really cute!

nthomas122 years ago
Really love this design, but welding Aluminum is not something I have much experience with, so I'm keeping to the steel tubing. I like your thought process in allowing for conversion to the 2 or 3 model later on when the kids are grown up.
you are my inspiration... ^^
gsport george (author)  ktrakoontiwakorn4 years ago
Very nice of you to say so, thanks.
TSC5 years ago
Cool!!!!!!!!!! nice!!!!!!!!! 5 stars!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr.Bill5 years ago

Quite thrilling for the little passengers and good for the grocery store too.
What a good idea.
Now just have to keep haveing kids till the bike is wore out !

AH Hahahaha! Good job.

Marsh5 years ago
 Nicely done. Almost a mirror image of mine. The exact same idea in every way, only mine is made of cromoly steel.
macrumpton5 years ago
Cool bike!
 I was thinking that if you made the box more structural (adding a frame around the top edges) then you could use the box as the structural link from the pedal end to the front wheel.  The big advantage would be that you could put larger things/people that would not fit with the box divided.
gsport george (author)  macrumpton5 years ago
 I spent quite a while considering this option. It's a good idea, the only issue is with torsion. Any kind of structure that can cope with the torsional loads ends up being a real pain to make, though it does mean that the "box" can become a hammock like structure which would save a LOT of weight.

The reason for doing the big single beam through the middle rather than the usual under floor structure, was to allow the box to come off at a later date and add extra cranks and a seat and handlebars to convert this same bike into a "Child in-front Tandem". Expect an instructable follow up on this in a few years...
lemonie5 years ago
Very good - is your workshop in a cellar - it looks cool (in more than one way)?

gsport george (author)  lemonie5 years ago
 Yes the workshop is almost completely below ground level so the temperature is fairly cool but steady all year round. Probably about 10 degrees C. Usually I am fairly active down there so the cold isn't an issue. I run dehumidifiers to keep the damp under control.
Oh yea, if you're busy you don't get cold, but I like subterranean.

l8nite5 years ago
Its amazing what a father will do for his kids... I know, I've been there.... Thats a great looking bike and Im sure the girls will remember it long after they have outgrown it
gsport george (author)  l8nite5 years ago
 Yeah sure, I did it for my kids, the fact that I much prefer cycling to walking had nothing to do with it... *wink* :-)
 Great tutorial. I wish this had been around a few years ago. My husband started from scratch on making bakfiets. We now have finished 6. some used for cargo (hay bales to concrete), others for kids and groceries and one really large one to transport a full stage for a local theater company.
keep up the grand work!
gsport george (author)  little green5 years ago
 I have been very slack in getting it up, did most of the work over a year ago now. Yours look lovely.
I cant see myself making any more for a while, storing this one is a bit of an issue with no garage and I have  5 or 6 other bikes stashed about the place.