Several years ago I saw a bike that a friend had built and realized that I wanted one just like it.  Like me he has small children and when I saw him ride up on his bike, carrying his daughters in the cargo box, I knew I needed one.  I had recently moved from the country back into the city and wanted to use my car less and my bike more.  Unfortunately my bike was limited to one bag of groceries or my small dog, but not both.  This cargo bike that I wanted to build would be able to carry everything I wanted and still be fun to ride.

     This would be my first bike project, and the first welding I would be doing ever.  I started out with the all important research.  I spent time online looking for resources.  Pictures of bikes from the Netherlands where these are common became an inspiration.  I wanted something old looking but at my friends recommendation knew that I would need gears.  I found Tom's Cargo Bikes website and used his basic outline to build my own.

     Now lets get started!

Note:  When I made this bike I did not take nearly enough pictures so I have added some when the bike was finished.  

Step 1: Gather your parts bikes

     First step is to gather your parts bikes.  The final bike is made up of one adult bike and one kids bike with 16 inch wheels.  I found the adult bike abandoned near my house.  The tires were flat, seat stolen and begging for a new home.  It was a girls Schwinn mountain bike like those readily available from Target or Kmart.   I wanted a womans bike so that it had the lower top bar to make it easier to get on and off.  The main thing with this part is to get the best bike you can so that along with all the custom work you do you are not repairing regular bike parts.  You also want a steel bike so you can easily weld on it.  Aluminum will work too but you need more welding skill then I have to work with it.    If I were to make another one of these I would spend the extra money and get one with a rear disk brake.  Stopping a fully loaded cargo bike is no small task for standard brakes.

     The kids bike was found on Craigslist for $15.  It was an inexpensive boys bike made of steel.  Since you only use the front wheel and steering tube most bikes will do.  I avoided bikes with front suspension because on these small kids bikes it's not worth the weight.  I also made sure the bike had a rear coaster brake so I could use the sprocket for my cable steering.

     In addition to the two bikes you will need steel tubing in various sizes.  Some hardware from a hardware store and time.  My finished bike is 7'11" from end to end so your raw material measurements may be different depending on your finished length.

Parts List:
1 Adult donor bike
1 Kids donor bike with 16 inch wheels.

Steel Tubing"
2 ~5 foot lengths of 3/4" tubing.
~5 feet 1/2" tubing for the basket frame and kickstand.
~2 feet for kickstand tube
~5 feet for middle frame.
~2 feet for steering tube extension.
~2 feet for steering shaft extension.
~4 feet bar stock for basket support.  1/2" wide.
~2 feet bar stock for kickstand, approximately 2" wide.

Lengths are estimates.  Your's will be different depending on your chosen length, donor bikes, etc.

Steering components:
4 pulleys from the hardware store.
~6 feet of stainless steel airline cable.
8 ferrules to fit the airline cable.  5/16ths I think but buy the thickest that will go through your pulleys and the bike chain.
2 eye-eye turnbuckles.
Length of bike chain from kids donor bike.
2 sprockets from wheels with coaster brakes.

Basket materials?  Wood, plastic, old street sign.  Whatever you want to work with.
Screen door spring for the kickstand.

<p>You mention your intention to use disc brakes next time. I'd consider staying with well adjusted calipers over discs. At the end of the day, all bike brakes are disc brakes, calipers are just on a much larger disc.</p>
<p>Using disc brakes would free up space for fenders. That's why there is no brake on the front of this bike, the fender was too large for the old brakes. I could upgrade the front fork to larger calipers but I just don't see tearing it apart again to do that. Also I now have a kids bike with disc brakes for my next one.</p>
<p>Nice Job...</p>
It's aluminium not aluminum
Like your bike....:) Just like &quot;jerndal&quot; said, Its quite similar to the Danish Long John bike. If I was not living on a mountaintop, I would definately made myself a bike like yours..! <br> Thanks for sharing...! <br> <br> Kjetil
I love it! I made a similar one but used a lever arm for the steering which works just fine but yours is a really neat out of the box approach. How did you convince mommy to let the little princess ride in it? My wife has made it clear it's a big NO. :) <br> <br>You got my vote!
Mommy and Daddy are divorced so I did not consult her on this. After the fact she has no objection that I have heard. I don't think its any less safe than her riding her own bike and falling. <br>Thanks!
I got 2 things, <br>1) the cable-steering kinda irks me a bit, but I'm kinda back-seat engineering here so I'll trust your judgement more than mine. I would've just been worried about breakage and just stretching/play on the cables letting them pop off the sprockets. <br>[EDIT: ok, just reread the 'Finished' section about the cables...] <br>2) It wasn't really explicitly stated, but the kickstand &quot;closes/disengages&quot; when the bike moves forward, right? ...like a center stand on motorcycles. I think it would've been worth mentioning because it's a safety feature of if they accidentally come down while you're moving, that they don't dig into the ground and engage.
Oh I did worry about breakage and stretching for a long time but after running with it almost 3 years trouble free I am more confident in it. If the turnbuckles got loose the chain could drop off, otherwise it keeps the tension high enough that they won't come off. Another design I saw recently eliminated the turnbuckles and steering shaft sprocket in favor of two eye bolts. These just went through the small piece of fork at the bottom and you adjusted them to change the tension. Simple, cheap, trouble free. There is always room to improve something but if the need to improve it is not there it will sit on the back burner a long time.<br> The kickstands rest position is up under the basket. That's what the spring takes care of. It does indeed work like a motorcycle center stand and if it did fall while riding it would just drag and make a lot of noise. Engaging it involves putting one foot on the bottom foot and pulling the whole bike back onto it. If its flat the front wheel will then be off the ground.<br> Thanks for checking it out and I hope you voted for me.
Ready in my &quot;ToDo&quot; list.Thanks for share.!!
Great steering idea. With my long wheel base recumbents I geared the steering ratio up so it feels like a normal bike to ride. Very simple to do with your steering set up. <br>Using chains for steering on boats they have a chain guide, a plate above and below the sprocket so if you go over a bump the chain can not come off. Could be appropriate.Fantastic job. Thanks for showing your bike.Congratulations on a job very well done.
Thanks, I remember looking a boat steering before I made this. A google search of cable steering returned that. Tom's bikes made one after he saw mine and made some improvements.
Sweet ride! I need to make one of these too - kid carrier all the way! I think I have a bonus to add to your steering, ooooooh! - I'll post my build when I get to it, after Kinetics... and um, could you change your name from random 23 so I can know I know you before I get to the comments? ha ha ha.... I guess I'll know from now on, eh?
Ha! Can't wait to see what you make and where you will put the flame effects.
I think that the steering solution is GENIUS! I only have time to take on 3 or 4 projects a year and I am adding this to the list for this year. Superb instructable! <br>
Thanks, I look forward to seeing the results. Check out Tom's bike flickr section. He built one with cable steering after he saw mine and made some improvements that I really like.
Great-looking Bakfietsen! Love the steering gear especially. <br>How does it handle? To my eye the rake angle of the fork looks rather steep.
Thank, it handles quite well actually. I just eyeballed the whole thing and got lucky.
When you eyeball and it works it's called &quot;skills&quot; not luck!
Cool bike. Pound for pound, more useful than a car.
Definitly more useful.
Nice bike.. <br>In Denmark its called a LongJohn, in the old days it was used to deliver goods from the grocery stoor. <br>Its still made in Denmark, wen living in Cobenhagen I used to have one, we used for everyday transport, Picknicks taking the dog to the park, and many other things.. <br>Look at this google search: <br>https://www.google.com/search?q=long+john&amp;safe=off&amp;tbm=isch&amp;tbo=u&amp;source=univ&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=cMVhUcm1GMfm4QScuYCQBw&amp;ved=0CFcQsAQ&amp;biw=1920&amp;bih=1137 <br> <br>Regards Jes
very nice project !! <br> I read that weld steel. can you tell me more about the welding that you used?
I use a 440 volt Lincoln mig welder. I don't remember the gas mixture. Pretty overkill for my projects but a really nice rig.
Do you have any problems when approaching a blind intersection? Or have you found people step out in front because they think you're further back than it seems?
People stop to look and I assert my right to ride in the street so traffic has never been an issue. I also choose the most bike friendly route.
NIce Job, good instructions. I wonder if the turnbuckles should be seized up with monel or stainless wire, just in case they decide to start unscrewing at an awkward moment. It can't have happened yet anyway!
Thanks and it has not happened yet. With tension on them they don't loosen at all. For the first few months I inspected it before each use, a steering failure at speed could be painfull.
I love this! wish I had the space to take on a project like this, I wonder if there is an instructable on how to get my wife to build me a garage... nice work!
I feel you man. I am lucky enough to have a great shop at work but my small home has no garage for projects.
The steering solution is genius! Nice bike
Thank you, it works really well.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an engineer in the automation industry by trade but really like to make things on the side. My interests flit around to cover ... More »
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