Bike Bucket




About: Warthog-faced buffoon.

I hate to wear anything on my back while riding, but I like to bring a backpack to work to carry my Doritos and whatnot. I'd been sticking the backpack to my rack using a six-legged spider of bungee cords, which added a few minutes of fiddling to my day that I wanted to subtract.

There are lots of folks out on the interwebnets who have used buckets for hauling cargo on their bikes, but I haven't seen it done this way so I thought I'd try it: a 5-gallon bucket with a hinged plywood lid, that sits on the cargo rack. This design has good balance, resists moisture, and doesn't add much to the bike's overall width, is relatively easy to build, and uses materials that might otherwise find their way into a landfill. But the main advantage I wanted was a super-fast load/unload, and I definitely got that! 
[UPDATE: after a couple of years and a couple of bikes, I upgraded from the wooden door in the photos to a Gamma Seal lid, and suggest you do the same!]

At some point I'll mount some lighting and/or reflective stuff (including my DIY bike flasher?) to the plywood. And I do hope I can muster the gumption to seal and paint the wood bits, but we'll see.

5-gallon bucket (don't buy one - find one, they're all over the place!) 
plywood (base is about 12"x8", lid is a 12" circle)
hinge (one is okay, two would be better)
J-bolts (x4)
screws, washers

jigsaw, driver/drill, wrench.

A few notes on construction: The plywood parts are all stuck together with wood screws, and the bucket is screwed to the curved plywood pieces using wood screws with washers. J-bolts hold the base to the bike rack. A pin holds the latch shut. The thickness of the plywood shouldn't make too much difference, but I used 3/4" for the base parts and the stationary part of the lid, and 1/2" for the part of the lid that swings. Cost: the price of the bucket is probably the biggest variable, but can often be $0 if you're willing to do a little poking around - I know it's hard to believe but folks throw these away! The hardware should be under $6. Time: about an hour. 
Happy hauling!



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    4 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I like your idea as it has its uses. I would do two things. First I would paint any wood used to match the bike. Unpainted wood just doesn't stand a chance in the weather. Next it would be so much easier to use a bunch of electrical tie down to secure the bucket to the rear carrier. It would actually hold it more firmly than the pipe clamps you have used. and install with less weight and less effort.
    You might also want safety reflectors on the lid of the bucket. Still, all in all, your design is a lot better than many others.

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Howdy, jsadler!

    Thank you! I absolutely agree about paint and reflectors: both are on the "to do" list. But I'm not clear on what you mean by "electrical tie down." Would that be what I'd call a "zip-tie?"




    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I am referring to the plastic straps that are usually used to hold wiring. Many are strong enough to hold quite a bit of a load. It is so simple to zip them through holes that you drill and have them circle the frame of the bike rack. I used eight lite duty tie wraps on my bike and the rear basket has sat on top of the rear rack for over a year without issues. I put at least 35 lbs. of groceries in that basket and haul them home all the time. I probably should replace the tie wraps now as I did not buy the heavy duty ones. But the strength is remarkable and they weigh next to nothing as well.

    I think he means those long thin strips of metal with holes in it so you can throw a screw/bolt in it every 1/2" or so... if not, that is my only suggestion lol