Introduction: Mountain Bike "Pack Mule"
If your someone who enjoys biking, camping, fishing, or just being outdoors, you've likely dealt with the problem of storage. Its the problem of wanting to bike through the woods to your favorite camping destination to enjoy a relaxing day out on the lake, fishing to your heart's content... but you just don't know how to pack all your gear. Well, maybe that's an extreme example, but still, everyone likes convenient and efficient storage ideas for all their outdoor needs. In this Instructable, I will show you some of the ways I've turned my mountain bike into a pack mule for camping, fishing, and more.
Step 1: Handle Bar Basket
To make the basket, I used an ice cream tub (that way you have an excuse to buy an entire tub of ice cream for yourself).
On the front and side, I used some metal pipe straps for holding fishing poles and other gear.
On the bottom, I used a piece of PVC pipe which branches out into a "Y" shape to fit against the shaft of the front wheel. I actually cut some angles on two small pieces of PVC and attached them with cable ties and galvanized steel sheeting to make the "Y" shape, though you can probably buy a connector in that shape.
On the back, I have some "U" bolts screwed in.
If you look at the pictures, you'll notice I have some galvanized steel sheets behind the nuts on the inside. This is to ensure that the plastic doesn't tear over time. If you don't want to buy galvanized steel, washers will work just fine.
Finally, I made the basket removable by zip-tying some carabiners to the handle bar. The "U" bolts are attached using the carabiners, and the PVC simply rests against the shaft of the front wheel.
The great thing about this design is that it's cheap, and if the bike falls over and the bucket breaks, it can be replaced with another delicious tub of ice cream!
Step 2: The Trailer
This is where the word "extreme" comes to mind. I've gone and made an entire trailer for extra storage (who ever heard of a bike trailer?).
The trailer itself is made of ply wood and conduit, and held together with metal pipe straps. To decrease the weight a bit, you can make the platform out of thinner material than the 3/4 inch plywood I had available.
I was lucky enough to have some old bikes lying around that I had been stripping for parts (you'll notice the wheels are slightly different widths) so I had some wheels for my trailer.
After acquiring some wheels, all I had to do was buy a metal rod to fit the wheels, drill a hole on both ends, and make some pins to keep the tires from coming off. The rod is placed inside a piece of conduit and attached to the trailer using "U" bolts.
On top, I attached a plastic tote using screws (be sure to use washers or they'll tear through the plastic). I used zip ties in the back to work as a hinge for the lid, and was able to make it lock using some more galvanized steel and some small screws.
The key, if you'll notice, is attached to the lip of the lid with cord, and allowed to dangle inside the tote. The lid has enough flexibility for you to be able to grab the cord and pull the key out.
When all that is done, you can bungee some milk crates to the front and back. You could also bungee a small tarp over the whole trailer to make it rain-proof.
Step 3: Attachments
The trailer attachments are designed to make connection simple and frustration free. I cant recall the measurements and names of all the individual pieces, but that's something you can monkey around with yourself.
In a nutshell, I have a piece of rubber hose for flexibility and turning, some conduit attached to the bike, and pneumatic connector pieces, male and female (obviously).
The conduit is attached to the bike using more "U" bolts.
It's also a good idea to attach a cord between the bike and trailer in case the attachments fail while on the road.
Step 4: More Storage Ideas
If handle bar baskets and trailers aren't enough for you, there's also the option of attaching a milk crate to your cargo rack if you have one. I've also seen some neat ideas for storage in between the frame of the bike, and even inside the shaft that holds the seat! So have fun experimenting with various ideas. See what works for you and what you like. An extra bit of storage can mean the difference between a good trip and a bad trip.