How To Build A Shopping Cart Bike

Instructables user Zieak has built the ultimate shopping bike. Trouble is, it doesn’t really corner that well. Maybe you can help him improve it?

Either way, this thing is awesome and we want one. Imagine the faces of the children as we shop in the fast lane.

Cart Bike [Instructables]


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  1. LiC says:

    You need to check out the Netherlands. They have the most awesome bikes there with things like wheelbarrows in the front where they pile their children, 2 or 3 of them, while they tear down the narrow alleys and busy streets.

  2. Kenton Davis says:

    wow… Accident waiting to happen.

  3. Pelagius says:

    How to improve it? Lose the shopping cart and put the front wheel back on. Get some panniers. Yeesh.

  4. Is it detachable? You have to be able to take the cart into the grocery store, right?

  5. Cowboys_fan says:

    My friend built a trailer-like gizmo on the back of his bike. It looks hilarious, and people laugh at him, but it works. He bought a bar and worked on the inside alone for 2 years. He used it to carry drywall, 2*4’s, etc. Quite ingenius.

  6. MeOhMy says:

    What ever happened to just lashing a milk-crate to the handlebars? It also negatively affected steering, but it was workable enough that we survived our paper routes during our middle school days.

  7. Maulleigh says:

    Where are you going to get one? Steal it? Those things aren’t cheap and it drives me nuts when I see them around.

    I saw it all the time in CA. People would overshop and have no way to get all the groceries home so they’d just push the cart all the way home and abandon it in the bushes.

  8. JMH says:

    I would shoot myself before riding that thing.

    (If nothing else, it’d be less painful than the accident I would certainly have.)

  9. jamesdenver says:

    Check out []

    Their stuff is stylish, useful, and safe. I’d go with them before attempting to build one on my own.

    I’m a big advocate of cycling for utility and practical reasons. I have a couple “grocery panniers” that work just fine and hold a sufficient amount – and I usually have my Timbuk2 messenger bag for quick trips, which actually holds quite a bit as well.


  10. gibsonic says:

    you would have to

    – pay for a shopping cart (expenseive)
    – steal one from a store (risky and illegal)
    – steal one from a homeless guy who stole it from a store (you’re a winner! ok not really)

  11. Cowboys_fan says:

    @Maulleigh: Its a huge PITA to bring it all the way back :p I almost always return mine

  12. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    I agree with the naysayers. The last thing that you want to sacrifice in an urban environment is maneuverability; I would imagine that if the gent in the picture above rode for very long, the next picture would be of him lying in the road with his brains on the asphalt because he hit a tiny pothole that a regular bike would have just sailed over.

    Any decent bike store has trailers that will carry nearly as much as a grocery basket; some of them will also carry kids. Get rear panniers or baskets. Get a front basket if the rear ones aren’t big enough, but don’t put too much in it, because you don’t want to have to move heavy groceries along with your front wheel if you have to swerve suddenly. (Touring cyclists have front panniers, but they’re usually riding on long stretches of open road at low speeds.)

  13. jmschn says:

    haah everyone is so analytical about an article that is supposed to be light and comical…

  14. says:

    @jmschn: agreed, I just had a good laugh and felt inspired to continue my own search for a bicycle with cargo capacity :)

  15. @jamesdenver: The cart thingy on the bike at the bottom looks cool.

    What ever happened to just lashing a milk-crate to the handlebars?
    @Troy F.: That’d be kinda small for groceries, wouldn’t it?

    Where are you going to get one? Steal it?
    @Maulleigh: I bought a cart for under $30. Granted, it wasn’t literally a grocery cart (wrong shape) but it holds plenty of food and even fits on the bus. Useful and worth it considering the alternative of trying to carry a bunch of plastic bags home.

  16. wring says:

    @Maulleigh: I live next to a Savemart so I see them everywhere. Sometimes I’m tempted to bring home one myself. But that’s just ghetto.

  17. says:


  18. spinachdip says:

    It’s a nice try, but considering safety and convenience, I’d rather get an oversized messenger bag or get an old bag from eBay.

    A proper messenger bag (i.e. not the more fashionable glorified brief cases with shoulder straps) is going to be way more stable than a shopping cart since it’s centered and attached to your body, and a regular bike is hell of a lot easier to lock than a modified one.

  19. Sudonum says:

    Does anyone remember skateboards before urethane wheels? Isn’t a shopping cart wheel kind of like that? Otherwise I thought it was hilarious, kind of like the semi truck of bikes.

  20. quantum-shaman says:

    @Maulleigh: Those people should be thoroughly whipped and I am just the one to do it.

  21. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    @jmschn: Hmmm… not really, no. Unless this guy is only going to ride this thing in a parade that goes 3 mph in a straight line, it’s a really, really bad idea.

  22. Consumer-X says:

    OK first thing you do is steal a shopping cart. But why stop there? Why not fill the shopping cart with groceries and steal them at the same time.

  23. shades_of_blue says:

    Converting the front fork into a cart has to be pure suicide; I’d imagine that one pebble could cause that thing to flip. Ever push a tool chest and get something stuck in the front wheel? First thing it wants to do it tip the direction you’re rolling. I fail to see why a bike doing 30mph would be any different.

    Instead, he should have made a trailer hitch for the back, can’t be much harder to make than his chopping cart front fork. Then make a single axle trailer, or cruise around local yard sales for an old toy wagon.

  24. CliveDobbs says:

    Considering this douche-nozzle is riding his Franken-bike in flip-flops, I don’t think safety and stability are really his primary drivers…

  25. jmschn says:

    @King of the Wild Frontier: he’s an adult, let him do as he sees fit..i think this article is hilarious! If he gets hurt, it’s his fault…he can’t help it if others are easily impressionable and try to imitiate him.

  26. malatron says:

    holy sh*t!! I just picked up one of those ubiquitous shopping carts that all left out and about in every town. And last night I was laying in bed thinking to myself, “hmm…how could I attach this to my bike?”

    This is a sign from the heavens! Thanks Meg!!

  27. avantartist says:

    everyone’s a little intense with their bicycle safety pointers. i think it’s fun/funny and cleaver. a few mods to the design and you’d be surprised how many bike couriers would line up for one.

  28. FYI – the fellow in the pic is my friend Tim. We were not really planning on making a bike/cart but the raw materials were available and the inspiration (beer) struck me.

    And the next day i was salvaging at the landfill (just their metal and wood – the household trash is baled and shipped to Seattle) and scored another shopping cart – i’ll see about making that one into a trailer.

    About all the negativity – not really surprised. Lighten up! It is healthier!

  29. I think I could fix it, but as mentioned, it would still be a bitch to park or take into stores. This would only really be useful for some reality show where people had to speed through stores and fill up their baskets. Or maybe making puppy deliveries (newspapers are delivered by truck in my neighborhood).

  30. cypherpunks says:

    Trikes can’t handle as well as bikes, fundamentally. Bike dynamics rely on the body of the bike rotating as you turn, and that, in turn, feeding back into how the bike steers. Fancy trikes actually let the body and single wheel pivot.

  31. David Millar says:

    I can think of a logical way of improving maneuverability, but it would require rebuilding from scratch.

    Basically instead the cart would have to be on the back end, and in addition to steering with the front wheel, you would need to rig the petals to use the front wheel, almost in the manner that one would pedal a unicycle – no gears and chains, just straight pedals.

    Best of luck!