Now that the surprise Christmas gift has been given, we can finally share the details of Keith Devries’ cool maker project! Read his story from inspiration to how it all came together (with the help of the Decatur Makers community) below:
— By Keith Devries
I’ve been working on this cargo bike for the last few months at Decatur Makers. It’s modeled after the Dutch ‘bakfietsen’ (bucket bikes). Nearly every Dutch mother has one and uses it to bring their kids to school. When my little sister announced that I was going to be an uncle, I decided to make one for her and her [Dutch] husband.
I’ve never really worked on a bike, let alone hack one, but I figured there was enough combined expertise at Decatur Makers to at least tackle it. I started with two steel framed bikes, one 26″ and one 20″. I stripped them of their components and disassembled/cut off any parts I didn’t need. I mounted them in a jig to keep the whole thing straight and square and then set to welding the frame in the middle.
That’s where I got the most help; Russell Faire set up a welding night and we used my bike as the project. He and some others showed me some tips and tricks and over the next few weeks I finished up the welding.
I sanded it up with my angle grinder and painted it with automotive paint. The kickstand is made with some spring loaded gate hinges. The bucket is wood, bolted to the frame. I’ve installed a harness from a kid’s carseat so when my young nephew grows up he can sit on the bench. I laser etched a custom emblem for the front steering column and wired a headlight to mount on the front.
It was a really fun build and I’m looking forward to building a Version 2.0 for my future kids some day.