Cargo bikes, freight bikes, box bikes, or "Long Johns" once were prevalent in cities around the globe. In the early 1900s, they were a go-to vehicle for small deliveries in urban centers, being easier and cheaper to maintain than a horse or truck. As young and active men and women across America are rediscovering the bicycle as a mode of transportation, cargo bikes are rapidly becoming a popular option. Combining the go-anywhere convenience of a bicycle with a carrying capacity rivaling that of some cars, a cargo bike is a smart choice for urban commuters. Everything from grocery shopping to a trip to Ikea becomes manageable with the right bicycle. Some parents are even using them to take their kids to school.
Imgur user Ulyssanov decided that rather than purchase one of the off-the-shelf models available, he was going to build his own. This is not your everyday DIY project, but it might surprise you to know that he did it all with some simple tools and an inexpensive, entry-level welding kit.
He began with some careful planning and purchased the required materials online.
The bike took plenty of work but the results are spectacular.
Sawing the "donor" bike frame was probably the easiest part of this project.
There were several important pieces to keep, but essentially the entire front half had to go.
Several times throughout the process, Ulyssanov double-checked his work.
Simple tools like wire brushes, files, and a Dremel were all that was necessary for most of the work.
Rough cuts were made with the ubiquitous Dremel multitool...
And careful filing ensured a perfect fit.
Some joints were a little complicated, so he turned to a specialized computer program to generate a template for cutting the steel to shape.
The resulting pieces fit perfectly together.
When all of the pieces were cut just right, the welding began. Tack welds are an important first step in any welding project. They hold things together but are easy to undo if adjustments are required.
Using multiple bubble levels for accuracy, Ulyssanov carefully attached piece after piece.
The frame already looks great...
But there are many, many more welds to be made.
Eventually, the frame was complete.
The work didn't stop there, however. A bike capable of carrying heavy loads calls for heavy duty brakes, and again turning to simple tools, mounts for disc brakes (popular on high-end bicycles) were fabricated.
Very functional, they also add to the "cool" factor of this ride.
With the welds mostly complete, the craftsman began to clean up the seams, using an angle grinder to smooth out the bumpy slag.
A piece of diamond-printed sheet metal was cut to size to line the cargo bed.
Possibly the trickiest part of this project, extending the steering from the handlebar to the front wheel would require a steering arm. A wooden mockup was created, allowing minute adjustments until the perfect shape was found.
Then a sturdy, metal arm was pieced together with high-quality ball joints.
A little more welding finished the arm.
Finishing touches on the construction included a custom-built kickstand, able to support the weight of a heavy load...
As well as new cable guides and stops, for running brake and gear shift lines.
With all the construction finished, it came time to prime the finished frame.
Next came an attractive (and safely visible) paint scheme.
Every last part, even the steering arm, got a quality coat of paint.
And it truly shows in the finished product. Ulyssanov has tested it up to 150 pounds of cargo but expects it could handle more. Moreover, it looks great with its lockable cargo box...
Or with a more atypical load strapped in for a ride.
For a more detailed look into the creation of this beautiful and practical custom ride (and many, many more pictures) be sure to check out the source below.