Bike Bucket DIY

Several folks have asked about how to make bike buckets, and as luck would have it I've had occasion to make another pair, so here are the step-by-step photos I didn't get last time.
This project has got to be the easiest DIY project ever ~seriously, my dog could do it if he had thumbs. Basically, you slap a couple hooks on a reclaimed plastic bucket and go. It is quite nearly impossible to mess up, and I bet they would work even if you did, but you asked for specific instructions, and you shall have them.

In addition to being easy, Bike Buckets are also the ultimate commuting tool: perfect for carrying clothes, groceries ~almost anything. Here, at last, is a way to pick up berries, bananas, and yogurt on your bike, and not have an accidental smoothie when you arrive home!

The hardware for my pair of buckets cost me about $10 (this included packages of nuts and bolts that have left me with an ample surplus for other projects). The buckets themselves may cost you a couple bucks as well, depending on where you get them, however, given that a "pre-fab" pair from a bike shop will set you back about $50, it is well worth the $10 to make your own.

For each pair you will need:
2 buckets (check your local food co-op or restaurant for cast-offs)
4 coat hooks or utility hooks
2 “S” hooks
bungee cords, or other other elastic devices
nuts, bolts, and washers

A drill makes fast work of the project, but you can easily work around it's absence if you don't have one. Likewise, a utility knife and measuring device of some sort come in handy. The buckets are available from almost any co-op, restaurant or other food-service outfit (they are used for bulk peanut butter, tahinni, honey, etc.); you can also use kitty litter buckets, as I did.

Hold the bucket against the rack on your bike (you will need to have some kind of rack on your bike to carry buckets) There is really no right or wrong placement, just a matter of personal preference. Mark your chosen location for the hooks on the bucket with a sharpie pen.

In my case, I wanted the bucket lids to rest just above the edge of my rack, getting things to line up the way I wanted them to required cutting a couple of notches in one of the ridges circling the bucket: this is where the utility knife comes in! This photo shows the notches cut and hooks installed.

Making the second bucket goes quick: line up the two buckets and use the holes you have drilled in the first bucket as a template for drilling the holes on the second.

Don't forget to attach the washers and nuts inside --that's important! Here you see the bolts nutted and the knots knotted. If you plan to load down the buckets with text books, tools, buckets of paint, etc. you may want to reinforce the bucket by putting in a metal plate (the hardware store will have pre-drilled plates)

Now you need to attach the elastic strap and hook that will keep your buckets from bouncing off. It's so simple: pop a couple of small holes or slits in the bucket, thread a bungee cord or inner tube through, add an "S" hook, and your good to go. I got fancy and put the holes under the "lip" of the bucket, but don't stress out, you can put 'em just about anywhere. I also went all-out by installing a horizontal strap, just like they put on the official bike shop bike buckets, that the "S" hook strap passes under before attaching to the rack. It reduces "wiggling", especially with heavier loads, and generally keep things more secure, but is not essential.

The "S" hook strap, on the other hand, is essential: it hooks to the bottom of your bike's rack and keeps the buckets from bouncing off. Having threaded the inner tubes (or whatever you are using) through the holes in the bucket, tie them off (If you feel uncertain about how long to make your stretchy straps, leave yourself some slack behind the knots, so you can make adjustments later if need be), hook the "S" hooks onto the strap and use a wrench to tighten it on a bit. easy-peasy. Looks something like this when your done.


Sprocket Smoothies, and local politico Sam Adams, whiped up cycling excitment and over 100 organic fruit smoothies at Portland's Bike to Work day in Pioneer Square. They say that behind every great man is a great woman, in this case that me at the back of the bike. The photo was taken by the brillient and talented Jonathan Maus, who has a great write up on this event on his blog BikePortland