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HandsomeRyan 02-26-08 10:47 AM

Bike powered sweeper ideas?
I'm playing with the idea of making a bike powered "sweeper" to clear off the sticks, leaves and other debris that collects on the local MUP. I'm looking for design ideas and I know this forum is full of engineering minded bicycle enthusiasts.

Here is some of my brainstorming so far-

Sweep or Blow?
a Sweep mechanism would be more effective but requires fabricating more parts (More $$$ too)
I already have a gas powered blower I could modify so I'm leaning this direction

Trailer Mounted?
I think I can weld up a simple trailer from some scrap I have laying around.
A trailer would allow others to use the device too.

Blower Nozzle
Least ammount of bends from motor to outlet for maximum power transfer
Single outlet like stock leaf blower or "gang" outlet allowing several smaller streams of air?

How to secure blower to trailer?
How to attach trailer to bike?
Trailer size and dimensions?
Routing of tubing from blower?

If anyone has any ideas and wants to share them please do. Bonus points for MS Paint drawings or other images.


Tex_Arcana 02-26-08 01:28 PM

A blower is going to be pretty ineffective against the stuff that you really want to get off the path like broken glass and bit of metal especially at bike speeds. I tend to do the ride, see hazard, stop, use broom and go method.

The thought I had when I saw the title was some type of rotary sweeper on a junk bike that was rotated by friction with the front tire. Kinda like a human powered street sweeper.

EricJ 02-26-08 02:43 PM

Bike powered sweeper kind of implies, well, that it's powered by bike. A gas powered sweeper pulled by a bike seems like only half an idea.

How about a trailer full of brooms where you stop, pull out a broom, sweep as required, rinse, repeat? Not as interesting, but it would get the job done, probably just as fast if you factor in the development time of a mechanized sweeper of some kind. I liked your shovel holder, and the subsequent job you did on the trail. Outstanding community service, Ryan.


wahoonc 02-26-08 03:22 PM

I think you could rework something like one of the yard sweepers to work. I am not a fan of anything that makes noise ie; leaf blowers. BTW what are you trying to clear off the path? leaves, cut grass, large sticks, logs? Here is a website with a few different models listed. I would try my local AgriSupply place and see what they have for ideas. IIRC Sears may sell them too.


HandsomeRyan 02-26-08 03:41 PM

The problem with just using a manual broom is that the trail I'd like to sweep is literally several miles long. To sweep it once by hand would be great but to build a device to sweep it regularly would be even better.

The device does not have to be effective at full bike speed (10+mph), but needs to be faster than doing it by hand. I'd LOVE to get one of these:

but they cost too much for me to justify the purchase of one. I don't see the city buying one for me to use to clear their trail either.

Using pedal power to operate a sweeper is a great idea but you'd need stronger legs than me if the pedals power the foward motion AND the sweeper. A gas motor would add about 35lbs, but on a trailer that shouldn't be unmanageable. (Lots of hills around here)

I'm working on a temporary solution (similar to the shovel rack but for brooms/dustpan) to clear the worst part of the trail that runs next to a road. Lots of glass, trash, and various car parts along that section. But I'd still love to build a real sweeper for regular cleanup too.

Thanks for the ideas.

StephenH 02-26-08 07:09 PM

I'd suggest mounting a dozen or more gas leaf blowers on your bike pointing backwards. You could then clear the trail and wouldn't even need to pedal.

Allen 02-26-08 07:35 PM


santiago 02-27-08 08:52 PM

Here's a pedal powered snowplow that can give you some ideas:

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