Firefly Workshop’s pedal-powered snow plow

Bikes Energy & Sustainability Fun & Games
Firefly Workshop’s pedal-powered snow plow

We featured the meticulously-organized workshop that Milwaukeean Cindy Smith shares with her husband, Craig, back in March. Craig saw our recent human-powered lifting devices post and wrote in to share with us the custom snow-plow-tricycle he built for removing light snowfall from his driveway:

The custom 3-wheel bike with sidecar was made years ago, a replica of a bike my childhood friend had. Last winter I added a snow plow accessory. Up to 1 inch of snow doesn’t make it worthwhile to fire up my big 8HP snowthrower. And shoveling my 90′ long driveway by hand can be too much. So my bike plow makes it easy to make a few runs up and down the driveway to make 2 or 3 piles that can then be easily hand shoveled off to the side. A lever pulls up or lets down the plow with a rope and pulley. Pulling the lever all the way back cantilevers the rope and pivot point so it locks in place. The plow blade is hinged with a bungee cord, so hitting a discrepancy in the road allows the blade to flop and give like a real plow. The bike can turn on a dime so raising the plow and returning up the adjacent path is quick and easy. I can do ‘reverse’ by pushing down on the front wheel with my foot to roll it backwards.Totally useless with larger snow falls, but the light ones make snow removal fun. (yes, my neighbors do think I’m odd)

[Thanks, Craig!]


6 thoughts on “Firefly Workshop’s pedal-powered snow plow

  1. volkemon says:

    Easy to improve on something once someone shows you how its done, I know :)

    Unless over-the-road use is still desired by the plow, couldnt one get a reverse by simply locking the gear cluster on the back wheel? Then the direction you pedal determines the direction of travel.

    You could still have gear changing abilities, and possibly a jackshaft arrangement to allow for a ‘posi’ rear drive.

    Nice build !

    1. craig says:

      The bike is a standard 10spd mountain bike with a steering wheel. One brake lever on the wheel, the second down on the frame. The ‘stick shift’ lever up front is for the rear deraileur which is the most used. Low gears 1-5 are what this beast needs because of the bulk, weight and efficiency. Front deraileur stick on the stem. The sidecar frame has 3 horizontal bars to it, welded with a rear cargo frame. I can connect my car utility trailer to it to move it around, even the 4 wheel garden cart. As kids we hauled an outboard, tackle boxes and poles to our boat on the flowage on a bike like this. My friend as a kid had a fuel oil burner on the side car as a hand warmer in winter.

  2. neal says:

    This makes me wish I had enough of a driveway to use this as a “learn to weld” project. Personally, I think your neighbors are the wierd ones!

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan