How to create a pedal powered car

Written by elizabeth sobiski
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How to create a pedal powered car
Pedal cars are made with standard bicycle parts. (OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA image by Thunder from

Pedal cars are a green energy alternative to both cars and golf carts. These cars use a basic, lightweight frame and parts from donor bicycles. Powered by pedalling, the only distance limits are imposed by the endurance of the driver. Pedal cars can be made to carry items, so that they can be used for errands. For instance, if the dry cleaner or laundromat you use is just a few blocks away, a pedal car is great. For a trip like this it would save the wear and tear that happens to car engines when they are started multiple times a day and run for short distances without having a chance to really warm up.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pedal car frame kit, available online
  • 2 donor bikes
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Steering column
  • Steering wheel
  • Seat

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  1. 1

    Attach the seat to the frame where it will be comfortable for the primary driver. Since the bulk of the power propelling the car is from the driver, they should be able to pedal the car as easily as they can a bike.

  2. 2

    Put the wheels on the supplied axles. The rear wheels steer the car, so the front wheels are on a fixed axle.

  3. 3

    Measure from where the front wheels meet the ground to the centre of the rear axle. Mark these measurements with chalk. Next, measure about six inches away from the rear axle on these lines and make another mark. Use these marks as placement guides for the steering linkage that came with the kit. There are a variety of kits available online.

  4. 4

    Slide the steering column through the drop tube in the frame assembly. Attach the steering wheel to the column so that it is in a comfortable position. This is often a 90 degree angle.

  5. 5

    Attach the rear bicycle's sprocket to the rear axle of the car. Attach the front sprocket to the pedal car frame. The front sprocket is the one that has the pedals on it. Make sure it is in an easy to use location when the driver is sitting on the seat. Run the chain around the sprockets.

  6. 6

    Install the brake calipers to each rear wheel. Mount the brake handles near the steering wheel. Run brake cable from the calipers to the handles. The pedal car is now ready for a test ride.

Tips and warnings

  • Body panels can be added at any time, and are a good idea if the car will be pedalled on public roads.
  • Reflectors will help the pedal car to be seen in day or night.
  • If riding at night, be sure to use the appropriate lights.

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