Bicycle Snow Plow

BikePlow

It took about 10-15 hrs to build my second snow plow. The first one plowed very well in light snow less than a few inches deep but rode up over snow when deep or packed. This new plow digs in as it is more pointed as well as being longer so it doesn’t fishtail nearly as much. Because it is longer, the v-plow is better able to widen a plowed section compared to my older plow.

Trial run. The bike pulled the plow quite easy in snow 2-3” deep with a single speed cruiser bike except in compacted foot deep snow from the last storm about a week ago. Because the plow is hitched to the bike via 2X2s, I used a piece of nylon rope to connect a 2X2 bolted to the bike and another 2X2 bolted to the plow. This allowed me to hook up a longer section of rope to the plow and wrap the other end around my hands and waist. Putting all my weight into a very tough foot deep section of snow, the plow broke up the snow in large chunks. At times the plow became wedged in this hardened snow so I had to yank it with all my weight to pull it through. The 26 lb nylon rope didn’t break but it did start cutting into the 2X2s so I added washers where the rope looped through the 2X2s. This difficult section took several pulls to dig down and clear a wide enough path for a bicycle to ride through. The short section of rope joining the 2X2s is necessary as it allows the plow to twist back and forth without cracking the wood. The best way to plow with a bicycle is right after the snow before it gets deep and packed.

The fences on the top of the plow worked very well at preventing most of the snow from going over the top of the plow into the section just plowed. The sides of the plow are 9” high with a short wing or fence at the top to deflect snow outward and downward. It was remarkable that this little plow could even plow through foot deep snow considering its size. The first few goes snow fell back in behind the plow leaving about a foot wide cleared. A few more runs and it was closer to 2 feet wide.

The plow is 25” wide and about 24′ long. I was surprised the plow didn’t break apart considering how hard I was pulling it. In hindsight I was glad to have added a triangle brace between the plow blades for added strength. The plow was designed to be pulled behind a bike and for really tough sections it can be pulled via a rope. Yes, the rope was cutting into my hands and waist so I’ll have to make some kind of harness when pulling the plow by hand.

The plow was cut from ¾’ plywood 2ft by 4ft. The sides are 9” high by 24” long. The bottom of the sides are cut at 45 degree angle to sit flat on the ground. One end of each side is cut at a 45 degree angle to allow the sides to angle inward. This inward angle helps the plow push snow up and force the plow down into the snow instead of riding over it. The wings on the top are about 4” wide and about a foot or so long (don’t quote me on that). Make the fences as long as you can and you may have to notch them to make them join near the front of the plow.

Two 1/8”X1.5”X36”” flat steel was bolted to the bottom of the plywood edge to act as a hard blade and for mounting the front swiveling wheel. A clear sheet of Acrylic (18”X24” for $15) was screwed onto the sides with brass screws to keep the snow from sticking to the plywood. The Acrylic sheets cracks very easily when cutting or drilling so use a fine blade and go easy cutting and drilling it. Also be careful tightening the brass screws to avoid cracks. Even being careful I still managed a few cracks around the brass screws.

Rear wheels are screwed to the plywood using a 2X2 cut diagonally lengthwise. Drywall screws are used to bolt on two small wheels to this block of 2X2 at the back of the plow. Just eyeball it and try to get the wheels straight. Use a piece of flat steel and place under the blades on the sides helps get the wheel height right when screwing the wheels on. The wide flat steel for the front wheel can be bent to adjust the front wheel height.

The challenge with designing a good bicycle plow that isn’t hard to pull with a bicycle is much easier if you are only plowing an inch or two of light snow. The challenge gets more difficult with deeper and more compacted snow. There is a limit to how much traction and power you can use on a bicycle so making a plow that has wheels and is easier to pull becomes very important. Also remember to use a longer piece of 2X2 mounted to the plow as this helps prevent the plow from zig zagging behind the bike.