Schwinn Cycle Truck
Not a homemade bike but a true beauty nonetheless. The Schwinn Cycle Truck, manufactured as early as the 30s, this is the original chopper... and the original Pack Rat. I can't believe I found one of these, because usually they are used and used and used until they fall apart. A Google image search will reveal plenty of beautifully restored examples... but I don't seek what's been restored and prettified... I'm looking for the rusty ole bikes lurking in the back of a storage room, like this one.
Note how the front wheel is tiny, like on a chopper, to accomodate the large front basket. Also, that wee little wheel has spokes with a gauge like a locomotive's. Note that the rear wheel is also some big fat meat. That odd crossbar between the top and down tubes is designed to add structural support to the basket itself... because the weight is suspended from the frame, not the front wheel! Your traditional front rack supports itself on the axle, which means the load swings back and forth as you steer- making for a very squirrelly ride!
I believe these bikes were made as late as the 70s, but this one is obviously very old.
Here you can see the bracket that holds the rack a lot better. This bike is also missing its huge kickstand, which straddled the front wheel like a square halo and swung down to lift it off the ground, providing a stand that would support the entire load. Just think- a chopper that can haul cargo! What greater merging of style and function could there be?