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Young Lad Builds Bicycle Powered Elevator for his DIY Tiny Treehouse Cabin

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This is the story of a creative young lad who invented and built his own bicycle-powered ELEVATOR to get up to his tiny treehouse cabin which is built way up in the trees. Pretty incredible!

The story goes like this… Ethan got sick of climbing the ladder dozens of times a day to and from his self-built treehouse. So he did what anyone who owns a self-built treehouse would do… (kidding?) He built a cheap DIY elevator out of a bicycle!

So now when friends visit they can simply use the ladder… Or they can have a lot more fun this way. In this post, you’re going to get to see Ethan’s DIY treehouse, his DIY elevator, and briefly, how it was done.

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Treehouse Micro Cabin with Bicycle Powered Elevator

Treehouse Micro Cabin with Bicycle Powered Elevator

© Ethan Schlussler

Learn how it works and see more below:

Use the rock to hop yourself onto the bicycle:

Use the rock to hop yourself onto the bicycle

© Ethan Schlussler

Situate yourself and begin pedaling:

Situate Yourself And Begin Pedaling

© Ethan Schlussler

Treehouse Micro Cabin

© Ethan Schlussler

And you’re up!

And you're up!

© Ethan Schlussler

Now the fun part, glide back down:

Now the fun part, glide back down

© Ethan Schlussler

See it in action below:

Video: How it works

Video: More of How it Works (and Shots of Cabin Too)

Video: Tree House Construction

Video: Ethan’s Zip Line

Want to stay in touch with Ethan? You can subscribe to his YouTube channel.

[Thanks Ethan for creating and sharing this and Ralph for sending this to us!]

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • March 15, 2014, 9:58 am

    Any construction details? I’d like to learn how he attached it to the tree without causing damage and also how to allow for growth of the tree.

    • Matt McCorcle
      March 15, 2014, 10:41 am

      This treehouse is featured on an episode of Treehouse Masters that airs on Animal Planet. If I remember correctly they touch on this… basically the weight of the structure causes a compression of the “ring” around the trunk. So, it is held up by friction vs TABs or other hardware drilled into the tree.

      They re-run those episodes pretty frequently so you may be able to catch it. Btw, Treehouse Masters is a good show. If you like tiny houses I’d recommend checking it out.

      • March 16, 2014, 9:22 am

        “airs on Animal Planet” Sorry, I have no idea what Animal Planet is but thanks for the info…OK I just looked up Treehouse Masters, interesting and a lot of clips I can watch so thanks for the tip.

        My land has 100s of pencil-straight gum trees, maybe I should tinker with a small viewing platform 🙂

      • Marsha Cowan
        August 27, 2017, 12:27 am

        Totally cool, dude!

  • JT
    March 15, 2014, 7:19 pm

    Alex, why’d you call him a kid? I’d say he’s a remarkable young man, but no kid.:)

    • Alex
      March 19, 2014, 8:59 am

      I just thought it sounded better than young man for this story. And he’s a kid at heart for sure (like me).

  • alice h
    March 15, 2014, 9:43 pm

    Wow! Inspirational as h-e-double-hockey-stick! I’d love to figure out a hand crank model for my future tree house.

  • Glema
    March 16, 2014, 3:52 am

    How about using a hand crank elevator rather like a dumb waiter but larger? seems it might just work. I think it would be really cool if the whole treehouse was the one going up and down the tree rather than the bike. I would hate to fall off with the bike then hit the rock if something went wrong. yikes! hehehe
    Seriously Great Job Ethan! from tree, to mill, to house. I think they can stop calling you a kid now. God bless you and best wishes for a happy future.

  • Cahow
    March 18, 2014, 2:11 pm

    God Bless this young man! What an inspiration to us all. I can only hope and cross my fingers that he pursues an Engineering Degree or something of that ilk, to tap into his genius.

    On a structural note, I’m guessing that there are weight limits with how beefy a person can go ^UP^ the Bike-A-Vator. And is there a back up braking system? The decent seems pretty fast but I’m sure that’s part of the thrill.

    Alas, only the young and brave can achieve this climb, of which I’m no longer neither. LOL

    But, applause/applause to this young man’s ingenuity and cleverness. His parent’s must be exceedingly proud of him. 😀

    • Alex
      March 19, 2014, 9:01 am

      Thanks Cahow! I agree he should pursue an engineering degree and create some amazing gadgets. I hope we can see more of what he’s up to in the future.

  • Evening Iris
    August 26, 2017, 9:03 pm

    I think he should have extended the decking so the “elevator” comes up through a large, rectangular hole in the flooring, with rigging above, so he can get on and off the bike without having to navigate the railings on the deck. Then, one upstairs, it should have some kind of a locking system to keep the bike from falling. I should think that getting on and off that bike is the most dangerous part of the whole exercise. Maybe the bike should even be on a platform the size of the hole in the decking so when he arrives he could lock the platform in place and then get off. As intriguing as this is, I think it falls under the category of, “don’t try this at home.”

  • keepyourpower
    August 27, 2017, 3:30 am

    Very smart kid! But must have some bucks, to have all of that heavy equipment etc.

  • Michael
    August 29, 2017, 12:23 am

    I built an elevator for my tree house when I was 8 years old, in 1957. Too bad I didn’t have the internet back then, but me and Al hadn’t invented it yet.

  • Ann
    March 17, 2018, 2:56 pm

    I’d have something underneath the bike so that if I fell off (if a cable breaks or something) so I’d have something soft to land on and not get killed or maimed. Good exercise! : )

  • merryl
    March 19, 2018, 11:26 am

    that does not look safe.Just saying.

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