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  1. #1
    Cyclist Old Gammy Leg's Avatar
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    Getting towed by cars

    Seen this on some of the bike messenger videos lately. The guy just reaches out, grabs on the car or back of a pick-up, and gets a nice fast tow. I wouldn't have considered doing this (still probably wouldn't actually), but they make it look quite easy. Does anyone get tows in this way? Anything to be aware of, apart from the obvious?

  2. #2
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    Seems like a good way to end up dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gammy Leg
    Seen this on some of the bike messenger videos lately. The guy just reaches out, grabs on the car or back of a pick-up, and gets a nice fast tow. I wouldn't have considered doing this (still probably wouldn't actually), but they make it look quite easy. Does anyone get tows in this way? Anything to be aware of, apart from the obvious?
    These bike messengers take huge risks and there really is no reason to "Skitch" onto a car.

  4. #4
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i've done it, but only when my brother was driving the car and he knew i was there. i've never tried it in traffic (although in heavy traffic it's probably pretty easy to do). I feel like this thread should have a "don't try this at home" disclaimer on it.

  5. #5
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    I'd never do it, but I ride a fixie, and my cadence would get out of control REALLY fast. Seems like in really heavy traffic, bikes are faster than cars most of the time, anyways...

  6. #6
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    When I was a teenager I did it a few times getting tows on the back of trucks going up long hills. You have to watch that the truck isnt pulling a trailer - almost caught me once. I havent tried doing it since.

  7. #7
    Senior Member superstar4410's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NW NJ Biker
    Seems like a good way to end up dead.

    Lollll, yeaa for sure.

    For me I actually like that I live in the country and I can go on long nice rides with not many
    cars around. Sometimes I get bored and ride in towns, and I get a thrill from passing cars and
    the constant sprints from stop and go traffic. But each time I ride in town I think I just can't
    handle it in the sense that I'm always trying to pull in front of a car right before a turn. This one time
    I was riding and I pulled besides this really old pickup truck I tried to pass but he seemed like he didn't want me to and started to accelerate a bit. Another car way coming in my direction and if I didn't do something I was going to get ran over, so I got out of the saddle cranked it and pulled infront of the truck, it was also on a slight downhill, my heart was beating like crazy . Yea it seems everytime I ride intown I get tempted to dominate my environment and do "stupid" things for lack of a better word that seems to almost get me killed. Thats why to protect myself from myself I try not to ride where there is moderate or heavy traffic.

    I just find a nice 20mile sprint in the country get on my aerobars and dominate the course, oooh yeaa
    Schwinn - Le Tour all the way

  8. #8
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    CA Vehicle Code addresses this:

    21203. No person riding upon any motorcycle, motorized bicycle, bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any streetcar or vehicle on the roadway.

    I'm sure it's frowned upon in your state or province too.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    If anyone does this, could you video tape it and post the link

  10. #10
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Hmm, never got pulled by a car while I'm on my bike. Never saw the point. Although when I was 10 years younger I and my friends used to try to get pulled by a truck, on an icy/snow covered road. Ah the fun days of when I was 12. he he.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordOpie
    If anyone does this, could you video tape it and post the link
    been posted 1000x, but Lucas Brunelle, the videographer - skitches in several of these alleycat vids
    - may not be what you want, but it is video from a first-person perspective.

    http://www.digave.com/videos/

    I don't remember, but I think "Rumble Through the Bronx" shows him doing it...
    It might be this video where one motorist actually encourages Lucas to grab on.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    I have no doubt that is is supported by the cast of "Fear Factor."

    When you hook up with a motorist, you are counting on him/her to look out for your well being. He does not even know that you are there. Also, there is a whole car between you and traffic ahead. You can't see it and therefore can't possibly be prepared to take emergency action.

    Sounds seriously unsafe. Il-advised, mis-informed. Bike messengers and Yellow cabbies share the same mentality: Get to the next stop fast!. Haste makes waste: in this case it can waste a cyclist.

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    I hope my kids NEVER see a thread like this;
    I never really thought about it,I guess I'm a little nuts,
    I did it all the time when I was younger,especially with tractor-
    trailors or box trucks with handles on the back,just seemed too easy,
    guess I'm very lucky,never came close to any bad situations

  14. #14
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    I've done it a couple times. Box trucks work best. I won't hold on for an extended period of time. One block or so. It's good for getting up to speed.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    I have an image in my mind of a cyclist holding onto a box truck going 40mph's suddenly a piece of debris kicks up, disturbing the steering of the bike. The bike jacknife's at 40mph sending the cyclist face-first into the pavement....I can't go on. I't just to gross..!

  16. #16
    Work hard, Play hard forum*rider's Avatar
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    My friends and I used to do it all the time with the ice-cream man's van. wait till some little kid buys some ice-cream and then grab ahold of the back.

    Of course it didn't get us anywhere faster since the guy would only drive about 15mph and we could generally ride faster than that, it was just one of those stupid things we did.

  17. #17
    Cyclist Old Gammy Leg's Avatar
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    Yeah, there's all kinds of horrible scenarios.... Anyway, in the Lucas Brunelle videos they speed the film up by maybe 200%, to make it look cooler. Not dissing them, some wicked videos, but why speed it up, it kind of spoils it once you realise what's happening....

    Yeah, I would not want to get towed by a car... especially in a city centre. But they make it look so cool and effortless... wonder what fatality statistics are like for inner city bike messengers...?

  18. #18
    Senior Member superstar4410's Avatar
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    Looking at some of the pictures i was impressed by the couch /bike vechicle and how they were pulling that up a hill using their bikes, I know the wheel is great and greatly reduces friction but some people have problems hauling just their own body weight up a hill(not me).


    wow that video is crazy, the one with them riding in the streets, To the point where I start to wonder if this is real, but it obviously looks so, reminds me of why I done ride intown anymore
    Last edited by superstar4410; 02-18-05 at 05:50 PM.
    Schwinn - Le Tour all the way

  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gammy Leg
    Yeah, there's all kinds of horrible scenarios.... Anyway, in the Lucas Brunelle videos they speed the film up by maybe 200%, to make it look cooler. Not dissing them, some wicked videos, but why speed it up, it kind of spoils it once you realise what's happening....

    Yeah, I would not want to get towed by a car... especially in a city centre. But they make it look so cool and effortless... wonder what fatality statistics are like for inner city bike messengers...?
    What makes you think they speed up the video? I don't think they do. I'm open to disagreement, I just wonder what you see that makes it seem that way? They are in good shape and on fast bikes in slow traffic.

    Speaking of the crash statistics, what happens if someone in a car opens a door quickly. What if someone just puts their arm out the window? What if a big hole is in the road hidden by a car until the last moment. Or a muffler and pipe. I can't think about this any more! Did you ever wonder if those guys have a driver's license, or have ever even driven a car?

  20. #20
    member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    These bike messengers take huge risks and there really is no reason to "Skitch" onto a car.
    Apparently you've never seen Quicksilver, starring Kevin Bacon.

    edit: Or Back to the Future.
    Last edited by CMcMahon; 02-19-05 at 01:07 AM.

  21. #21
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    I remember years ago ( in the 70's) the local newspapers had a story about kids that used to hang off the back of the bus for a free ride. These were older buses that had a place between the rear bumper where someone could hang on and get a free ride. As luck would have it, a young kid lost his balance and fell off the bumper but has hand remained caught on the back of the bus! His entire hand was ripped off and since this was the time before microsurgery, there wasn't an attempt to reattach the limb.

    I suspect hitching has been responsible for a lot of broken hands and fingers.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Yeah, there's one little detail to be aware of . . .


    IT IS ILLEGAL!!!

  23. #23
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Yeah, there's one little detail to be aware of . . .


    IT IS ILLEGAL!!!
    Stop being so sensible.

  24. #24
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    What makes you think they speed up the video? I don't think they do. I'm open to disagreement, I just wonder what you see that makes it seem that way? They are in good shape and on fast bikes in slow traffic.

    Speaking of the crash statistics, what happens if someone in a car opens a door quickly. What if someone just puts their arm out the window? What if a big hole is in the road hidden by a car until the last moment. Or a muffler and pipe. I can't think about this any more! Did you ever wonder if those guys have a driver's license, or have ever even driven a car?
    I've biked through times square in the middle of the day and I can tell you, those riding conditions are real but the speed.. well it does seem iffy. If you look at the speed that the people are walking at, there's something iffy about it. In the same video, if you skip to 4:27 and look at the "don't walk" sign blink, it definitely doesn't blink that fast.
    Granted I'm in shape and all but there's something about the way they're weaving between the pedestrians that says even if they can react that fast, the pedestrians definitely shouldn't be able to.
    Which is a shame cause it did look like so much fun but it's also a little reassuring knowing they're not THAT superhuman after all.

  25. #25
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    i've hitched a ride on my friend's motorcycle while i was riding my BMX once. it was kinda fun to get slingshotted through intersections at 35mph on a little 20" bike. it was like, 3am and i needed to get from JP to downtown boston to go to sleep. i wouldn't do it on some random car or truck though. i probably wouldn't do it again. but it was fun, but also scary.

    we were looking out for potholes and other crap in the road the whole time. and cops, which was why i would usually go through the intersections first...of course, observing red lights and such...we were actually quite safe about it.

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