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  1. #1
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    tandem rack questions

    Hi,

    I just got a used tandem to use with my girlfriend (we are both women), got it off eBay for a little over $300. It is an older Columbia, a five speed. So now I have to figure out how to carry it around and I am a bit aghast that new racks cost more than I paid for the bike! So I am trying to figure out what the best solution is and I have some questions:

    Is it OK to carry these sideways on a hitch rack? The bike does not have a quick-release hub on the front so it would be best to leave the front wheel on although I could take it off if necessary. It would be a lot easier for me to hoist it onto the hitch than a roof rack although I think I can manage either. I found someone's plans for making such a hitch rack but I wondered if carrying the bike that way is kosher.

    For a roof rack, I drive a Ford Ranger with a set of Yakima bars attached to the cap, I carry my canoe that way. But the bars are about 48 inches apart, and it looks like the bike trays are not that long. Do they make longer ones?

    It seems to me it would be possible to get an upright roof rack off eBay, take some of the attachments (like the frame clamp) and move them to the right position for the tandem. So maybe I could strap on both wheels and have a clamp for the frame too as some of the single bike carriers do. Does that sound like it would be strong enough?

    Thanks if anyone has ideas....

    Cass

  2. #2
    My own worst nightmare
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    The single-bike wheel trays aren't long enough to handle the wheelbase of a tandem. Do you ever have occasion to take single bikes on the roof rack? Here's what I did. Caveat: I did this with a Saris system; YMMV with the Yakima. Idunno how their upright mounts work. Anyway:

    Took two "upright" bike mounts. They're the ones with full-length (for single bikes) wheel trays, and an arm that swings up from the load bar and clamps to the downtube or seat tube. Slid the two wheel trays together with enough overlap to create one long tray long enough for the wheelbase of the bike, with a little to spare). Slid bolts into the underchannel of the tray "on top", drilled holes in the tray "on bottom" (okay, they were drilled already when I bought the tray used...), put the bolts thru the holes and tightened nuts onto them. (Note, I tried this overlap method originally with zip-ties. It worked for a while, but then I started snapping the zip-ties. I wouldn't recommend this!). Put one upright arm each load bar, and the franken-tray onto them as you would usually. Found places on the frame to clamp each upright arm. Snugged up the wheel straps, and Bob's your uncle.

    My original method was to use one upright and one fork mount. I've seen other tandemers do this. It depends a lot on the geometry. In our case, the pilot's BB shell hit the tray at just about the point where the fork went into the mount; this made it tricky to mount up. Another thing to consider is, given this bike's vintage, I assume it has fenders. Fork mounts often don't work with bolt-on steel fenders (I failed to anticipate this once, with an old Raleigh three-speed).

    Bonus: it was all done with stuff I use otherwise for our single bikes.

    Oh, and used Yakima stuff is pretty easily gotten on eBay.

    Sweet ride, that Columbia, BTW. A steamroller, no doubt, but it'll be a head-turner just for its vintage/classic value.

    My fave quote apropos to tandem couples (though only by coincidence), from Antoine de Saint-Exupery: "Love does not consist in gazing into each other's eyes, but in looking together in the same direction.".

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by madpogue
    The single-bike wheel trays aren't long enough to handle the wheelbase of a tandem. Do you ever have occasion to take single bikes on the roof rack? Here's what I did. Caveat: I did this with a Saris system; YMMV with the Yakima. Idunno how their upright mounts work. Anyway:

    Took two "upright" bike mounts. They're the ones with full-length (for single bikes) wheel trays, and an arm that swings up from the load bar and clamps to the downtube or seat tube. Slid the two wheel trays together with enough overlap to create one long tray long enough for the wheelbase of the bike, with a little to spare). Slid bolts into the underchannel of the tray "on top", drilled holes in the tray "on bottom" (okay, they were drilled already when I bought the tray used...), put the bolts thru the holes and tightened nuts onto them. (Note, I tried this overlap method originally with zip-ties. It worked for a while, but then I started snapping the zip-ties. I wouldn't recommend this!). Put one upright arm each load bar, and the franken-tray onto them as you would usually. Found places on the frame to clamp each upright arm. Snugged up the wheel straps, and Bob's your uncle.

    My original method was to use one upright and one fork mount. I've seen other tandemers do this. It depends a lot on the geometry. In our case, the pilot's BB shell hit the tray at just about the point where the fork went into the mount; this made it tricky to mount up. Another thing to consider is, given this bike's vintage, I assume it has fenders. Fork mounts often don't work with bolt-on steel fenders (I failed to anticipate this once, with an old Raleigh three-speed).

    Bonus: it was all done with stuff I use otherwise for our single bikes.

    Oh, and used Yakima stuff is pretty easily gotten on eBay.

    Sweet ride, that Columbia, BTW. A steamroller, no doubt, but it'll be a head-turner just for its vintage/classic value.

    My fave quote apropos to tandem couples (though only by coincidence), from Antoine de Saint-Exupery: "Love does not consist in gazing into each other's eyes, but in looking together in the same direction.".
    Wow, that idea about bolting two single trays together sounds like it would work great. I have seen a lot of those racks on eBay... I was worried as much about the single trays not working with my bars - which are farther apart than the 43" length that most of them are - as I was that the trays are not long enough for the tandem itself. Yes it does have fenders. It is in nice shape, hardly used, no rust or dings... I am looking forward to rides in the park! Thanks for the advice...

    Cass

    ps wanted to add - I have never used my roof rack for bikes before, only the canoe, I have transported single bikes by throwing into the truck bed, but the tandem is just too long for that... so I have no experience with bike roof racks yet.

  4. #4
    My own worst nightmare
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    DUHH! I forgot you mentioned it's a Ranger. What length of bed? My wife has a full-size pickup, and the tandem goes in just fine with both wheels on. (But that's an 8-foot bed.) I know taking the front wheel off is a pain with a nutted axle, but it might buy you just the length you need to get it in the bed. Esp. since you have a topper, put it in back-wheel first, leave the topper door open and let the handlebar stick out a bit. I doubt taking off the back wheel will buy you anything, on account of the rear fender. Oh, and less height to lift that steamroller...

  5. #5
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    My Ranger has a 6 foot bed, and I have had the tandem back there but even with the front wheel off it would not fit... from the back of the back wheel to the front fork (i.e. wheel turned sideways) is a few inches more than 6 ft. I have carried it with the front wheel poking out through the back flap door of the truck cap, just like you said, but wrestling it in that way is not that easy either and it precludes carrying anything else. So anyway am going to try the combination roof rack idea, have found a few of the singles fairly cheap on eBay... thanks for the thoughts.

  6. #6
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    I will post a photo tonight of our tandem on a hitch mounted bike carrier. We exclusively use this mount when going to smaller races. For the long road we use a small baggage trailer with the tandem mounted on top... will post that photo as well.

    Keep those wheels spinning

    Big H
    The Big H rides:
    Raleigh T6000 road tandem
    el rapido road tandem
    Omega MTB tandem
    Trek 7200 Hybrid
    Gary Fisher Tassajara

  7. #7
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    Here is the pic's of our tandem on the rack and after a paint-job on the trailer.
    The Big H rides:
    Raleigh T6000 road tandem
    el rapido road tandem
    Omega MTB tandem
    Trek 7200 Hybrid
    Gary Fisher Tassajara

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Another one
    The Big H rides:
    Raleigh T6000 road tandem
    el rapido road tandem
    Omega MTB tandem
    Trek 7200 Hybrid
    Gary Fisher Tassajara

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big H
    Here is the pic's of our tandem on the rack and after a paint-job on the trailer.
    Any problem with vehicle codes about overwide load? Somebody asked me about that today...I've been carrying my tandem on a hitch rack on the back of a Dodge Caravan.

    Dan

  10. #10
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    Our tandem is narrower than a normal caravan that is legal in South AFrica. Check with your own authorities. I once drove form Pretoria to Cape town and the only hassles was in Cape Town when a cop stopped me for obscuring the taillights. Talked myself out of a fine.
    The Big H rides:
    Raleigh T6000 road tandem
    el rapido road tandem
    Omega MTB tandem
    Trek 7200 Hybrid
    Gary Fisher Tassajara

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