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Old 09-03-07, 02:56 AM   #1
JohnBrooking
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Bike/Kayak Touring?

Hello, all. First post in this forum, I'm usually in the Commuting and Advocacy & Safety forums. I'm actually not a bike tourist yet, although I would like to be at a later point in my life, when it will more possible. Right now I've got young children.

I just returned from a vacation where I had the opportunity to try kayaking for the first time. I was able to take just a 30 minute paddle around a river in a solo kayak, so maybe it's too soon to say for sure that I would ever be serious enough to implement the idea I'm about to describe, but I did enjoy it, and it got me thinking. I found a nice groove and was thinking I could probably do this all day, and naturally progressed to thinking about taking a few weeks or even a month or two some future year and doing an extended paddling trip, camping out at night. It soon occurred to me, of course, that if you could carry a folding bike on the kayak, that would be useful to tie up at the riverbank and bike into a town for more supplies, or even eat out once in a while. Finally, today I realized that with a hitch and a set of wheels and axle for the boat, you could also enable yourself to switch modes and go overland when necessary, towing the kayak behind the bike! Interchangeable bi-modal human-powered transportation, whoo whoo!!

Anyone done this, or know about it? I've done a little checking out of kayak touring sites and I'm sure it could be done, but haven't found any record of anyone actually doing it. I also found an old thread here about pedal-powered kayaks, but that's not what I mean. There's no point doing any serious planning at this point, but I'm curious to hear if anyone else has done it (must be) and what stories and advice they might have. Thanks!
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Old 09-03-07, 05:33 AM   #2
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I've been schemeing on this one too. thinking of building a kayak that will fit a folding bike. Haven't seen one on the market with a big enough compartment.
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Old 09-03-07, 06:19 AM   #3
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Renata Chulmska paddled from Seattle to San Diego then biked across to Brownsville while towing her kayak. She then paddled around Florida and up the east coast to Maine where she hopped back on the bike for a final bike ride back to Seattle.



Her website (www.renatachlumska.com) seems to be down at the moment.

Last edited by Losligato; 09-03-07 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 09-03-07, 07:15 PM   #4
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JohnBrooking,

I think about combining paddling and cycling all the time, but I haven't had the chance to try it either. I think you might have an easier time bringing the bike with you if you use a canoe though. Check this out:

http://www.bikeforest.com/canoe/index.php

Maybe avoid rapids for the first while though!
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Old 09-03-07, 09:17 PM   #5
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Are you talking about both a folding kayak and a folding bicycle? I suppose it could be done. The bike problem is how to carry the folded kayak; you would need some reliable way to tow the kayak, some kind of collapsible trailer. A separable bike with some wet bags might be as good as a folding bike. As for folding kayaks, there are some good choices available. To have room for a disassembled bike and all the other things needed for a kayak trip, an open cockpit design might be best. (see http://foldingkayaks.org/ for more information) Those might include Long Haul Mk 2 and Klepper Aerius II
boats or Feathercraft's Klondike.
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Old 09-04-07, 10:35 AM   #6
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I used to subscribe to folding kayaker magazine and I remember a story about somebody travelling the canals of europe this way. I can't remember exactly, how he did it, I think he just used the bike for local transportation when he was camped.

A short search found this journal http://www.mikeread.com/lewisandclark/default.htm about a guy using the kayak/bike combination to retrace the Lewis and Clark route. Unfortunately no pictures.

Last edited by skookum; 09-04-07 at 11:00 AM. Reason: additional information
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Old 09-04-07, 11:24 AM   #7
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I have not done what you describe, but I've thought about it.

I did a little excursion this summer, putting a 17' canoe on a stripped down jogging stroller and towing it all behind my folding bike for about five or six miles. Then I put the folding bike and my daughter's 16" kid's bike into the canoe, which we paddled six or seven miles... and then cycled home. The whole thing took about three hours, so it hardly counts as touring. But it gives me something to talk about....

Lemme see if I can put in a link to the thread:
a little experiment in multi-modality

Getting a folding bike into a kayak is going to be tricky, but I'm sure there is a combination that will work. If you're mainly kayaking, but want to use the folding bike to get to the store or something, then a super-small folder like a sinclair a-bike or a pacific carryme or the like will work fine, or better yet a strida; if you can get it into the kayak. If you're going to portage the kayak with a folding-bike-and-trailer-combination in addition to all the other gear you're carrying, I'm pretty sure you can find a way of doing it, but you'll want 16" wheels at a minimum. Even so, since you won't want to go fast, a single-speed bike --like the strida-- will work fine. The folded Strida is long, though; getting it inside a kayak is going to be interesting. It would be fine on a sit-on-top kayak.

On the other hand, if the priority is biking... well, hats off to Renata Chulmska and all (how did she get the bike into the kayak?) but I don't think this is going to work. I found towing a canoe to be tolerable, but not exactly enjoyable. Maximum speed of ten or twelve mph was a little scarey at times. And this was without any appreciable load.

My family had a Klepper Aerius in the 70's; my brother now has it. It's still a great boat. But I wouldn't want to tow one very far on a bike trailer, regardless whether assembled or packed up. It's heavy and bulky, and in assembled form would be seriously vulnerable to road rash. Packed up, it would fill a trailer, leaving not much room for other gear.

If you try any of these things, let us know -- I'm curious!
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Old 09-04-07, 04:57 PM   #8
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I would asume that Renata mailed her bike ahead of the kayak, I don't see couplers and in salt water you're not going to strap the bike to the deck.
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Old 09-04-07, 08:20 PM   #9
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I believe you can do it with a Bike Friday if you disassemble the entire cycle. I highly doubt you'll be able to haul a trailer with a Strida!
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Old 09-05-07, 02:21 AM   #10
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I have a kayak trailer for my bike, and have done some touring with bike-kayak combo as well.

My bike is a 700c hybrid, with no couplers, and there's no way I could carry it in a closed top kayak. Additionally, the trailer (http://www.tonystrailers.com) does not collapse easily. So I can freely choose where I want to paddle, but my paddle routes will have to be from point A to A (where my bike and trailer wait).

A kayak (or a canoe) is rigid enough not to require a massive trailer. If you look at Renata Chulmska's pic, you see there's just a pair of wheels under the kayak, and a towarm attached to the bow. The problem with closed top kayak and this arrangement is that you need to come up with some kind of attaching system in the bow. This more than likely requires some modifications to the bow. I was not too enthusiastic about modding my kayak, so my trailer is basically a flatbed. When loaded it does utilize the kayak's hull as a part of the structure, making the trailer itself more simple and lightweight.

I'd agree that Renata probably did not carry her bike in the kayak either. You could try that with a 2 seat kayak and a folder bike, putting the bike in front paddler's seat. I seem to remember someone has done this, but could not find a link for now. You would also have to balance the load in such kayak very carefully, otherwise there's no way you can keep it going against any kind of wind. And you would still have to come up with the towarm attachment.

Open-top canoe and a folder would be less hassle. Towarm attachment would be easy (there are several commercial solutions for this, or you could rig your own) and loading the bike in canoe, properly balanced, would be easier. You would lose some seaworthyness with this combo, though. That may or may not be an issue in your case. In my case it was the deal breaker.

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Old 09-05-07, 07:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I highly doubt you'll be able to haul a trailer with a Strida!
Wanna bet?
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Old 09-05-07, 11:43 AM   #12
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I've thought about this quite a bit, and done something similar.

You might enjoy reading Paul Theroux's book about his long tour of the South Pacific by folding kayak. It's very well written. He's also a cyclist; but I don't know whether he has ever combined them or carried or towed one with the other.

One of the head guys at Xtracycle, Kipchoge, has done a lot of river kayaking; quite a few people have hauled kayaks around on Xtracycles. Their website has a forum. You could ask about ideas and experiences there.

If you are mainly biking, and doing just a bit of paddling, some kind of lighter-weight inflatable makes sense.

If you get really serious about expedition kayaking, there are other ways of resupplying, without lugging a bike around. If there are no roads, a bike isn't so great. If there are roads, getting a ride is fairly easy. With an expedition kayak, you can carry hundreds of pounds of food, so resupplying is not as frequent a necessity as it is with bike touring.

***
Hiking probably makes more sense as a bi-modal or recreational co-activity (in many cases at least).

Last edited by Niles H.; 09-06-07 at 07:07 PM.
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