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  1. #1
    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    Planning my first tour and had some questions

    Hello this is my first post so take it easy with me.

    I am planning on touring around Colorado this summer and bike to all of my kayak destinations. I am going to try to have a trailer built for me to carry my kayaks and gear. I am guessing that with the trailer,my boats and gear plus whats in my panniers I will have about an additional 200lbs on/behind my bike. I weigh about 180 so 400 total on my bike.

    My questions are three fold:

    What would be the easiest way to connect the trailer to my bike? I am planing on making a steel trailer with two wheels, much like a burly if that helps.

    How can I stop all this? I was thinking of maybe getting a drum brake for my front wheel? This leads me to my next question.

    I have a Long Haul Trucker and was wondering if there would be some way to fit disc brake calipers on the bike? I know that discs aren't as good as drum for hills but they beat rim brakes.

    Sorry for the long post and thanks ahead of time

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  3. #3
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    My husband is currently touring on a tandem pulling a fairly heavy BOB - we had the bike/riders weighed on one of those truck scales. On that scale, they weighed in at 440 pounds. We have now had a drum brake put on the bike, but they rode 5000 miles with only rim brakes and were able to stop OK. If you are careful and don't let your bike get away from you, you should be OK.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    Machka I have looked at those and they just don't look like they will do the trick for carrying gear. I am taking way more than my panniers could ever hope to handle.
    Thanks though

    nancy I would like to error on the side of cautious as I will be climbing and thus descending on steep mountain passes and don't want to risk having my brakes give out.

    Any good drum brakes out there that are affordable?

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Machka I have looked at those and they just don't look like they will do the trick for carrying gear. I am taking way more than my panniers could ever hope to handle.
    Thanks though
    Wouldn't you carry the gear inside the kayak?

  6. #6
    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    Some of it yes, will be in the kayak, some will not. The more I put in the kayak the more bags I have to provide to break it up and it just seems like it will become more of a pain to move around every time I want something.

  7. #7
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    We had an Arai drum brake put on our tandem order to err on the side of caution. I think (but am not certain) that the bike must be built with the drum brake in mind in order to have the clearance. I could be wrong on that though.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  8. #8
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    I've hauled a two week's unsupported trip worth of gear with a cheapo hybrid, towing a sea kayak in Tony's Trailers Trayak. Normal V-brakes were more than satisfactory, then again we don't have long descents around here. In your case I'd definitely look into beefier brakes. And good luck with the climbing part!

    I didn't find the packing too big of a hassle. You'll need to think about it though, but after a couple of days you develop a routine. It's the same as with unsupported cycle touring, except you have more places where you can misplace your gear.

    On bike legs: I had a pair of Ortlieb Classic rear panniers with all the stuff I need for cycling, plus a handlebar bag for valuables. Everything else went in the kayak, mostly in the cockpit to keep the trailer balanced. I also believe that reduces stress for the kayak hull, but don't quote me on that. Again, a little planning goes a long way.

    In kayak: the problem with Ortlieb Classics is, they don't fit inside my kayak cargo departments. When I switch from cycling to kayaking mode, I have to re-pack everything. I think it's preferrable anyway, given the different needs in kayaking vs. cycling. I just arranged stuff in dry sacks (better safe than sorry) as usual for kayak touring, and left the bike, trailer, Ortliebs and some other bike specific stuff at my accommodation at shore.

    I did some 600kms on bike and maybe 250km in kayak this way. Worked very well for me.

    --J
    Last edited by Juha; 01-12-09 at 06:46 AM.
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

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  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Harris offers a S/A front hub brake for $70, I have no idea how good it is. Also, I think Nancy is right that you wouldn`t be able to use a thread-on Arai on most single bikes because I`ve never seen hubs for them with less than 140 OLD. Well, I guess you could spread the frame if you REALLY wanted to. They`re pretty expensive anyway. Are you thinking of using a drum brake in conjunction with rim brake on the same wheel? Would it be safe to use a drag brake in front? It makes me cringe a bit to imagine hitting a little patch of sand over the road and not having time to release a front brake.

  10. #10
    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    I was looking at using a drum in front along with my cantis. I was thinking of just using it as drag. I am trying to figure out if this all works though. Can I use a bar end shifter to pull enough? From looking at other posts it seem like this is something that has been done.

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    What month exactly are you planning this tour? I would be more concerned with wind towing a kayak. I can think of a few roads in Colorado with narrow shoulders that would be extremely sketchy to ride with a big kayak getting blown around behind you. The spring winds here in Colorado can be ferocious and often last well into June. Usually by July, they mellow out.

    Since you're having a trailer custom built, why not put brakes on it? You could use the brake cable couplings made for folding bikes. I've thought about doing this on the heavy cargo trailer I'm building.

  12. #12
    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    I am in Glenwood and I am planning on starting at the end of May and going until the beginning of August. Some roads will be tight like Loveland Pass and such but other times I will be on stretches like I-70. My boat is 8' long so not super huge.

    Any thoughts on the drum brake on the front wheel with bar end shifters?

  13. #13
    rhm
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    I think you'll find a thread in the tandem forum in which they address the use of disk brakes and other hub brakes as a drag brake. Basically, the problem is that drum brakes and roller brakes and even disk brakes don't dissipate heat well enough to be reliable as drag brakes. Should be find for emergency stopping, though.

    Have you looked into carrying the kayak on a Xtracycle with a longloader? It would almost certainly handle better than a trailer, though I'm not sure you could carry quite as much gear.

    At any rate there is a huge thread on DIY trailers and hitches in the utility cycling forum.

  14. #14
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Riding my Worksman cargo trike, it's amazing how much difference that extra weight makes in pedaling ease (and lack thereof). If you haven't tried towing that much weight up a hill, rig up some way to do it before you buy/make all the gear. (Towing a second rider on a bike up a long hill might be a good test).

    One thing that heavy trucks do on long down slopes is just descend slowly, which reduces the rate at which energy needs to be dissipated in the brakes.

    If I was going to pedal all this over a mountain pass, I would cut every last ounce off that bike, off that trailer, off that kayak, and off the gear. Steel bike + homemade steel trailer does not sound light.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  15. #15
    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I must have read wrong because I thought the benefits of a drum brake was that it was not dependent on weather and that it was not prone to overheating.

    Right now I bike around with a modified burly trailer and a 35 lb kayak and about 20-30 lbs of gear, so I am guessing that it is close to an extra 100 lbs.

    I know I will be carrying another 100 on top of that. I am well aware that I am going to get my butt kicked. I will probably have to walk my bike, I am all right with that.

  16. #16
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    I am well aware that I am going to get my butt kicked. I will probably have to walk my bike, I am all right with that.
    I think you know what you're doing. But for anyone else reading this: there's nothing "all right" about walking a bike & kayak trailer combo with all that gear. I had to walk my combo on occasions (I'd estimate my bike, trailer, sea kayak and gear weigh somewhere around 100kg) and honestly, I don't know if it was harder to walk or harder to ride on lowest gear at 4km/h. For me, the only advantage when walking the bike was being able to strain different muscle groups than when riding.

    --J
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  17. #17
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    I think you know what you're doing. But for anyone else reading this: there's nothing "all right" about walking a bike & kayak trailer combo with all that gear. I had to walk my combo on occasions (I'd estimate my bike, trailer, sea kayak and gear weigh somewhere around 100kg) and honestly, I don't know if it was harder to walk or harder to ride on lowest gear at 4km/h. For me, the only advantage when walking the bike was being able to strain different muscle groups than when riding.

    --J
    I agree 100%. A heavy bike handles much better when you're riding it, even riding it slow, than when you're pushing it along. A trailer makes it worse. I sometimes tow a 17' aluminum canoe behind my bike, which is okay, but walking the bike with the canoe hitched up is a real pain. This on the south shore of Long Island, where there are almost no hills at all.

  18. #18
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I assume you're talking a full-sized kayak and not an inflatable?
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    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    Kayak is a liquid logic Jefe Grande 8'6" and 50 lbs. Are you all hinting that this is not feasible? I also have no problems biking at 4mph.

  20. #20
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Kayak is a liquid logic Jefe Grande 8'6" and 50 lbs. Are you all hinting that this is not feasible? I also have no problems biking at 4mph.
    You're giving us far too much credit for subtlety. If someone here thinks this is a bad idea, I'm sure you'll hear all about it.

    I truly have no idea if this is feasible. Anything is possible, and I'd love to hear about a test run.
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    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    Well as a broke teacher a full test ride probably wont happen until March or April. Unless someone knows of a cheap way to get a custom trailer built. And I am by no means "handy" if that makes sense nor have the tools

  22. #22
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    If a complete stranger told you in teh Inter-Webs you cannot do something, would you believe them?

    I'm saying go for it. There's no way we can tell for sure whether you can or should make the trip. In my case, the trip was definitely one of my better mini-tours, lots of good memories. After I had hauled my kayak for 3 days and 300kms to the lake shore, I found out my accommodation there (a camping place) had loads of premium touring kayaks for rent. I dragged mine all the way there for no good reason at all, except for proving myself it can be done. And learning a thing or two about bike touring with a long trailer in tow. It was all great fun, and that's what counts, right?

    I still think a commercial trailer such as Tony's Trayak would be up to the task. He fine-tunes his trailers to fit customer's kayak dimensions. But if you can get something else custom built to your needs locally and with less money, all the better.

    --J
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  23. #23
    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    Tony's seem a bit expensive and is it good to attach at the seat post? Wouldn't it be better to attach to the chainstay or axel of the rear wheel?

    Plus I would like something that can be flat and hold more than just a kayak.

    Thanks

  24. #24
    Midwest Rider CsHoSi's Avatar
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    I'm looking into different hitch options myself. I modified a kid trailer to carry my 9'6" kayak, 39 lbs plus fishing and paddling gear inside the kayak. Haven't weighed the trailer, it's thin-walled steel, 15-20 lbs.

    It has the spring-type hitch attaching to the chain stay. The boat is 30" wide and won't fit between the wheels, so it's top-heavy and tips on the mile and a half of rough doubletrack I traverse to the shore.

    I added 26" wheels and knobbies after I blew the hubs on the 20s, but it rides worse now. I'm going to try and lay the boat in sideways next. Not sure I want to hack the frame and widen just yet, as it's still solid. I lengthened the tongue to accommodate boat and it keeps bending. The stress from the load and rough ride really torques it but the tip-overs do it in. I'm surprised the spring-hitch is still holding up after a half-season.

    Hope all is well with your planning and trip. I just drove loveland pass a couple weeks ago, was dreaming about being on the bike. I can't say I imagined my kayak trailer back there! I think it's doable, would be quite an achievement.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member yourrealdad's Avatar
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    I think that I am just going to go with an xtracycle. I talked to a couple of my friends who have them and they didn't have anything bad to say. Now its just picking out the right parts to go on it.

    P.S. I also retro-fitted a Burly to haul my kayak around in. Its fine for my shorter playboat and shorter trips 30mi round but its not the greatest and I don't trust its durability.

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