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  1. #1
    Fissato Italiano Aldone's Avatar
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    How to transport bikes

    which is the best way to transport bikes with a bike??

    Trailer, Xtracycle, others?
    Is it better to put car roof racks on a flatbed trailer?
    Can you simply put the front wheel of 1 or 2 bikes in the Xtracycle bags?

  2. #2
    Year-round cyclist
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    There was a recent discussion on this on Bikelist forums.

    Speaking from experience, I would say it depends how long and often you want to do this, and how quick you want the setup to be.

    1. If you do it very seldomly, you might backpack the bike. I don't think I could do it, but there is a guy who cycles quite often around here with a 20"-wheel bike in his packsack!

    2. The Trail Gator is an easy solution. It's not stable with a kid, but I think it should be OK for a bike by itself. Be warned that you will need to carry the front wheel separately (tied onto the frame of the towed bike, perhaps), and that you will need to attach semi-permanently a bracket onto the towed bike. In other words, it works if you tow always the same bike. Cost is about 100 $, which I find a bit high for a so-so solution.

    3. If you have a rear rack on your "tractor" bike, you could use the type of bracket which is used to receive the fork on roof racks. You should have the bracket firmly attached, which means you'll need to have a plate welded on the rack and then bolt the said bracket onto the plate. Any jury-rig attachment won't work because the bracket needs to be steady or the towed bike won't stay upright. Cost is about 20 $ for the bracket, plus whatever you need to give to a welder.

    4. The Xtra-cycle is another solution. I'm not a fan of it but rather prefer the SUB by Surly (i.e. an Xtra-cycle like bicycle which is designed from the start to be a long bike). Because the bike is long, you can make a platform or attachment that will support both wheels of the bike, a bit like this. You could also do something like that even better with a real tandem (stokerless, of course). What I don't like of the Xtra-cycle is that you more or less dedicate one bike full time to become a long bike. Great if that's what you want all the time but not as good if you only want it once a week or so. Cost is about 250 $ plus whatever it will cost you to make the platform.
    Of course if you have other uses for the long bike, then price is less of an issue.
    (Note also that many of the loads they show on their photos can easily be carried with a regular bike with racks and panniers.)

    5. The trailer. It is fairly easy to convert a 2-wheel trailer such as the Burley Nomad or Flatbed to use it to carry bikes. You could always carry a bike in the trailer as is, but I made it simpler by bolting a bracket (the one used to receive the fork on roof racks) onto the front end of the trailer. When I want to carry my daughter's bike, I remove the front wheel, put the bike in the bracket, and put the front wheel in the trailer. I then use a couple of straps to help. The whole process takes me about 2 minutes. When loaded that way, the Nomad is a bit tippy (load too high), but it's stable if I have some other (minimal) load on the floor of the trailer (ex.: lunch, basic repair gear...). I have done 80-120 km day rides with such a setup, where basically my daughter has cycled about halfway on her own steam and halfway on the tandem (with her 26"-wheel bike attached in the trailer), and it works fine even with potholes aplenty.
    Cost is 200-250 $ for the trailer (Flatbed or Nomad), plus about 25 $ for improvements.

    I find that the trailer works great overall. I preferred the Nomad because I also use it for loaded touring with the family, shopping, etc.. The 25" overall width also means it goes very easily through the kitchen door, which is great when I come home with a trailer full of groceries. However, if you want the trailer solely for carrying bike(s), the Flatbed is wider, will be a bit more stable and would allow you to easily fit two brackets for two bikes.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  3. #3
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    3. If you have a rear rack on your "tractor" bike, you could use the type of bracket which is used to receive the fork on roof racks. You should have the bracket firmly attached, which means you'll need to have a plate welded on the rack and then bolt the said bracket onto the plate. Any jury-rig attachment won't work because the bracket needs to be steady or the towed bike won't stay upright. Cost is about 20 $ for the bracket, plus whatever you need to give to a welder.
    If your rear rack is aluminum, as most are, it seems possible that welding would weaken the aluminum to the point of being unsafe.

    My solution so far has usually been to ride my bike one-handed (left hand ready to use front brake), pulling the other bike alongside holding it by the stem. This method requires good balance and going slow. You won't be able to do any hard braking with one hand on your own bike's bars. But I have successfully transported a bike 10 miles this way... at an average speed of just under 10 miles per hour.

    I have a backpack with two straps across the back for attaching stuff to the outside. I've strapped a bike (with both wheels attached) to this backpack and ridden.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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  4. #4
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    If you're only moving one bike a short distance, do the "ghost rider" trick. Just pedal one bike and push the other bike with your hand. It's really quite simple, most cyclists can handle it.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  5. #5
    Guy on a Bike TreeUnit's Avatar
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    Remove wheels and give them to a friend who also has a bike. They can be "hung" over his back, or strapped to the side of a rear rack

    Strap the frame to your own back. Sorry I don't know the specifics of doing this.

    This is kind of a crude method of bike transport, but i've seen it done.

  6. #6
    Villainous huerro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldone
    which is the best way to transport bikes with a bike??

    Trailer, Xtracycle, others?
    Is it better to put car roof racks on a flatbed trailer?
    Can you simply put the front wheel of 1 or 2 bikes in the Xtracycle bags?
    I'm not trying to be a smart ass, I'm really not, but depending on what you are transporting them for and how many you need to move, I've found it easiest to ride there and bus/taxi/walk back (or vice versa).

  7. #7
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    FWIW I have transported bikes (one at time) by placing the front wheel in the Xtracycle bag and bungee cord the bike to the frame of the Xtracycle. I also have the TrayBien which makes it a little easer to transport bikes. I assume with two TrayBien’s you could possible transport 4 bikes (two on the TrayBien’s and two in the bags) but I have not tried it.
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  8. #8
    don't pedal backwards... MacG's Avatar
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    I just built this today:









    more/hi-res/etc.

    I spent some quality time with the welder, drill press, and hacksaw this afternoon. As long as a bike has a halfway-working headset, 100mm-spaced fork, and a rear wheel that will roll, you can tow it with this thing. I added the front wheel carrier (100mm OLN only) as kind of an afterthought.

    It was designed to work with a Jandd Expedition rack, but it should be compatible with most rear racks that are capable of carrying panniers. Now that I have built it, I have several design changes I would implement to make the next one even better.
    from Minneapolis, with bike love

  9. #9
    Dare to be weird!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG
    I just built this today...

    I spent some quality time with the welder, drill press, and hacksaw this afternoon. As long as a bike has a halfway-working headset, 100mm-spaced fork, and a rear wheel that will roll, you can tow it with this thing. I added the front wheel carrier (100mm OLN only) as kind of an afterthought.

    It was designed to work with a Jandd Expedition rack, but it should be compatible with most rear racks that are capable of carrying panniers. Now that I have built it, I have several design changes I would implement to make the next one even better.
    What a great invention. I wonder if you could make it into a trailer hitch that is also a bike towing hitch.

  10. #10
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    Towing a bike with another bike

    Well i've read most of the posts about how to tow a bike with another bike and for some reason i can't quite visualize/simulate how the kids tow-gator would work, but that does seem like the best way to go, but its hard to imagine that a large adult bike wouldn't rip that u-joint seat post mounted gizmo right off in a turn!

    Actully the idea i like the most is to bolt a "truck fork mount", mentioned in 1 post to a/my reinforced bike rack, but for some reason i can't quite visualize the towed bike dynamics when i lets say, am in a turn and maybe hit a bump while in the turn and what kinds of stresses that would put on the whole arrangement! but i really like the bike rack mount idea and i kind of got some insights into the possible problems with that approach when another poster mentioned needing a swivel feature for the fork mount, ie lazy susan looks like it would work, but a responding poster said the towed bikes handle bar swivel post would handle that swiveling predicament?

    So has anyone seen or been able to make a bike rack mounted fork mount work "as is" without any special swivel features added and of course i would definitely have to reinforce the biker rack platform for sure, but i'd really like to take the bike to the bike shop for work via bike versus car and i sure you know what i mean if you're a fellow biking fanatic which i'm sure you are if you're responding this post! hahahaha

    Thanks for sharing any thoughts on this.
    Bob Kennelly
    Fairfax Va

  11. #11
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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  12. #12
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    Sweet rack, Mac!

    Quote Originally Posted by huerro View Post
    I'm not trying to be a smart ass, I'm really not, but depending on what you are transporting them for and how many you need to move, I've found it easiest to ride there and bus/taxi/walk back (or vice versa).
    What other methods have you tried? Your solution sounds like the worst one suggested so far except for the trail gator, but if it works for you, enjoy the ride (taxi) or the ride and walk (bus) or the walk!
    Last edited by qmsdc15; 06-08-09 at 07:21 AM.

  13. #13
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    Bob K. I saw a guy hauling a polo bike with a fixie, fork mount bolted to rear rack, front wheel strapped to frame. He was stopped, looking at a map, so I didn't get to see how it appeared to handle or corner but I saw him at the polo court later so I guess it worked.

  14. #14
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    How often do you plan to carry extra bikes? I have hauled as many as 5 bikes with my Bikes At Work trailer. Usually I just ferry one or two on the Xtracycle by putting the wheel in the bag.

  15. #15
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    thanks all, well i quess when i look at those pics of the long bike with a bike on the back i wonder when taking a turn if it gets top heavy or puts too much torque on the fork u joints maybe?

    but as far as how often i would want to tow a bike, maybe once every couple of months just to get a tune up, but its a fairly long haul, but on a nicely paved trail, formerly a train track, the WOD formerly the C&O railroad, but i do have to do a good number of turns and manuevers.

    another approach that i just remembered seeing is where someone left the front wheel on and put the front wheel in sort of a cloth looking sling and apparently used the whole wheel side to stabalize against the bike rack so in other words the wheel itself provided a number of brace points top and bottom instead of all that torque on the fork u joint, maybe i will first toy around with that idea.

    and one other idea i was thinking about that me be totally impracticle the maybe totally practicle is to actually flat tow the trailing bike using both of the wheels of the towed bike and figure out a way to create some kind of handle bar pivoting mechanism that would basically always keep the handlebars in unison with the puller bike and it might look like a big triangle mounted on the rack with bungies keeping the bike in some kind of tension balance, just a wild idea, but just for fun i think i'm going to think about that idea some more and get back to very helpful and similar interested folks!

    BobK

  16. #16
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    ok i think i'm getting closer to a solution, but if first tried bolting on a truck bed fork mount but just as i suspected when i take a turn, it put a huge amount of torgue on the fork and almost ripped the rack off the back, howerver i think it could work if i super reinforced the rack, but i'd still be really concerned about those fork u-tip axle connectors as there would be a huge stree on those points.

    But just as i was getting ready to throw in the fork and hit the rack i saw out of the corner of my eye in my misc stuff pile a white tube, ie PVC tube and got some big O ringe connectors, ie like the type you use on car water heater hose but alot bigger and O ring bracketed that PVC tube on the side of my rack and put 1 of the tobe towed bike forkes in that tube and angle the tube at the right angle and walked the 2 bikes around the yard checking out the movements of the bikes and i think that's going to work ok! but i found if i twist the towed bike handle bars so both forks are inline with the side of the rack, it as if i was turning the bike handle bars 90%, i see where i can hook up 2 PVC tubes, both flushly bracketed to the rack and that adds almost perfect stability! plus i had some pipe foam insulation foam wrap and wrapped the forks so they were relatively snug in the PVC and bygolly i think we've got it! now i might take my mountain bike rack off and put it on my Trek7300 towor bike as the rack connect points are solid moulded connections instead the rack i use on th Trek which has those cheap looking aluminum tack welds, which really seemed ok but why not beef it up a bit for the unknown! ok i think this is going to work and when i've got it finalized i will provide a picture and then spend about 100k getting it patented! ahahahahaha

  17. #17
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    ok i just took both bikes out for a test run and it work marvelously! and i only used the 1 PVC tube i had laying around. after doing some finagaling around i found that i could position and O ring clamp the PVC tube right onto the 2 main frame bars and just connect the upper PVC tube to one of the rack pipes just for an added stability factor, but not as one of the stress bearing connections. Yes and i just rode around the block zigzagging tightly and believe it or not i rode around my hilly bumpy back yard after getting carried away with feelings of grandious self achievement! hahahahah Oh and instead of using a 2nd PVC tube, ie mainly because attaching the 1 PVC pipe directly to the bike frame members was so sturdy, all i had to do is turn the handle bars 90% and bungee the other towee bike fork to one of the rack bars and so now both towee fork members on tightly lashed to the side of the towOr bike! ok so the only materials are about a 2 foot length of about 1.5 inch PVC, 2 large O ring clamps and 1 bungee cord and i'm ready to truck these puppies up to my bike shop in Vienna Va and that's the same store i build my custom velocity wheels in one of their wheel building classes and when i build those wheels i built a custom wheel holder on my bike to carry those wheels back and forth to class, so when they see me towing ole "nelly bell" up to the store they will be laughing all over again at my rube goldburgedness reincarnate! hahahahahah

  18. #18
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Pix?

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