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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 03-09-08, 10:45 PM   #1
masculinfeminin
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carrying a person on a rear rack (?)

hey all,

so, i was just in vietnam, and aside from the delicious food, extreme heat, and a whiny family, i had an amazing time. my uncle let me borrow his bike and i rode it around for hours......with my dad sitting on the rear rack, right behind me!

my question is--where can i find a bike like this? can a bike be converted into a person-carrying (utility) bike? the crazy thing is--these bikes in vietnam don't look too beastly, but can carry an insane amount of weight.

here are some photos for reference:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hecookssheeats/1843934949/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/leonefabre/2277318592/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lauracoulter/2049101639/

and this is the one i rode with my dad:


i was so in love i even looked into buying one there (they were around $60) and having it shipped, but shipping was to the US was some crazy amount. i've heard that actually welding a rack to your frame would work, but i could swear the bikes in vietnam just had normal-looking racks attached.

any advice/suggestions/things i should know?

thanks in advance!
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Old 03-10-08, 05:37 AM   #2
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hey all,
....
i was so in love i even looked into buying one there (they were around $60) and having it shipped, but shipping was to the US was some crazy amount. i've heard that actually welding a rack to your frame would work, but i could swear the bikes in vietnam just had normal-looking racks attached. ...
I never had much luck trying to carry loads over 25 lbs or so on regular bike racks, the puny bottom screws (that the load was carried on) would always strip and fall out. Some of the European city bikes have frames with integral/welded-on racks, but those bikes usually aren't cheap, and you may have the shipping-cost problem again.

Probably (in the US) the easiest thing to do is buy an Extracycle, or have someone who can weld make you a longtail frame with rack from a junk frame and some tubing.
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Old 03-10-08, 06:44 AM   #3
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I agree with Doug5150 seems to be indicating... that the main problem is the rack, not the bike.

I have over 3,000 miles on a Giant Sedona DX, and I have weighed between 300 and 365 pounds during that time. This is more than most two people...

But, I wouldn't put more than about 20 pounds on most racks... So the soltion is a good rack, attached well... I would say that the bikes thmselves are available here already, if they had the racks to do it.
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Old 03-10-08, 08:04 AM   #4
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I've got an old Raleigh 3 speed with a Pletscher rack in the back. I frequently ride with my son sitting on this rack. He weighs about 50 pounds. I know the rack isn't made to haul that heavy of a weight, but it has held up so far.

I'll bet with a heavy duty rack on an old 3 speed, you wouldn't have any problems. Probably pretty similar to what they have in Vietnam.
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Old 03-10-08, 08:29 AM   #5
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If you could find a setup like the old Wald paperboy rack, where the bottom braces bolt to the rear axle, especially on a non-quick release axle, that would be pretty stiff. I honestly haven't had much trouble with racks coming loose if I remember to use good hardware and a little blue Loc-tite and make sure everything is tightened up, then re-check the fasteners during the weekly tune-up.
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Old 03-10-08, 09:23 AM   #6
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I would recommend looking at Worksman bicycles
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Old 03-10-08, 10:45 AM   #7
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thanks for all your input!

it makes a lot of sense that the concern would be in the rack, not the bike. so basically, i'd have to look for a heavy duty rack that bolt to the rear (non-quick-release) axle?

mparker326- your bike sounds exactly like what i'm looking for. does your Pletscher rack bolt on to the rear axle? do you use loctite and all that good stuff? any close calls?

alleng- those workman bikes look nuts! i definitely saw alot of those food cart ones everywhere i went in vietnam. i only saw the tricycle-style bikes for carrying people though...

also, in terms of weight, would too much weight on the back cause the axle to slip or strip?

a friend suggested i look into chinese imported bikes. maybe in chinatown (i'm in new york) would have something?
p
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Old 03-10-08, 11:05 AM   #8
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The Flying Pigeon is now being imported.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Pigeon
Not sure who is bringing it in, but I read a post in either Commuting or Utility about it.
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Old 03-10-08, 11:34 AM   #9
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mparker326- your bike sounds exactly like what i'm looking for. does your Pletscher rack bolt on to the rear axle? do you use loctite and all that good stuff? any close calls?
My rack is attached to the fender eyelets along with the fenders. I don't use loctite or any of that good stuff. Like I said, I'm sure it isn't meant to do what I am doing so I go slow enough in case something were to happen. If you had a heavy duty rack you could probably achieve what you wanted to do with a full size adult. You could easily pick up an old English 3 speed in NYC anywhere from free to $100.

http://newyork.craigslist.org/fct/bik/599026126.html
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Old 03-10-08, 02:26 PM   #10
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The Flying Pigeon is now being imported.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Pigeon
Not sure who is bringing it in, but I read a post in either Commuting or Utility about it.
wowowow. can a person be transported back there? those look great!
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Old 03-10-08, 02:49 PM   #11
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wowowow. can a person be transported back there? those look great!
Most likely, as it looks like the rack is attached to the rear axle and the seat post bolt. I wonder if one could just buy the rack?
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Old 03-10-08, 03:28 PM   #12
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I'm sort of in the finishing stages of putting together an Indian bike. One thing I notice on it is that it has steel wheels that seem fairly beefy. Not quality, necessarily, but potentially more strength than a lot of cheap US bikes.

I think it depends too on the people involved. There's probably a lot of Asian people that can fit two on a bike and have less weight than just me. Speed may enter in as well.
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Old 03-10-08, 04:12 PM   #13
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As far as I know most racks here in the states are rated for 60lbs (not enough for a person.) And legal requirements require that it is made to carry a passenger and that there are foot rests (double check the wording in your state.)

But not all is lost there is the Xtracycle.
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Old 03-10-08, 05:03 PM   #14
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Have you thought about just buying the rack and taking that back with you. It may also be that the average Vietnamese is quite a bit lighter than the average American. The racks in your pics don't look much stronger than the average rack.
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Old 03-10-08, 05:45 PM   #15
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As far as I know most racks here in the states are rated for 60lbs (not enough for a person.) And legal requirements require that it is made to carry a passenger and that there are foot rests (double check the wording in your state.)
It always makes me laugh when I see something like that.

Actually, a passenger riding side saddle on the rear is about the safest way to carry him. But the law makers, not bike riders, will not see it that way. As kids back in the 50's we had three ways to give a buddy a lift. On the handlebars (I agree that one is dangerous to all concerned). Sidesaddle on the cross bar, not as safe as on the rear because the passenger can not bail off without the rider letting go the handle bars, and on the rear rack or, usually, as I don't remember any of us having a rack, the fender either side saddle or astraddle. Astraddle is not as safe because of the possibility of getting a foot caught in the spokes.

In most of the world you can see passengers riding sidesaddle on the rear of bicycles with perfect safety. I admit that as kids we were rather light, and you should have a substantial rack to carry adults preferably with a pad on it. Of cours, I don't recommend doing it with your ultra light racing bike, it would likely collapse from the load, but any decent utility bicycle should have no problem with a 400 pound load.
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Old 03-10-08, 05:55 PM   #16
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It always makes me laugh when I see something like that.

Actually, a passenger riding side saddle on the rear is about the safest way to carry him. But the law makers, not bike riders, will not see it that way.
Did you see that photo essay of Copenhagen? One section showed all the different ways people were hitch hiking on bikes, way cool. It'll be ages before US gets out of its overprotective, overbearing attitudes.
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Old 03-10-08, 07:39 PM   #17
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I'm the one that made the post about the Flying Pigeon being sold in the US. The guy that imports them is selling them through ebay.

Run a search there. The me's bike is $225.
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Old 03-10-08, 08:25 PM   #18
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I'm the one that made the post about the Flying Pigeon being sold in the US. The guy that imports them is selling them through ebay.

Run a search there. The me's bike is $225.

thanks for the info! i actually contacted the dealer here in New York. i guess they have a showroom on 11th and 1st, while the bikes themselves would be coming from somewhere in brooklyn. i'm going to check them out tomorrow. thanks everyone!
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Old 03-10-08, 09:39 PM   #19
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... Astraddle is not as safe because of the possibility of getting a foot caught in the spokes.

In most of the world you can see passengers riding sidesaddle on the rear of bicycles with perfect safety....
It is indeed a popular way to travel in much of the world. But I wouldn't say 'perfect safety' -- spoke mishaps appear to be the most common bicycling-related injuries where this is a regular mode of travel.

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Old 03-11-08, 12:22 AM   #20
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I would recommend looking at Worksman bicycles
The Worksmans don't cost a lot, but they only come in 16" and 20" frames.

The Worksman frame is okay in quality, it is a good modification project base because it is steel, so it's easy to weld and braze on (if you wish to begin with a new frame).

By far the most outstanding part of a Worksman industrial bike is the wheels. The spokes are 11g and the regular rims are very-wide 1.75" rolled steel (they look like moped spokes and rims). If you have an irrational fear of broken spokes, then I don't know any other US company that overbuilds wheels as strong (these spokes are roughly twice the diameter of what normal cheap bicycles come with).
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Old 03-11-08, 10:09 PM   #21
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I ran across this item on Ebay just now:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Unusual-Rwandan-...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 03-12-08, 03:43 AM   #22
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I have carried my sister/friends short distances on my ride....but its lacking bum support and foot pegs.

I think its a bit dangerous at speed without the foot pegs....the passenger tends to counteract your weight transfer.....and the bike wobbles like crazy (didnt help that the passenger had had a few drinks beforehand i guess)

I'd like to find some foot pegs that work with a rear rack

Or an extracycle!
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Old 03-12-08, 07:23 AM   #23
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I vote xtracycle. I just hauled my first passenger a couple of days ago. My passenger was about 185lbs, I rode with him sitting on the snapdeck, and with him standing on it. It handled very nice for that amount of weight.
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Old 03-12-08, 08:12 AM   #24
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Did you see that photo essay of Copenhagen? One section showed all the different ways people were hitch hiking on bikes, way cool. It'll be ages before US gets out of its overprotective, overbearing attitudes.
Indeed, here is a link to that blog page: http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/

I laughed at it for the same reason most of the Dutch who responded to it did. In general we Americans are idiots. I will give the guy credit, he has not deleted the page although it does make him look like and idiot himself. Of course he may still be of the opinion that Dutch bicyclists are crazy, who knows? Bicycles are still toys in the US, yes even for most of the folks on these forums, notice that the road forum has more people on it than any of the rest and the utility forum has very few, and the attitude of Americans here reflects that.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:45 PM   #25
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My brother's fiancee has an Azor Oma and she has picked up my brother from the light rail train when his bike is in the shop. He rides on the rear rack. No damage to the bike thus far, but he has to scoot a bit with his feet to get them going at first.
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