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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    Carrying a Massage table

    Have any of you had any experience carrying an massage table either on a trailer or an Xtracycle?

    My Massage Table folds down to 30 X 36 X 8 inches and weighs about 30 lbs.
    If I use a trailer am I better off hauling it tall and skinny or flat and wide for stability?
    I'm thinking I'll either have to make a trailer, or modify and existing trailer frame.

    Or maybe I'll just have to build a cargo bike.....hmmmm.
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  2. #2
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Folded down, your table should fit no problem on one side of an Xtra with wideloaders, assuming it doesn't weight 100 lbs. Riding will be a little canted unless you can balance the weight somehow, maybe a bag full of oils and lotions and your other office-type stuff. You will be more closer to vertically upright if you put the bed on top of the rack, but stability with weight that high up will be a problem. If you're going with a bakfiets, the flatbed would be better than a box since it also keeps the weight low.

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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Yeah, what he said. If doing it on an Xtra, it would probably be nice if there was a strapping point half way up, ( the table legs? ) so you could strap it straight across just below the top of the snap deck. These are just random thoughts from trying to visualize the weight/mass/proportions of the thing. At 30lbs, it shouldn't put the balance out that much, but definitely anything else goes in the other side. If it is the only serious "cargo" you intend to carry, and only infrequently, a custom trailer for a flat carry would probably be a better idea, do bear in mind that it would be a fairly wide trailer. Is that going to be a problem for you?

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    Senior Member Sundance89's Avatar
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    +2 on the Xtracycle. Assuming you do in-home massage therapy, what is the average distance between your clients homes and how much time to you give yourself to cool down and dry off if necessary? Great example of committing to a healthy lifestyle for your clients to see though. Big thumbs up.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundance89 View Post
    +2 on the Xtracycle. Assuming you do in-home massage therapy, what is the average distance between your clients homes and how much time to you give yourself to cool down and dry off if necessary? Great example of committing to a healthy lifestyle for your clients to see though. Big thumbs up.
    The longest distance would be around 15 miles (luckily the only client I see on that day) most of the rest are more in the 5 - 8 mile range.
    I would love to do a bakfiets or flat bed, but it would be very spendy for me.
    As far as the cool down issue....yeah, heat...Texas...maybe not viable for the summer. I've been toying with the idea of building a custom electric push trailer to take some of the load (and eliminating some of the sweat). If I do build a trailer, it'll probably be wide enough to lay the table on it's side (probably OK as long as I'm not commuting on the MUP)
    As far a promoting a healthy lifestyle, it'd be awesome to roll into a health fair on the bike and set up a table and/or chair. Not too bad for advertising as well...

    Y'all seem to be the most enthusiastic about the Xtracycle option...
    Are the kits very hard to install?
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    i concur, if you're measurements are accurate i think you would have no problem strapping it to the side of an xtracycle.

    my daughter weighs more than the table, and i often let her ride in a milk crate strapped to the side. with this arrangement her weight ends up higher up and further off center than your table would, and it is not a problem.

    given the frequency with which you would be loading/unloading it, i would recommend a center stand.

    if you can handle the routine maintenance of your bike, you should have no problem installing an xtracycle freeradical kit. should have every part you need included. i did my first one in about 2 hours of work.

    one thing that doesn't come with the kit though is a sturdy rear wheel. first bike i used was an aluminum schwinn moab mountain bike and it had some lightweight wheels on it. i bent the rear wheel about 2 weeks after i put the freeradical on. i then got my lbs to build a nice wheel using a sun rhyno wheel with heavy gauge spokes and never had a problem after that. i also had them use a hub on that wheel that would work with disc brakes (the freeradical has mounts for both kinds of brakes) and some time later added a disc brake to the back instead of the V brakes it had to start with. worked out much better on hill descents. found that the V brakes would cook in no time and turn the brake shoes to goo when i had a load on.

    last thing i have to share on this one, i ended up swapping the suspension fork for a rigid one. with the addition of the free radical the suspension fork ended up being bottomed out all the time, and made it feel unstable when i would have to crank hard to get up a hill. i used a steel fork that would support disc brakes and added a disc brake to the front as well. probably don't need disc brakes, but they sure are nice when you are packing around cargo a lot.

  7. #7
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    I would carry it upright, in my BikesAtWork trailer supported by my Kart-a-Bag hand truck, in this manner.


    I don't like wide loads.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    Yeah, for now I'll probably do the trailer. It's a little less spendy.
    I still like the Idea of having an Xtracycle, though.

    "I don't like wide loads."
    I AM a wide load.

    Hey, I'm just this GUY...you know?
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  9. #9
    nw commuter memnoch_proxy's Avatar
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    (Inspiring business plan! I've often thought that an XC with wide-loaders would be pretty ideal for a computer repair service, myself.)

    It took me about a year of commuting 6 miles a day before I felt comfortable extending to 8, 9 and 12 mile commutes. A 15 mile commute with 40+lbs of cargo won't be a quick commute, esp if you've got hills to climb. Gusto into that commute might not be enough, in fact it might be precarious if you're making left turns across multiple lanes of traffic. I've often pushed too hard at the start of a commute and when it came time to play in traffic, my lack of attention has almost done me in. I haul around two boys on my XC and just keeping track of balance when I have to stop takes an exhausting amount of balance. Luckily I don't need to take them the length of my normal commute. My point--I wouldnt blame you for putting off executing a 15 mile cargo commute if you don't feel secure about your plans for executing it.

    I'd consider something with plenty of low gears. I have a 32T cassette and some days---I really want a 34. If I were trucking more cargo on my XC every day, I'd be very tempted to combine a three speed internal hub and a cassette and get something like 72 gears. Especially when it was raining and everything seems to take more effort. (I might sound wimpy but I'm not trying to be macho, I've got a lot hills around. Electric assist is perfectly legit in my book, also.)

    If you're considering an XC that kind of load takes a bit of practice to pack and unpack. (riding is easy). Even on bikes with a two-foot porteur kickstand, you'll find that if you unload one pannier a heavy opposite load can still tip over the bike, especially if you don't have a solid, flat parking spot.

    I'd guess that either a trailer or XC would work, but some other considerations might be more vexing than packing an uneven load. The heat/cool down one is rather pertinent, too. Packing baby wipes for a pirate shower after your ride would help. I find that my concentration after a commute is predictably suspect, I'm not productive for about 15 minutes in fact. You might have to plan for cool down time to recover attitude and concentration before facing clients. That might include picking a drop zone before your destination where you can feel free to unwind by cleaning up and checking your messages where your client isn't watching you the whole time. Then you can approach your client at a slower speed and not appear tired.

    Locking your equipment would be a bigger concern. Your folding massage table probably costs more than your bicycle. Extra security cabling and maybe a nylon envelope for it so you don't put wear marks on the table during your rides might be an important consideration. If your oils kit is expensive and you can't take it all with you for a quick pit-stop, you'll want to secure that as well. Consider either mechanically securing a rubbermaid tub on a XC with wide-loader or a steel toolbox to a trailer.

    An extra cable lock to secure a trailer to the cycle and possibly even a third security cable to secure the wheels of the trailer if they are quick release hubs on the trailer. When I'm out shopping with my burley bee I keep a cable lock wound between a corner of the trailer cab and my seat stay. I know parents that park their burley bees right next to their pedals and take the outside quick release wheel off their trailer and thread it with their very long single cable lock to tie it all together. (Over time you'll develop a system that not only doesn't get in your way but looks professional.)

    Also, check with your insurance provider on what they will cover for theft if it's stolen -- off your bike. Car prowling is covered by standard policy, but bike-prowling might not be covered at all.
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  10. #10
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    I've never tried a xtracycle. I can tell you I don't have trouble balancing my bike while waiting for the stoplight to change. In fact I can do a no-handed "track stand" if I put my left foot on the tow bar! Care must be taken not to put too much weight on the towbar, especially when unloaded, you can flip the trailer that way which is embarrassing.

    I'm not qualified to judge, but I can't help thinking a trailer is easier for hauling, although I've seen some impressive pictures and videos of long bikes being ridden with big loads.

    The problem with wide loads on a trailer is cornering. Just like long truck, long trailer must make wide turns, even a narrow model like mine. It shouldn't be hard to design a structure to support the table in an upright position. Try to keep it light though, memnoch is correct about the the additional work involved when adding weight to your load.

    I predict the engine will get narrower.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    The engine has already gotten narrower. That photo was after losing 40 lbs the first year commuting (1450 miles that year).

    I'm going to try building a trailer that will accommodate the table laid flat. Wind can be a big issue here in TX.
    I may give this one a try (Mother Earth News Plans), but it may be a bit too tall and heavy (lots of wood). OTOH, it should be easily adapted size wise.
    The table DOES have its own case to protect it and pockets for supplies built in.
    Hey, I'm just this GUY...you know?
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  12. #12
    Practical Cyclist `Orum's Avatar
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    Please tell me I'm not the only one who thought the massage table was for the cyclist!

    Sorry, don't know about actually carrying it though...

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I just measured my trailer. The axle is 28in long, so your table would only hang 1in over each side. I have the narrower 64in BikesAtWork trailer (64A), the wider 64AW would carry it easily. B@W trailers aren't cheap though, so building your own is a good option.

  14. #14
    nw commuter memnoch_proxy's Avatar
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    Laying the table flat sounds like a great advantage wrt crosswind.

    Building your own trailer sounds like a really good opportunity. Many thots. A pro for building with a wider axle is that you can keep the table really low, possibly stack lighter loads atop it (depending on its case) and have a a shorter cable or padlock bracket to secure the table case to the trailer itself. Building a hinged grate that folded aside/over the table would allow you to get a top load that wouldn't threaten to scratch or buckle your tables case. Unless you slid the table case (or rolled it on some casters) below the cargo rack, you might always be unloading all your ancillary goods from the top of the rack to get to your table, and that might be superfluous activity. Cargo above the table would also need to be lashed, unless that top grate became a cage or basket.

    However, trailers break and if your first try isn't so hot and you start running short on time to build the next one (as would be my challenge), I immediately would consider that if you can find donor trailers to mount your table flat to the top of them (like saw the roof bars off a burley bee) and then concentrate on maintaining a good build for cargo bracket, the lower volume of the existing trailer cabin up to the top of the wheels becomes a rain-sheltered, caged and load-centered cargo hold. This might also put your table case high enough to much more easily handle. I know that if I were regularly lifting a heavy load only 8" off the road, if I didn't flip it onto a dolly (or built in dolly wheels) -- I'd really piss off my lower back. That ergonomics might be convenient, along with the work flow of not needing to unload all the smaller cargo above the table before removing the table.

    The length of the table case might quickly decide on using a pre-made donor trailer. If the trailer tongue isn't long enough you won't be able to put the center of mass ahead of the trailer axle.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    I was actually thinking along that line. too. (platform above donor trailer ala Burley)
    Do you think the wheel base is wide enough to compensate for the load being that high?
    I've been lifting and carrying this table for the last 18 yrs...(sometimes up 3-4 flights of stairs at some apartments) getting it up high enough to use the shoulder strap is no problem.
    Now if I can find a donor trailer...preferably one that supports both sides of the axle for the wheels...
    Hey, I'm just this GUY...you know?
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  16. #16
    nw commuter memnoch_proxy's Avatar
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    Donor trailer is prolly a matter of checking craigslist. I don't know where Richardson is in relation to Dallas, but this might be a start: http://dallas.craigslist.org/search/...k=1&maxAsk=100 In the pacific northwest, burley trailers are often listed at about $150.

    Wheelbase? Good question--met someone, another parent maybe, that has a burley bee? See if you can get him/her to stop by with their trailer for an opportunity to balance your table case atop their trailer. It will be pretty obvious where the center of gravity sits, just make sure you leave a few inches in the front of the table so that the left and right corners of your table case won't strike the rear wheel when turning. Worst case, you'd line up the front margin of the kid trailer with the front end of your table case.

    InStep, Burley, ...actually looking on amazon I see trailers listed for just over $100 -- but I can't vouch for them. Dimentions might take a bit of puzzling:
    Folded dimensions: 35 by 30 by 12 inches (W x H x D) from amazon. I'd assume that most trailers are about those dimensions. Comare the "assembled wieghts" on the trailers listed on that page...it ranges from 20 to almost 40lbs. That's a pretty broad range. My guess is that I'd stick with the Burley set, it might be narrower, but with a smaller pvc rimset and aluminum tubing, it might be more appropriate for a longer commute goal. The schwin, instep, or aosop brands are over much heavier. The trade off is they probably have 20" steel-rimed wheels, which might tow a bit more smoothly, but you'd feel the difference going up hills.
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  17. #17
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    First picture here shows my table strapped to the top of my Dummy. http://www.soapandsong.com/page/page/4037473.htm This table is 30 x 30 folded. I've hauled it and all my stuff every Saturday 8.6 miles one way to the Farmer's Market. A massage therapist saw my set-up and was wondering if her table would fit. Told her she could bring it over and try it out. But then she thought maybe she's sweat too much riding a bike to clients. I had a trailer and prefer the Dummy, in fact I gave my trailer away to my bike mechanic.

  18. #18
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    I've noticed that sweat doesn't smell if you sweat frequently. Whatever makes sweat smell gets diluted and flushed out. I sweat profusely on a daily basis. It cleans me from the inside out and I only need to bath about once a month now.

    In the case of the female masseuse, I'd prefer she be sweaty. In the case of the overweight man, not so much, but it wouldn't be a problem unless a strong odor was present.

  19. #19
    nw commuter memnoch_proxy's Avatar
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    I find most odor comes from a dirty cycling outfit and not from my skin (unless I've been out camping a few days). Packing a spare shirt, some deodorant is handy. There's lots of little tricks you can use to smell better. A ten minute break will allow you to cool down and some baby wipes will allow you to take a pirate shower. A clean work costume is good to pack if you want to change out of a cycling outfit that might be dirty. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about a sweat smell, as long as you take a real shower once a day. If you really want to get fancy, your customers might enjoy some burning sage or sandalwood...or a drop of peppermint or cinnamon oil near the headrest on the table.
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  20. #20
    nw commuter memnoch_proxy's Avatar
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    Was talking to a Bike Friday employee and he mentioned that the trailer shop nearby his work, BicycleR Evolution, does custom trailer builds. He was saying a Burley Bee width trailer might have the very annoying tendancy to tip if it's top heavy and you bump a curb/rock or what.
    A custom build frame would not only allow a wider wheel base, but might just need to be a simple s-bend with angle iron at the front and back to secure your table case and add a padlock or padlock bar. Also, if you have a bulky load, a Burley Bee style trailer often has a dropout-level bar/hitch and that limits the radius of your right turn, or what directions you can back your bike up. You might consider a seat-post level trailer bar/hitch which avoids that. (Might not help if you're planning on putting cargo on the top of your bike rack, tho.)

    http://www.bikerev.com/

    Hope your project is coming along well however its going!
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  21. #21
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    I know, old thread, but figured better to add to it than start something from scratch.

    I have the same issue but was thinking about solving the sweat problem by riding the bus there. Where I live, sweat and humidity are major issues.

    My idea was to sew an aluminum sub-frame into an existing massage table carrying case with a folding tongue and popoff wheelchair wheels then carry the table onto the bus with me while the bicycle rides on the rack. Thoughts?

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