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Thread: Hauling Plywood

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    Hauling Plywood

    I live about 4-5 miles from my Home Depot. What would be the best set-up for me to have to haul sheets of plywood (4'X8')? Has anyone done this?

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    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    I asked about it a few years back and was pretty much told it wasn't practical. I never did try building the 4X8 trailer to haul it flat.
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    I have used a Bike At Works trailer and hauled it flat. If I did it regularly, I would rig up supports so the plywood rides above the fenders and is supported on all four corners. We have local lumber yards here and they deliver for free so I rarely need to haul sheet goods.

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    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    I would try a trailer and have them stand up leaning against eachother like they do when transporting windows or sheets of glass.

    Avoid windy days ofcourse.

    but first I would look into other solutions, like have it delivered.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

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    not really practical

    There's no getting around the wind on this one. Even flat it's a little dicey. We get a lot of out of the blue gusts around here so even a calm day is no guarantee that I'll be safe. A person and a bike just don't weight enough compared to the potential wind load on something with that much surface. Short of having it delivered, If you can design your project to use 2' x 8' s that might be safer. Home Despot will give you two cuts on your plywood without charging you anything.

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    I have put some thought into this one. My experiences with hang gliders and even just R/C planes makes me think 1/2 sheet is the limit of what I would try to haul on a bike. Even on calm days we get thermals cooking off (dust devils) that could ruin your day.

    ETA: of course you could haul a stack of half sheets.
    Last edited by kevbo; 03-31-12 at 08:37 PM.
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    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    I would just say go for it. A Bikes at Work trailer or a Surly Bill trailer are probably your best bet. Just try to plan it around a day without much wind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adanthang View Post
    I live about 4-5 miles from my Home Depot. What would be the best set-up for me to have to haul sheets of plywood (4'X8')? Has anyone done this?
    When I did it, I spent the $30 to rent one of Home Depot's trucks for an hour.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If I was going to cut it anyway, I'd give the Lumber yard/shop the cut I needed ,
    They would cut it, and then wouldn't have to haul the whole panel, whole..

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    once in order to bring firewood to a beach fire I tied a bunch of old trees together and dragged them to the beach. that was weirdly fun
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Senior Member WickedThump's Avatar
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    I once had to transport a 4'x4' paper cutter. I balanced it on a pedal and used the bike like a dolly to get it home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nubcake View Post
    I would just say go for it. A Bikes at Work trailer or a Surly Bill trailer are probably your best bet. Just try to plan it around a day without much wind.
    Uh, I would not.
    Finding oneself and your load blown into the middle of Atlanta traffic will not be a good day.
    Have it delivered, find a buddy with a truck, or rent one from Home Despot.

    Here is a generic formula for calculating wind loads.
    Force, F = A x P x Cd

    A = The projected area of the item

    P , Wind pressure (Psf), = .00256 x V^2 (V= wind speed in Mph)

    Cd , Drag coefficient, = 2.0 for flat plates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adanthang View Post
    I live about 4-5 miles from my Home Depot. What would be the best set-up for me to have to haul sheets of plywood (4'X8')? Has anyone done this?
    I'm about to try this, with something a little smaller than a half sheet of plywood:
    If the minimum dimension of the plywood is too long to hold it under your arm, tie rope tight around it like a birthday present ribbon (across both dimensions). then place the board under one arm and hold onto the rope with your hand. bike with one hand on the handle bars and one hand securing the plywood under your arm.

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    Senior Member Ranko Kohime's Avatar
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    ^ That shall end in tears, I'm certain.

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    Man...just rent a pickup from Zip car or something for a fwe dollars. Or HOme Depot will rent you their truck for an hour for something like $20 but that's better for a stack of plywood rather than just one sheet.
    Last edited by jsdavis; 09-17-12 at 02:26 AM.

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    Yes friend this COULD end very tragically. You could end up getting it home just fine but the chances are you could get yourself and other traffic in a LOT of hurt in a heartbeat. As mentioned above, either rent the truck, ask a friend to haul it in their truck for $5 or pay for delivery.

    I hope I DON'T hear about this going wrong on the evening news

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    To everyone losing their minds because of wind load, the answer is pretty simple:
    Increase the weight portion of the weight/surface area ratio. Two sheets of plywood have twice the weight but only a hair more surface area. If you only need one sheet, just put some weight on it. Sheesh.
    As for trailers, I built a simple throwaway rig. It was just some dolly wheels attached to a 2x4, and a separate 2x4 with a hole in it. The hole goes around my seatpost, and I C-clamped the 2x4s in the appropriate spots. It's heavy, and ungainly, but it cost me free dollars and it got the plywood home.
    (to be clear, the dolly wheels were mounted at the ends of a 4' 2x4, so they stuck out on the sides. It was very stable).
    Last edited by Jamoni; 09-18-12 at 04:55 PM. Reason: clarity

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    If I was going to cut it anyway, I'd give the Lumber yard/shop the cut I needed ,
    They would cut it, and then wouldn't have to haul the whole panel, whole..
    I agree. Around here, hauling a full sheet with a bike is asking for trouble,,, maybe even death.

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    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    I don't drive it but, I have a '94 Ford F150 that has insurance and a current tag in the driveway. It costs me about $50 a month to have it sit there. I can ALWAYS find someone that needs the use of a truck to drive and take me where I want to go.........of course "where I want to go" being further or carrying something heavier/more bulky than safe on the bike.
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    Not only do you have the ambient wind to deal with, you have gusts of wind from passing cars & trucks.

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    Having worked construction, necessitating carrying plywood from the truck into the job no matter what the weather was doing, I, 6"4" and 250 lb. mostly muscle and bone at that time, can tell you that a gust of wind, even one from a passing car, will move you in the direction it's going. Any trailer heavy enough to stabilize that load will be too heavy to haul with a bike. Use a truck or have it delivered.

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    My utility trailer just consists of a 4' x 6' sheet of plywood bolted on top of the axle and tongue of a Bike Friday trailer. So carrying a few 4' x 8' sheets would be pretty easy but they'd stick out about a foot in front and in back. I don't think normal wind speeds would be problem since the sheets would be completely horizontal and quite low to the ground where wind speed is less.

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    I have a BAW 64a and if I was to haul 4x8 plywood, I would just lay it flat. I'd probably put 2 - 4 foot 2x2 or 2x4 pieces underneath to support it at the edges (one across the fenders, one at the front), if the plywood needed the support (ie, <1/2"). This would eliminate any wind issues and a 4 foot wide load is maneageable. I wouldn't have any hesitation, and might even strap a bin on top to haul my 5 year old.
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    There's a bike hauling plywood here:
    http://www.bikesatwork.com/
    4x8-plywood-on-96a-bicycle-trailer-200x127.jpg
    I guess it's possible?
    The best thing about a bicycle is that it uses no gasoline, therefore the chance of fiery death is greatly reduced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
    There's a bike hauling plywood here:
    http://www.bikesatwork.com/
    4x8-plywood-on-96a-bicycle-trailer-200x127.jpg
    I guess it's possible?
    This is exactly how I'd do it, though as I said, I might put some support underneath it if needed. In this picture, I can't tell if there's any support. Regardless, this completely eliminates the wind issues, and all one has to deal with is the width (which should be manageable).
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