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added rack and now have trouble getting on/off bike

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added rack and now have trouble getting on/off bike

Old 05-20-21, 12:34 PM
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added rack and now have trouble getting on/off bike

Yesterday I had my LBS add a rear rack for my bike.

Unfortunately this addition is giving me grief because I now find it very difficult to get on/off the bike because I have trouble lifting my leg over the rack (adding a trunk bag at this point would make getting on/off impossible). I have to tilt the bike a good bit to get on/off.

Any suggestions on how to get limber enough to solve my problem?

I am in my early eighties, weight 215 pounds and typically ride 20 miles with about 650 feet of climbing every other day.. I have been riding regularly for about 11 years.

Thanks for any insights....
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Old 05-20-21, 03:02 PM
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On my bikes with rear racks, I find it easier to step over the top tube than around the rack, particularly with panniers attached.

My wife has taken ballet lessons for 50 years. She wonders why so many of us men are so inflexible.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 05-20-21, 03:48 PM
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Yup - rear racks and cowboy mounts don't go well together. Double true for fixed gears.

The inimitable Sheldon Brown has an article on this:
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Old 05-20-21, 03:56 PM
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Are you doing a rolling start to mount?

I haven't done that as a regular thing since long long ago. When something keeps me from swinging my leg over the rear, I just lean the bike toward me more. Then can make the saddle as low as needed to get my leg over it.
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Old 05-20-21, 04:02 PM
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Or, take off that rack and install LowRider racks on the fork. They're different with both pluses and minuses.

Pluses - the bike handles very well loaded with a lot of weight, including if you go uphill standing. (Do load them roughly equally or they will tend to steer you toward the heavier bag.) Loaded, they steady the bike's steering a lot. (In my midwest college days, I'd bring extra books to campus just to steady the steering on ice and snow downhill into campus. More work coming home but much better than crashing.) I like that I do not have to step away from the bike to put the jacket I just took off in the pannier. Walking the bike with weight in the bags with one hand is easy and the bike is very well behaved, unlike when rear panniers are heavily loaded. One hand on the stem gives you excellent control of the loaded bike almost everywhere when walking or just holding it upright.

Minuses - bag size is limited because they are substantially lower. Too large and they drag on turns. You do not have a rack you can put stuff like a trunk bag on unless you buy another separate rack. If you carry real weight, run healthily large tires at enough pressure. The LowRider cargo weight is bolted directly to the bike just above the front wheel. You hit potholes and rocks a lot harder, damage rims and blow tires if everything isn't big enough and strong enough plus you are quite limited in how much you can "unweight" the tire in anticipation of a hit. (I run Mavic Open Sport rims and 28c tires. 90 psi. I weigh 155 lbs.)

I put LowRiders on my city bike 40 years ago. Sold from the beginning. Now i have two city bikes, both with LowRiders and one with a rear rack for another set of panniers for the occasional large item. I'm happy to keep the rear racks off my other bikes until I know I need one (which is rarely).

I say LowRider (a trademark of Blackburn and the original) but I've used Jandd (sp) as well. The Jandds are stronger, stiffer and a little more clumsy to use.
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Old 05-20-21, 04:29 PM
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You didn't say what you need to carry but maybe a handlebar bag would be enough. Kudos for still riding into your 80s. Most folks have gone to 'bents or ebikes by then.

Last edited by shelbyfv; 05-20-21 at 04:32 PM. Reason: kudos
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Old 05-20-21, 06:46 PM
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If not already mentioned, have you considered a step through? I know as macho men we don't consider this frame but to me I would rather be riding a bike than not.
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Old 05-21-21, 10:37 PM
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Yep, slant over and step over. Itís also pretty much the way most of us get on a tandem
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Old 05-22-21, 07:49 AM
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All my bicycles have racks on them (incredibly useful!), never noticed a problem throwing my leg over the bike. But I'm just a youngster in my mid-60s so that might be affecting my analysis of your situation.

Do yo have a regular rack that mounts on the seat stays and eyelets near the rear drop-outs, or a seatpost rack? One of mine fleet has a seatpost rack and those do sit higher. If its a seatpost rack see if you can lower it a little, and see if its a type that can be 'flipped' so it sits even lower. If its the other type of rack look and see if its adjustable in height where it connects to the dropout eyelets (and seat stays) and see if it can be lowered closer to the tire.

Last edited by skidder; 05-22-21 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 05-22-21, 10:20 AM
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You've got the right idea

Originally Posted by yrrej View Post
I have to tilt the bike a good bit to get on/off.
I feel your pain. I put a rack on my hybrid with rear hub drive and triangle battery, and keep a good sized pack on at all times. It's double trouble because the weight makes it hard to lean too far.

With a light bike, just grab stem and lean it way down and step over. No magic tricks I know of, other than a big leg swing, like kicking a field goal. But with left side pedal at top (assuming mounting from left) you can lean it until your arm is straight down.

Just another insult of aging...
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Old 05-22-21, 10:51 PM
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Kudos for still riding at 80+ While considerably younger I have limitations as well so I feel your pain. Not knowing what youre carrying makes it difficult to suggest an answer. If you have to have a rear rack maybe there are some stretching exercises you can do to loosen up?'

As a former paperboy I had a pretty big basket on a cruiser but then I wasnt climbing 600ft over 20 miles but possibly a small front mounted rack or a comfortable back pack might work.
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Old 05-31-21, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
On my bikes with rear racks, I find it easier to step over the top tube than around the rack, particularly with panniers attached.

My wife has taken ballet lessons for 50 years. She wonders why so many of us men are so inflexible.
That is what I do. I used to step on the left pedal, push away and swing my right leg over. Now, I lean the bike over to the left, step over and stand it up straight. Aging discs and back mandated the change. To start now, I clip in the left foot and push off with the right.
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Old 05-31-21, 11:07 PM
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When I resumed cycling in 2015, I was "only" 57 but coming off a l-o-n-g recovery from a 2001 car wreck that busted up my back, neck and hip, and needed a cane to walk any distance until 2014. So I had some difficulty hoisted a leg over my comfort hybrid with rear rack, especially when it was loaded with stuff from grocery errands, etc.

Tipping the bike toward me to lower the entry made handling really sketchy, especially with a loaded rear rack. I dumped the bike a couple of times trying that.

But I figured out a couple of tricks to make it easier, while I continued working on my physical therapy and range of motion at home:
  • Roll the bike to a curb, parallel with the curb, so that both tires were touching the curb. That way when I leaned the bike toward me, it didn't slide out and the front wheel didn't flop.
  • Or, same thing -- wheels against curb -- but stand on sidewalk (or traffic island at the store) and step over the bike from that elevated position.

Both tricks worked well and I still do that when riding either hybrid with rear racks.

And I don't use clipless or any foot retention with my hybrids. I do on my road bikes. But TBH there's no discernible difference in efficiency and eventually I'll probably quit using clipless on my road bikes too. The main advantage I feel from clipless isn't the foot retention but the stiffer soles and better foot/arch support. I could get that with Five Ten Freerider or comparable shoes and platform pedals. One less thing to worry about when setting down a foot on wet or slippery pavement at stops.

Occasionally when I get hip pain and stiffness, usually due to barometric pressure shifts during t-storms, I'll do the same thing with my road bikes.

Fortunately with lots of physical therapy in a clinic and at home my overall mobility is better now. And I resumed jogging last year for the first time in nearly 40 years, which has improved some leg strength and mobility -- especially single leg support for mounting/dismounting a bike. But it still helps to use little tricks to ease getting on and off the bike.
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Old 06-01-21, 06:50 AM
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Maybe try this technique?
mount and dismount bike
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Old 06-01-21, 10:52 AM
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my Wife was having the same problem so we swapped her regular Trek FX for a Trek Stagger, which has a very low top bar, not quite a step-thru, more like the old mixte frames. So now, instead of swinging her leg over the back, she brings her foot over, in front
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Old 06-01-21, 03:05 PM
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Yup, another Tandem rider and also a senior here. Get in the habit of, when you mount or dismount, lean the bike WAY over. This will make it much easier getting on and off the bike. Us tandem riders learned that the only way we can get our leg over the stokers handle bars is to lean the bike way over. After a while it becomes second nature.
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Old 06-01-21, 04:10 PM
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Please do something. At 80 you are a precious commodity; likely a role model for some.

Swing leg over handlebars - likely not an option.
Step thru frame
Handlebar bag or

good luck.
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Old 06-02-21, 07:05 AM
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Three suggestions in addition to those mentioned: (1) While you lean the bike toward you as low as possible, also position your body as far forward as you can. Lean right over the handlebars. (2) Similar to the suggestion to stand on the sidewalk: stand on the higher side of wherever you are. Most roads slope down from the center, so have the center of the road on your mounting side. Same for stopping and dismounting. If you can gain even an inch of height, that often helps. (3) If worse comes to worst, you can lay the bike totally on the ground, step over it, and lift it. Those are all things that helped me when I had severe hip arthritis and then a hip replacement. If you don't yet have to resort to #3, you're doing well! I'd like to do some touring and I definitely worry about getting on and off a fully loaded bike.

Update: I tested mounting yesterday and couldn't see the problem with getting my leg over the rear rack and trunk---unless your trunk is higher than your seat??

Last edited by GetUpnGo; 06-06-21 at 06:38 PM.
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