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Old 05-24-03, 06:25 PM   #1
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Towing a Rider?

Last night on TV I saw a mountain biker towing another mountain biker, then today I saw 2 people riding, one being towed using some sort of rope. Are they using this for training, or are they helping out the weaker rider?

What kind of rope would be best for this? I'm thinking that on longer flat trail rides I could tow my kids at their pace to help lighten the load for them, especially on up hills.

Where would I be best to attach the rope? I'm not interested in one of the bars that attach to my bike as my kids are pretty good riders, however on long ride it would be nice to attach a rope and keep on climbing!

I had never thought of it before until I saw the two guys doing it today! Am I crazy? Did his pedal fall off and they were using it only in an emergency?
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Old 05-24-03, 07:04 PM   #2
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Well, I heard once of a racer who was disqualified for cheating, because his team was towing him by a piano wire which he held in his teeth.

You may prefer to keep your teeth, though....
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Old 05-24-03, 10:37 PM   #3
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You must've been watching some adventure racing. Yes, they do tow the slower/weaker rider. What they use? I dunno!

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Old 05-24-03, 11:16 PM   #4
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In testing for the climb to everest some OLN athletes ended up towing to bring up the slower riders
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Old 05-26-03, 08:38 PM   #5
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Once upon a time, when my Huffy was bigger and probably weighed more than me (I think it still does ), I was having trouble keeping up with my friends (who were a little older, bigger, and had better bikes), so they found a length of rope, looped it around my headtube, and secured it to the seatposts of two of their bikes. The ride was much faster after that, although my ego suffered.

Rope: Nylon parachute rigging. It is very light, thin (20 feet would fit in a wedgepack, easy) and is rated at about a 1000 lbs. There are two things I would worry about. If it got too slack they could pick it up in the spokes or chainring, and if you do attach to your seattube, it would raise and move aft your center of gravity.

Oh yeah, I also once saw a picture of guy with a sail on his bike. I can't find the picture now, but you could try rigging your kids' bikes up with that.
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Old 05-27-03, 03:16 AM   #6
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yes, i have seen this a lot in Adventure Racing and 2 years ago my team used it for the running portion (in cycling we were all pretty close) and it worked GREAT!

also last weekend on a tour in the Alps i saw a dad on a bike pulling his maybe 11 year old son with a rope. it was unelastic so the kid got jerked pretty good as the dad had a lot more weight, but it seemed to work and the kid was handling it fine.

although i personally have not tried it, from what i have seen i think the best is:

* bungie cord or something with some elasticity soas to jerk the rider less and to take up some slack on downhills (if the rope goes slack and you run over it or it gets caught in the drivetrain = bad!) we used some kind of airplane or parachute shielded tubing - sorry i forgot what it's called and my teammate bought it, but it was strong and elastic and easy to work with. i think it's what they often use in bungy jumpy, but only a sngle strand --- oh, yeah, i think it's what the previous poster was meaning: nylon parachute rigging

* easily detachable and re-attachable

i have seen adventure racers mount a bar with a loop to the front of the frame near the headset (the bars causing more side-to-side pull) and then mount another bar on the seat tube of the puller and tie a bungie here and use a hook or carabiner to attach a bungie to the bike being pulled. the rider being pulled can decide when to attach -- he rides up behind the rider, unhooks the hook and attaches to his bar - then if it's downhill he can detach it. ---- actually i've seen it both ways: so that it stay attached to the puller and he wraps it around his seat or his jersey, or that the pullee wraps it around his handlebar when not in use. with your son you might choose the option of the puller so the kid doesn't have to deal with the rope falling into the spokes...

you don't want it too long - on the order of one bike length (3-6 ft)

and you should practice before doing any technical terrain.

and unhook on downhills.

and you must of course keep good communication and work together.

but i think it can work really well - especially if there are long extended climbs or long flat sections.
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Old 05-27-03, 04:01 AM   #7
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It could turn all nasty if the rope was too long & a car tried to cross between you
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Old 05-27-03, 07:04 AM   #8
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Most definitely useful in Adventure Racing. Our team is going to start trying this.
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Old 05-27-03, 09:28 PM   #9
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Its very fun to get towed into big jumps by a dirtbike.
Jumps that are to tall to launch off of by just using pedal power that is.
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Old 05-27-03, 09:35 PM   #10
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You could look into ropes used for rock climbing they have some elasticity to them so won't be as springy as a bungee cord yet still give you some give, I know the full length ones are fairly expensive but probably could pick up a short one for not much money.
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