Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bags, Boxes, And Bikes

When we first got our bikes back in May of this year, we couldn't figure out how we were going to a) attach them to the truck and b) how they would stay clean once they were on the truck. 

So we bought two
car top carrier bags per bike and I deconstructed them and made them into one bag per bike, with a zipper all around.  Since they were made to travel on a car top, we figured they'd be weather resistant enough for the truck.  We put the bike in a bag, and using the loops in place on the original bags, threaded the straps through them and cinched it together, securing each end. 
Then we figured out a way to hang them from below the side of the trailer using eye hook bolts and 1" ratchet straps. 

I sewed a slit in each side of the bag, where each wheel would be, so we could thread a strap through the bag and the bike wheel and hang them on the trailer from the wheels. 
Here you can see the side view of how the bike was hanging, with the strap pulled tight over the bag, pulling it toward the center of the trailer so it wouldn't hang and swing or hit anything.  
We rode around with it this way for a few weeks, but Ed decided that it took entirely too much time to get the bikes in and out of the bags - to put the bikes in the bags, line up the tires with the slits, thread the straps through, tighten it down, and then reverse the process to get them down was a process.

So we decided to order an aluminum box to put the bikes in.  $1500.00 later, that's what we now use.   

Several people have asked about the bags - they didn't know about the box - wanted to know if the sewing project worked, and those who knew about the boxes wanted to see pictures.  I finally took some pictures yesterday when we got our bikes out to ride around the area of Columbia, New Jersey, where the Travel Centers of America truck stop is located.

This is the box on the trailer.  It sits right behind the landing gear and has about the same clearance as the other storage boxes on the truck.  It's just longer and deeper.   
Here's the box with both doors open.  You can see the bikes in there , Ed's is the one in front.  We take the front wheels off the bike - they're quick release - and wrap them before putting them in.  You can see Ed's front wheel leaning against the box.  
Here's a close-up of the box - Ed's bike is in front, then a piece of 2" foam, then my bike. 
Ed took his bike out first and assembled it, putting the front wheel and seat on, and making sure the handlebars were properly tightened - he has to lower them to get the bike in the box.
Next is my bike.  My seat stays on the bike and my handlebars get folded down also.  Behind my bike is another piece of 2" foam.  We're eventually going to get rid of the foam and line the box in rubber, but right now it helps to cushion everything while the truck is bumping down the road.
Next, he puts my wheel on and gets my bike ready to go.  While he does that, I get together everything I need to carry with us, packing the pannier bags.
Both bikes are now ready to go.  Ed puts everything away and checks the tire pressure before we head out.
We left the truck stop and rode a short distance before taking a pedestrian bridge across the Delaware River.  There were lots of people on the river kayaking, canoeing, and floating on rafts and in tubes.
After we crossed the river, we headed down this beautiful road - Ed is the dot waaaay in the distance - which had a nice little downgrade.  The tiny hill was heaven because it provided the breeze I needed to dry the dripping sweat on my forehead caused by the insane humidity.
We took a short break under this old stone bridge.  I took pictures while Ed climbed up the side of the hill to explore the top of the bridge, which was covered with gravel and growing trees on it.  We thought we'd be able to cross back over the river here, but it wasn't really bike friendly.  Before Ed hiked up the hill, a young guy on a dirt bike whizzed past us and rode over it.  That seemed to be the only way to go. 
Although it came out on the other side of the river, right near the truck stop, we didn't want to risk getting across and then not being able to get off the bridge.  And I wasn't too keen on carrying my bike up the hill to even get on the bridge.  So we just went back the way we came.

Back in town, we had lunch at a local deli and then headed back to the truck.  There really wasn't much to see at all, but it was a nice ride. 

Before heading back over the pedestrian bridge, we talked to one of the guys with Chamberlain Canoes, one of the many companies in the area who provide river trips, and decided next time we'll meet up with them at Delaware Water Gap and head down the river where they'll be waiting to pick us up.

A dip in the water after riding bikes in the humidity of an east coast summer was really tempting, but a lazy ride in a tube down the majestic Delaware sounded even better.

Maybe next time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Wrappers Delight
2011: Breaking The Spell
2010: It Never Ends
2009: 275 Square Miles Of Brilliance
2008: Four Standards, One Newbie
2007: Semantics
2006: 36 Hours Of Hell On Earth
2005: 11:11:11


Gil said...

Now I know the rest of the story! Looks like you are really putting them to good use.

Ed said...

Getting the bikes out of the box takes about 5 minutes. I have some tweaking to do to the arrangement of the bikes, but ideally it would only take a couple of minutes to get the doors open, bikes out, wheels on, and hit the road. This trailer has enough clearance under it to accommodate a small motorcycle also. We looked at scooters, but for now the bicycles will work.

dlg said...

You guys are truly amazing.
Need I say more? I think not.

MAE said...

you lucky dogs...I hope you both are grateful for the wonderful life you live...I live vicariously thru you, lol...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, brilliant soulution...well done!