transporting bicycles in pickup bed

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Old 04-08-13, 04:38 PM
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transporting bicycles in pickup bed

After a lot of years, probably 40 for me, and 20 for her, my wife and I bought new bicycles a few weeks ago. She had her old bicycle, what we used to refer to as "English style" as I recall, and rode it some, but, living on a gravel road, it didn't get out too often. Anyway, wow, they sure have changed, so taking my own advice, we visited a local bicycle shop, rather than bowing to any temptation to shop online, and are very pleased with our purchases. We will be riding them locally most of the time, but know of a number of areas a bit farther away, and assume that they may have to go in for service from time to time, so the next step is having a good way to transport them. So, what is the best way to transport them in a pickup? That seems like a dumb question to me too, but growing up with only single speed bicycles, the sprockets and related hardware on these 21 speed bikes look pretty expensive, so I assume that you want them upright. That said, my first thought was to make something similar to conventional bicycle racks like you see in parks and so on, maybe out of pvc, wood, or a combination of both, that the front wheel would set in, but then I saw these things that the front forks lock into, and darned if the front wheels don't come off that easily. Wow, no wrenches required! Is there an advantage to that style of hookup, as opposed to just a rack to hold them upright? Thank you for any comments, suggestions, etc.
 
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Old 04-08-13, 04:55 PM
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Hi pedro,
The wider tires and gearing can be a lot of fun. If you slide the front wheel onto something built to hold it, you need to be sure and secure the bikes so side to side movement doesn't bent the front wheel. The front fork approach is pretty good, but also some side to side straps just to be sure.

If you have tie points front and rear in the truck bed you can stand both bikes up side by side and strap each in 4 directions. Two straps from the front to the front and two straps from the rear to the rear. If you aren't putting a lot of other stuff back there it works fine.

There are several models to buy pre-made, just Google "truck bed bike racks"

One caution, I don't recommend hanging the bikes off the rear, like one of the trailer hitch arrangements. If the wheels are low enough they take a lot of abuse from rocks.

Bud
 
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Old 04-08-13, 05:36 PM
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Thank you, Bud. Yes, I have googled it, and there are definitely a lot of options, but your comment on bending the front wheel was something that I had not considered, so will keep that in mind. I had been leaning toward leaving the front wheels on, and setting them in cradles of sort, but am now thinking that removing the front wheel, and using one of those fork cradles may be better in that regard. Maybe that is one of the reasons that the fork brackets appear to be so common. My pickup has plenty of places, and I have plenty of straps, so yes, will definitely be sure to tie them down good. May have to unload some tools, but can back into the shop and take care of that in short order. And no, carrying them on the back is definitely not a consideration, for just the reason that you mentioned. We live a few miles off of the pavement, so they would get pretty beat up back there. Besides, my second vehicle is a 'vette, and I'm just not sure that a bike rack would work too well on that! As for the gearing being fun, well, I'm still working on that. Ironically, most of my pickups have been sticks, and I have also driven motorcycles, as well as quite a variety of ag and construction equipment, but am struggling with the darn shifters on the bike. My wife on the other hand, who has struggled moving some of my pickups even 20', zips through the gears flawlessly. Go figure. Oh yeah, and what about the shocks on bicycles when it comes to tying them down? For example, with motorcycles, you need to be sure to compress the shocks to keep the straps from loosening up. I suppose just a gentle tug on the strap will take up whatever movement there is in a bicycle shock?
 
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Old 04-08-13, 06:01 PM
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We have a Swagman hitch carrier for 1 or 2 bikes (I just have it set up for 1) and the part that goes in the receiver actually bends up about 4" so the wheels and tires are a couple of inches above the bottom of the bumper. Thats for our small SUV...guess it might depend on the hitch location.

I like it quite a bit (just being the installer and loader). Easy to install and remove, fold the legs up for storage. Holds the bike very secure. Small padlock can be installed in the clamping arms, though I've thought about drilling a hole through the center upright and installing a more hefty lock there. No tire removal or anything else...just set them in and slide the clamping hook down.

Heres a link. XC 2 – 64650 Swagman

A triathlon friend of wifey recommended the hanging type, but you have to use bungees or something to keep the bikes from swinging around on the simpler/cheaper ones. And it leaves the wheels accessible for theft, which can't be done easily on ours.

Curious...what did you buy?
 
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Old 04-08-13, 07:03 PM
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Remember, on a 21 speed, the object is not to try and sequence through all 21 gears. Their advantage is a good range, low to high, and the ability to maintain reasonable chain alignment. Avoiding the hard angles on the chain will extend the life of the drive train. Spinning as opposed to pushing does as well.

I don't know what the bike shop went over, but breaking is something you need to practice so that when an emergency pops up, you react properly without thinking. 90% of your breaking is from the front. at 91% your tire locks up and over you go. When you feel the rear tire skidding, you are applying too much front break. Just a couple of tips.

Bud
 
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Old 04-09-13, 03:59 AM
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Thank you GunGuy. We got a Diamondback's, "comfort" hybrids or something like that, Wildwood for me and Serene for her. Our first choice was a pair of Cannondales, similar characteristics, although I can't recall the models, but my wife is 5', and having problems with her back and one hip, so couldn't get on the Cannondale. So, he showed us the DB's, in which he had an extra small size, and she saddled right up on it. It's not really that much smaller, but the low part of the frame was maybe two inches lower, and that's all it took. Plus, at the bottom of the frame, where she lifts her foot over, is a bit longer on the DB, which meant that she didn't have to twist her ankle in order to get on and off.

Bud, I'm keeping the front of the chain on the center sprocket for now, in order to minimize the harsh angles that you mentioned. According to what he told us, and the manual, the front inner and outer sprockets shouldn't be used with conflicting rear sprockets, so I figured it best to keep my hand off of the front shifter until I get a good feel for what I am doing with the rear. The guy who owns the local shop was quite high up in Cannondale before deciding to open his own shop, so is very focused to details, and spent probably 30-45 minutes with each of us, just fitting the bikes, and another 30-45 minutes going over operation and maintenance, so I feel good about that, but can see that there is still a lot to learn. The braking that you mentioned is one of the biggest ones, as we live on and have many miles of gravel roads around us, combined with quite a number of hills, so each time I get on it is a new adventure. It's coming though, and know that we will always have to stay alert, but am looking forward to getting more comfortable on it, making the rides more enjoyable.
 
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Old 04-09-13, 04:17 AM
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A quick an easy (also inexpensive) method we've used with our bikes was a 2x4 across the bed with a pair of quick release mounts attached to it. Remove the front tire, connect the forks to the quick release mount, then tie the bikes down (if using a floating 2x4 and not mounting the quick release mount to the box). It keeps the bikes upright which makes it easier to transport a few bikes without fear of damaging them.

This is a similar mount to what I've seen and or used.
 
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Old 04-09-13, 06:04 AM
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That sounds perfect, Mike. Well, I think that I mentioned this, but had been thinking of more-or-less a conventional bike rack that we could just set in the bed, and roll them into, but after Bud raised the issue of possibly bending the front wheel I got to thinking about how I have seen some of them mounted, and those brackets, so fastening them to a 2x4 or whatever seems like a logical way to go. Back the truck in the shop, unload whatever I need to from the bed, lay or fasten that in, and be down the road. I thought about one of those receiver mounted hitches again, but it's conceivable that we might traverse 10-15 miles of almost all gravel roads to get to some of the places that we would ride, so they're just not a good fit in our case. Thank you very much guys; great insight and information!
 
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Old 04-09-13, 06:55 AM
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I know a couple folks that have used these on top of their tent trailer. The one guy used a bungee cord type tie down for the back tire to keep the back tire in place while traveling. I have yet to hear any compaints other then the dirt accumulated on the bikes after a long drive.
 
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