« Back to Archive

Transporting a tandem without a tandem rack

I plan, for my birthday (mid february), to do a good bit of work on the tandem. Depending on materials available at Kraynick's and my level of ambition, I may not be able to get it from rideable, back to rideable, in one go. I have a small car, and only a basic trunk bicycle rack. I've put it up there and eyeballed it... it seemed stable enough, and with wheels removed, to go only a little further out horizontally than the mirrors. It's decently light for a tandem and nominally it's a three bike rack anyway of which this would be the only one. Is there any compelling reason I'm not thinking of not to transport the bike that way? Conversely, it would be nice to hear I'm not the only one with a tandem who's contemplating (or has) transported it on a basic trunk rack.
2016-01-27 15:17:17
You just need to be careful not to overload those strap-on, trunk-mount bike racks, regardless of how many bikes it can supposedly hold. The standard mounting system - an L-shaped piece of steel that grabs the edge of a body panel - can only take so much weight before it will damage the car's body panel (and maybe come off the car). I saw that happen to a local guy's Subaru wagon and the damage to the body panel was pretty ugly. I don't know exactly what caused it - maybe too many bikes, maybe the bikes were too heavy, maybe he didn't attach the rack well, maybe he hit the mother of all Pittsburgh potholes - whatever the case it tore the hell out of his hatch, and it looked like the bike(s) and the car parted company at that point. So, just be careful with those cheap things as nothing about them is ideal.
2016-01-30 10:57:10
For @byogman:
2016-02-09 13:48:25
I hauled my fairly heavy French tandem from Cincinnati to Chicago exactly that way, with no problems, and on a rental car no less. Mine has a mixte rear end, and that angle helped shorten it up a little, but it did still just pass the mirrors. The rack was a beat up thing from the bike shop basement. One of it's strap hooks didn't hold very well, so for extra security my brother had the idea of using a ratchet strap on top too; we ran it to the car's wheel wells, and through the bike's frame. Make sure everything's tight and be careful and you'll be fine.
2016-02-10 14:18:23
I've done this once now and it was totally fine, no particular reservations for the future (well, I could use a nicer rear rack, but anyways). I took the wheels off before departing, and took the bike off before parallel parking at my destination (I suck enough at that already) but that was the extent of it.
2016-02-10 14:31:26