A Bike for Life: Carrying stuff

Sorting out how to carry things has been one of the more complicated areas for my Bike for Life.

The problem is that the different uses for my bike have very different needs for luggage. It has taken a while to sort out the actual racks to be used and sadly none of them are made in the UK.

The back rack is simplest. I am going to use a Tubus Logo Classic. Fairly light and minimalistic but with the bracket for a rear dynamo light and the lowered support bar for panniers (which makes them much easier to combine with a bag on top). I have used Tubus racks for years and they have been excellent.

Now for load carrying on the front of the bike, something that is becoming increasingly popular although as yet not well supported by British bike shops.

I have decided against the various systems where a bracket is clamped onto the handlebar to which bags or baskets can be quickly clicked in and out. One problem is how difficult this makes it to fit a front light. Another is that the weight and volume carrying are both limited which means there is little chance of carrying something like my laptop in one of these click on baskets or bags. Finally as they are only fixed on at the top they tend to wobble around both when they have plenty of weight in them and when they are empty.

So I have ended up specifying 3 different front load carrying systems that I will use in various combinations for different purposes.

First, for daily transportation. I need to be able to carry stuff easily so that loading is quick and simple. I don’t need to carry huge amount because for that I still have my Bullitt Cargobike for larger loads. So I am looking at a Porteur style front rack combined with a rear rack for panniers. The one I have chosen in the end is the Porteur Rack from Velo Orange in the US.

It is not quite what I wanted. For simplicity and strength it is attached to the bottom of the fork. My preferred option would be for a porteur rack that attached to low rider brazed on fittings on the fork. The only one I could find like that was the Marketplace from Civia but that is not approved for sale in the UK. My reasoning was that I would then have been able to have 2 sets of low rider bosses on the forks and so have the porteur rack and low riders at the same time.

For long day rides the porteur rack will come off and be replaced by a small randonneur  rack suitable for a bag. I want to be able to fit a Campagne Handlebar Bag also from Velo Orange although I will not always need a bag this size. The whole point of a small front rack is to give me options.

The small front rack is going to be from Gilles Berthoud as in the picture. It fits to low rider braze ons (but I am having an extra set so that I can have this rack and low riders at the same time).

For longer loaded tours I will add low riders to the front to take front panniers. I have chosen the Duo from Tubus to match the rear rack.

So there will be a bit of swapping around at the front to provide the flexibility I want for the different types of ride. My hope had been that the swapping would be made easier by the porteur rack and small front rack both being compatible with the low riders, with that now possible I’ll expect to use the following combinations:

  • Everyday transport: Rear rack and front Porteur Rack.
  • Long day rides: Rear rack and front small randonneur rack
  • Touring: Rear rack and front low riders with front small randonneur rack
  • Family Holidays: could be any of the above depending on my mood 🙂

Note that I don’t plan to strip the bike down fully by taking off the rear rack, in part that is because the rear dynamo light will be permanently fixed to it.

The Series so far:

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  1. Dave, this looks like a really interesting project! I too have attempted to create a bike for every purpose though not to the same quality as you’re aiming for. The only drawback I encountered was weight and have struggled to get the bike under 40lbs, though it is a big frame (60cm surly cross check). Keeping the weight down can be a huge expense so I bought a lightweight steel framed tourer for use when the need for speed and distance arises.

    • Chris,

      I like a challenge and circumstances mean I have an opportunity that won’t happen again 🙂

      The frame is pretty light (see next post) and I should be able to drop a lot of weight if needed by changing the tyres.

      Yes Rohloff, Disk Brakes and mudguards add some weight but I am happy to ride a bit slower if I don’t have to work on the bike when I get there 🙂

  2. mercadeo internet

    When I received the Pass & Stow, my first impression was of the industrial strength quality of the components. The platform of the Pass & Stow is 11″ wide x 12″ long, a more traditional rectangular shape with a raised rear package rail that extends the full width of the rack. This shape and dimension makes it easy to secure all manner of things on the rack. The right front support tube of the Pass & Stow is pre-drilled for dynamo wiring and the light mount has its own support tube designed to accept an M6 fastener. Both drop-outs have an extra set of mounting holes for fender mounting, if needed.

  3. A bike for life « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:02 am
  4. A Bike for Life: A suitable challenge? « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:02 am
  5. A Bike for life: Beyond the bike « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:02 am
  6. A Bike for Life: The British bits « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:03 am
  7. A Bike for Life: Tyres « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:03 am
  8. A Bike for Life: The Frame « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:03 am
  9. A bike for life: Cascading decisions « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:04 am
  10. A Bike for life: Dependability « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 23, 2012 at 6:05 am

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