Toting the Load:
Jim Hollnagel uses a fold-up trailer to pedal his canoe along with him.
Harry Walker with his handcycle on the Greenbrier River Trail in West Virginia.
Captain Brock and friends wade through two-and-a-half miles of flooding this summer on the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri.
|Two-and-a-half miles through this? Captain Brock was one determined traveler.|
Will Wattles can carry everything from groceries to sleeping bags on his loaded bicycle.
In October, we asked you to tell us how you tote gear and goods on your bicycle or horse. We expected to learn about all sorts of clever and efficient methods for carrying gear on the trail. But we didn't quite anticipate the enormous turnout of responses we received, or how enterprising and ambitious rail-trail lovers can be. Enjoy the submissions we selected below!
Jim Hollnagel — Minneapolis, Minn.
There are several bike trails in my area that are next to rivers. I like to leave my bike at the take-out point, then drive to the put-in. I canoe downriver back to my bike. I have a canoe trailer that folds up into a bag. I put the canoe on the trailer, then I bike back to the put-in. Total body workout.
Harry Walker — Pitman, N.J.
This may be a little different: I am a handcycle user from a T10 spinal-cord injury, and I prefer to ride alone (can't find anybody that wants to ride 15-25 miles per day). So what I do is strap my pack to my wheelchair and tow it. This works well on paved or hard-packed surfaces, but not on two-track paths like the C&O Canal towpath or the Greenbrier River Trail that I tried to ride last week. I had to leave my chair in my van then ride out and back each day—not my idea of a bike trip. On the Allegheny Alliance Trail last year, I was able to ride one way and have a shuttle service pick me up each night and bring me, my cycle and my wheelchair back to my van, which worked out just fine. That was an excellent trip!
Captain Brock — Carlsbad, Calif.
I have developed a rig for backwoods touring. It is a 20" 1997 Team Marin with a Surly Cromoly fork. I rode half of the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri two weeks ago and gave up after wading two-and-a-half miles of flooded trailway following Hurricane Ike.
I loved this trail, but let's not overlook the downside!
Jason McQueen — Black Lick, Pa.
My 15-year-old son and I just finished a trip from McKeesport, Pa., to just past Cumberland, Md., on the Great Allegheny Passage and part of the C&O Canal towpath. We rode there and back in six days, a total of 310 miles for the week. We carried everything with us in front and rear panniers on my touring bike, and my son carried just a small bag on his bike on a rear rack. The week was great. I ride either the Hoodlebug or the Ghost Town Trail in Pennsylvania almost every day, and if need be I carry supplies in a fanny pack.
Rhonda Hough — Butler, Pa.
I travel light. Whatever won't fit in my bike bag hanging from my handlebars simply doesn't go along! Think of the Keb' Mo' song "Too Much Stuff"—mostly we don't need it! In my bag: half a peanut butter sandwich, one candy bar, one apple, water bottle, a camera for the bear picture I have yet to take, and that's it.
Will Wattles — Florence, S.C.
I always carry stuff when I ride. I have a front pack on the handlebars that I use to carry my camera and binoculars as well as sunglasses. Around town I travel with a single pannier on a Blackburn rack. In that pannier I tote a cable lock and bungee cords. When buying groceries, I fill the pannier and then tie the extra on the top of the rack (inside a cloth grocery bag) with the bungee cords. I can carry $30-40 worth of food pretty easily. The front pack works well for things like tomatoes that need gentle treatment. Occasionally when doing a large grocery run, I use two panniers. It is important to have my taillight attached to the rack, not the seatpost, for when I am carrying things on top of the rack.
On camping trips I use the two rear panniers with the tent, sleeping bag and Thermarest pad secured on top of the rack with the bungees.
I prefer panniers because I find wearing things on my back uncomfortable. Also, a heavy backpack upsets my balance in a way that panniers do not. I ride a mountain bike, and so far the heavy weight has not caused a problem with wheels.
Steve Cooperdock— Hamburg, N.Y.
I use two bikes. One is a hybrid with a front rack that I can carry goodies for those longer trips. I also have a handlebar-mounted small bag for my bike lock, raincoat and tools for needed repairs and a patch kit for fixing those pesty flats. I can also carry a gallon of milk and a gallon of ice cream in a bag sitting on the front rack.
For bigger shopping trips, I have a rear rack on my mountain bike that I can bungee a plastic milk crate to that can accommodate a full grocery bag. If the price of gas goes much higher, I'm thinking of selling my car and buying a bike trailer to accommodate bigger loads and longer road trips.
Frank Yarbrough — Boise, Idaho
My bike has a rack on the back, which may be good for toting people but I've never had success with it. Mostly I've got a small bag that fits on top for small stuff. The sides fold out so that I can get papers in. I also have two large saddlebags for trips to the grocery store. But for most all other trips, the small one is ideal; it fits my lock and a six pack perfectly.
John Nesbitt — Garner, N.C.
Well you wanted to know how some gear is toted. I use a home creation that will haul a 17' Old Towne canoe. You can also throw gear inside the kayak, which also provides waterproof cargo protection.
Ira Weiss — Pickerington, Ohio
I use a Bike Nashbar Kid Karriage. It's great for groceries, and I can even get ice cream home before it starts to melt. The only thing I won't carry in it are the gallon bottles of distilled water I need for our fountains—they are just too heavy. I also have to break down the 30-roll packages of toilet paper as they are too bulky to carry in their original packaging.
Maggie Kramer — Rapid City, Mich.
I carry my loaf of bread and jug of wine—well, my Power Bar and Propel—in the wicker basket on my 30-year-old Free Spirit, with a small bag attached to the rear of the bike to hold safety equipment and rain gear.
Wally West — Redway, Calif.
I have recently converted my mountain/touring bike with the Xtracycle Kit. I use it for touring as well and am finding it very well adapted to both situations. I regularly use it to haul 40-60 pound loads to town and back. I have used a B.O.B. for touring and hauling for the last 12 years, but find the Xtra more stable.
Rick Baker — Christiansburg, Va.
My wife carrys a trunk bag and I also have a trunk bag. In one of these, the main compartment is actually a cooler where we stash our lunch. For longer overnight trips we have large panniers.
Richard Jirius — Riverdale, Iowa
I rode a bike to work for more than 30 years, during the spring, summer and fall seasons; too much snow in the winter. The distance is five miles one way, a 20-30 minute ride depending on the strength of the wind. I used a rack on the back of the bike, and saddle bags. I carried my lunch and sometimes paper work. I was a mechanical engineer for Alcoa in Riverdale, Iowa.
An aside, because of my job, I was able to have bike racks installed at each plant entry gate. I am happy to add that people are still riding to work, and the racks are in place, and in use, though I am now retired. But I do still ride around town on the many new bike paths.