Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bike rack added

Mom and I have been talking about her bringing her bicycle on her trip. We figure this would be very handy for a couple of important reasons. First, to save money. The RV doesn't get very good mileage around town running short errands. Second, if you are in a camp site, then every time you want to run to to the store, then you would have to disconnect everything, pack up everything, and the reconnect when you get back.

So the question is, where to put a bicycle? Halcyon II already has the spare tire hanging off the rear door. I had mounted my bike rack from my Volvo wagon on the spare tire in order to carry my mountain bike back to Tucson. However, that doesn't work very well. I covers up the beautiful tire cover that Janice made. It makes opening the read door troublesome because of all the straps. And it adds that much more weight to the rear door and the tire rack.

The roof is too high for a roof rack. How on earth would anyone get it off and on?

I considered getting a hitch mounted bike carrier. However, that would prevent you from opening the rear door. And they are expensive. And I would have to get a special one that sticks way out from the hitch in order to around the spare tire.

What I saw in Santa Barbara
When I was back in Santa Barbara I happened to run into an older Dodge camper van that had a home made front mounted bike rake. I really liked that idea. So I took a photo of it.

I scoured the internet looking for a front mounted bike rack. I could not find one. After trying all of my searching tricks I finally found a small farm tractor company in upstate New York that made one. I called them up and they told me that they no longer make it because front bike racks are now illegal in New York State.

So I made my own. I found a bike rack at REI for $16 that had the basic frame. Then I went to Lowes and bought the metal pieces, bolts, etc. I was able to mount a steel crossbar to the frame between the radiator and the grill. I bolted two metal tubes to the cross bar, through an opening in the grill, and bolt them to the REI bike rake. On the bottom I drilled holes through the REI rack and used long bolts to mount the bottom to the bumper's licence plate holes. I then mounted small holding arms to the rack and secured them with a plumbing clamp.

The whole rack sits snug against the front. I had to build it so it sits about 1 inch off the front so that the hood can open without catching on the rack. Because the van is so big, the bike rests below the hood and below the eyeline of the driver. This prevents the bike from blocking any of the view of the road. Also, the bike tires sit below the headlights. So it won't block any light from them.

All and all, I'm pretty happy with the results. It makes for a much more balanced RV (bike off the front, spare tire off the back). I can add a second set of arms from the REI rack to hold two bikes, if needed. If there is no bike, the arms can be swing to the side and out of the way.

Front View
Side view. Note that it is tilted slight forward on top. That is because it has to leave room to for the hood to open.

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