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Bottom Up Design [Design
Posted on June 1, 2017 @ 02:08:00 PM by Paul Meagher

This morning I spent some time googling designs for transporting bicycles as I will be confronted with that issue tomorrow. There were some good ideas for do-it-yourself bike carriers.

Before deciding on any design I decided to place my bikes in the back of my truck to see how they fit. Yesterday, I finally installed a metal carrier on the back of my truck that I intend to use for transporting lumber and kayaks. By chance, the position of the top metal railing is slightly above the top of the handle bars of the two bikes. Also, the handle bars of both bikes are roughly the same height of the ground.

This opens up the potential for a much simpler design than I've seen to date that takes advantage of these fortuitous circumstances. That design involves simply running 2x4 lumber from one railing to the other, using a couple of U-bolts to mount the 2x4 lumber to the railings, and then using some type of clip to mount the handles to the 2x4 lumber. After around an hour of working on it, this is what I finally came up with.

This little design episode reminds me that design should not be a top down exercise. It is definitely useful to get top down guidance by seeing how other people solved a similar problem but we should also do mock ups so that we can also get bottom up feedback on what might work. Sometimes the bottom up feedback is sufficiently good to suggest an opportunistic design that can solve the problem.

FYI: I used two 13cm rubber bungee cords to secure each bike handle to the pressure-treated 2x4. I removed an S clip from one side of the bungee cord so that I would have a hole to insert the remaining S clip into (forming a loop with one clip). So far the bike carrier appears to work ok. The bikes are very solidly in position and stayed in position when I took some sharp turns to test it out. It is easy to strap the bikes in and remove them. Hopefully there will only be minor wear on the handles from the rubber bungee cord and lumber holding them in place. I could install another beam and reverse the direction of a third bike to have it comfortably fit in the back of my truck. Bikes could be secured to the metal rail with a bike lock if that was a concern.

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