Surfboard Bike Rack: The Many Styles
Does anyone else face regular near death experiences while walking to go surf? I feel like I do. While walking the path to go surf, there are few things more terrifying (dogs being the only exception I can think of) than a big and thick, unforgiving fiberglass spear mounted to a bicycle pedaling at max speed. And yet, even though they are almost the end of me too often, I am still way jealous. I mean I start off down the path the same time as someone with a bike and they will have caught at least one wave, started a fight in the line up and peed in their wetsuit before I am even halfway down the trail. So, if there are any of you facing the same envy as me, here is a look into your options for mounting your board to your bike:
Side Mount: Probably the most popular and pretty much the standard when it comes to a surfboard rack for your bike. The board just fits securely on the side of your bike, allowing you enough room to pedal and keep your board safe.
The real plus to this rack is the lack of wind resistance and the security. Your board is cutting into the wind as you ride and your board rests on the racks that have straps, rather than being strapped to something. The issue with the side mount is it makes your bike a lot wider, kind of like a side car, making it a whole lot easier to run your board into something or someone.
Carver Surfboard Racks offer the side mounted rack, they are definitely on the more expensive side ($99), endorsed by surfers like Garret McNamara and Jon Jon Florence, they are trying to come in as a higher end rack. If you are looking for cheap I found some for $39.00. If you are like me and want something even cheaper, there is a step by step process of how to make your own at rodntube.com.
Rear Mount: As you can see from the picture, this rack mounts the board directly over the back tire of your bike. These are often called the Huntington Rack and can be purchased for as cheap as $24. This positioning of the board really places it out of the way for pedaling and for traffic on the path. However, it can also cause the bike to double as a sail and blow the rider from side to side significantly, making control a real problem. The other problems people have had with this rack are boards rubbing and wearing down on the back tire, due to the difficulty of strapping the board down tight enough to secure it for the ride. If you tighten it too tight it harms your board (a towel is recommended) and if you don’t tighten it enough it slips down to the ground or your tire.
Upright Rack: I have never seen one this style of a rack cruise by me, but the idea seems really functional. Surf Mule’s comes in two models, a bolt on easy install or a weld on. This is kind of like the rear mounted Huntington Surf Rack, but modified. It is position behind you to allow you the comforts of a bicycle (squeezing in alleys and between people without harm) but also keeps your board secure. The board rests on a rack right to the side of your back tire and then is strapped on from there, so there are no issues about it slipping down or sliding into the tire. As the design puts the board straight into the air, it theoretically can handle any length of surfboard, both short and long. The wind is still an issue; a heavy crosswind can still turn this idea into an unwelcomed sail.
Easily the most expensive option, trailers designed for surfboards are most ideal for longboards. Although it can be done, strapping a longboard to the side of your bike can be dangerous. The trailer allows you to pull it along behind you and other than the extra weight, not interfere with your biking.
The length of the trailer and the weight of it can be a problem on your turns, in crowds and most especially on hills. However, if it is a flat trailer you can add throw on anything else you need, like a towel or wet suit. The first picture here is of the Quiver Kaddy that starts at $400 and the flat trailer here is from Surf Mule and starts at $105.
I would love to hear experiences that anyone has had with any of these racks.
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