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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

I don’t like to drive, if I don’t have to.  And, most days, it’s not an option, because my wife typically has possession of our one car.  So when I need to haul anything that won’t fit on a rack, in a framebag, or in a backpack, I resort to using a Big Dummy and/or a bike trailer.  That holds true for hauling bikes.

The best way to haul a bike with a bike, in my experience, is on a Big Dummy or Xtracycle.  I’ve hauled three bikes, at a time, on a Big Dummy.  But that’s pushing the limits...of this mule, anyway.  Sometimes, hauling two bikes, at once, can be simpler than hauling one bike, because it’s easier to balance out the weight distribution…that is, if you don’t have other items to act as ballast.  That’s rarely an issue for me, because I always ride with tools, extra clothes, and a pretty extensive everyday-survival kit.  Those items, along with the front wheel, typically travel on the side opposite the bike. 

I’ve hauled many bikes on trailers…B.O.B, Bill, Ted, Burley, Bikes at Work, and Carry Freedom.  Sometimes, a trailer works very well.  But, usually, the Big Dummy works better.  Overall, it’s usually a lighter overall package, there’s less rolling resistance, and it’s more nimble in traffic. 

What you’ll need to haul a bike on a Dummy:  Xtracycle Wideloader (or two), cartop rack bike tray, shims to adapt the 22.2mm O.D. Wideloader tubing to the I.D. of rack tray mounting clamps (I use quill stem shims or short sections of automotive heater hose), Junk Straps (I typically use 3-6)/webbing straps/cordage, and padding. 

Sometimes, I use an additional Wideloader, on the non-drive side of the Dummy, to easier facilitate hauling of the front wheel.  I can put it in the Dummy Bag.  But that can mess with the brake rotor (if one is affixed) and/or cause excessive wear on the bag where the axle rubs against it (if you don’t bother to use padding/protection in that area).    

In some cases, you’ll need an adapter to mount a thru-axle fork or wide QR-style omni fork to the 100mm-spaced QR-style fork mount provided with the rack tray.  When hauling the Wednesday, for instance, I use a thru-axle adapter (Fork Up from Hurricane Components) to attach the Wednesday's fork to the tray. 

Rear, right side view of a Surly Big Dummy bike hauling a fat bike, parked in a grass field in front of trees

Securing the bike to the Dummy (already set up with a Wideloader and rack tray)…

*  Remove the inboard pedal from the bike to be hauled. 

*  Remove the front wheel. 

*  Clamp the fork into the appropriate fork mount. 

*  Strap the rear wheel to the tray, using the stock strap…or use a Junk Strap, if the stock strap doesn’t play nice with the rear wheel of the bike being hauled. 

*  Pad the crankarm and inner fork leg with foam, cardboard, etc., so they don’t get damaged from abrasion during the haul. 

*  Use straps to cinch the inboard crankarm and fork leg to the rails and/or deck of the Dummy.  This step really secures the bike to the Dummy and minimizes unwanted flex and sway. 

*  Sometimes, when using drop bars, cruiser bars, and multi-position off-road handlebars, it’s necessary to loosen the stem bolt(s) and turn the bike’s handlebar to provide clearance between the handlebar and you while you’re pedaling.  I usually don’t have to turn flat bars. 

Right side view of a Surly Big Dummy bike hauling a fat bike, parked on a sidewalk in front of an office building

I’ve transported bikes on Xtracycles and Big Dummys without Wideloaders and/or a rack tray, but it takes a lot longer to secure everything for travel…if you care about your bikes and bags, that is.  And the ride tends to be sketchier when your cargo isn’t securely strapped and/or clamped down.

Scores of bikes have been hauled, on my Big Dummys and Xtracycles, over the years.  And they have all arrived safe and sound at my destination, because I took the time to properly secure them to my haulin’ rig.  A little attention to detail pays off, in the long run, to keep your cargo intact and undamaged.  And it’s simply more enjoyable to pedal a cargo bike that is relatively solid and quiet.  If you do it right, you may actually forget that you have an extra bike along for the ride.   

Try it.  It’s fun.  And motorists will give you a wide margin when they pass, because they assume that anybody who hauls a bike on a bike must be weirdo…a nutcase…an oddball.  They don’t want to get too close.  It’s safer to be the unknown quantity.