Hello bicyclosions! I have been planning exciting things for bicyclosis! For the time being here is a teaser for what’s coming…
Ever wanted to bike tour but you didnt have the money to buy the expensive rack panniers? Or better, ever wanted to use your bike to transport you to the base of a mountain and take your backpack from the rack and go hiking? Or maybe even better, ever missed a proper table to put your morning coffee or your dinner while you bike tour? I have a solution for you, and it’s called the bike table or the rackatabla! And ofcourse, it won’t cost you anything. Let’s see how you can make one. You are going to need:
- a good pocket knifea
- round file (optional)
- Nylon rope
- A square piece of not very thick plywood
- A drill
- Pop river gun (optional)
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Waterproof topcoat or a plastic film
First you take a square piece of plywood (to save some weight I’d suggest a thinner one) and put it on your rack. Mark underneath the plywood the places where the protruding parts of the rack prevent it from fitting nicely, and cut them out with a fretsaw. Check how I did mine. Its important to make two grooves on each missing part. That way you make sure your rope is covering bigger area when you tight your rackatabla on the rack. I made a handle for the bungee cords to hook on in the front part of the rackatabla (also to reinforce the area with less wood). The handle was made by splitting a wooden tuna chest I found on the side of the road once. I used pop rivet gun to attach it there. You can made this handle simply by using a piece of rope (two holes across each other, where the rivets are now, and a rope whose ends have knots, connecting them). On the bottom side of the plywood, I’ve attached two small pieces of strong rope using parts of the wooden chest and the pop rivet gun. These loops are very important. You will use those (make them as short as mine) and the front handle to hook your stuff on your rackatabla. Again, you can do the same using the method with the rope I described above. Now that your rackatabla is ready, you have to make sure you know how to attach it reliably on your rack using only a rope. Be sure that you’re tightening the rope in a way that plywood is pushed again the racks. Check how I did mine. It stayed there beautifully for 5 days (don’t the holes I did in the center). To attach your things on the rackatabla, just hook your bungee cords on the loops underneath and make them go around your load and hook on the handle in front. Experiment a little and you’ll find many ways to make your stuff very stable. Also, take notice of those holes. These will help you put more stuff under your rackatabla if you need too! That way rackatabla plays the role of the cover and also the weight of the load moves closer to the floor, and that’s good for stability. Also, you have space for more stuff! You can use a rope or bungee cords. Now, you want to paint the rackatable with a good waterproof topcoat because the constant rain will deform it eventually. If you don’t have the topcoat, you can use a plastic sheat under your stuff and above your rackatabla as I did (upper right pic).
I ‘ve spent the last 5 days touring in the wild mountains of central Greece. I had a waterproof backpack (kind of), I got as a Christmas gift from my gf, and I wanted to test it in the heart of winter. I knew that mount a big sack on the rack is almost impossible, so I invented the Big Rackatabla. It’s a wooden platform that can support big bags along with other stuff (like a tent, sleeping bag etc) and also make your life easier with mounting, dismounting. It also makes it very easy for you to make your stuff waterproof by just inserting them in a big plastic bag before mounting them on the Rackatabla. In a word, it makes micro – touring a breeze! But why it’s called Rackatabla? Because except from providing a very easy way to tour with your backpack (or any other big bag in that matter), it serves also as a perfect, very convinient table to make your coffee in the morning, or cook your meal in the night! Actually, once you use it, you will wonder how you used to bike tour without having one!
In the next post I’m going to show you how you can make one yourself.