|D'oh! A super-sized Big Dummy versus normal sized rack tray.|
Commercially available long rack trays exist, which are made for long wheelbase recumbents, tandems and other freakishly long bikes. However, for me they have some serious drawbacks: A) They cost considerably more than standard rack trays. B) They are not typically stocked at bike shops. C) Most importantly, I don't already own one. However, I'm too stubborn to let these drawbacks hinder my quest for Big Dummy transport. I resolved to construct a long rack tray of my own that could be converted back to a standard bike tray easily, if I so desired.
I started out with a 14 year-old Thule rack tray featuring a fork mount, mostly because I already had it on hand. However, for my purposes, the parameters of the fork mount were key to determining whether or not the project could be realized. Some older fork mounts aren't compatible with disc brakes because there isn't sufficient clearance, but fortunately mine had clearance aplenty. If it hadn't been compatible, I would have been faced with spending money, which isn't exactly my style.
|The disc caliper clears the fork mount. Expense averted.|
|Marking a center line on the extension tube.|
Next, I retrieved an eight inch section of a rack tray that I had previously trimmed from another rack tray used for carrying my daughter's bike on the Big Dummy. If you don't have an extra section of tray, you have a couple of options. One option is to cut a section off the end of your existing tray and use a longer extension tube to make up the difference, but this will make it so you can't go back to a standard length tray. Another option is to try to find an old tray at a yard sale or on Craigslist. Sometimes they are cheap or free if they are old or have broken pieces. As long as the tray is not damaged, the condition of the rest of the donor rack or tray assembly doesn't matter.
|Stub of a tray and the end of the extension tube.|
|Tube and tray getting the drill press treatment.|
|Matched holes, ready for bolts.|
|The only expenditure for this project was $8 and change for some 5/16 x 3" bolts, flat washers, lock washers and nuts.|
|I placed a nut on the bolt section inside the tube for the hole nearest the end, to avoid crushing the tube when the outer nut was tightened.|
|Two holes in the tray will correspond with two holes in the extension tube.|
|I flipped the tray over to make it easier to mark the locations to drill holes along the center line of the extension tube.|
|After drilling holes in the extension tube, the assembly is bolted in place.|
|I found it helpful to test the placement of parts by fitting the bike to the rack tray along the course of the project.|
|Top view of extension assembly.|
|Bottom view of extension assembly.|
|Now that's a Big Dumb roof rack.|
|Note the room for medial adjustment of the wheel strap on the extended tray section.|
|Big Dummy clean and unloaded. Even a beast of burden appreciates a day off once in a while.|