Guest Article: My $10 Bike Rack, By Derek Pearson

You may have seen Derek’s review of the Big Bag. Well he’s at it again and this one is super practical!

My bike rack. Cost <$10 Apparently my sweet sweet wife got tired of riding bikes, skating hills and just goofing off in general all the time (I have no problem with this, but she is a little more industrious than I am) and went back to work part time. Being a dental hygienist, she has pretty flexible options and it sounds like she's only going to go back one or two days a week, so I'm allowing it..... She is enjoying being productive so far, but a big drawback is that the way the office is situated, there's no real place to park her bike! This will never do, so we came up with a solution - pull out the old bike rack. xtracycle comes through again!

I ride in with her, then haul the bike home, then ride back into work in the afternoon with the bike and we ride home together. This is what we did when she worked full time before, except she had a place to park her bike at that office.

The plan in action –

The original use intended for this bike rack was to haul my mtn bike to our beautiful singletrack in Capitol Forest, but I put it together right about when rainy season(seriously muddy trails) started and haven’t had a chance to use it for that yet. Test ride way back then

I have had a chance to use it a few times(but not for it’s intended purpose) and there’s usually a few that ask how it is made.


I am not telling/advising/instructing anyone to build one of these. It could be very dangerous and expensive(if you lost a bike). I’m merely showing how I built mine. It works like a charm for me- I am a professional(slacker) and an experienced bicycle rider. This rack is not tested for safety by any safety testing commissions and is not approved by safety nannies. There is a bit of skill required in riding this setup and without it, there is a very good chance of injury, dismemberment, loss of bike parts and/or death. If you take it upon yourself to build one, you agree to take responsibility for your own actions.

Parts list(all home depot)

8 nails–a few cents
25 or so small velcro straps– $2.00 or so for a giant roll
2 62″ 2×4’s –$1.00 apiece out of the scrap bin
1 24″ yard sign stake — $1.00 or so

I could have spent more to make it look better, but for this project I just wanted something that was cheap and worked.

Set my bike on the wideloaders, about how I wanted it to sit

I set the 2×4’s on either side of the tires. I wanted the heaviest part of the bike being hauled closest to the center of the bike doing the hauling. I also needed to put it as far out on the wideloaders as it
would go to leave room for pedaling(on my other bike, not this one) Counterweights on the other side were required.

Measured the distance between the 2×4’s and also where the wideloader starts and ends on the 2×4. Marked on the 2×4’s where the front tire was going to rest(bike being hauled)

Cut the yard stake pieces to size, nailed the 2×4’s together with them on the 4 spots measured above. DONE

Put the rack back on the bike, then used the velcro strips to attach the rack to the wideloaders


Pre bike load

Crosspieces here on the rear, tied down with velcro


Crosspiece placement to hold the front wheel

I put the inside pedal on the high spot, this actually will hold the bike in place while standing still. Put a cinch strap over the top and hooked it to the wideloaders on either side. Takes about 3 seconds to load a bike on/take off.

Pedal placement

Added awesomeness factor- The cranks are a little shorter for this bike than my mtn bike, so when the pedal rests on the snapdeck, the front tire doesn’t actually touch the bottom of the rack. So it spins while I’m riding. SWEET!!

Loaded and ready to roll.

Unloads in 2.4 seconds but still looks cool just keeping the rack on there?


  1. Clancy April 10, 2008 9:40 am 

    I usually just throw front wheel in the pocket then take an extra strap to lash the top of the wheel to the snapdeck. But the tray system work well too and looks more impressive to a passerby.

  2. Val April 10, 2008 9:53 am 

    Nice! The quick load/unload aspect is the best part, I think. I knew I might want to haul a bike when I built my XtraCycle, so I installed a fork nount (usually seen in pickup trucks) on the back of mine. Removing the front wheel takes a minute, and the resulting length is something to get used to, but it does mean that I can function as a tow truck, hauling the bike and the rider. Here’s a recent trip using the fork mount: Yours is extra cool, for sure.

  3. Shawn April 10, 2008 10:08 am 

    Sweet! I’ve ben looking for instructions for something like that for a while.

  4. Shawn April 10, 2008 10:09 am 

    Now I can ride to the mountain and not waste those $$$ soft compound tires on the way there!

  5. Marrock April 10, 2008 10:44 am 

    I’ve a slightly easier time of it as my girlfriend rides a trike, so all I have to do is bungee the front wheel to my rear rack and I’m off.

    Used to do it that way to meet her at the bus stop when she was getting out of work.

    Makes for an odd looking but effective arrangement.

  6. Ghost Rider April 10, 2008 11:19 am 

    Nice Redline, Val…that’t the stepthrough version of the R530 that we’re testing!

    I can’t really make it out from the picture…where does the fork mount actually mount to? Is there a tube back there?

    In any case, all of these bike carrying tricks are fantastic!

  7. Val April 10, 2008 11:24 am 

    Ghost Rider: the fork mount would usually bolt to a flat surface with two bolts; in this case it is held onto the rear tube of the XtraCycle with two J-bolts and some shims made from dead tires. Simple and easy.

  8. Lance April 10, 2008 2:19 pm 

    Nice How To Val. That’s awesome. I need to get an Xtracycle so I can ride to the trails, on the trails, then back home like that.

    SWEET Specialized SX too!!!

  9. Coelecanth April 11, 2008 3:38 am 

    Nice work. I built something similar, although much clunkier, to haul bikes between stations of a bikeshare program I was working for. ( It never worked all that well because of my lousy engineering and one day in desperation I put the front wheel of the bike I was moving directly in the freeloader.

    It works. The bike tracks behind like a tailer and you can move two bikes at once by lowering one bike by letting out the freeloader straps and tightening them as far up as possible on the other side. This keeps the handlebars from clashing. The trick is to put the sidewinder strap around the outside of the freeloader and wheel. Put the center strap of the freeloader through the spokes and pull tight. Then take a separate strap and wrap it around the fork crown and across to the far h-rack and pull tight. This holds the front wheel pretty steady. I used the extra strap woven under the deck method shown in the manual.

    The advantage is no extra weight added to the bike from the rack and you’re only putting part of the towed bike’s weight onto the xtracycle. It’s surprisingly stable once you get moving.

    The disadvantage is that the freeloaders wear a lot where the axle bolt hits them and where the fork hits the v-rack. It also could scratch the towed bike’s fork paint. I carried a short piece of pipe insulation to put on the fork for nice bikes. Also if you try and turn really tightly you could flop the towed bike over on its side. This only happened when trying to make a right angle turn at walking speed in a very tight situation.

    I moved hundreds of bikes using this method over a year and a half of doing the job.

  10. Coelecanth April 11, 2008 3:40 am 

    Oops, didn’t read the other comments. Someone already mentioned this method. Sorry.

  11. Xtracycle Bike Rack | BikeHacks April 12, 2008 9:21 pm 

    […] UPDATE: in case you’re interested, has the build instructions… […]

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