As it is nearly time for the annual winter break migration of fully-loaded shell trailers, when schools and clubs from the more northerly bits of the rowing world make their way to the still wet water of Florida and other points south, we figured it was a fine time to share this tip for cramming even more gear on your rig when you head south this winter--the "Side Saddle" Bike Trick.
Bikes are always handy to have along, whether for getting around without having to use the truck or for an injured athlete to ride, and we've already told you how to make sure you always have a rowing-trailer-worthy bike on hand. This trick works like a charm when you have a full, "used all the racks" load but want to make sure you've got a bike or two on board as well.
The Trick is simple: instead of strapping the bikes to the trailer in the "usual" spot--across the front of the trailer, on top of the spare--try threading them parallel to the bows through that first rack. You can still strap and lock the bikes to the uprights, but by facing them in the same direction as the shells, they no longer block the spare and they make great use of the otherwise unused space between the boats themselves.
Let's face it, when you are taking most of your fleet, plus a heap of extra oars, small boats, and--those "training in the middle of a warm nowhere must-have," a small flotilla of jon-boats -- there is not much room for any extra stuff. This trick will let you squeeze in a bike or two, just by rotating things 90 degrees from the usual approach.
You might need to get the bikes on there before the last of the boats go onto the lower racks, but it is worth it, especially when you consider that you now have free access to the spare tire. Since putting anything on top of your spare is not a great idea on any trip, let alone the kind of long-haul most trailers face for a winter training trip (and potentially using a combo lock that the trailer driver might not know), having a way to get the bikes on there without having them "in the way" might be the slickest part of this trick. Sure, it is not as cool a solution to the for keeping the bikes out of the way of the spare as the Shell Trailer Side-mount Bike Rack, but this trick will do the job without any extra hacking--or welding--for the few times each year you really are loaded to the max.
Got a great way to cram extra stuff on your trailer? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!