Sometimes accessories need accessorizing. Reader Scott takes us through his Topeak rack conundrums and how he hacked them.
* * * * * * * * * * *
I use a Cannondale 29'er for my daily 25 mile commute. I couldn't mount a standard rack and am not a fan of backpacks (OVERHEAT!) so I use a Topeak Beamrack.
Mounts securely, works great. I have a small duffel that I strap to the rack with book straps (camping store) and the bag condenses down to whatever size I need.
This leaves two problems. Now and then, depending on bumps and speed, the bag wants to roll off the side or warp off the back of the rack. The other problem was that I never have available real estate to mount a tail lamp. So my hack is a add-on to my rack, that solves both of those problems.
It is made out of copper pipe (I used 1/2", 3/4" may have been good but also heavier.) I used about 3 feet of pipe, 3 elbows, 3 caps and a tee; a coupe of sheet metal screws and glue; friction tape to increase diameter for the lamps; and black paint. I added a single copper pipe clamp for stabilization. Necessary tools included a tubing cutter, drill, and a Dremel with cut-off wheels to do the bottom shaping.
My plan was to just place the add-on on top of the Topeak, and let the tying down of the duffel to hold it there. I stuck with that, but the original construction didn't 'sit' nice. I decided to notch out a section of the Tee (and adjoining pipe) so it would settle better, but I went one step farther, and made my cutout section match up with the Quicktrack. I now slide the rack in from the back. It doesn't lock in (never my intention) but is adjustable forward and backward.
My notches are a little off, whick results in too much play in the fit, so a single pipe clamp works perfect to keep the racks aligned. Also, I have about 7" between the vertical side posts. That would be too narrow for a typical stiff bottomed duffel.
So now, for the commute, I slide the rack and the pipe clamp on the Topeak, set my duffel down, slide the rack towards the seat to snug up on the duffel, and use the book straps to bundle it all up tight. My bag doesn't move, I have twin Hotshot lamps on the side vertical bars, and plan to put a third light on the rear post.
I was also not able to mount a kickstand, and am not a fan of leaning a bike, and was short of wall and floor space for the bike(s). I stumbled upon an easy fix: I hooked an old tie-down strap to the end of the garage door rail up by the ceiling, and hooked the lower end under the lip of the seat, and adjusted the length short enough to keep the rear wheel off the ground. Quick, easy and works great.