Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project #9-The Bicycle Rack

Most Zuki owners would NEVER even think of putting a bicycle rack on the vehicle. Bicycles and Samurais generally aren't mentioned in the same sentence! Well, I have a practical reason for wanting a bike rack on the Zuki! It's called Convenience. I have a lot of work yet to be done on the Zuki. I don't want to have to ask Susun to provide a shuttle to and from places where the vehicle is serviced. Soooo....the "Best Mgmt. Practice" here is to get myself a bike rack so I can drive off to a service center, drop off the Zuki, and then bicycle back and pick it up. How simple is that? Real Simple!

What was involved? Well, as Samurai owners know, there's a rather odd arrangement tacked on to the rear of all Samurais. It's kind of a feng shui steel thingie that drops down from nowhere and then twists around and magically goes back up to the frame. Onto that "thingie" is normally attached a small "baseplate" that has a hole drilled in it to accept a hitch ball.

I know for a fact that some people actually TOW stuff with a Samurai. Frankly, I think that's nuts. (Disclaimer: someone towing a sailboat from a storage yard to the ramp is NOT nuts but practical. In that case, the Samurai would be the perfect tow vehicle.) Anyone thinking they can get out on the highway towing something with a Samurai is endangering other people, pure and simple.

OK, so I unbolted the hitch ball from that plate. Then I went to Harbor Freight and spent $8 on a two inch to 1 1/4 inch adapter thingie that normally fits into two inch receivers. Then I turned it on its side and used a big bolt and some fender washers, a lock washer and a nut to put it onto the flimsy little Samurai "baseplate." Of course, this plan meant that the bicycle rack couldn't possibly be attached to this adapter as the adapter was turned 90 degrees. Not to worry. I used a Northwest River Supply (NRS) 3 foot cam buckle strap to snug the bike rack into the new receiver hitch.

Next, I used two 9-foot NRS cam buckle straps to snug up the rack. Meanwhile, I attached a real bicycle and used a variety of NRS straps to make it totally secure. This rig isn't for the back-country. Nope, the back-country would destroy this rig. This rig is for around town in the "right here and now."

I'm quite proud of this rig!


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