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Attackpoint AR - performance and training tools for adventure athletes

Discussion: Bike Towing Systems

in: Adventure Racing; General

Mar 2, 2011 2:02 PM # 
Team Trail Shop has our foot towing system well established. It's just a ~3 ft bungee cord with non-load bearing carabiners on either end.

But we haven't successfully developed any bike towing systems that were satisfactory. Anyone have any home run designs?
Mar 2, 2011 3:04 PM # 
Yes...i have been using this for a few races and getting my girlfriend up to speed on a ride:

Just go to a pet shop, grab the heavy duty or big dog retractable leash. You can either gaffa it or cable tie it to your seat post (the higher the better). You dont need to use the catch/lock mechanism. The towee simply makes a loop from the clip and places between the bolts on the gooseneck. If they need to get off it comes off really easily. The tow line then retracts, just use one hand to guide it clear of the back wheel as it comes back in.
Mar 2, 2011 3:31 PM # 
Nice resourcefulness! I think most of those are load rated to about 75 lbs too. Any trouble with a long lead recoiling and ending up in the gears?
Mar 2, 2011 3:58 PM # 
I like the fixed pole/bungee configuration that removes the risk of getting the dog leash stuck in the back tire. My set-up is probably a little lighter also, but the price will be higher. Hopefully you can see my pics from my facebook account. If not, I am due to make a "how-to" entry to my AR Blog.

Tow Rig
Mar 2, 2011 6:07 PM # 
+1 for dog-leash system, although we shortened the leash to around 8 feet and added a bit of bungee on the end so it's not so static. With how many hike a bikes and other time where you have to get off the bike I used to always get the bungee/tube caught in my legs, sometimes tripping me whereas the dog leash you rarely notice and is easily manufactured and replaced (although I've had the same for years now), easier to transport on bike rack, in bike box, etc. Also never had a problem getting in my spokes or gears, it's all about the towee knowing what they are doing when letting go.
Mar 2, 2011 6:16 PM # 
+2 We've used the same set-up as Harps for the last 3 years with no issues.
Mar 2, 2011 9:41 PM # 
+3 for leash. But replaced the cord with lighter higher strength one and shortened it. Zip tied to seat post and it works good.
Mar 3, 2011 4:11 AM # 
+4. I have used the same dog leash for about 3 years now, same as Harps with the shortened rope and bit of bungee for the loop. We tried a few other systems at the start but this was by far the simplest one.

Plus you get to have interesting conversations at the pet shop when you buy the leash.
Mar 3, 2011 5:31 AM # 
Having tried both systems from the back - I am much happier clipping on, being towed, and releasing with the dog leash. Also, if you aim it right when release it you can give your tow-er a nice little ping on the bum as a thank you. We have never had issues with it getting caught in the back wheel as it retracts so quickly.

The pole / bungee combination ended up with me being too close for comfort to the person in the front and I have heard of a few nasty accidents happening because the person behind missed out seeing stuff due to this. One being a friend who ended up with a nasty dislocated shoulder.
Mar 3, 2011 3:13 PM # 
We currently use the pole / bungee combination due mostly to the fact that we were concerned with the cord being tangled in the wheel/drive-train. But now that i have heard so many positive comments on the dog leash, I'll definitely be trying that out. Thanks
Mar 5, 2011 2:48 PM # 
can someone take photos of the dog leash attached to seat and the bungee/connection piece. Thanks so much.
Mar 5, 2011 6:52 PM # 

Not a great picture but I think it shows everything pretty clearly. I usually put black tape over the zip ties to hide the sharp edges.
Mar 5, 2011 7:12 PM # 
Thanks and so that is just tied on really well. What on the bike handle bars does the loop attach to?
Mar 5, 2011 7:25 PM # 
The elastic loop runs over the stem and gets hooked under the fasteners.

I'm getting pretty efficient with this Picasa web thing....
Mar 5, 2011 7:48 PM # 
awesome. thanks.
Mar 5, 2011 9:17 PM # 
I've heard horror stories of towing systems with a hook mounted on the stem. That setup will come off if there is and "drama." Thanks for the pics JayXC!
Mar 5, 2011 10:14 PM # 
As a collector of trade skills...twist off zap straps with pliers vs. cutting to avoid sharp edges.
Mar 7, 2011 5:01 PM # 
+5 for dog leash. A little late on this one, but I've been using the same, small dog-leash for over 5 years & haven't had many issues. I also opt for a bunjee loop on the end of a shortened cord. I did have the bunjee loop break one time, while towing a team-mate whose drivetrain had shredded (broken rear-derailer), so he was placing a lot of stress on the cord. I've since added a stronger bunjee loop & it's been fine since. I've also experienced the towing end of this type of system and if you have the inclination I'd recommend replacing the entire cord with something bunjee (not sure how hard/easy this is to do). In one event, I was particularly useless on a ride and was switching between team-mates, one with a bunjee loop and one with a full bunjee cord, and the full bunjee cord was much more foregiving (i.e. less jerky) & probably safer as a result. Some pics of my system attached a bit differently to keep the cord further from the rear-drive-train:

This discussion thread is closed.