Sunday, December 11, 2011

Have Bike & Skis- Will Travel

I know that there are others out there like me (actually, I know that there's no one as dumb as me out there, but I needed an introduction...) who routinely ask themselves, "Self, since your only mode of transportation is a bike, what are you going to do during ski season?" and Self replies, "I'm gonna build a custom ski carrier for my bike!"
Do I even need a caption here?

My goal is to carry either my lightweight cross country skis or carry my heavier, wider alpine touring skis on my bike and be able to bike 10-20 miles roundtrip.  I came across a couple of solutions online, one being carry them on a pack A-frame style.  I have done this before and not only do I hate having a pack on while I'm riding, but the skis make it additionally annoying.  The other idea that someone posted somewhere online (I cannot find it again) was to mount them vertically alongside your rear rack with a PVC pipe holder.  This sounded great except for one thing: it would only take one low branch or one forgotten doorway to truly mess up your experience with the skis sticking up that high.  Another thought that came to me was to carry them on my BOB trailer but once I was trying to maneuver this on snowy fire roads it might be really tricky.
The only thing that I have seen commercially made that could fit the bill might be a surfboard carrier made for bikes, but it cost $100.  Since I apparently have a lot of time on my hands, building my own solution would be cheaper and more desirable.  This weekend I set about building a proof of concept.  It turned out to be fairly heavy since I used 3/4" plywood and 2"x4" scraps that I had lying around.  Nevertheless, I succeeded in making my ski carrier.  It holds the skis at approximately a 45 degree angle to keep the overall height to about 6' and would theoretically allow low branches to sweep up and over the skis rather than stopping me dead in my tracks.  Initial tests showed that while my bike had the wobbles as if I had it fully loaded, the skis were held securely and quietly.  I also used a lash strap to keep the skis in place in the holder.

After a bit more testing, I may seek to build a lighter model with PVC pipe.  After that, I will begin mass producing them in carbon fiber for the vast market that my friend, Jeff, insists exists.  I am accepting advance orders.  Just write your bike and ski specifications on the back of a blank, endorsed check and mail it to me.


  1. I need a carbon fiber one for Texas. Also you should submit this to the bike hack guys.


  2. Aaron, I will make one for you that can hold either:

    a) skis
    b) a shotgun
    c) 6' long Pixie sticks

    That should cover all your needs!

  3. Hey Tom, I just stumbled upon your site and am impressed with the home-built ski rack. I have a site that focuses some--but not all--on carrying things on bikes. Do you mind if I post these pictures with a link to your site. Thanks, Joe

  4. Joe,

    You may absolutely use the photos from my site. I am really happy to see you promoting carrying anything and everything on a bike! (I love the photo of the Christmas tree)

  5. Folding skis would also be cool to have.