Have you ever thought about riding your bicycle to the ski resort? It’s a cool idea, but how exactly do you carry a long, heavy set of skis on the back of your bicycle?
Well, I just happen to ride my bike to the ski resort all the time. It’s less than 3 miles to the nearest resort from my home. I ride there with my boots and skis in tow. Once there, I lock up my bike and hit the slopes. A few hours later I return to my bicycle, mount my skis to the bike once again, and enjoy the downhill ride back to my house. If you live in a place where it’s possible to ride your bike to the ski slopes, the following describes one way of easily and effectively carrying your ski equipment on your bicycle.
Items You Will Need:
- A bicycle capable of mounting a rear rack and handling snow and ice covered streets
- A rear rack (the sturdier – the better)
- 1 plastic PVC plumbing pipe (4.5 inches in diameter x at least 18 inches long)
- 2-3 metal plumbing ties (also known as “general purpose couplers” or “clamps”)
- 1 backpack (large enough to hold 1 of your ski boots)
- 1 pannier (large enough to hold 1 of your ski boots)
- 1 bike lock
- 3 pant leg protectors or Velcro straps
Step 1: Configuring The Rack
To carry your skis on the back of your bicycle, you need to pick up a plastic (PVC) plumbing tube at your nearest hardware store. It needs to be at least 18 inches long and wide enough to slide the backside of your skis inside of it. I’ve found that a tube with a 4.5 inch diameter works with most all-mountain skis. A wider tube may be needed for powder skis, etc.
Once you’ve got your tube, you need to mount it to one side of your rear rack. I have my tube mounted on the right side of my bicycle (and I’ll tell you why in a moment). Use 2-3 metal plumbing ties to fasten the tube in place. This is the most important step of the set-up process because the tube needs to be angled at such a degree that 1) when the skis are loaded into the tube they are not hitting you in the back as you ride your bike and 2) it is not angled so far back that your skis fall out when you hit a bump in the road or climb a steep hill. I have the tube on my bike angled at approximately 10 degrees.
Once you’ve got your tube fastened in place, toss your skis into the tube and go for a quick spin. As you ride, make sure that the skis are not hitting you in the back or buttocks… and take note of any severe rattling that may occur. It is normal for the skis to rattle a bit over small bumps and cracks, but they should stay in place for the most part.
If you need to add extra support to your rear rack, try adding another metal plumbers tie to the front of the rack, like shown in the photo here. This will help your rear rack to support the extra weight it is carrying and ensure that the rack doesn’t slip backwards or fall off while you are riding.
Step 2: Mounting Your Gear
The first step to mounting your gear is to slide your skis inside the tube on the rear rack of your bike. Once secured, use two pant leg protectors or simple Velcro straps to attach your poles to the skis. (You will see in the photo at the top of this article that I have a blue pant leg protector holding my poles in place at the top of my skis and a black pant leg protector holding my poles in places at the bottom. I have a third pant leg protector wrapped around my right shin so I don’t get my ski pants caught in my chain as I ride.)
Once you’ve set your skis and poles in place, the next step is to find a way to carry your boots. I’ve tried several different methods here and found that carrying one boot inside a backpack and another boot inside a pannier mounted on the opposite side of your rear rack is the best way to carry the items you need for your time at the ski resort.
The reason I place my skis on the right side of my bicycle and the pannier holding one of my boots on the other side of my bicycle is because 1) the weight of the boot on the left side helps to even out the weight of the skis on the right side of the rack and 2) having the pannier (mine is a bright red color) on the traffic side of the bike, helps to notify drivers of my location alongside the road. If the pannier were on the right (non-traffic side) of my bicycle, passing cars would have a much harder time seeing me… and there would be a much great chance of a passing vehicle hitting the skis which are now protruding from the back of my bike.
Step 3: Securing Your Belongings At The Resort
Now, with your skis and boots in tow, you simply ride your bike to the ski resort and find a place to lock up your rig. Remove your ski boots from your backpack and the rear pannier and put them on. Remove the shoes you were wearing while riding your bicycle and place them inside your backpack. Fold up the rear bike pannier and place it inside your backpack as well. Now lock up your bike, pull your skis out of their holding tube, and hit the slopes!
So, there it is. A quick and easy way to carry your skis on your bicycle. What do you think? Do you have any ideas on how this technique could be further improved? Let me know by leaving a comment below.