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My wife retired yesterday so we picked up this new bike carrier for our planned cycling trips around Florida and the U.S.. I saw one at the MUP that I do my daily rides and he has his set up really nice inside. His doesn't have the folding rear seats, and is not hauling a recumbent trike, so I am going to have to make some changes from his layout in order to secure the trike. We took the trike with us to a local dealership but they didn't appear to want to let us put the trike in more than once to see how it would fit. I'll try different ways to get the trike to fit, then make my parts list. Hope to start the modifications as soon as my shoulder has healed enough.
 

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Eocyclist
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Looks like a great bike carrier!

When my wife retired we bought a Chrysler Town 'n' Country minivan specifically to haul the bikes around with us on trips. I think it would be too small for your trike, but it's a perfect fit for our gear. A bonus is that a Saris hitch mounted rack we use on a sedan fits, too, so we can carry 4 bikes + 4 people in comfort.

Buying the minivan was one of the best retirement decisions we made.
 

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We just bought a Toyota Sienna. I can't use the Saris hatch rack as the spoiler won't allow for it so we're going to mount a hitch and get a tray style rack soon.

As much as my wife hates having a minivan, you really can't beat the versatility.
We've had a Saris CycleOn tray style hitch rack for 6 years. The Saris lifetime guarantee and Saris customer service are first rate. I left the rack on too long into the winter one year and the road salt got to it. A piece broke on one of the holding arms. Saris had a new arm delivered absolutely free within 48 hours of my phone call.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
kneedrachen said:
The Transit Connect is an awesome little truck. Did you go gas or electric?
We went gas because of the trips across the US that we plan on doing after we exhaust our cycling around Florida. The Transit doesn't get the best gas mileage (22 and 26), but for what we need it for, we didn't have much to choose from.

Prior to buying this, the wife and I looked at several SUVs and some mini-vans. The mini-vans were more than we wanted to spent since we are not financing. The SUVs we looked at would not have worked because of her trike. We would have to carry my bike on a rear bike rack, which defeats the purpose. This morning, the wife and I tried different ways to mount the trike and the bike together and found one that we like. Now we need to start getting the material to start the project. I'll post pics as the project develops.
 

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John_V said:
My wife retired yesterday so we picked up this new bike carrier for our planned cycling trips around Florida and the U.S.. I saw one at the MUP that I do my daily rides and he has his set up really nice inside. His doesn't have the folding rear seats, and is not hauling a recumbent trike, so I am going to have to make some changes from his layout in order to secure the trike. We took the trike with us to a local dealership but they didn't appear to want to let us put the trike in more than once to see how it would fit. I'll try different ways to get the trike to fit, then make my parts list. Hope to start the modifications as soon as my shoulder has healed enough.
I envy you now. What a great way to retire. I have friends that rode heir tandem to several dealers to find a vehicle to carry it in. If the dealer wasn't interested in letting them load it, they just moved on. They ended up with a Honda and go all over.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I envy you now. What a great way to retire. I have friends that rode heir tandem to several dealers to find a vehicle to carry it in. If the dealer wasn't interested in letting them load it, they just moved on. They ended up with a Honda and go all over.
Since the Transit is mostly used as a service vehicle, we had a hard time finding a dealer that had one in stock that had the fold down rear seat (wagon) that my wife insisted on getting. Most all of them had the van but not the wagon. When we found one, we told them why we were buying the vehicle and that we wanted to see if the trike fit before we did anything. There are several Ford dealers in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and only three of them had a rear seat model in stock of which only one would let us put the trike in the back to see if it fit. We were going to buy the wagon from them until we asked them if they could get us one in silver as the only color they had was white. They wouldn't even talk to us at that point. Their attitude was buy what we have or don't waste our time. Then they tell us that it would be a special order and give us the song-and-dance that it would take 6 months to get one in.

I don't get it. There can't be that many people in this economy buying that many new vehicles where they can take that type of attitude, especially with a cash paying customer. After that last incident, my wife was calling around to some Ford dealers in another county but couldn't find what we wanted and our hopes of finding one was going down hill fast. About twenty minutes later, one of the dealers called us back and said he found one for us in North Florida and was going to have it shipped here so we could see it. We bought it from them because they went the extra mile to call around and find one for us. Why couldn't any of the other dealers take that attitude to help a customer?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Here are some update photos. I have been waiting for the arm and shoulder to heal to the point where I could lift the plywood and do the work or I would have done this sooner.

Photo of the hinged deck with a split in it so that either seat can be set upright and the decking can still accommodate either the bike or trike. The decking is painted the same color as areas of the upholstery so that it offsets the darker van floor. The hardware is mounted with threaded bolts on the top and t-bolts on the bottom. The bolts are either knurled or wing-nuts so that they come out without tools. Both sides are drilled exactly the same so that the hardware can be mounted on either side of the van.



Same view but with the smaller seat in it's upright position showing how the decking hinges to allow for a passenger and bike to co-exist during transport.



Since my wife isn't taking her trike with us to Illinois, we don't have the hardware for her trike in yet. That will be done when we get back. I'll also post a photo tomorrow with my bike in the van, since I am taking it down to the LBS to have it serviced before we leave.

We still haven't decided on what type of material (plywood or pegboard) we want for the rear panels to hold our cycling gear. We'll decide that while we are up north and get that finished when we get back. More project update photos to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Well, it's starting to shape up. After several attempts at trying to figure out how to get the trike to fit securely in the van, we came up with a way that seems to work. I had to do some modifications to the PVC stand that we used in the pickup truck to raise the boom so the tailgate would work. The "Contraption", as it is now called, fits over the folded down rear seat. Probably not the best way to do it, but until I come up with a better solution, this is going to have to do.



Good thing for all the headroom in the Transit. The crankset is high enough that it doesn't come near the headrest. The trike would not have fit like this in any other vehicle.


All that is left now are the side panels to hold the cycling gear, which we hope to have done some time this week.
 

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Looks good!

Is the rear wheel of the diamond frame bike secured/strapped down at all or is the front bracket enough to prevent the rear wheel from bouncing?
I use a similar locking fork bracket mounted on the front panel of my pick up. I use two bungy's around the seat post to the rear cleat in the bed and am good to go. I have never had any trouble with mountain or road bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
kneedrachen said:
Looks good!

Is the rear wheel of the diamond frame bike secured/strapped down at all or is the front bracket enough to prevent the rear wheel from bouncing?
There is nothing holding down the rear wheel. The front clamp is all that is securing the bike and I have not noticed any bouncing or shifting of the bike. I will sometimes open the Saris wheel stand (that's in the photo) to it's widest position and put the rear wheel in the stand when I have other stuff in the back. In that position, the rear dérailleur is protected against items shifting into the bike. I'm actually surprised that the trike rides as secure as it does. I thought it would bounce all over the place since it's not tied down to anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Any chance of your head hitting the chain ring if you're rear ended?
Since I'm a vertically challenged kind of guy (5'7") my head is well below the top of the headrest. The chainrings are actually located between the two seats, but a little closer to the drivers side than the passenger side. I would imaging that if the hit was hard enough that the trike could get pushed forward and to the side, but I'm hoping that the headrest would catch it. I'll have a better answer for you if I ever get rear ended with the trike in the back.

I tried a few panic stops with the trike in place, just to see how much shifting it gets. On each of the stops, the PVC rack that holds up the trike has kept it from coming forward and even kept the bike in rack. I also didn't notice any shifting from side to side. So far the trike is very stable on the PVC rack without having to strap it down. I'm constantly keeping an eye on it to see if it shifts on turns and how much it bounces on rough roads. If I notice too much of a change, I'll start to strap it down. Plenty of places on the Transit for strap points.
 

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Looks like a great bike carrier!

When my wife retired we bought a Chrysler Town 'n' Country minivan specifically to haul the bikes around with us on trips. I think it would be too small for your trike, but it's a perfect fit for our gear. A bonus is that a Saris hitch mounted rack we use on a sedan fits, too, so we can carry 4 bikes + 4 people in comfort.

Buying the minivan was one of the best retirement decisions we made.

I would think since most minivans are longer but squatter you'd still be able to fit a trike in them (depending on its size).

I know my Odyssey can fit a 4'x8' piece of plywood flat on the floor with the middle row taken out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Some of the mini-vans we saw would probably have worked just as well as the Transit. There were some issues with the ones that we liked. For one, the height to the deck was a bit higher and that makes it a bit more difficult to get the trike in and out. One of the things my wife didn't like about mini-vans we looked at, was the all of them had 6 cylinder engines and she didn't like the gas mileage they got. The Transit isn't the best vehicle for great mileage, but we were getting 27-29 mpg on our trip to Illinois and city mileage isn't bad at all. The big thing, however, was the cost. We didn't finance the Transit and really didn't want to put out that much cash for the mini-vans, which were considerably more.
 
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