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14497RE: [rootsradicals] Carrying a ladder

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  • Tone
    Dec 12 2:36 PM
      I have carried only a six foot ladder, but I have carried 12’ long planks
      of lumber from Home Depot or Lowes. I think they were 1”x10”s and several
      of them at a time on a few separate occasions. Of course, I have two wide
      loaders and two long loaders! Having at least one of each of those is
      essential when carrying something long.

      As someone pointed out, being able to haul a counter load on the other
      side of the bike helps immensely to avoid oscillation. I always carry
      with me a 3’ kryptonite chain, and usually I also have a large messenger
      bag of gear and tools everywhere I bike. Therefore, if I ever haul an
      unbalanced load I always try to balance out my load with my bag and chain
      as a counter-weight.

      If you have two pairs of wide loaders and long loaders, you can obviously
      counter balance half your load with the other half of the load. As
      David’s photos show, the split long load will come together in the back
      and spread toward the front. This becomes very exaggerated the longer
      your load is. With 12’ long items they will touch several feet behind
      your bike, so you might want to bring something bright and colorful to
      hang and trail off the end of the load. I usually also clipped my
      blinking red light on the back. Binding the load as much as possible is
      extremely helpful as well. If you have loose boards of wood, then
      anything that helps tighten it up as one moving mass is helpful,
      otherwise bumps in the road might shift them around and sway you along
      your way.

      With a dually-split long 12’ load, you will also notice how wide your
      moving mass will become. It can get to the point where you really will
      genuinely have to take up the space of a full car lane. Again, streamers
      hanging from your protruding sides will help non-expectant drivers from
      colliding with your load. You definitely do NOT want to even get slightly
      bumped while hauling a heavy bulky moving load. Once I was riding by a
      parallel parked car, which had its front driver-side wheel turned out so
      it would be easier to drive out of the parking space. Unfortunately it
      was sticking out just enough and I misjudged the space I needed to pass
      by. I happened to be moving my future wife’s stuff to my own apartment,
      and the load included a wooden rocking chair. When my wide loader just
      bumped into that tire I got bounced violently over and crashed on the
      other side. The chair cracked slightly, and my front Aerospoke carbon
      fiber wheel, which never needs truing, became just a bit out of true.
      Fortunately, I use disc brakes, so rubbing rim brakes were never a worry.

      Mike, in your own case of carrying the ladder, I would consider a couple
      of options. First off though, you said it was a 20’ folding ladder. Did
      you mean it was a collapsing ladder because a typical A-frame expandable
      ladder would still be around 20’ when folded? Personally, I am not sure
      how I would ever feel about carrying something that is 20’ long. 8’ is
      totally fine, and 10’ is certainly manageable, but I think 12’ is my
      comfort limit. I have hauled some serious loads too, so I have some first
      hand experience. Something that is 20’ would most likely extend
      diagonally through a whole lane of traffic and might “poke” into the
      space of at least one adjoining lane.
      With not being completely clear on what kind of ladder it is, have you
      ever considered dismantling it so that it can be self-balanced on either
      side of your bike? I certainly have hauled unbalanced loads on frequent
      numerous occasions, but any ladder, which is 20’ would have considerable
      weight as well as be awkwardly bulky. Just to give you some perspective,
      I use to be a cargo bike messenger in NYC, and regularly kept only one
      wide-loader and long-loader installed during my work days so I could
      still maneuver through the dense traffic. I usually kept the other set
      tucked in the other side’s Free-loaders as a back up for extra carrying
      capacity, but generally I always hauled everything on the non-drive-chain
      side. A 6’-8’ ladder would be no big deal, but a twenty footer is
      something entirely different.
      If the ladder you are talking about does happen to be one of those
      expandable A-frame style ladders, maybe you could actually open it up
      while having it placed on your bike. In this position the ladder would be
      down on its side with its top facing the rear and each of it two foot
      ends spread out in front and to the sides of your bike. Regardless
      though, 20’ is twenty long feet. At least it is aluminum and not an old
      fashioned wooden ladder because then it would be so much heavier. If you
      can share photos of the type of ladder you have, even if it is just a
      link to an on-line store’s web site with a similar styled ladder, then I
      could provide much better advice.

      Ride Safe,
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