Et tu Yakima? More Designed Obsolescence or Just Keeping Up With Technology?

I bought my first Yakima Sport Rack system back in 1985 so I could carry my road and mountain bikes on top of the Brahma shell on my Mazda B2000.  It was the basic Yakima tower system attached to some bolt-on pseudo gutter mounts that I attached to the roof of the plastic (but incredibly durable and light) Brahma shell using some strategically placed wooden supports in the ribs of the shell’s roof.

Those towers were moved to the Brahma shell on the top of my ’89 Toyota SR5 X-Cab, but with the pseudo rain gutters now mounted on the sides of the shell.  Same basic, very simple tower designed to fit in the basic rain gutters found on most cars and trucks

Next up was our ’95 Toyota 4Runner.  Gone were the rain gutters for the front cross-bar so I had to purchase the newer Q-Tower, designed to work on vehicles that didn’t have rain gutters.  Well, at least for the front most rack. But, since we were hauling tandems, I also needed to buy a set of short towers that bolted to the factory roof rack.  When the ’89 Toyota was replaced with our 1998 Suburban, once again I had to buy new Yakima towers that would work with the factory roof rack, 3 pairs worth.  In fact, I believe I had to buy a new set of 10 lock cores to make all of this work. It suffices to say, we were heavily invested in Yakima hardware by this time.    Thankfully, the 2002 Suburban that replaced the 1998 Suburban used the same luggage rack design at least on the mid-span so those mounts were carried forward and remained in use through 2006.

When the 2002 Suburban was replaced by the 2006 Tacoma, there was no longer any need to carry tandems or bikes on the roof; they all could fit inside the enclosed shell.  Well, that was until 2012 when we added a triplet to the bicycle livery.  With the Triplet, roof-topping was a requirement.  Thankfully, the old Q-towers that I’d purchased for the ’95 4Runner’s front door racks could be used on the Tacoma with just the addition of the correct Q-Clip: a minor expense.  However, for the rear wheel I opted to not install a roof rack system and, instead, found these nifty suction cup devices called “Sea Suckers” that were designed for use on boats that that also worked well on cars.

After trading in the Tundra on the 2017 Tacoma I assumed a new set of Q-clips would be all I needed to move my Yakima front cross-bar from the Tundra to the Tacoma.  Well, not really.   Even though the roof and door frame of the Tacoma looked just like the Tundra in terms of fit, finish and design the Yakima Q-Towers were no longer compatible with the newer, 3rd Generation Tacoma. I suspect it may have had something to do with the strength of the Tacoma’s roof, or the lack there-of.

So, I’ve now had to order a new pair of Yakima’s Baseline towers along with the Tacoma Mounting Clip kit and a set of round bar adapters so that I can at least continue to use all of my remaining cross bars and the associated bike mounts.  Well, I say that: quite frankly, I only need the one crossbar for the triplet so I’m thinking it’s time to sell off all of the now obsolete Yakima rack components.  Yes, in keeping with my current push to rid the house and storage spaces of all unused, non-essential things I’m going to need to catalog and then put all of the various bike mounts, towers, crossbars, etc. out for sale.  I will say, I though I still had a lot of the very old, original towers, bike mounts and what not up in the attic.  But, apparently I sold the oldest racks back in 2001 after selling the ’89 Toyota truck and buying all new racks, bars, etc. for the Suburban’s.

Anyway, here’s a preview:

  • Four (4) Rail Rider 1 towers, which slide into the factory rack tracks on the earlier 4Runners; these were on a ’95 Limited
  • Six (6) Low Rider towers, which were installed on a couple Chevrolet K1500 Surburbans. Also a good fit on smaller European rails, as well as very large rails, Subaru Forester and Nissan Xterra, etc.
  • Four (4) Copperhead, fork-style mount with fork block, locking skewer (3 of 4), a wheel tray with micro-adjusting, ratcheting wheel strap that fits a wide range of tire sizes and designs.
  • Vintage Ski Rack that holds two pair of skis, with locks
  • Vintage “Basketcase” cargo basket
  • Three (3) wheel forks
  • Single Wheel Tray with retention strap
  • Two (2) spare retention straps
  • Set of 7 lock cores, all keyed the same
  • Several 48″ and 48″ cross bars.
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Posted in For Sale, Technology & Equip. | 1 Comment

Fabricating a Tandem Transportation Fixture for the Tacoma

As noted in my 31 December entry, we traded-in our 2006 Toyota Tundra / tandem hauler on a newer, smaller 2017 Toyota Tacoma long-bed pick-up back on 28 November.  To transform it into a tandem hauler would require a few things: a shell to enclose the bed, a bed liner and because the bed once enclosed isn’t quite large enough to just roll the tandem in with only the front wheel removed, I’d need to fabricate a fixture that would hold the Calfee tandem upright without any wheels such that it could be easily slid into and out of the enclosed bed.

Oh, there were a lot of other things we’d need to change to make the little Tacoma “our truck” and most of those have been completed while we waited for the long-lead item in the tandem hauler transformation — the A.R.E. Z-Series shell — to be fabricated in Mt. Eaton, Ohio, and shipped to Georgia; they included:

  • De-badging the exterior, i.e., removing brand & feature emblems from the doors and tailgate as well as the special edition decals from the back corners of the bed.
  • Replacing the stainless running boards with a set of NFab step rails.
  • Getting the front cab windows tinted to match the rear windows.
  • Swapping out the stock wheels & tires for some that were more fitting.
  • Installing special shocks to level the front & rear of the truck.
  • Swapping the stock TRD Sport grill for a “TRD Pro” model.
  • Replacing the grey cloth seat covers for black leather seat covers.

Tandem Hauler Specific Items

As for those tandem-hauler specific items, the BedRug bed liner was ordered on 29 November and delivered / installed on 4 December. An A.R.E. Z-Series shell was ordered back on 2 December from Custom Camper in Lake City, Georgia, which is where I purchased the A.R.E. Z-Series shell for the Tundra and it finally arrived last week and was installed this past Wednesday.

With the shell on the truck I could finally design and fabricate a new fixture that would hold our Calfee tandem upright with the front & rear wheels removed so it could be carried inside the now covered bed of the Tacoma, pretty much how we hauled around the Erickson in our  1989 Toyota SR5 X-Cab with its high-top/rear door Brahma shell.  However, the A.R.E. shell I bought is a low-profile Z-Series, so the fixture I used with the ’89 Toyota was too tall and I needed to come up with a lower-profile design.

I should note, since 2001 we’ve had a couple of K1500 Suburbans and the 2006 Tundra that could carry our tandems with just the front wheel removed and placed in a fork holder to keep it upright and stable, so there’s been no need for a transportation fixture.  While the Tacoma’s bed is actually an inch or two longer than the Tundra, it’s four inches more narrow so the rear wheel now needs to come off as well to get the tandem in the covered bed.

Anyway, I found the materials I needed for my new design on Thursday night and I headed out to the garage on Friday afternoon to fabricate the tandem transportation fixture.  My materials of choice were a 1″ x 4″ x 8′ piece of oak  and a few PVC plumbing fittings that I cobbled into a boom tube cradle. Back at the house I did a quick mock-up before putting the piece of oak on the chop saw.

The cradle’s base was about the only tricky part since I needed to create a recess around a center hole in a wood block that would hold a PVC plug threaded into another PVC fitting through the wood block; this was how I decided to mate the dissimilar PVC and wood materials together.  Once the block of wood was attached to the center support of the fixture, the PVC plug became hidden from view and the other fitting is where a PVC T-connector would attach to the fixture after I shaved-off the top-half of the pipe: instant boom tube cradle!


After that it was just a matter of attaching the fork mount and two cross supports to the center support so the fixture would stand upright. A wheel holder went on the left-rear half of the cross support which is where the rear wheel of the tandem goes once it’s removed. There’s a padded piece of material that goes in the cradle and a bungee cord that holds the tandem’s boom tube to the boom tube cradle and that’s it.

I may replace the bungee with some velcro straps and I need to permanently affix the padding to the boom tube cradle after sorting out the tie-downs. I may also add a second wheel holder for the front wheel just so the tandem is fully self-contained on the fixture. But, other than that, it fixture is done and it works as intended. It takes an extra minute or two to get the tandem out of the truck and ready to ride vs. just rolling it into the Tundra with only the front wheel removed, so not a huge change.

I also need to rethink how I’ll make sure the fixture doesn’t move around inside the bed. I don’t think the red bungee cord will do what I want it to.  But I’m 98% there.


As mentioned, I decided to go ahead and add a second wheel holder to the fixture so the tandem is fully self-contained when it’s on the fixture.  I also gave the white PVC a coat of black pick-up truck bed liner paint and customized a velcro carrying strap to work as the hold-down strap for the boom tube.  It’s a bit lighter weight than the previous fixture which was basically an old-style Yakima tandem mount attached to two 1/2 x 4 x 16 pieces of Oak.



And here you have it; the new tandem hauler.  The 2017 Tacoma is pretty much a scaled-down, red version of the 2006 Tundra, which says a lot about our tastes and preferences for how a truck should look.  So, once again, if you don’t see the big black Tacoma at a tandem rally, it’s because we’re in the not-as-big, but hard-to-miss Barcelona red Tacoma.

Posted in Technology & Equip. | 2 Comments

Alabama Tandem Weekend, Pell City on 11-14 April

From Jack Goertz on the ATW Facebook Page:

Announcing the location for the 2019 Alabama Tandem Weekend! – PELL CITY, ALABAMA!

Pell City is located on I-20, about 35 miles east of Birmingham and about 110 miles west of Atlanta, GA.

  • We’ve selected the Hampton Inn — Pell City, as our host hotel, and we’ve negotiated a rate of $88/night, plus tax, for our rally-attendees. This rate is good for the period beginning Thursday, April 11, 2019 through Sunday, April 14, 2019.
  • The Alabama Tandem Weekend officially runs from April 12 through April 14, but some of you may want to arrive early or stay an extra night to explore more of the region.

Book your hotel now by clicking on this link:… or by calling the hotel directly @ (205) 814-3000. If calling directly, be sure to ask for the Alabama Tandem rate. Specify the rate code “ATW”!

For those wishing to camp, we recommend Lakeside Landing Marina and RV Park. Lakeside Landing is located about 7 miles south of the hotel on US231. Make your reservations directly with Lakeside Landing by calling (205) 525-5701. Tell them you’re with the Alabama Tandem Weekend.

We don’t anticipate charging a registration fee for the 2019 Alabama Tandem Weekend, but we would appreciate an e-mail (send it to Goertz @ – leave the spaces out), letting us know you will be attending! (Headcounts are nice to know in advance).

Stay tuned for more information as we confirm routes and our schedule for the weekend.

Posted in Tandem Folks | Leave a comment

Southern Tandem Rally, 19-22 September

We recently received this advanced notice from Eve Kofsky & Roger Strauss who will be hosting the 2019 Southern Tandem Rally on 19-22 September in Greenwood, South Carolina.  From their announcement:

For those of you who don’t know us, we have hosted the Georgia Tandem Rally twenty times.  This year, we are doing double duty, adding STR to our rally organizing schedule.
Are we just a little nuts?  Perhaps!

Join us for three days of cycling and socializing in “The Emerald City”.  Located halfway between Charlotte and Atlanta, Greenwood has been named “South Carolina’s best kept secret” by WIS television.  Come enjoy the secret wonders of Greenwood at Southern Tandem Rally 2019.

It’s early, but details are posted on the newly-redesigned STR website:

Rally registration begins May 1, 2019.

Happy New Year, and we hope to see you in September in Greenwood!

Posted in Tandem Rallies | Leave a comment

Southwest Missouri Tandem Rally, 31 May – 2 June

John & Jean White from  the Tandems Of the Ozarks wrote to let us know they’ve launched their website for the 2019 Southwest Missouri Tandem Rally on 31 May through 2 June at Springfield, Missouri.  From their note:

  • We have moved on with the new year and are ready to start 2019.
  • True, we have had a few asking about this years rally….. so
  • We got the link for the hotel and we kept the same rate as last year.
    • Our host hotel is the DoubleTree by Hilton with breakfast for $99.00 a night.
  • The web site just went live…..
  • We had so much fun at last years rally and we met several new folks, we hope that your schedule will allow you to join us again this year.
  • We have some new routes for you to see, sort of south but still great riding.
  • As always we will still a few surprises for you but always fun and exciting.
  • All forms and info is now on the web site
Posted in Club & Org Notices, Tandem Rallies | 1 Comment

Hoping For Better Weather in 2019!

Well, it has certainly been a challenge to find days when the weather was conducive to cycling here in the Atlanta area. Like a lot of places here in the states, we’ve found ourselves with cooler than normal temperatures and well above average rainfall since September. No wonder so many tandem teams retire to the warmer climates in Florida, Arizona and New Mexico!

Truth be told, other than one tandem ride back on 17 November, we’ve been off the tandem since the Southern Tandem Rally in Venice, Florida, back in early October.  And, I can’t fault Debbie as the weather hasn’t been all that inviting period. I went out on my single bike on 18 November and between the weather, a six-day trip to Pennsylvania and various other commitments and distractions between Thanksgiving and New Years I was only able to get out for a ride on one other day, this past Saturday afternoon.  And, I will say, it felt great to get out but 53°F with 89% humidity during a rainy spell sure felt a lot more like 45°F.

Anyway, this is why I’m now looking to 2019 to deliver on some better weather!  We definitely want to get back to riding 100+ miles a week as we did during August and September and would like to take in at least one more tandem rally than we did in 2018.  Speaking of tandem rallies, I’ve done my best to update the our 2019 Tandem Rally & Event Listing and hope that it’s movement from the to our WordPress site hasn’t bothered too many readers.  It really is a lot easier to update!  I just need to remind myself to do so. I still need to go and check on the off-road event list but, to be honest, the hottest ticket for any off-road tandem enthusiast continues to Chris & Monica Judd’s “Self Organized Off Road Tandem Adventure”  (aka.,  S.O.O.R.T.A.) Facebook Group now with nearly 300 members.  They’ve definitely found the pulse of the off-road tandem enthusiast community with the less structured, come-as-you-will events being hosted by anyone with an interest in off-road tandem cycling.  As much as I’d really enjoy heading off for these events I’m still struggling to get Debbie back on the Ventana… so don’t look for us at these events any time too soon.

As for our 2019 road tandem travel plans, they’re still taking shape.  As mentioned, we’d like to expand our personal rally calendar by at least one event in 2019.  Last year we only managed to make it to the Georgia Tandem Rally in Athens, Georgia, and the Southern Tandem Rally in Venice Florida.  So, adding perhaps the Alabama Tandem Weekend, the TandemsEast Weekend or even the MATES rally is high on our “Let’s make it Happen” list.  To that end, we now have a newer tandem hauler that should give us less pause for road trips.

Yes, we finally parted with our sometimes problematic 2006 Toyota Tundra at the end of November and replaced it with a 2017 Toyota Tacoma.  We are still waiting for the  Tacoma’s A.R.E. bed shell to be delivered and installed so that we’ll have a dry and secure place to stash our tandem when we drive to rallies, but that should be here in the next week or two.  So, if you’re used to seeing us in the big, black Toyota Tundra you won’t find us anymore.  Instead, we’ll be in the not as big, but still pretty big, red Toyota Tacoma.  The photo at right of the Tacoma is a visual study of what it might look like with the color-matched A.R.E. Z-Series shell.  So, yes… it’s similar to the Tundra, just a bit smaller and, well, red.  I’ve never owned anything but black trucks so this is was a huge leap for me.

In closing, thanks for sticking with us and being loyal readers.  As much as I enjoyed my days of participating in discussions at Tandem@Hobbes and other tandem cycling lists, I find this approach is a lot less taxing on my patience.  We certainly expanded out knowledge of tandem cycling and circle of friendships with the tandem cycling community through my participation on those lists and will forever be grateful for that.  As for the future of, this may be its last year unless I suddenly get an urge to update my web authoring & management skills and software to breath new life into the old site.  But, regardless of what I do with that Website, I still plan to keep on blogging and will do my best to keep the tandem club listings and event calendars up to date here at my WordPress site.





Posted in Bloggishnish, Club & Org Notices, Events | Leave a comment

Wishing You All A Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

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