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vanboosh

Bike on a cruiser deck?

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Hi all!

I'm just starting the search for my first live aboard narrowboat. I know the question of motorbikes on a boat has been asked a few times but bear with me: I often see them on the front in a well deck (good option, as long as I can find one with a longish bow) or on the tug deck, and I've seen a few mounted behind the tiller (another good option, but I think my bike is too heavy?), but could you put one on a cruiser deck, or would the obstruction be too much of pain or be dangerous? If you can, are the rails around the edge to stop you falling in (I'm sorry I don't know the name!) structural or could you remove/adjust them to make it easier to get a bike on/off? 

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4 minutes ago, vanboosh said:

could you remove/adjust them to make it easier to get a bike on/off? 

Its your boat you can do pretty much whatever you want to it. You do need to think how you are going to get it on & off the boat (some have a hydraulic hoist)

And (just as an aside) remember that it is illegal to drive / ride the bike on the towpath and pushing a heavy bike a mile or two thru the mud until you can get access to a road is pretty hard going. (That's why most bikes tend to be 125 'ish)

 

Some do have big bikes but I always wonder how often they actually use them - generally if something is hard to do it ends up not being used.

 

Canal Bye-Laws :

 

Towing Paths
Improper use of towing paths
(1) No person, unless authorised by the Board or otherwise
legally entitled so to do shall:
(a) Ride or drive any animal or vehicle over any towing path
(b) Obstruct any towing path or interfere with the authorised use
thereof

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I figured if I could remove some of the rear rails, or adjust them in some way, then I could probably just push it on/off with a decent ramp. 

 

Its not a huge bike (KTM Duke 390) but it isn't a wee 125. I think I'd just be selective about where I'd moor up, or pull up, drop the bike off somewhere convenient, and then come back to it by foot. I can figure that bit out, as long as I can actually get it on/off the boat first!

 

As for riding on the towpath, I know its a big no no and I have no intention of breaking any laws, or pissing anyone off ☺️ 

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14 minutes ago, vanboosh said:

As for riding on the towpath, I know its a big no no and I have no intention of breaking any laws, or pissing anyone off ☺️ 

Pleased to hear it.

 

You'll need to have variable height 'ramps' as the bankside can be anything from 'level to the boat' to several feet higher.

 

I guy I know used this 'trailer' for his bike and sidecar.

 

Roof opened up, Hydraulic ramp, and hydraulic 'floor' that lifted the bike up to bank level , and vice vera when he came 'home'.

 

Victoria plum 2.jpg

Victoria Plum 5.jpg

Victoria Plum.png

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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15 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Pleased to hear it.

 

You'll need to have variable height 'ramps' as the bankside can be anything from 'level to the boat' to several feet higher.

 

I guy I know used this 'trailer' for his bike and sidecar.

 

Roof opened up, Hydraulic ramp, and hydraulic 'floor' that lifted the bike up to bank level , and vice vera when he came 'home'.

 

Victoria plum 2.jpg

Victoria Plum 5.jpg

Victoria Plum.png

I was following this boat up the LLangollen about 4 years ago. The owner is disabled but can walk short distances and operate locks single handed. The boat is all hydraulic, including the drive.  He has a remote control system and does all the lock operations from the bank. I thought he was going to hold me up and offered to help but he declined and was really quick at getting through locks. The boat had both stern and bow thrusters and it was impressive to see the boat exit a lock and then go sideways to the bank all done with the remote control. A really nice guy to chat with, I think he said he had come from the lower Trent.

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Now that is amazing! What a great idea! Unfortunately I think a set up like that would be quite spectacularly out of my budget, but I might have to have a little look at a butty... 

 

I thought that might be the case RE bank heights, but again, I figure I could just cruise till I find a convenient spot to roll it off. I don't have to commute or anything like that, so it's not an every day occurrence, but to occasionally see clients, visit friends and family etc. Plus I just love my bike!

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1 minute ago, Flyboy said:

I was following this boat up the LLangollen about 4 years ago. The owner is disabled but can walk short distances and operate locks single handed. The boat is all hydraulic, including the drive.  He has a remote control system and does all the lock operations from the bank. I thought he was going to hold me up and offered to help but he declined and was really quick at getting through locks. The boat had both stern and bow thrusters and it was impressive to see the boat exit a lock and then go sideways to the bank all done with the remote control. A really nice guy to chat with, I think he said he had come from the lower Trent.

That's the one - when he couldn't ride his bike anymore, he used the 'trailer' for his disability buggy.

He has now 'gone beyond' even the buggy and has sold the trailer, but I think he is still living on the boat, just not cruising.

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Usually the deck of a cruiser stern lifts up to access the engine and batteries etc so whilst not lifted when moving you usually want to lift it just before and just after. You need to be able to steer with the tiller when moving and may well need to access the stern mooring points from within the boat whilst moving.

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Consider petrol stored in the bike over the engine and batteries etc.  not a good idea. Most put the bike on the foredeck.

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The other reason it's not a good idea on a cruiser stern is engine access. I once put a 400cc bike on my stern deck and snapped a fan belt but couldn't get down there to change it. Not such an issue on a canal but I was on a tidal river! Sods law I'd never snapped a fan belt on the boat before and not since.

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8 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

And (just as an aside) remember that it is illegal to drive / ride the bike on the towpath and pushing a heavy bike a mile or two thru the mud until you can get access to a road is pretty hard going. (That's why most bikes tend to be 125 'ish)

 

Some do have big bikes but I always wonder how often they actually use them - generally if something is hard to do it ends up not being used.

 

Canal Bye-Laws :

 

Towing Paths
Improper use of towing paths
(1) No person, unless authorised by the Board or otherwise
legally entitled so to do shall:
(a) Ride or drive any animal or vehicle over any towing path
(b) Obstruct any towing path or interfere with the authorised use
thereof

 

The reason most bikes on boats are relatively small is simply down to getting them on and off the boat. Big bikes are heavy. Anyone who actually rides bigger bikes knows that you don't "push" them over any distance, you just put them in gear and walk them, letting the engine do the work. Much easier and not illegal because you're not riding. I've done that down plenty of muddy towpaths, though not for a mile or two. If road access was really that far away it's easier to offload the bike somewhere convenient and move the boat to/from the mooring.

Edited by blackrose

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Tug decks every time to easily solve this issue and tugs aren't generally as popular so you have a better chance of vfm - bargain hard its a very small niche market the top builders products with proper engines still get the right money from enthusiasts but if you can find an averagely built tug which the enthusiasts don't rate than you are in a good position.

 

There are a few on the duck at the moment that fit this category good but not the best builders for example...…………...

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/colecraft-49-tug/592217

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/gorton/589513

 

Edited by Halsey

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The Gorton could be a good boat depends on the price. Its an early one, #1 Tug.  Gary did build a sound boat, mine is Trad #9 and solid.

 

Much easier to get a bike onto a tug deck.

  • Greenie 1

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47 minutes ago, Halsey said:

Tug decks every time to easily solve this issue and tugs aren't generally as popular so you have a better chance of vfm - bargain hard its a very small niche market the top builders products with proper engines still get the right money from enthusiasts but if you can find an averagely built tug which the enthusiasts don't rate than you are in a good position.

 

There are a few on the duck at the moment that fit this category good but not the best builders for example...…………...

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/colecraft-49-tug/592217

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/gorton/589513

 

I'd imagine that this would be the only option that wouldn't invalidate your insurance, with the exception of a couple i've seen behind the tiller (more likelihood of accidental damage).

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6 hours ago, blackrose said:

 

The reason most bikes on boats are relatively small is simply down to getting them on and off the boat. Big bikes are heavy. Anyone who actually rides bigger bikes knows that you don't "push" them over any distance, you just put them in gear and walk them, letting the engine do the work. Much easier and not illegal because you're not riding. I've done that down plenty of muddy towpaths, though not for a mile or two. If road access was really that far away it's easier to offload the bike somewhere convenient and move the boat to/from the mooring.

I think you will find that you are still deemed to be driving the bike if you do that, so are breaking the law. The same would apply to a motorised self propelled lawn mower that you walk behind.

Edited by Flyboy

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5 minutes ago, Flyboy said:

I think you will find that you are still deemed to be driving the bike if you do that, so are breaking the law. 

Yep, I think you would too - same way you'd still get done if you were the worse for alcohol and decided to walk it home.

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7 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Yep, I think you would too - same way you'd still get done if you were the worse for alcohol and decided to walk it home.

As a young lad a 'gang of us' used to take an old NSU 50 Moped down to the local woods for a bit of off-roading, we'd push it (walk it) down the pavement for about a mile, then across the fields.

 

We were stopped by the local Bobby (nice -chap) who explained that we were too young to have a driving licence, it was not MOT'd, it was not licenced or insured so were breaking the law as we were still in charge of a motor vehicle.

The only way we could legally push it down the road was if the chain, spark-plug and petrol tank were removed.

 

Slightly different scenario, I know but I would assume that a bike being 'walked' with the engine running would still be considered a motor vehicle being ridden.

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26 minutes ago, Flyboy said:

I think you will find that you are still deemed to be driving the bike if you do that, so are breaking the law. The same would apply to a motorised self propelled lawn mower that you walk behind.

As a dog owner I would much rather that method is employed than it actually being ridden at inevitably greater than a slow walking pace , posing a danger to all towpath users and churning up the grass making it muddy for weeks on end...……………….

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1 hour ago, Halsey said:

As a dog owner I would much rather that method is employed than it actually being ridden at inevitably greater than a slow walking pace , posing a danger to all towpath users and churning up the grass making it muddy for weeks on end...……………….

Still breaking the law though isn't it ?

  • Greenie 1

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2 hours ago, Halsey said:

As a dog owner I would much rather that method is employed than it actually being ridden at inevitably greater than a slow walking pace , posing a danger to all towpath users and churning up the grass making it muddy for weeks on end...……………….

When we had the mooring in west London there were occasional problems with hoons racing motorbikes on the towpath and would often have words with the riders, which most times solved the problem, but the last couple of years we were there this became impossible primarily due to a number of boaters riding and parking on the towpath. A sign of the times and the 'me and my needs first' mentality.  

  • Greenie 1

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So far I’ve been lucky to have safe car parks close by, with the  bike in sight, and something to chain the bike to. 

I don’t think a motorbike belongs on the towpath and I’ll avoid taking my bike down one.  

 

However, I understand if people do it for reasons of security, I expect I’ll have to do it at some point. 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Goliath said:

So far I’ve been lucky to have safe car parks close by, with the  bike in sight, and something to chain the bike to. 

I don’t think a motorbike belongs on the towpath and I’ll avoid taking my bike down one.  

 

However, I understand if people do it for reasons of security, I expect I’ll have to do it at some point. 

 

 

But presumably you will "walk" not ride it?

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5 hours ago, Flyboy said:

Still breaking the law though isn't it ?

So is doing 31 mph in a 30 zone but i bet you do that. If someone is taking a bike to a boat and they ride it slow or have it in gear and walk alongside then what is the big deal. People blasting along is one thing but someone being careful is not a first world problem. I would rather hear a motorcycle coming slowly than an idiot on a bicycle doing 20 mph in silence.

  • Greenie 2

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28 minutes ago, Mike Hurley said:

So is doing 31 mph in a 30 zone but i bet you do that. If someone is taking a bike to a boat and they ride it slow or have it in gear and walk alongside then what is the big deal. People blasting along is one thing but someone being careful is not a first world problem. I would rather hear a motorcycle coming slowly than an idiot on a bicycle doing 20 mph in silence.

Possibly yes, I go by what the speedo says and they usually over read. You are allowed 10% + 2mph before getting a ticket.  Driving/riding a motorcycle on a towpath is clear cut, it's illegal whatever the speed.

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