Introduction: The Bike Table (aka Rackatabla) – or How to Bike Tour With Your Hiking Backpack
Ever wanted to bike tour but you didnt have the money to buy the expensive rack panniers? Or better, ever wanted to use your bike to transport you to the base of a mountain and take your backpack from the rack and go hiking? Or maybe even better, ever missed a proper table to put your morning coffee or your dinner while you bike tour? I have a solution for you, and it’s called the bike table or the rackatabla! And ofcourse, it won’t cost you anything. Let’s see how you can make one.
Step 1: Make It Fit
First you take a square piece of plywood (to save some weight I’d suggest a thinner one) and put it on your rack. Mark underneath the plywood the places where the protruding parts of the rack prevent it from fitting nicely, and cut them out with a fretsaw. Check how I did mine.
Step 2: Rope Groves
Its important to make two grooves on each missing part. That way you make sure your rope is covering bigger area when you tight your rackatabla on the rack.
Step 3: The Front Handle
I made a handle for the bungee cords to hook on in the front part of the rackatabla (also to reinforce the area with less wood). The handle was made by splitting a wooden tuna chest I found on the side of the road once. I used pop rivet gun to attach it there. You can made this handle simply by using a piece of rope (two holes across each other, where the rivets are now, and a rope whose ends have knots, connecting them).
Step 4: The Back Handles
On the bottom side of the plywood, I’ve attached two small pieces of strong rope using parts of the wooden chest and the pop rivet gun. These loops are very important. You will use those (make them as short as mine) and the front handle to hook your stuff on your rackatabla. Again, you can do the same using the method with the rope I described above.
Step 5: Attach the Rackatabla on Your Rack Using a Rope
This is the most important step and what makes rackatabla unique. With only a piece of rope you can make the rackatabla and the rack one thing. If you strap it correctly the rackatabla will stay there NO MATTER the terrain you are riding one. I've ridden on the nastiest gravel roads and trails with my rackatabla with no problems so far.
I found a technique that works beautifully. I call it “the big knot technique”. It’s called like that because it uses a big knot to make the one end of the rope to stay in place while you tying up your rackatabla on the rack. The idea is you’re tightening the rope in a way that plywood is pushed again the racks. So you make the rope go over the rackatabla and then under the rack, then over the rackatabla and then again under the rack. Please have a look at the pictures to understand the concept.
Step 6: Use Some Bungee Cords to Attach Your Staff on the Rackatabla
To attach your things on the rackatabla, just hook your bungee cords on the loops underneath and make them go around your load and hook on the handle in front. Experiment a little and you’ll find many ways to make your stuff very stable.
You can also use the holes I ‘ve mentioned above to attach some things under the rackatabla. That way rackatabla plays the role of the cover and also the weight of the load moves closer to the floor, and that’s good for stability. Also, you have space for more stuff! You can use a rope or bungee cords.
Step 7: Make It Waterproof
Now, you want to paint the rackatable with a good waterproof topcoat because the constant rain will deform it eventually. If you don’t have the topcoat, you can use a plastic sheat under your stuff and above your rackatabla as I did .