You know when you load up the car for a bike trip how you have to deal with leaky water bottles rolling around in the back?
When Odette and I go on long rides we usually fill up four bottles at home and then we have to figure out how to keep them from getting the back of the car wet. Since a couple of them usually have gatorade or extran or something sticky it’s not a trivial thing.
On overnight trips I put the water bottles in a plastic milk crate with the other bike stuff I take along. For a day trip with just a couple of bottles that is overkill.
I looked for a commercial carrier and never saw anything even close.
I thought about something similar to the plastic rings on a six-pack. I figured that I could make something out of wood or plastic (a hole saw and a couple of plastic cutting boards) but it seemed like a lot of work and I knew that with a base big enough to keep it from tipping over it would be clunky. I thought about an insert for a small cooler (same hole saw and plastic cutting board concept) but that would have been even bulkier than just a base and ring kind of thing.
I don’t know what inspired me, but at some point I decided to make a frame and mount regular bottle cages on it. Initially I figured I’d use plastic tubing but I had a copper stick left over from some other project and I thought that would give me better durability and similar weight. I thought that I’d do a square base with a couple of cross-bars in the middle and a couple of T-joints in the upper cross-bar supporting uprights for a handle. As I started putting it together I realized that I could make it simpler.
I made the base about ten inches on a side and the uprights are each about a third of the way in from their respective side. The uprights are about ten inches high.
I drilled holes through the tubing and mounted a cage on each side of each of the uprights. After I looked at it I saw that it would be more balanced if I added a third one on each of the uprights. With four water bottles that gives me a couple of extra cages for goo or miscellaneous stuff.
It’s lightweight, rigid, and very simple. I didn’t get the base perfectly flat, but it works fine on the carpet in the back of the car. By accident I got the size of the handle just about right. It doesn’t tip over, even with a hard stop, and that’s the real test.