How to Carry a Beach Chair on a Bike
There are a handful of reliable ways to carry a beach chair on your bicycle including bicycle chair racks, bike caddies, backpacks and others. Often the best method of carrying a beach chair on your bike will depend on a few factors. These include:
- The size and type of chair
- The style of bicycle you’re riding
- Your own comfort and physical abilities
I’ll go over some of the easiest and most popular beach chair carrier methods and let you know which I think are likely going to make this job the easiest for you.
Carrying Beach Chairs on a Bike Rack
Bike racks are usually mounted over the rear wheel of the bike, secured to the axle with the carrying surface resting just above the tire itself. You can use rope or bungee cords to secure a variety of items to a bike rack, depending on how industrious and creative you can be. If you have enough cords or other means to make things secure, as long as you balance the load, you can get quite a large amount of stuff on a bike rack. This could include a number of camping chairs.
In my experience, if you have simple folding beach chairs, the best way to secure one or two chairs on a rear rack is to have them lined up evenly and secured to each other first with bungee cords wrapped around them and hooked to the frames. Then use a few more bungee cords to secure the chairs at both ends of the rack in a position that makes it comfortable for you to sit and ride still. As long as the chairs are balanced and the cords are tight on both sides, they should hold steady for any ride.
Depending on your style of rack and chairs, you can have them secured on their side or face down flat, stacked on top of one another with the bulk of the chair hanging off the back of your bike out of your way.
You don’t need to use bungee cords to do this – I’ve seen plenty of people load up a bike rack with rope and paracord to secure things, I just think bungee cords are the best idea. They offer the best resistance in my opinion, with the least amount of hassle. They’re also really easy to release so you don’t need to worry about knots. And if things aren’t working right, changing them around is really easy. Plus you can get small ones, ideal for use on a bike rack, pretty cheaply at dollar stores and hardware stores.
Carrying a Folding Chair in a Bike Trailer
Bike trailers have become more and more popular the last few years and offer a lot of space to either hold a chair inside or to strap it to the outside while the inside is filled with heavier items. This will cost more to purchase than a rack, but since it can be used for a lot of other things, it could be a good investment. Using a bike trailer for this is a mild sort of hack as most trailers are actually designed for transporting pets and even children behind bikes. But because that’s what many of them are designed for, it also means they are designed with extra safety in mind, which is a good thing.
Bike trailers are really sturdy and designed with a good amount of room. Even larger chairs can be accommodated in some of these and, in a pinch, you can rig a trailer with bungee cords to ensure larger loads make it to your destination.
You need to be cautious when riding with a bike trailer because they do take some getting used to. If you’re new to it, maybe go for a practice ride to understand how to brake, how it feels going up and down hills, how it handles on turns, etc.
The other potential drawback here is less practical but still one that I’ve heard of and that’s the fact people think these things are goofy. Not everyone wants to use a bike trailer because they’re embarrassed to use such a thing or they think it looks stupid. But if it gets the job done, and does it well, is it really that bad of an idea?
One of the best things about a trailer is that you can customize them. If you want to attack racks or other items to it that can help you carry more gear, you can do so.
Carrying Chairs in a Backpack
Some beach chairs fold up into backpacks while others can be secured to separate backpacks for hands-free travel. Beach chair backpacks are a great way to make the most of the limited space you have for carrying a chair to the beach. For the most part this is going to refer to the actual backpack beach chairs you can buy, which literally fold up into backpacks. You can sling them over your shoulders on the built in straps and carry them around like any other backpack. For bike travel they’re really convenient since they free up your hands and all the space on your bike as well.
Some hiking backpacks are designed with straps that can easily be used to secure a chair in place. This kind of backpack is good because not only can you strap a chair to it but you can use the backpack itself to carry a good deal of beach gear with you as well. Towels, drinks, sunscreen and all that can fit inside while the backpack is secured outside.
The big concern for this is size. Some of these can feel a little clunky on your back and make riding a bike more difficult. This is one of those situations where your own comfort and ability comes heavily into play.
Transporting Chairs in the Beach Bum Bike Caddy
This is actually an ingenious little invention but only Beach Bum seems to make a model you can find anywhere and there aren’t a lot of similar technologies out there. The bike caddy isn’t a bike rack, it’s more of a mounted and adjustable holder that attaches to your bike’s rear axle. It extends away from the wheel a short distance and the functional portion is like a clamp that you can adjust to tightly hold the frame of your beach chair. It’s very sturdy and secure, and keeps the chair back and away from your arms and legs so it’s not obtrusive.
They advertise this as being pretty versatile, so chairs aren’t the only thing they can hold. Ad material includes it hauling tennis rackets, fishing poles, lacrosse sticks , a beach umbrella and more. Arguably you could attach one on the opposite side of your bike to maximize your carrying capacity.
I only tried this out for a short time to get a feel for it but it’s impressive for something so simple. It holds tight, so you don’t need to worry about it falling off mid-ride. But you should keep weight and wind resistance in mind. If you have a large folding chair with a canvas surface held by it, it can throw you off balance, especially if a breeze hits you from the side. Be prepared for that and you’ll probably be happy with how this product works.
The other thing that seems like a bit of a drawback is how you tighten the clamp. You have to screw it tighter, which definitely ensures the caddy has a good grip, but it’s also a bit of a hassle in terms of convenience.
Carrying Chairs by Hand on a Bike
I’ve seen people do this dozens of times, especially with bigger chairs, such as beach chairs with canopies. Usually this is done in one of two ways. Either the person is literally just holding the chair in one hand, hanging off the side of the bike while they steer with the other hand, or it’s propped across the handlebars.
You can technically do this but I have to recommend against it. It’s just an awkward and dangerous way to try to transport a chair. You don’t have full control of the bike and you’re putting your own safety at risk. Anything that gives you less control isn’t really a good way to transport your chairs.
Be Cautious When Carrying Your Chair on a Bike
Most of these methods of carrying a bike will end up changing the effective size of your bike. If you strap your chairs down on a rack, for instance, you may extend the width of your bike several inches to several feet, even. This may not affect your control, but it can affect how and where you use the bike. Normally you can squeeze into some tight places between cars on a bike. Now you need to be cautious that you’re not getting too close, just in case you scrape your chair against another vehicle.
The other thing you need to be cautious about when transporting a chair is weight and control shifts. If you load too much gear onto a rack, onto a caddy, or into a backpack, it can make controlling a bike much more difficult. If things shift, especially in a breeze or as you are traveling downhill, it can make controlling the bike precarious. The same can occur with a trailer if it’s overloaded. You don’t want it getting away from you if you take a corner too sharply.
I recommend testing any method you want to try before you commit to it. Go for a ride down the street and back to get a feel for how the bike is going to handle with whatever method of transporting a chair you’ve chosen. If you feel confident then you’re good to go. If not, see what changes need to be made before you get too far from home and maybe find yourself in some trouble.
The Bottom Line
There are a couple of reliable and convenient ways to get a chair to the beach on a bike. Bike racks are some of the easiest to find and use, and bike backpacks offer an industrious way to make the most of limited space. For my money, a bike trailer or a bike caddy offer the best options in terms of versatility and ease of use, as well as the ability to carry the most gear in a safe and simple way. Carrying them by hand is an option but I don’t recommend it simply for safety reasons. Whatever you choose, remember to stay safe and have fun.