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Tie Down Your Connie

I've only trucked my bike once for a short distance so I can't tell you much about that. But, I have been on some pretty long and rough ferry rides. Here's a little bit that I have learned about tying down your steed. Since we weren't worried about the bouncing motion that you'd get in a truck or trailer, we didn't need to tie down to compress the front suspension.

This is my favorite kind of tie down. It has a cam and lever action. There's a hook on each end and you just pull the bitter end to snug things down. To release, just push the little lever. No ratchet, no fuss, no muss.  

I got a pack of 4 at Home Depot for less than $20 Cdn; enough for 2 bikes.

I bought two of these endless loops from the local outdoors store. Climbers use them and their lives depend on them. Their strength is measured in Newton-Meters which doesn't mean much to me but it's based on the impact of a falling weight and if I recall, I figured it would hold a couple of falling Connies. 

You'll need two of these at about $5 each.


Put one strap around the left grip as shown. This may not look like it will hold but once you attach the tie down strap and put a little oomph on the end of it, that sucker won't be goin' nowhere.
You'll have to remove your seat to put this one on. I put one on before I left home for Newfoundland and it was still there 17,000+ kilometers later.

Put your bike on the sidestand, the transmission in first gear, and then roll the bike forward gently until the engine stops the bike from moving anymore. My theory is that if the boat's motion causes the bike to move forward, it may tuck the sidestand under. This way, if the bike moves, which it won't, it would move back and have no effect on the sidestand. You don't want to put the bike on the center stand. That's steel on steel. If you do, and it's not tied down, that little sucker will skate across that deck faster than Tonya Harding heading out on parole. 

Ok, so the picture is a little grainy; you get the idea. This is the ferry to Newfoundland from Sydney, Nova Scotia. The deck has these slot / pad things instead of D-rings and they supply the tie down straps. I used my own. I've done this route four times and the bike has never budged.

We used the same arrangement on the Tobermory ferry on Lake Huron. The spray from the waves came past the windows on the 3rd level deck where we were. The bikes never budged.

Article By: David J. Morrow

 Updated January 2005

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