How To Build A Bike Rack With No Plans, No Skill, and One Tool in About Two Hours

07.27.2006 | 4:38 pm

(100 feet of 1.25" PVC pipe and 50 T-connectors)
(Ryobi Table Saw)
No Plan, Except a Vague Picture in My Head
2 Hours (10pm – Midnight Last Night)
(PVC Bike Rack: Roomy Parking for Eight Bikes!)
PS: Yes, I read about Floyd’s A-sample testing positive. But I’d rather talk about my cool new bike rack, pictured here in a blurry photo actually holding bikes:

PPS: My regular camera croaked last night, so all pictures here taken with my phone. Sorry.


PPPS: I have enough PVC and T-connectors left over to build another 4-6 bike rack if someone local wants to come get it.



  1. Comment by jim | 07.27.2006 | 4:53 pm

    I never thought I’d be saying this to you but…Nice Rack!
    However, we must know your thoughts on Landis.  I think it is interesting that American winners seem to garner this kind of accusation only to be found innocent well after the storm blows over.  Of all the cyclists that might be doping, I figured the Menonite Man of Steel would be last on the list.  For that reason, I smell foul play.

  2. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 07.27.2006 | 5:05 pm

    theEdge – ok, here’s what i think about landis: until his b-test comes back, i’m trying hard to withold judgment at all, but i’m having a very difficult time doing so. it’s becoming increasingly difficult to suspend disbelief, and increasingly difficult for me to picture ever calling a pro cyclist a "hero" again.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 5:09 pm

    That Ryobi is some serious overkill for cutting PVC, dude.  Furthermore, I thought it was against the law for tekkies to own or operate power tools.
    I’m sure you’re way ahead of me, but if the rack slides around too easily when you’re grabbing or stowing one of your trusty steeds, just open up the bottom tubes and fill ‘em with some buckshot or sand.

  4. Comment by barry1021 | 07.27.2006 | 5:16 pm

    As a former HVAC mechanic in a previous life, i say "chapeau". Are they connected dry for disassembly or did you use the two part cement that binds them forever as one? Anyway, it looks like very neat and accurate work. My only criticism was wondering if the spaces are a bit wider than needed to support the tire, but i realized that my road bias might be showing! Were there negotiations for garage space with the Boss, or did you sign an agreement at closing for one of the three bays?? And maybe you might not be thinking ahead far enough by giving away the excess PVC, as there may be a run of bikes hitting the market soon if a certain B sample is positive.

  5. Comment by barry1021 | 07.27.2006 | 5:20 pm

    Actually keepyerbag, table saws do a great job of getting a nice square cut in a hurry on PVC–a lot better than a hacksaw, altho a bit more flying PVC filings….

  6. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 5:37 pm

    That may be true, Barry1021, but there’s still the issue of the law.  I know there’s a law because Mrs. KeepYerBag tells me so whenever I have a hankering to buy a router or a drill press.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 5:52 pm

    A chop saw works the best for PVC pipe in larger sizes.
    Say it ain’t so, Shoeless Floyd. But then, how would someone pull off that ride without producing some extra testosterone ? The euros just can’t figure it out, it’s not in their make-up.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 6:09 pm

    My first reaction upon reading the Reuters report on Floyd’s situation (excerpted for convenience below) was that you’d gotten a new job writing for them.  Or, like an earlier Fake News Service report (something about Dick Pound, wasn’t it?), someone had gotten sucked in by one of your stories.
    PARIS (Reuters) – Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has tested positive for the male sex hormone testosterone, the U.S. rider’s Phonak team said on Thursday. Phonak added: "The team management and the rider were both totally surprised by this physiological result.  Until these results were made available, we had no idea that Floyd was male, or even human. ===== OK, that last sentence wasn’t in the news report.  And I admit to leaving out their explanation of what the test really found.  Still, you would think Reuters could hire a reporter and/or an editor that could come up with a better lead?

  9. Comment by Jill | 07.27.2006 | 6:20 pm

    If the accusations against Floyd are true, I think my heart will be forever broken to pro road cycling.

    But that rack is genius. Nice work.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 7:10 pm

    How long do we have to wait for the ‘b’ sample test?

  11. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 07.27.2006 | 7:19 pm

    barry – i didn’t glue them together, initially because i figured i might need to take it all apart and start over, and then–as i realized it was going to work–because i realized it was holding together very firmly without glue.
    i’ve been thinking about the sliding around issue. if it does start inching around, i’ve been thinking that an easy way to make it stay put would be to glue some old mtb tire sections to the base.
    as far as garage usage, that’s the beauty of the full thing: the third car bay belongs to me. my wife says it’s mine. so i get to spread my table saw, drill press, band saw, other tools, and bike stuff around. lest anyone think my wife’s getting a raw deal, she got the 5th bedroom for her jewelry-making gear. we’re both very happy with the arrangement.
    keepyerbag -  we ought to get together for a barbecue sometime soon. i’d like to meet your missus and the tyke.

  12. Comment by Robert | 07.27.2006 | 7:51 pm

    I know what you’re thinking: this new rack is pretty cool, but what does Bob think? Well, let me tell you. That PVC rack is the coolest thing I’ve seen in the past hour. Unfortunately, I have a two-car garage and no basement, so I hang my extra bikes on the wall. I prop my road bike against the freezer door, just to drive my wife crazy.

    Who was the last clean cyclist to win the tour? Riis? LeMond?

  13. Comment by regina | 07.27.2006 | 7:52 pm

    nice rack, and I believe in floyd, the test is not empirical, get your I believe in floyd buttons from me.

  14. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 8:24 pm

    we will expect a positive and glowing review from bob and dug of the new bike rack in the near future.
    hopefully there was no outside tampering (help) from other people as this would grossly hinder the beauty and purity of the sport…uhh
    solo building of this fine looking contraption.
    i’ve a feeling we’ll be hearing conspiracy from the "BIG BOY" rack manufacturers but hold your line, i doubt your "B" test will come back positive or negative but very imaginative. job well done.
    by the way if you’re ever going to use just one tool, that saw was dang impressive. i would’ve built it with just a hammer myself.

  15. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 8:31 pm

    What’s wrong with a little testosterone? Just boys being boys. Well … über-boys.

  16. Comment by Random Reviewer | 07.27.2006 | 9:18 pm

    so where can i get me one of those testosterone patches you put on the underside of the scrotum? those sound fantastic.

  17. Comment by Holy | 07.27.2006 | 9:48 pm

    and where can I get me one of them estrogen bracelets your wife makes that fasten at the the underside of your wrist? Those sound even more fantastic and infinitely more attractive. 

  18. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 10:16 pm

    There is a great set of plans for a rack that will not only work in a basement or garage, but will also fit in the back of a truck ($20 replacement for the Thule).  You can find the plans here

  19. Comment by Unknown | 07.27.2006 | 10:19 pm

    Like Fatty, when I built mine I didn’t glue it becuase I didn’t want to take it apart after dry fitting it together.  I have a can of PVC cement near where the rack sits in my basement, and as pieces loosen up I glue them together.  I’ve had it for about 18 months and it’s about 1/2 glued.

  20. Comment by Sue | 07.27.2006 | 11:58 pm

    Holy crap Fatty, my respect for you just doubled. What do you do with all those power tools (a drill press?)?  Do you have a chainsaw? I’ve been cutting down a huge tree in our yard with a Homelite from 1987. I mean seriously, 1987? That’s so long ago Oingo Boingo was still be listened to by untold numbers of hopeless geeks.
    P.S. Regina, I think the testosterone/Epitestosterone test is "empiricle", but it is not without false positives and it is not conclusive as to whether he doped. But he almost certainly did dope.
    P.P.S. As for the last clean tour rider, I’d say there probably has never been one. Early on the riders used every form transportation to cheat, and had thugs hold up competitors. Painkillers and stimulants have been available (and used by tour riders) since WWI. Anabolic steroids (including testosterone) have been available since the late 60’s. EPO was available to patients in late 1970’s and recommbinant EPO widely available in late 1980’s.
    Anyway, my point is that the tour may have never been won by a totally "clean" rider. The best chance would be just before or right after WWI. 

  21. Comment by Sue | 07.28.2006 | 12:01 am

    Oh yeah, if nobody has claimed your left-over PVC, I’ll take it.

  22. Comment by bradley | 07.28.2006 | 12:32 am

    The parts list seems incomplete. I think I see two elbows and four end-caps in there as well. Trying to make your legion of fans crazy as they all rush to build the FatCyclist Bike Rack (patent pending)?

  23. Comment by Unknown | 07.28.2006 | 12:51 am

    FC,  Great idea!  You have the makings for a burgeoning cottage industry.  In addition to your bike racks, your wife could sell her jewelry, and you could sell biking jerseys with that awesome Fat Cyclist logo.  I think a Fat Cyclist jersey would be awesome.  How about it???

  24. Comment by Zed | 07.28.2006 | 1:55 am

    You can’t win the Tour on just mineral water alone!!!! I feel dramatically original all of a sudden.
    Great PVC set up. I think you should build a lightweight frame with the leftovers and sell it to some weight weenie. When it crumbles underneath him at the starting line (he won’t have trained on it, I’m sure), you can just laugh.

  25. Comment by Unknown | 07.28.2006 | 2:13 am

    Hey, Fatty, nice rack! Bet that’s the first time you ever heard that, that it wasn’t in reference to your man-boobs.  I’m impressed you didn’t hurt yourself here. I have a table saw. It may be the most dangerous thing I own, other than a set of Henckels kitchen knives, which have been known to attack and lop off my fingertips without provocation. (I don’t count slicing Spam up while bombed to make fried Spam on toast sandwiches as "provocation." No, I’m not Hawaiian, you freaks. I just like Spam when I’m drunk.)
    Dug, the testosterone patches for your nether regions are just wonderful. They permit you to talk trash 62% louder, drink 19% more tequila, pick 37% more barfights than before, and to ride your bicycle uphill as if you’re a55 was full of burning brimstone mixed with a salt, broken glass and vinegar solution. The only downside is they attach with a self-adhesive rivaling duct tape. The upside to that, of course, is that you will no longer have to spend half your weekend, as you currently do, shaving and polishing your speed bag.

  26. Comment by Ashbygirls | 07.28.2006 | 4:54 am

    I think probably the doping news invalidates my promise to the TdF gods. I was just getting used to the idea of little ‘Floydette’, too. Boy, you weren’t kidding about this being the year of the asterick. I want to believe, I really do.

    It is a nice rack, Fatty. I think my one bike would look a little lonely in it though.

  27. Comment by Unknown | 07.28.2006 | 12:28 pm

    with your new construction skill sets I’m seeing a repair job imminent on the cracked ti frame…

    cheers for the chuckles

    from an equally ‘enhanced arond the midsection’ cyclist in the UK

  28. Comment by jim | 07.28.2006 | 1:52 pm

    Pardon my naivete but why would a cyclist "dope" when the know a drug test is required? Are they crossing their fingers that the lab will miss 10 times the normal levels of testosterone?  Also, what if any, medications are acceptable for cyclists to take?

  29. Comment by Random Reviewer | 07.28.2006 | 4:06 pm

    regarding testosterone, i’m a little uncertain about all this. since as joe lindsey of bicycling magazine says, it’s inconceivable that testosterone, even if it was taken, could alone account for Floyd’s performance on stage 17; testosterone aids in recovery and the ability to sustain higher training loads, but won’t allow a rider to ride faster simply on its own.
    is testosterone the only drug that showed up due to floyd’s excellent masking agents? or is it the only thing they found, and if so should it really invalidate his race? how is recovering using testosterone different from having a super expensive high protien recovery drink?
    these are some of my questions.


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