Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Carrying Something Very Old And Delicate

A letter from a reader:

I have a bit of a unique problem and was wondering what your take on the solution would be. I have a very old (and delicate) Persian instrument called a santur.

Reader's picture.

I'm wondering how I could secure the suitcase that this instrument is placed in on to a bicycle. There are basically a few locations I really like to play my santur, and they're all a ridable distance away. They're are some good bike paths to the areas I'd like to go, but also some short spats of steep inclines and rugged dirt paths.
I've recently sold my old bicycle, so I was wondering what the best option would be in terms of getting a new bicycle, given these are my needs.
Any help would be very much appreciated!
 Thank you!
I wrote back and asked about the dimensions of the instrument.  I have not heard back yet.  Assuming that the instrument and case do not fit inside a waterproof pannier (which would be my #1 recommendation), what would you suggest?


More information from our reader, who is grateful for your comments.  This time the reader includes dimensions, along with a diagram:

I'm very flattered you've included my question on your blog!

The instrument is basically a trapezium shaped and the dimensions are: 80cm on the bottom, 33 cm on the top and 35cm on both sides with a total height of 9cm. The suitcase I use for the instrument is 31cm x 98cm x 11cm.
I've read some of the comments on your blog and can already see some potential solutions.

The Burley Travoy seems like a possible resolution, so long as I can secure the suitcase on to it, however, I'm not to certain how my santur will hold up given the slant (the weight of the instrument will be focused on one of the edges, which could potentially damage it - though this shouldn't be too much of a problem given the instrument only weighs about 3 kilograms).
I'd prefer to keep the item flat, so maybe a simple rear rack would do the trick - though I'm not sure if there are rear racks out there that can sport a 98cm suitcase.

I'm not sure if its the best idea in terms of functionality, but I wonder if there are any front rack options where I can place the suitcase perpendicular to the bicycle to keep an eye on it while I'm traveling.
Someone suggested buying a Bullit Cargo bicycle, but this is probably a little too specialized for my needs, as I'll taking the bicycle out for a lot of trips where I won't be needing to carry something on it.

I've attached an image with the exact dimensions for my santur the better visualize the size of the instruments.
Once again, thank you for your response and I look forward to hearing from you again!
Any additional ideas?


Anonymous said...

Buy a Bullit (or another big and fast cargo-bike)

Anonymous said...

Hard to say without knowing size - but I carry fairly large items on rear rack with "Load Llama" extension arms and bungee cords. They may no longer be made, but possibly available used, e.g.: http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/bik/3551167528.html
Good luck!

Everett said...

If the reader is too nervous to try a pannier, they could try a small cargo trailer. BOB trailers reportedly handle pretty decently off road, but what I really had in mind were the smaller trailers for one child. They are a bit narrower than the two-child models, plus their attachment to the bicycle is safe to an extreme. These trailers are designed in such a way that even if the bike tips over, the trailer stays upright.

Trailers for one child are readily available on eBay and Craigslist. If the reader can find one that is narrow enough, they can replace the tires with some that are larger and have a knobby tread, and come out with a very stable carrier.

I like the waterproof pannier more than a trailer because it is lighter, cheaper, and easier. I think of the trailer more like the safe option for the truly worried.

Anonymous said...

The reader is wondering what kind of new bike to get. That's a huge question that I'll pass. As for hauling the instrument, I would consider a Burley Travoy but I don't know the dimensions of the instrument. Anyway, the Travoy should work with most any adult bike and can be used for other hauling.

Anonymous said...

I know you wanted to keep it flat, but I think a backpack combined with fork and seatpost shocks would be the best way to go. At first I was thinking maybe a Nord keyboard backpack, but you could do it cheaper with a bodyboard (boogie board) backpack. Maybe give it a custom inner sleeve made of bubble wrap. Or maybe you get the repair guys at REI to make you a custom backpack out of an old sleeping bag and some nylon webbing. Cheers, Caveman.