Bicyclebungee helps riders of different abilities share the effort, say makers (+ videos)

Ever wanted to take a friend for a sociable tow? Well now you can

by Simon_MacMichael   January 3, 2011  

Bicyelebungee (picture source Bicyclebungee.com).jpg

Bungeebike is a New Zealand company's solution to the problem• of bike riders of diifferent abilities going out for a ride together, with the stronger tending to leaver the weaker behind, by, you've guessed it (yes, the clue's in the name), using a bungeee cord that enables one rider to tow another along.

The housing containing the elastic cord slips over the seat post of the leading rider’s bike, and the cord can then be pulled out and attached to the handlebars of the following cyclist’s bike using a hook, with the manufacturer’s website also including an overview of the actual science behind how the simple device works.

The device was thought up by international mountain biker Patrick Meffan in reaction to "the frustration [he] experienced when he simply wanted to share a casual, sociable bike ride with his wife Wendy, his 4 boys, or his non-competitive friends, yet he still wanted to feel like he had a good ride."

According to the Bungeebike website, "What initially started out as an idea that would allow him to treat any ride as a training ride, soon became all about companionship cycling - where the slowest rider in the group was able to keep up without feeling guilty about holding everyone else up. The surprising result was that both riders felt they had a good, enjoyable, unimpeded workout together."

The makers claim that the device** means that there’s no more frustration for a stronger rider waiting for a weaker companion to catch up – as can happen say when you go on a weekend leisure ride with your other half who doesn’t cycle so much – and that it can also help with resistance training, with the Bicyclebungee shown in operation in the following video.


Obviously, what works in the car-free countryside of New Zealand might not work so well on the car-choked streets of New Cross – for a start, we can imagine the odd pedestrian seeking to dash across the street in that “gap” between the two bikes, but if you do have access to a big, open, flat and car-free space, it might be worth a go.

Of course, when we first heard of something called Bicycle Bungee, our first thought was of bungee-jumping using a bicycle, although that would never work, would it? Oh, wait a minute…

* what do you mean, you didn't know this was a problem

 **not sure whether "device" isn't over-egging this one a bit, surely much the same could be achieved with a rope… but we're sticking with our new year's resolution to be nice.

 

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Jebus look at the price! $298 (~£150) is insane. I'll just hook the muggles up with a proper bungee cord Devil

posted by spaceyjase [50 posts]
3rd January 2011 - 16:33

4 Likes

yeah you could buy a lot of bungee for that

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4176 posts]
3rd January 2011 - 18:17

4 Likes

they've been using kit like that on adventure races for years where it's all about the team finishing together. it's interesting that it's never really caught on in mainstream riding as it does allow two riders of differing abilities to share a useful workout. can't you just use a souped up retractable washing line though? Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7642 posts]
3rd January 2011 - 18:24

5 Likes

I have a hunch that what works for adrenaline-crazed adventure racers struggling for survival towards a distant finishing line may perhaps translate as "you patronising dick, I hate you SOOO much. I want a divorce" in many husband and wife leisure cycling situations... Thinking

posted by BigDummy [305 posts]
3rd January 2011 - 18:37

6 Likes

How far does the bungee stretch? Your other half could be a fair distance behind you… not sure how sociable that would be.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4176 posts]
3rd January 2011 - 22:07

4 Likes

Be very unsociable indeed if it's a long cord and someone tries to ride thru the middle

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2427 posts]
4th January 2011 - 8:44

6 Likes

*coughs* RTA 1988 s26 *coughs*

Kevin Steinhardt's picture

posted by Kevin Steinhardt [30 posts]
4th January 2011 - 13:11

3 Likes

Kevin Steinhardt wrote:
*coughs* RTA 1988 s26 *coughs*

A quick glance suggests s26 only makes it illegal to getting a tow from a "motor vehicle or trailer," thus creating a bungee cord-sized loophole when it comes to bicycles...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8882 posts]
4th January 2011 - 13:24

4 Likes

Right you are; I was so focused at finding the citation, I'd glazed over the "vehicle"/"motor vehicle" thing … thoroughly embarrassed now.

Kevin Steinhardt's picture

posted by Kevin Steinhardt [30 posts]
4th January 2011 - 16:05

4 Likes

Dunno about the bungee thingies but I think I want to go to New Zealand now.

Greensox's picture

posted by Greensox [14 posts]
4th January 2011 - 18:21

2 Likes

This assumes you can safely follow a wheel without running into, or touching it!

Binky

posted by davebinks [135 posts]
4th January 2011 - 18:59

2 Likes

It's just an elasticated, self-reeling tow rope. Might be useful in some circumstances (although I'm not convinced) but the web site talks about the reeling mechanism and the bungee storing energy. Yes, the springs help avoid sudden yanks but the amount of energy stored must be negligible don't you think? Maybe I could try it with a self-reeling dog lead Wink - slightly less expensive methinks

posted by SteveU [6 posts]
4th January 2011 - 19:12

4 Likes

thats the funniest thing i have seen for ages Laughing

posted by mandy [91 posts]
4th January 2011 - 19:59

6 Likes

Bizarre that he thinks this is a new invention. As Dave says, we've been using these in adventure races for years -some simply using bungee held out back inside a plastic tube, others using retractable dog leads with the cord replaced by bungee. They work really well and my wife loves being on tow up the hills when out for casual rides (I think we'd actually kill each other if we raced together), as I get a decent workout and she enjoys the feeling of going uphill way faster than she could normally. She's no expert bike handler, you just have to make sure the bungee is long/stretchy enough that the towee doesn't have to be a foot from the rear wheel in front.

There's lots of DIY towline guides on websites if you just google for them

posted by bikingscot [46 posts]
4th January 2011 - 22:11

5 Likes
Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7642 posts]
5th January 2011 - 9:26

4 Likes

Not sure I'd want to be hit in the face by a broken well-stretched bungee, thanks all the same.

posted by Cauld Lubter [122 posts]
7th January 2011 - 14:58

3 Likes

Big Grin Surely this isn't serious? What about trees, rocks, fence posts, other trail users, sheep (NZ) etc. that might get caught in the "linkthinning binjee"? What "iffert" would be required to untangle the "insuing miss", "bitter" off "ixpending" more "iffert" on the cycling I "rickon"!

posted by Aminthule [16 posts]
9th January 2011 - 20:06

4 Likes