Ferry riders: side stand or center stand? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 5:18 pm Thread Starter
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Ferry riders: side stand or center stand?

...As long as I'm biding my time waiting to pick up my bike and reading up here, the recent thread about dropping one's LT got me wondering:

Does anyone here regularly (or even irregularly) take their bike on a ferry? Here in Washington, motorcycles get on and off the ferry first and generally don't have to wait in line. It's sweet.

So, if you are parking your bike on a boat that is going to be rocking back and forth and bouncing around for an hour, do you:

a) use the sidestand

b) user the centerstand

c) use either one, and stay on the car deck for the whole trip, hanging on to your bike with both hands just to make sure it doesn't fall over

d) keep a moving pad with you so you can gently lay the bike over on it as soon as you get on the boat -- after all, the bike can't fall any more over if it's already horizontal?
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post #2 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 5:54 pm
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I always thought the main stand was the way to go but on my way back from Alaska a couple of years ago all the bikes were on the side stand. We tied them down in Haines, Ak and they were fine all the way to Bellingham, WA. three days later. We did check the ties for slack at the first stop, other than that everthing was good.

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post #3 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 6:41 pm
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I've used the lake Michigan ferry a couple of times and what I've learned is that you might want to bring a couple of your own tie down straps and in the case of the LT some "soft ties"
As far as side or center stand, that's a judment call depending on what they have to "anchor" your bike down to


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post #4 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 6:49 pm
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[QUOTE=juggler
So, if you are parking your bike on a boat that is going to be rocking back and forth and bouncing around for an hour, do you:

a) use the sidestand

[/QUOTE]

Use the sidestand , as this distributes the weight to three points and minimizes the options for falling over to one (provided the bike is in first gear).

My personal strategy for exceptionally rough crossings is to put it on the sidestand with the bike leaning toward the outside rail (or floor anchors) of the ferry. A single , left side, tiedown can secure it to the rail/anchors to maintain this position. The tiedown should be taut , but not tight. Lock handlebars to the left and apply static braking (to the front, or rear wheel) using a small bungee.

This has worked for me during times when I took ferrys two to three times a week. I have never had a problem using the above method.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by patrick2000; Jan 14th, 2007 at 6:54 pm.
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post #5 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 7:03 pm Thread Starter
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I've never seen any tie-down rings or railings or cleats or anything of the sort on Washington State Ferries. They usually have the motorcycles park in the otherwise wasted, usually triangular spots between the car lanes and the ramps to the upper car deck. If there are a lot of bikes, they'll just line them up on the main deck in front of the first row of cars.

I used to put the Goldwing on the sidestand, leave it in gear, and walk away. Never had a problem. I've only seen one causalty... many years ago, a fellow's Shadow 500 fell over to the right and busted his windshield when it hit the side of car ramp.


By the way, it was seeing a groovy old black BMW (probably a /2) on a ferry up to the San Juan Islands when I was a young teenager that first got me itching for a Beemer. A friendly couple was on their way up to spend a long weekend putting around the islands on their motorcycle. I desperately wanted to do that.
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post #6 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 8:31 pm
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I agree, the sidestand is the way to go. No tie downs required on the Great Lakes.
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post #7 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 10:44 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowlesj
I agree, the sidestand is the way to go. No tie downs required on the Great Lakes.
Sorry John, I might agree with the first half of your statement
but I definitely have to disagree with the last,
it can get "very" rough and stormy on the great lakes,
if you don't believe me visit some of the maritime museums that surround it.
Does the name "Edmund Fitzgerald" mean anything to you?


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post #8 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 10:48 pm
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I agree with Patrick. My LT was on the Long Island Ferry out of New London on a calm day and was not tied to the rail. It was on the side stand and in gear when the captain did a left rudder excursion as a small fishing boat did a surprise run across the ferry's bow as we entered Greenwood Harbor, prior to docking. The bike fell over to it's right. Tore the rear speaker vinyl, rotated the front brake master cylinder (which untorqued the brake line at the master) and scratched the wind shield. By the way, it was my fault, not the Ferry's. The customer is responsible for securing his vehicle.
So carry some rope, and some wheel chocks. "SIDE STAND TO THE RAIL AND TIE IT" Remember, if they load the bikes first, up front, the deck angle will change as the trucks and cars are loaded. I felt I had plenty of deck slant to the left, but I was wrong after the ship was loaded.

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post #9 of 43 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 11:01 pm
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I was wondering about this myself as I'm thinking of a Nova Scotia trip this summer. My thought is to put it on the side stand as the center stand can easily tip to the right (opposite exhaust side). However I am thinking of some kind of strap that I can use to lock the side stand forward to it can't roll forward and fold it up. I may actually try to machine a piece of aluminum designed to attach to the bike and wrap around the stand that will lock together, (I bet I could sell a bunch of them if I make one too ) but first I am going to try the strap. I also am thinking of a strap around the brake lever to keep the front brakes on, and a forward and rear strap to keep it tied in toward the rails. Here's my question though, where would be the best placement of the straps if you can't tie straight down to the floor?

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post #10 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 12:09 am
 
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I dont know

I have done both. Just make sure its in gear. I have never seen any tie down in any of the washington ferries. But what do I know, could be.

Personally I would use the center stand. If you get worried about your baby you can always sit on the scoot and baby sit it!

Did you buy a k1200 yet, or waitiig to purchase one ?
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post #11 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 12:45 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1
I... However I am thinking of some kind of strap that I can use to lock the side stand forward to it can't roll forward and fold it up. I may actually try to machine a piece of aluminum designed to attach to the bike and wrap around the stand that will lock together,...
I think would be just easy to have a strap form the side stand to the front wheel. It will lock the side stand AND will lock the front wheel too.

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post #12 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 12:46 am
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Thumbs up WA state ferries

I have never tied down the LT on WA state ferry crossings from Bremerton to Seattle or Port Townsend to Whidbey Island. Side stand only and in 1st gear. I have never experienced any issues. I will add that I have never crossed when there has been much in the way of wave action or evasive maneuvers.

There are usually multiple bikes on these crossings and I have yet to witness any damage to a bike that has rolled off of its sidestand/center stand.
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post #13 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 12:50 am
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WA state ferries. Bikes get preferential treatment.

If you find yourself traveling in WA state and in need of a crossing requiring a WA state ferry, a couple of things to keep in mind.

During the summer months, the lines waiting for ferries can get quite long. Motorcycles are allowed to go to the head of the line, purchase tickets and get slotted for boarding ahead of the other vehicles. This was something I was not aware of until a very nice resident brought it to my attention as I sat in line waiting for a crossing from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend.

Drive up to the ticket booth, purchase your ticket and follow the directions of the WA state ferry employees. They are great people! They usually load the bikes first, but always have room on at the end if you should get slotted after they start loading.
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post #14 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 4:03 am
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Side stand, in gear and strapped down, and if possible,facing direction of exit
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post #15 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 5:32 am
 
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great thread!

I was on a Lake Superior ferry once. They also load bikes up first, front of the boat, and first ones off at the dock! I beat all the traffic on my tour of the island!

Anyway, scared me to death. Pretty rough trip, had LT on sidestand, leaning towards siderail. I went up to the observation deck, but didn't catch many sights because I was watching the bike the whole time. Ended up back down on the car deck pretending to be the tie-down strap I wish I had. Held the side rail and the left hand grip.

All in all, probably didn't need to babysit it, but still better for the piece of mind to hold it as the boat's-a-rockin'. Tie downs aren't essential but if you have room bring them along.
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post #16 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 8:52 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverBuffalo
Sorry John, I might agree with the first half of your statement
but I definitely have to disagree with the last,
it can get "very" rough and stormy on the great lakes,
if you don't believe me visit some of the maritime museums that surround it.
Does the name "Edmund Fitzgerald" mean anything to you?
I agree, been to pretty much all the museums. I wouldn't recommend a long ferry trip in that kind of weather regardless, even if commuting. Probably been on around 50 lake ferry trips with no incidents or near incidents. However, if taking a trans-Superior ferry trip, of which there are none, in Novemeber, yea I'd probably lock her down pretty solid.

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post #17 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 9:08 am
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I say fughedaboud about them slow, stinky ferries.

Just line it up really well on the ramp, get up a head of steam, and JUMP that sucker a la Evil Kneivel.

Here's a shot of me practicing before my 7 mile jump last spring at Lake Powell.

The wife and dog were not too crazy about it though, and the trailer popped off the hitch on landing. Good thing for safety chains.
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post #18 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 10:25 am Thread Starter
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Wow... I didn't expect this much discussion. But I love it.

In my many crossings on Washington State ferries, even in really choppy water, the biggest problem I've seen is sometimes the captain doesn't get the boat perfectly lined up in the slip on arrival, and it hits the pilings on one side which causes the boat to suddenly shift a couple feet to one side or the other. Of course, by this time, all riders are with their bikes, usually ON them with both feet planted on the ground (deck), just in case of that final "lateral adjustment".


As for keeping the front brake on, here's a nifty little device: http://www.cableclamp.com/
When I get my K1200 this weekend, I'll try a couple and report back on which one is the best size to put the squeeze on the front brake lever. And they just came out with the "SeaClamp" that has stainless steel hardware for use out in the elements.



As for sidestands... y'know this is one thing that Harley has done right for years. as soon as the weight of the bike is on the sidestand, it locks in place and isn't going *anywhere*. I've wondered why other manufacturers haven't done something similar.

The sidestand on the GL1500 was horrible. It had practically no overcenter, and if the bike rolled forward just an inch or two the stand would retract. The GL1800 is much better and has quite a bit of overcenter.

My 1972 slashfive had a spring that would retract the sidestand as soon as the weight of the bike was off it. It took quite a while to learn the technique of putting the stand down and leaning the bike onto it in one motion.

And the Moto Guzzi design is even worse. As soon as you put the sidestand down, it kills the engine. Guzzi obviously thinks you need to start and warm up the bike on the centerstand. Of course, this "feature" is easily defeated.
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post #19 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 11:25 am
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I prefer the center stand and tie downs on the rail. Most ferries have wooden blocks that you can wedge under the high side of the bike if you use the side stand, but these tend to wiggle lose.
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post #20 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 11:36 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowlesj
I agree, the sidestand is the way to go. No tie downs required on the Great Lakes.
I've used the Lake Express, not the SS Badger, on Lake Michigan. The bikes are loaded first and put in front of the cars. However, they are among the last to unload. Nonetheless, the crew re-tied my bike once after I went topside. I didn't care for the way they did it but I had no idea that they had. The hold has plenty of tie-down straps for you to use. If you prefer the soft style then you'll have to provide them yourself.

As to not needing tie-downs on the Great Lakes, well, I guess you've traveled on smoother seas than I have. Lake Michigan, which can get real choppy even on nice days, can easily have 5-10' waves. Even with 3-5' you'll feel like the boat is rocking quite a bit. The Lake's waves are of a shorter length than would be encountered elsewhere and therefore a smaller wave can still feel rough. I have never seen, or even heard of anyone having, a problem but I also don't know of any bike that has gone untied. In the case of the Lake Express they won't even allow it. YMMV.

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post #21 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 1:00 pm
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Lake Express -Lake Michigan

Great trip and you miss the Chicago traffic but I carry soft ties in my bag all the time. Lake Express is a great example of having ratchet tie downs but no where to connect on the LT without the potential for damage. I have run into a few ferrys and was not prepared which forced a long detour.

I would not trust the side stand to stay down with the potential for rocking and rolling even it it is in gear. Good idea to use the "clamp it" for the break but I follow BMW suggested tie down procedure with soft ties on the frame members. I do put the center stand down and tie down the back first. I have often trailered the bike in the same manner but without the center stand down and that works great. I do not want to risk damaging my baby.

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post #22 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 1:28 pm
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I never use the side stand unless the bike is facing uphill.Mine as fallen over twice on near level ground just by weight alone.When I do use the side stand I always put her in reverse,putting it in gear is not enough,she will still move forward to the top of the stroke,and that could be enough for a fall.

Just my pennies worth,but thought it might be helpful.

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post #23 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 9:36 pm
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Kevin, I just use the lifting handle on the left, by the seat. I carry the usual soft ties and a 10' length of 1/8 dia nylon from the hardware store.
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post #24 of 43 Old Jan 15th, 2007, 11:52 pm
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Side stand and sit on it

We've taken the Galveston ferry a couple of times. I tried the center stand on one trip and went up to the passenger deck only to get worried about the rocking and rolling. Good thing I went back down the ladder because she was rocking from one leg to the other and it wouldn't have taken much more to pop the center stand up. When she is on the side stand and in gear, it is more stable, but, she would still rock up with one wheel or the other off the deck. The Galveston ferry doesn't have tie downs and the rails are too far to do any tie down. As to taking the trip in the pointy part of the boat, the deck hands seem to always want to make you keep your place in traffic.
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post #25 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 2:13 am
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Would tie down the stand!

I have crossed a bunch of waterways on my 'RS - sidestand and leaving in gear was enough.

The 'LT, however, does not lean as much. On last big crosssing with the Pig over St. Lawrence Waterway, I used a strap between the front wheel and the sidestand to make sure that it will not retract.

Not much that you can do for side-to-side movement on river ferries: I have never seen any tiedowns.

R.

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post #26 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 8:35 am
 
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I travel between the UK & France every week, (live in France, work in the UK), using the ferry. Always use the sidestand, 1st gear - let the bike roll forward until resistance and hold the front brake on with a bungee cord. The bike is tied down by the crew and so far hasn't moved, even in rough conditions.
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post #27 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 11:10 am
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When we went from Melbourne to Tasmania last year, all the bikes were left in first gear, on side stand, and they had special tiedowns that slipped over the handlebars. The right side one had a little velcro strap that held the hand brake on as well.
After 3 weeks of several thousand bikes going both ways, there was not one report of a dropped bike as far as I know.

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post #28 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 11:54 am
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Martin.
Does the front brake make any difference, with the engine not running ?.
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post #29 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 12:06 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
Martin.
Does the front brake make any difference, with the engine not running ?.
After chuckle's post, I can picture the following: if the bike is on the sidestand and the rocking of the boat is periodically lifting the rear wheel off the deck, a forward lurch could move the bike enough to cause the sidestand to retract. It seems to me that keeping the front brake on is a good idea.

I like the velcro strap idea.

I think we'll have to take a couple of ferry trips on the K12 when the weather warms up a bit.
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post #30 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 1:42 pm
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My point is that if the engine is not running on bikes with servo assisted brakes, the front one is next to useless.
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post #31 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 2:22 pm
 
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Great thread guys. I'm really surprised at some of the answers. I don't think I could walk away from the bike. I'd just sit on it for the duration. But I guess that depends how far you're going.


Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
My point is that if the engine is not running on bikes with servo assisted brakes, the front one is next to useless.
The brakes still work if the engine isn't running. Especially if the lever is pulled in all the way. Go out to your garage and try it for yourself.
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post #32 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 3:04 pm
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by messenger13
Great thread guys. I'm really surprised at some of the answers. I don't think I could walk away from the bike. I'd just sit on it for the duration. But I guess that depends how far you're going.


The brakes still work if the engine isn't running. Especially if the lever is pulled in all the way. Go out to your garage and try it for yourself.
Then you would have hated to have been in my boots back in 2000 Joe! I flew down to Seattle from Juneau Alaska to buy my LT, then rode her all of about 90 miles before putting on the Alaska Ferry to Juneau and walking off so I could fly back to Alaska and hope the Bike made it OK!

Boy was that a happy (even though cold and rainy) day when the Ferry called and told me to come down and get my Bike off the boat!

As far as the question on side stand Vs center stand, I think it depends on how long the journey is and the conditions expected. I chose to center stand the Bike and used my own soft ties and ratcheting tie-downs which I always carried on the Bike.

The Alaska Marine Hwy (Ferry system) was the only way Marilyn and I were able to make our first two CCR's as well as every summer ride for at least three years running, since there are no roads to & from Juneau.

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post #33 of 43 Old Jan 16th, 2007, 10:05 pm
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Three points of stability are spread out further and therefore more stable if you use the side stand.

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post #34 of 43 Old Jan 17th, 2007, 12:55 am
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I travel quite often on a high speed ferry from Finland to Estonia and I always use the center stand. I have the Wudo kit in my bike and I use the lower tie down points to secure the bike on the deck. Big rubber blocks in front of both wheels and that's it.

I always fasten the bike myself. The crew members just want to pull a strap over my Russell leather seat which I don't like at all...

Here is the link to the Wudo shop:

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post #35 of 43 Old Jan 17th, 2007, 3:03 pm
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The answer is Velcro!

Just carry an 8 inch piece of double-sided velcro tape, gents!

Squeeze the brake lever, wrap the velcro, walk away smiling, knowing your front brake is gonna hold until you strip it off.

Simple, eh?

Don

(Oh yea - side stand, in gear, for sure!)

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post #36 of 43 Old Jan 19th, 2007, 8:07 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juggler
So, if you are parking your bike on a boat that is going to be rocking back and forth and bouncing around for an hour, do you:
a) use the sidestand
b) user the centerstand
Center stand is tippy. On ocean-going ferries, like crossing to Newfoundland, a couple of tie-downs is all you need. You can use as little as 2 tie-downs on the left side of the bike ie side-stand side. One angled at 45 degrees to the front, the other to the back. The bike will not be able to flop over on its right nor will it be able to move forward or back.

You can add a rear strap on the right side. The least important is the front strap on the right side.

I've taken quite a few long ferry rides in rough waters. Crossing to Newfoundland is 7 to 14 hrs, depending on which ferry you take. Never a hint of a problem. Even in rough seas.

hth,

Bruno
Montreal, Canada

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post #37 of 43 Old Jan 19th, 2007, 4:34 pm
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The ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC has pieces of flimsy nylon ski rope hanging from rails that are nearly useless for tying down your LT - this on a ferry with a fairly round hull that tends to slip side-to-side in any wave action. You'd definitely be advised to bring some straps along for this ride. On the contrary, the BC ferries have large stepped wooden blocks that I found effective in wedging under the side of the frame opposite the side stand. I couldn't see any wiggle to the bike with that set up. I carry some assorted whitewater river running straps all the time that can be used to tie down bags or the bike as needed - a 1 footer would be perfect to tie down the front brake lever. These straps are small to pack, but rugged and last forever. I'm going to try the side stand to front wheel tie down next ferry ride - thanks for the tip.

Denny
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post #38 of 43 Old Jan 19th, 2007, 5:02 pm
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Often get overnight ferries from Newcastle to Norway or Holland (and also Hull- Holland or Belgium, (or Portsmouth to Spain)) - Always sidestand only - you've got two lumps of rubber (literally on the deck), and just a bit of slippy steel If you use your centre stand, all youve got is two bits of slippy steel, and your two tyres will only touch down when they want to. To strap it down, depends on the weather - calm crossing, one strap only - Bike on sidestand, strap fastened to deck on LHS, up over bike, and hooked round the centrestand (which is up) - bikes not goin anywhere. On a rough crossing - straps though front wheel, leading forward to a place on deck, same on backwheel, leading aft, no front - back movement, but still the strap from left HS deck, over the seat to centrestand. Never dropped it on a ferry yet !!

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post #39 of 43 Old Jan 19th, 2007, 5:11 pm
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Tie Down

I've used the BC ferries a lot, and just used the side stand & wooden block under the tire with no problems - but, thanks to Ari & this thread - his Wudo suggestion will be one of this year's farkles! Thanks Ari!
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post #40 of 43 Old Jan 20th, 2007, 4:47 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bflemingor
I've used the BC ferries a lot, and just used the side stand & wooden block under the tire with no problems - but, thanks to Ari & this thread - his Wudo suggestion will be one of this year's farkles! Thanks Ari!
You are welcome, Bill!

Actually I got the idea from the German LT-meeting last May when a lot of the bikes had the extra aluminum "loop" under the passenger footrest bolts. I had to ask the purpose of these...

Anyway, I got them also bearing in mind the air freighting of the bike from Frankfurt to Canada.
To me and my buddy's big surprise the German air freight company Aviapartners could care less about our nice LT-specific tie down systems. When we offered the straps and blocks for the fork fastening the foreman just said that "put them away, they just get lost / stolen and we will just have more trouble searching for them afterwards." (You can see from the pic how the Germans packed the bikes.)
Another explanation (given in Calgary) why they did not want to use the aluminum bolted loops was that if a plane hits heavy turbulence or sinks suddenly these hooks just snap off.

Anyway, on our way back the air cargo company in Toronto gladly used the tie down equipment we offered. Later it turned out that those were about the only ones they used at all, since the bikes were seen totally uncrated being loaded into a German LTU Airbus. Just tied on a pallet...
And when we were picking up our bikes in Frankfurt all our own Wudo straps were lost. Luckily we found them later on a pallet with dozens of other straps. So the first cargo guy was right, that kind of equipment tends to get lost unless it is clearly marked that it belongs to the bike.

And...BTW the bikes were packed on center stand..

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post #41 of 43 Old Jan 20th, 2007, 10:31 am
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Joe,
You are right about the front brake working with no engine power.

I personally have never been on a ship, even on a 20 minute trip, where the bikes haven´t been tied down one way or another, nor would I be keen to do so.

Just imagine that one of them fell over sideways and hit the bike next to it which then possbly falls over and so on and so on and.................

An insurance nightmare.
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post #42 of 43 Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 9:01 am
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I would suggest tying it!

WHOA! Check this out! I would definitely be using some straps for this ride! http://www.yourdailymedia.com/media/.../Ferry_To_Hell
Actually, I don't think I would be getting on this ferry to begin with, YIKES!

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post #43 of 43 Old Jan 24th, 2007, 10:39 am
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Angry Straps

Someone would need to strap me down.

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