Kayaking down rivers is definitely a fun experience, with new scenery constantly presenting itself at every turn. It does offer one logistical challenge, though – you have to leave one vehicle at your take-out point before you start, then take another vehicle (with your kayak on it) upriver to the put-in. That, or you have to arrange for someone to pick you up. Either way, it's not a one-person activity. Ohio-based inventor Jerry Allen, however, has created a possible solution. His Solo Shuttle Trailer lets you tow your kayak behind your bicycle to get to the put-in, then bring your bike along for the trip to the take-out.
Allen first came up with the idea when his schedule only allowed for him to paddle at a time of day when most of his friends and family were at work. With no one to help with the shuttling, he ended up simply not kayaking very often.
The trailer frame is constructed of 6061 aluminum and stainless steel, and is equipped with a couple of foam flotation blocks ... just in case. For getting the boat to the put-in, it's towed behind the user's bike just like other bicycle kayak trailers (yes, there are others).
Once it's time to launch, the trailer is reconfigured so that it can be mounted on the rear deck of the kayak. Built-in mounting points allow the bike to then be attached to the trailer, in much the same way that it would sit on a car's rooftop carrier. Upon reaching the take-out, the bike is taken off, the trailer is put back together in "towing" mode, and the user then pedals home with the kayak once again behind them.
The Solo Shuttle Trailer is designed to grab onto the the cockpit combing of wide-beamed recreational kayaks, so sea kayakers and paddlers of sit-on-tops won't be able to use it. Looking at it, one also has to wonder how that added weight on the back of the boat will affect its stability and handling.
"My bike and trailer's combined weigh is about 40 lb [18 kg]," Allen told us. "I would like to ask people that routinely load extra gear on their kayaks for extended trips how they might handle the added weight. I can say for myself the handling has not changed. I can still track a straight line and even stand in my kayak if I want."
He is currently raising production funds for his trailer, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$600 will get you one, when and if they're ready to roll. One of the prototypes can be seen in use in the pitch video below.
... and if this project "floats your boat," you might also want to check out the Shuttle-Bike. It's a kit that's carried in a backpack while cycling, that lets users mount their bike on pontoons when they reach the water.