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Electra "Townies" don't fit on busses or MAX

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 26th, 2005 at 8:26 am

Just found a new Portland bike blog called "Ask the Wise Old Bicycle Guy". It's run by a former pro bike mechanic and it's full of great advice.

He noticed my recent post about Electra Townies and makes a good observation. Apparently, despite growing in popularity in this city and their recent adoption as the official bike of the "BikeTown" promotion, Townies don't fit on TriMet busses or the MAX! Here's an excerpt from his post:

"According to a TriMet insider, at the recent kickoff for BTA's Bike Commute Challenge, a Townie was ceremoniously placed in a TriMet bus rack for a photo op, only it didn't fit."

Apparently, the Townies' extra-long wheelbase is the problem. Besides not fitting on bus racks, they're also too long to fit in the hooks on MAX trains. The interesting thing is that TriMet is using nationwide standard for the bus rack. I guess the folks at Electra aren't into the "multi-modal" thing like many carfree Portlanders.

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  • Brad September 26, 2005 at 11:09 pm

    I can confirm that these things don't fit the hook on MAX, buses, or many car racks. My wife owns a Townie and I ride a Rockabilly Boogie (which is also an Electra).

    For those who don't know, they are several inches longer than the average bike allowing the pedals to be forward slightly. This provides the rider the ability to be able to put their feet on the ground, as well as sit upright.

    Mine has extra fat tires that won't fit anything either. However, it was amazing to ride on the Bridge Pedal. I felt like I was on a motorcycle crusing down the Fremont Bridge. :) Also, this bike was just the trick for me since I've had back surgery, and am very uncomfortable on my mountain bike. I have taken it on MAX...but stayed out of everybody's way at the back of the train.

    It won't win any races, but it is a dream to ride.

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  • Jessica Roberts September 27, 2005 at 12:36 pm

    How is it on uphills? Is it easy to ride on something like the uphill on Broadway from the Broadway Bridge up to Williams?

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  • Brad September 28, 2005 at 10:29 am

    I haven't ridden from Broadway up to Williams yet, but the Townie is a 21 speed plus and also has an extra huge gear that will let you ride up a tree if you wanted. The Rockabilly Boogie is a 3 speed and a bit heavier than a lot of bikes out there, so I was nervous at first, but I've only struggled to get up hills a couple of times. The gear ratios are spread out nicely.

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  • [...] By the way, for those who say the Rockabilly won’t fit on bus racks, I beg to differ. It just takes a little coaxing. When I was down in L.A., I even fit my Xtracycled Rockabilly onto the front of the bus for the ride up to Malibu. It’s the same as fitting any Xtracycle onto a bus rack, except the Rockabilly tires are so fat that you have to deflate the rear one a bit. Carry a nice pump and you’re set. I guess it’d be a hassle if you did it twice a day, but every once in a while it’s fine. And it fits on roof racks, too; you just need a strap to hold the wheel since the rack’s included strap won’t be long enough. [...]

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  • pchy May 26, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    i've had the the electra townie 21 for almost 8 months. i'm able to fit mine on the rack. it is a little bit big, but the handle locks down on the front wheel securely. i've taken it with me on the 94, 76, 78, 38, 35, 25, 12, 14, 17, & 9.

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  • [...] There was a lot to check out; Carfree Day t-shirts, free maps and resources from PDOT, Carye Bye’s awesome, limited-edition Shift birthday postcards, the amazingly good food of master chef John that benefitted the Get Lit program, and of course friends old and new. Timo Forsberg brought the mobile TriMet bus bike rack so riders could try out loading their bikes. We figured out how to load a long-wheelbase Electra Townie, which I previously thought couldn’t be done. [Ready set, eat!] [...]

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  • Eddie September 24, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    the electra townie will fit onto the bus bicycle rack all that you have to do is turn the handlebars around 180 degrees, this shortens the wheel base just enough to to get a good fit. this might work on the max as well.

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  • Bill January 5, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you Eddie for sharing your tip about turning the handlebars 180 degrees to fit on a bus bicycle rack. I commute on OCTA busses in Orange County California, and my Townie fit barely. But with your suggestion, the Townie fits PERFECTLY. Thanks again!

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  • c July 29, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    I\'ll have to try Eddie\'s handlebar-rotating tip next time. I just wanted to chime in to say that I\'ve not had a problem fitting my Townie 21 onto buses or MAXes, lest others be deterred. Yes, it\'s not as good a fit on the bus rack as shorter bikes, but it\'s definitely snug and hasn\'t fallen off yet. It also fits on the MAX, though just barely... my rear fender kisses the floor when its hanging. No, the real problem on the MAX is that the handlebars are so high they project quite a ways out into the doorway. Because of this I tend to stand with my bike instead of grabbing a seat, to wrangle it.

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  • Todd Boulanger July 30, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Another trick for hanging medium long wheel base bikes (Electra Townieand Amsterdam, Dutch Bikes: Gazelle and Batavas, etc.) on the MAX (Portland LRT) is to hang them from their rear wheel and not the front wheel.

    This has a similar effect to turning the handlebar and avoiding fender scrape.

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  • chris bates July 11, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I have had my townie for a couple of years and the very low gears let you easily climb up a hill, it\'s not made for standing on the pedals, but I never have to get off and push it. I love mine, although since all of the weight is planted firmly on your seat, I had to upgrade my seat from the original.

    like other have said, it\'s not a racer, but it\'s fun

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  • H82W8 July 23, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I am considering a townie 21 since it looks good and suits my needs for a commuter with comfort. I have heard more pros than cons on this rig. Should I get it or just stick with another brand.
    Sy

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  • Jonny August 4, 2008 at 10:51 am

    I own the Electra Rockabilly Boogy.
    I have yakiam roof rack and want to get a bike attachment for it, but I\'m wanting to know which one is the best for this bike and one for my wife but she has Electra rosie
    thanks

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  • Tim August 7, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I have a Townie 21 in Rat Rod Black. It\'s been great. Tip on the seat: As a man \"of a certain age\" I have experienced \"guy problems\" with bike seats. The best solution, I have found, is to buy a Brooks saddle and to put it on any bike I use. They\'re expensive, but they\'re worth every penny. It looks good on my Townie, too.

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  • Becky March 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I just bought a Towne and love it. My husband has a mountain bike. I was concerned about buying a bike rack to accommodate both. Any suggestions? The bike rack would be for a car.

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