Product Review: The Able Trike Rack

Better Half and I love to bike – he on his electric bike, and me on my Birkelbikepro recumbent. Problem is, neither of us could lift the bikes into our SUV. We considered a horizontal bike rack, but that still involved lifting that neither of us was able to do. It kept us from truly enjoying the miles and miles of trails in north central Florida last winter. Although we were able to access one trail from our campground, the others were too far away.

I came upon the Able Trike Rack on my FB feed, and I immediately knew this was the bike rack for us! It is a vertical rack. All you do is pick up the front wheel about a foot and put it in the bracket. You then pull on a cord, and the pulleys at the top do the rest. Those pulleys remove 2/3 of the weight of the bike, so it’s like running a flag up a pole. The rear tires drop into another bracket, and then you secure the bike. If you are a wheelchair user or, like me, a crutch user, or you have compromised mobility, this bike rack is for you.

I was even more surprised when I found out the builder, Al Roy, not only lived in NH, but also was only a ten-minute drive from my house. I contacted him immediately and went to see the device. I was hooked, and so was Better Half. I do not have a mechanical or engineering bone in my body, but Better Half does; he and Al had an extensive conversation about how it was built and why.

Al Roy has worked hard all his life, starting with trade school at age fourteen. He worked as a master machinist for most of his adult life. He took the tough jobs, the heavy jobs, the jobs that others would not do. Ultimately, the heavy work affected his back; he now walks with cuff crutches or uses a wheelchair. After getting involved in handcycling Al kept seeing the same question asked from people around the world who had the same problem, “How do you transport your bike”? That is when he designed the Able Trike Rack. He took his years of experience and put it to use to help others in the “dis-ABLE-d" community.

In September of 2021 he began rendering drawings of his design and had the first prototype built by July of 2022. The rack is made from high gauge steel and is sturdy – fits into any standard two-inch receiver. It comes apart very easily to access the back of your vehicle. I challenged Al to make us a dual rack for both of our bikes – something he had not yet considered. We negotiated a price and Al went to work. By the end of January, he had drawn up Alpha plans and began building. We picked it up in February and brought it back down to Florida and were very excited to try other bike trails. As with every Alpha, adjustments needed to be made. One was that on my bike, the circumference of the front wheel is quite small, and the bracket was damaging the gear assembly on the wheel. The second was that Better Half’s bike flapped from side to side as there was nothing to stabilize it. I called Al – he set to work retooling the bracket and designing a stabilizer. When we returned home for the summer, the rack was ready for its Beta test.

Better Half and Al put their heads together for a few hours and did some troubleshooting and finally, the rack was ready. It worked perfectly – my tire fit the bracket, and the two-wheeler stayed put. It is the first of what I hope to be of many dual racks. We have worked out the bugs; you’re welcome!

Al’s design is patent pending. He has built for folks as far away as Hong Kong and I am encouraging him to contact CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation) to start the process of getting on their vendor list. Think of how many more folks will enjoy biking with this rack; it allows us more independence.

As a side note, Al gives back in a big way by raising funds and riding his handcycle for the Kelly Brush Foundation. He is also a master of what we all have had to do recently – pivoting. Once he had to begin using crutches/wheelchair, he could not find work back in machine shops due to liability and safety concerns, and the Able Trike Rack was born. I love the name! Al’s motto is “Giving dis-ABLE-d people the ability to get and keep their independence.”

If you are interested in more info about the Able Trike Rack, you can find info on Facebook:

Tell them Beth sent you!

And remember: You don’t know how much strength you have until you are called upon to use it.

Respectfully Submitted,

Beth Hudson LBKA