Grand Junction resident lives a car-free life, constructs a bike-boat |

Grand Junction resident lives a car-free life, constructs a bike-boat

Brittany Markert

What do you do when you want to float the river with your sister, but don’t have a way to transport your flotation device? You make a bike-boat, of course.

That’s exactly what Eric Goakes did with the help of his son, Jacob.

Goakes, a Grand Junction resident who enjoys living car free, doesn’t own a car and his only mode of transportation is a bike. His sister invited him to float the river and wasn’t into the idea of shuttling, so he came up with a way to combine bike and boat into one vessel.

“It’s double the fun,” Goakes said. “I’ve had a lot of good response from it as well.”

Goakes, a part-time handy man, uses the bike-boat as a way to eliminate more travel time between the start and end point of a rafting trip. So, instead of heading back to the car, he can head back home.

And his son was the brain child behind the mechanics, he added. The bike-boat moves either by a solar-powered motor or by pedal; and when on the river or lake, it is powered by oar.

It weighs about 65 pounds and the cost to build it was “similar to paying on a car for six months,” Goakes explained.

When it’s in bike form, Goakes uses a recumbent with a trailer is attached to the back, which holds a backpack filled with boat supplies. When at the shore, the trailer disengages from the bike and it’s used as the base to attach the bike to flotation devices.

According to Goakes, assembly takes about 20 minutes and it can travel about 15-20 miles on one charge, depending on if it’s a sunny or cloudy day.

“All material is off a store shelf,” Goakes added.

Although the bike-boat is only a prototype, Goakes doesn’t know of another one like it. He encourages others interested in constructing boat-bikes and living a car free life to contact him. He believes he can make them for “about $2,500.”

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