Help me surf while I bike.
June 21, 2009 9:25 AM   Subscribe

I own this exercise bike. I would like to set up some kind of laptop stand so that I can watch DVDs and surf the web while riding.

I've thought about something like this mini-desk, but there's no room under the bike for the desk's support bar (note the horizontal bar on the bottom). I need some sort of desk that has legs facing away from the bike (legs that don't need to go under the bike) but with a table that juts over the bike.

I've tried putting my laptop on a stool next to the bike, but I wind up hurting my neck, turning to watch the screen.


(1) I'm not very handy, so I'd rather not try a solution that involves building something from scratch -- or seriously modding the bike.

(2) I rent an apartment and can't screw stuff into the wall.

(3) My place isn't all that big, so I'd like to have something I can easily store when I'm not exercising.

Important stats:

When I'm biking, my knees jut up about 38", so I need a table that is higher than that.

There's about 15" between my chest and the handlebars.
posted by grumblebee to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I wonder if something like this adjustable laptop stand would work.
posted by barnone at 9:35 AM on June 21, 2009

Crap - sorry for not looking at your link! So we'd need one with a telescoping or swivelling top -- so the stand could be beside the bike and the desk part could be over it.

Do you want the desk part in front of the vertical handlebar/controls (between you and the vertical part) or behind the vertical handlebar/controls?
posted by barnone at 9:37 AM on June 21, 2009

I need some sort of desk that has legs facing away from the bike (legs that don't need to go under the bike) but with a table that juts over the bike.

That isn't going to happen - the thing will just keep falling towards you without some significant counter weight. Your best bet is finding one that has a higher centre section so it fits over the bar.

Why not get a table like you mention, but buy some plastic tubing that fits relatively tightly over the casters cut to equal (say 6") lengths. This would mean that the middle leg of the table would fit over the middle bar easily and also bring the table that bit higher (and stop it moving around too much). You may find you have enough room, then.
posted by Brockles at 9:37 AM on June 21, 2009

Yeah - you could get something like this and instead of using the supplied casters, just get some taller ones. That would probably raise the bottom cross-bar of the stand enough to clear the bike's crossbar.

Or instead of casters, install adjustable height feet - the kind that you can swivel up or down. Then just make them tall enough to give clearance to the bike's crossbar. Or figure out how tall the feet need to be to work -- and install cheap feet that work.
posted by barnone at 9:44 AM on June 21, 2009

Would this telescoping stand work? You could put it just to the right of the control panel. Or somehow right behind it so that it's at eye-level just behind the handlebars/control panel.
posted by barnone at 9:46 AM on June 21, 2009

Or this slightly nicer one - you might be able to rig it so it is basically on top of the control panel. And it's collapsible for easy storage.
posted by barnone at 9:48 AM on June 21, 2009

Response by poster: Some fantastic suggestions here! Please keep them coming.
posted by grumblebee at 10:09 AM on June 21, 2009

Response by poster: I think barnone's telescoping stand is the way to go (at least via suggestions so far). His "slightly nicer one" is too big (it won't fit between my chest and the handlebars).

The only problem is that it's too short. It's 25" and I need it to be 38". I'm not too worried about this, because it just means I need to stand both sides on something to add some height. If anyone has specific suggestions for stand, please let me know. Thanks.
posted by grumblebee at 10:18 AM on June 21, 2009

Won't your legs bump into the stand if it's between your chest and the bars? Or is there enough clearance?
posted by barnone at 10:45 AM on June 21, 2009

Here's a laptop stand for exercise! And there's an tall stand (at 42") designed for beds.
posted by barnone at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2009

Another (slightly weirder) idea: what about pulling an ironing board up? You could pull the longer-end towards the bike and set it at a height that works above your knees. If you're worried about it tipping over, you could set some heavy books or arm weights on the other end.
posted by barnone at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2009

Does the front of the handlebar / display area (the side that faces you) have a book shelf?

I was semi-successful with putting my laptop on my treadmill, which had a small book shelf there. I say semi-successful, because the laptop fit just fine, but the vibration of the treadmill caused it the lid to close all the time. Maybe a bike wouldn't have that issue.

What about lashing it to the handlebar/display area with some sturdy bungee cords or velcro?

Also, I couldn't afford the TrekDesk, but maybe it would work for you.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:14 AM on June 21, 2009

Response by poster: No bookshelf.
posted by grumblebee at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2009

Another possibility is to use a telescoping music stand with a "desk" that you can lock into place. I use one similar to this to hold a laptop computer in my music studio and it works great. You can adjust the tilt of the desk to whatever works best for you and the tripod style of the base would give you some flexibility in fitting it in close to your bike.
posted by rhartong at 12:30 PM on June 21, 2009

I can't see the front of the exercise bike to see if its even vaguely feasible, but I have this for my treadmill.
posted by Joh at 8:00 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

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