The proper and safe way to transport your bike

The proper and safe way to transport your bike

What’s the best way to transport a bike by car?

Going on holiday and want to take your best road bike with you? No matter where you’re going, you will want to find the safest and most effective way to transport your bike without incurring expensive damages to either vehicle. If you are going by car, there are a few possibilities. You can either place the bike inside the car, which often involves disassembling it, or you can attach it to the car roof or rear of the body. This article will discuss these methods, considering the pros and cons of each one. Keep reading to find out more…

Roof racks

The roof rack has become one of the most popular means of bike transportation as it saves a lot of space without blocking any access points to the vehicle, such as the boot lid. It is an ideal option for motorists who regularly transport their bikes and own compact vehicles with smaller luggage compartments. Some roof racks allow you to carry the whole bike without disassembling it, whereas others require you to remove the front wheel. There are also products which come with a fork grabber to prevent theft.

The pros:

  • + They allow you to access the car boot, giving you the option of attaching a trailer or caravan to the rear.
  • + Some racks have the capacity to hold four bicycles
  • + They are considered to be the most secure way of transporting bikes.
  • + The rack won’t block the driver’s view or the car lights.

The cons:

  • - Mounting the rack and bicycles to the roof can be tricky and time consuming.
  • - The fuel mileage may be affected due to wind resistance caused by the mounted items.
  • - The vehicle may not be able to drive through low overhead or height-restricted areas.

Rear-mounted racks

Rear-mounted racks

This type of rack is better suited for people who only travel with their bikes occasionally and don’t need a permanent attachment for moving the items from A to B. They often include bars, hooks and straps for secure attachment to the boot of the car. There are several types of rear car racks, so it is important to make sure the one you choose is compatible with your vehicle.

The pros:

  • + They are a compact and affordable way to carry large items.
  • + The components can often be adjusted to fit multiple different vehicles.
  • + Loading and unloading them doesn’t require much effort.
  • + They won’t affect the vehicle’s clearance height.
  • + These products allow you to use the roof space for other items, such as a roof box containing luggage.
  • + They are usually easy to store.

The cons:

  • - If there is an accident or collision at the rear of the car, the bikes will get damaged.
  • - If either the rack or items are not installed correctly, it could lead to scratches or scuff marks on the paintwork.
  • - It may restrict access to the luggage compartment.
  • - The bikes have less protection against theft and road debris, etc.

Tow bar bike racks

Tow bar bike racks

It is also possible to attach multiple bicycles at the tow bar (a.k.a. the tow hitch) using a simple tow bar rack. These usually include a lighting board and a mini number plate to comply with legal requirements. Designs may include a cradle or a platform for attaching the bikes. It is important to make sure that the model and load doesn’t exceed the vehicle’s towing capacity.

The pros:

  • + The carriers are easy to install and remove and some have hinges or a tilt mechanism, allowing you to access the car boot without detaching the items.
  • + They are durable and can often hold several bikes at once, including electric bikes.
  • + Most models include locking systems for both the rack and luggage, providing more security than standard boot racks.
  • + You don’t have to remove the wheels for transportation.
  • + They won’t block the driver’s view while driving.

The cons:

  • - Tow bar models with all of the features are typically more expensive than other types.
  • - The high-capacity products can be quite heavy, some weighing more than 60 pounds.
  • - They are vulnerable to damage in the event of a collision.
  • - Unless they are foldable, they may take up more storage space.

Securing bikes in a pickup truck

Although pickup trucks are designed for carrying a large number of items, you will still need to take the necessary precautions to prevent your road bike from sliding around and getting damaged. The most cost-effective way to secure it in a truck bed is using straps or bungee cords. Please bear in mind that you may need to attach straps at both the front and back to prevent the item from bouncing up and down. You can also find or make your own truck bed rack which consists of metal bars and locks. Alternatively, there are also tailgate models.

How to safely transport a bike without a rack

If you don’t want to invest in any fancy equipment and have space in your car, it might be possible to stow it in the boot. However, this does not guarantee that the bike will come out unscathed, as it can slide around and get scratched during the journey. The grease and grime on the surfaces could also stain the car’s interior. Otherwise, you may need to take the bike apart and store the parts in a box. There are also cases which are specifically designed for this purpose. The hard ones provide the highest levels of protection.

If you found this article helpful, check out the other travel articles on our blog, such as this one on travelling with a dog in the car. We aim to bring you the best tips and tricks to keep you and your vehicle safe on the road.

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