Transporting Bikes

 

We carry our bikes everywhere we go even though we tend not to use them as much if there are not dedicated cycle ways. 

We have tried most methods, in the caravan, in the car and on the car (towball mounting) and all have had their disadvantages, involving inconvenience at night halts, damage or dirt in the car or van and damage to the bikes when mounted at the rear of the car.

The most convenient option in our experience has been the back of the caravan, we know it breaks all the rules about weight distribution but in over  27000 miles in 5 years we had no problems with it and among continental caravanners it is the norm.

                    

The Fiamma "Carry Bike Caravan Universal"  is telescopic allowing it to be adjusted to fit and most importantly in our case attaches to the "awning rail" over the rear window for its top support (avoiding drilling) and bolts up to the caravan floor at the bottom. For vans without the rail there are brackets supplied but these will involve drilling through the rear wall for attachment and finding a sufficiently strong point to do it.

 



 Fiamma Universal Bike Rack

 
Ready for the road

 
Top bracket
 
Bottom support bolted to caravan floor

 


Other Methods

When we changed to a caravan without the reinforcing necessary to use the bike rack we reverted to a towball mounted rack by Maxraxx who manufacture racks that can be attached to swan-neck  towballs. Although it is possible to tow with the bikes in situ, care is needed in the placing of the bikes to avoid fouling the  caravan on sharp turns and I found it necessary to remove one of the wheels. This and the inconvenience  of hitching up beneath the bikes and getting access to the boot caused me to look again at roof mounting which I had been trying to avoid. 

 
Mount clamped to towball
   

   

The roof mounted racks I chose are the Thule ProRide 591  which I have found easier to use than expected and they do not seem to have made fuel consumption measurably worse. Even mounted on a fairly low estate car the height does  do need to be allowed for anywhere close to trees. Even with the the handlebars in their to their lowest positions the overall height is about the same as the caravan and this could be a problem for taller vehicles using ferries.

 
 
 


Copyright 2011 David Willdigg All rights reserved