The Best Ways To Transport Your Bike By Car

While a bicycle may be a great way to get around town or travel to and from work, so long as the distance isn’t too far, there is no denying that a car is a better solution for particularly lengthy journeys. But sometimes, you may want to take a long drive, perhaps to a camping site or a vacation spot, and still have access to your bike. You could then continue taking your daily ride or be adventurous with some outdoor trails.

Some large cars come equipped with the apparatus needed to safely and securely transport a bicycle, but most require you to install add-ons to accomplish the task. Many automakers give you this option when buying a new car, but what after-market solutions are available? Here are some of the most efficient ways to get the job done.

The Hitch-mount Bike Rack

For said large cars, like SUVs or even crossovers, a hitch-mount car rack is a viable after-market option. However, it does require that the vehicle comes equipped with a trailer hitch. This is sometimes also an option you can tick on the configurator, but if you’re already doing this, it may be smarter to tick the bike rack box.

But, if you only get into cycling after the fact, or you’ve bought a secondhand vehicle, you’ll have to see to the installation yourself. Luckily, these racks don’t cost too much, usually going for between $100 and $200. They are also quite easy to set up on your own, so you won’t have to pay a professional. These can also be installed on smaller cars, like sedans, but there are smarter solutions for such vehicles.

The Trunk-mount Bike Rack

For your typical medium-size cars, even or even a few compacts, a more temporary solution makes better sense. A trunk-mounted rack can be attached or disassembled easily between trips so that you don’t have any unwieldy equipment poking out the back of your car during daily driving when you don’t need to transport a bike.

However, the jury-rigged nature of this solution does have some downsides. For starters, your bicycles are pretty easy to steal if left unattended since most trunk-mounted racks use fabric harnesses to attach to the vehicle. A few snips and the whole contraption come off. On the plus side, having the bikes mounted higher up means that advanced driver-assistance features like rearview cameras continue to work unimpeded. This is good since you probably won’t be able to see so well out back using the rearview mirror.

The trunk can technically still be accessed, though there will be extra strain on the hydraulics thanks to the added weight. Also, the entire rack, with bikes, can easily be transferred from one car to another.

The Roof-mounted Bike Rack

The previous transport options allow you to safely carry one or two bicycles, but if mountain biking is a family affair, you’ll need something a little more heavy-duty. This is where the roof-mounted rack comes in. Some SUVs come equipped with the necessary railings to install such a device, but you’ll normally need to go out and buy the apparatus, which will normally cost close to $1,000 for everything or around $250 just for the rack.

The advantages to this setup are obvious. Firstly, you can carry a lot more bikes at a time. Also, having the bikes on top of the car eliminates any hindrance to visibility while driving. However, it is important that you never forget they’re up there. You wouldn’t want to go under a particularly low underpass or through a height-restricted toll gate just to hear the horrifying sound of your bikes being torn from the roof.

Some people may also find it frustrating to have to reach up so high to secure or retrieve their bikes, especially on taller cars like SUVs.


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    Inside The Car

    Now you may assume this requires you to own an enormous SUV that can fold down all the rear seats to make room for a small set of furniture, and you wouldn’t be wrong. If you have a normal bicycle, you would need this much space in order to lie it down safely in the back.

    The benefits of this are that the bike is extremely secure from theft and won’t be subject to the elements if left unattended overnight. However, you will have to give up basically all your cargo space in the process, and you probably won’t be able to fit more than two people in the entire vehicle. Vehicles with truly enormous trunks may be able to achieve this without too much fuss, though.

    Luckily, there is such a thing as a foldaway bicycle. Properly designed, they can be just as functional and enjoyable as your normal mountain bike, but they are far easier to transport by car. With a few tricks, and usually some pop-off pedals, they can be reduced to the size of a suitcase and easily stowed in most trunks, even in smaller cars.

    If you don’t need the rear seats for passengers, you can carry a few more. Larger vehicles can easily transport five people and their bikes this way. Of course, the big downside here is that high-quality foldaway bikes are exceedingly expensive.

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    The Best Ways To Transport Your Bike By Car — Bike Hacks