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Bikes in a Minivan

Old 08-17-18, 09:27 AM
  #1  
LPcreation
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Bikes in a Minivan

Hello everyone!

3 friends and I are planning on riding the GAP from Cumberland MD to Pittsburgh PA and I'm trying to figure out a few logistics. The initial plan is to rent a minivan from State College to Cumberland and fit all 4 of us with our bikes inside the van. We plan on removing the front wheels, putting the 3rd row flat/level with the floor and load them in standing up next to one another. Once we get to pittsburgh, it will be the same plan from Pitt to State College.

Has anyone done this before? Any tips or different thoughts how to make this happen? I'd rather avoid the Amtrak.

Thanks!
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Old 08-17-18, 12:22 PM
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The problem probably won't be your bikes as much as the rest of your stuff. A Chrysler Corp van would probably be easiest because the back seat folds flush into the floor. Some other vans require removing the back seat completely. They weigh a ton and you have to find a place to store it.
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Old 08-17-18, 12:37 PM
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I have a Toyota Sienna. Rear seat folds into the floor. Two captain's seats in the middle row. We used to haul our bikes (two adult hybrid bikes and a tag along) inside the van with us. I never removed front wheels and was able to fit everything with some room to spare. Four adult bikes, 4 adults, and touring gear will be a pretty tight squeeze, but might work. Removing front wheels will help.
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Old 08-17-18, 01:04 PM
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I imagine your biggest problem will be knowing exactly what you'll get (I assume you're renting). Most car rental companies have vague literature about "XX minivan or similar" and similar is not always similar enough. Or available. Your plan needs to account for "oops we're out of minivans" at least on the pittsburgh end.

You could always ride home.
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Old 08-17-18, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
I have a Toyota Sienna. Rear seat folds into the floor. Two captain's seats in the middle row. We used to haul our bikes (two adult hybrid bikes and a tag along) inside the van with us. I never removed front wheels and was able to fit everything with some room to spare. Four adult bikes, 4 adults, and touring gear will be a pretty tight squeeze, but might work. Removing front wheels will help.
I have an Odyssey. Same deal: rear seats fold flat. Can fairly easily fit 4 bikes back there, but the question will be all the other gear. Be mindful of bending derailleurs while packing.
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Old 08-17-18, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
I imagine your biggest problem will be knowing exactly what you'll get (I assume you're renting). Most car rental companies have vague literature about "XX minivan or similar" and similar is not always similar enough.
+1. Have rented SUVs from Avis one-way four or five times to drive me and my bike to the start of tours home. You never know what you are going to get. One time I got a Ford Flex that was huge. Another time I got a smaller Volvo that required me to remove the front wheel. Just made another reservation for an upcoming tour. For $10 more I opted for the full-size SUV over the "intermediate" just in case.
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Old 08-17-18, 01:47 PM
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Yep. Easy peasey. May not even have to remove front wheels.

In case no one mentioned, bring some old blankets or plastic sheeting to put inside, to keep the upholstery clean.
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Old 08-17-18, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by LPcreation View Post
The initial plan is to rent a minivan from State College to Cumberland and fit all 4 of us with our bikes inside the van. We plan on removing the front wheels
It's going to be very hard to drive the van without its front wheels.
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Old 08-17-18, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
It's going to be very hard to drive the van without its front wheels.
Got that right.
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Old 08-17-18, 06:07 PM
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rent a truck? u-haul, penske, or uber/lyft & select fullsize?
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Old 08-18-18, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I have an Odyssey. Same deal: rear seats fold flat. Can fairly easily fit 4 bikes back there, but the question will be all the other gear. Be mindful of bending derailleurs while packing.
What year is your Ody? I have a 2014 and I think 4 adult bikes would be hard to do without damage to bikes or interior.
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Old 08-18-18, 06:12 AM
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Thanks for the replies all. We had a bit of a brew and brainstorm session lesson and decided in a worst case scenario, we rent a minivan and if we all don't fit, they'll just grab another rental to drive themselves.
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Old 08-18-18, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
What year is your Ody? I have a 2014 and I think 4 adult bikes would be hard to do without damage to bikes or interior.
2013. Front wheels off and every other bike forward and back so the handlebars fit.
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Old 08-18-18, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by LPcreation View Post
Thanks for the replies all. We had a bit of a brew and brainstorm session lesson and decided in a worst case scenario, we rent a minivan and if we all don't fit, they'll just grab another rental to drive themselves.
if it has a hitch receiver, slide a bike rack to the rental?
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Old 08-18-18, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LPcreation View Post
Thanks for the replies all. We had a bit of a brew and brainstorm session lesson and decided in a worst case scenario, we rent a minivan and if we all don't fit, they'll just grab another rental to drive themselves.
You can rent a Toyota Sienna from a dealership. You will know exactly what you are getting, and we had no problem with 4 bikes in the back and 5 people in the car.
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Old 08-24-18, 07:01 AM
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I've actually fit five bikes in the back of my Dodge minivan. It was tight but they fit. So you should be fine with four bikes and a few bags.
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Old 08-24-18, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by LPcreation View Post
Hello everyone!

3 friends and I are planning on riding the GAP from Cumberland MD to Pittsburgh PA and I'm trying to figure out a few logistics. The initial plan is to rent a minivan from State College to Cumberland and fit all 4 of us with our bikes inside the van. We plan on removing the front wheels, putting the 3rd row flat/level with the floor and load them in standing up next to one another. Once we get to pittsburgh, it will be the same plan from Pitt to State College.

Has anyone done this before? Any tips or different thoughts how to make this happen? I'd rather avoid the Amtrak.

Thanks!
Need to account space for luggage 4 people and if any are ladies expect a lot of luggage: well it's true based on my experience.
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