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2000-mile roadtrip w/ bike? (And not in the car)

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2000-mile roadtrip w/ bike? (And not in the car)

Old 04-30-19, 12:45 PM
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TXCiclista 
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2000-mile roadtrip w/ bike? (And not in the car)

Our family vacation returns to the beautiful Rocky Mountains this year, and I'm really keen to get some riding in (or at least attempt to, given that my conditioning is in flat ole TX). Since I drive a sedan and it'll be the four of us, carrying the bike inside the car will not be possible. I have the option of either my Seasucker or a cheaper Allen trunk mount. My assumption is that the Allen rack (strapped in properly, ofc) will be the preferred option (better aerodynamics, fewer bugs, easier to "lock down," somewhat better protection, etc). My concern, however, is just the mere act of carrying a bike on a car that many miles. I've already decided that my nice bike stays home, so I'll be taking my old Trek 1500, but I'm still not sure if I'm asking for it. Rentals look to be out of the question, so it's this or just miss out on a chance to ride in "RoMo." Thoughts? Past experiences? etc.
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Old 04-30-19, 12:57 PM
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By 'rentals' I take it you mean rental bikes, right? How about renting a different vehicle, like a capacious van?
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Old 04-30-19, 01:01 PM
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I've done two cross country moves and assisted a friend with a third, all in old sedans using the cheapest Saris trunk rack that money could buy. My own moves were 2,000 and 1,200 miles respectively, with two bikes, and my friend's was 2,100 miles with one bike.

Here are the main things I've noticed:
  • Things might start to shift around after the first 50-100 miles on the interstate. That's a good time to stop and adjust everything; after that, it should be pretty stable. I've used some additional security (bungees, etc.) in addition to the mechanisms of the trunk rack.
  • Pedals can move around and scratch up the bumper of the car. It might be prudent to remove the pedals.
  • Trunk racks can be a PITA to install and remove. If possible, it might be prudent to have supplies for the day not in the trunk so that the rack can be installed/removed as few times as possible.
  • Bikes do not really make the load much wider (maybe by a few inches) and only minimally, if at all, affect gas mileage.
  • Don't worry if the wheels are spinning around in the breeze; that's just what they do!
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Old 04-30-19, 07:56 PM
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Thanks @wipekitty

Originally Posted by rollagain View Post
By 'rentals' I take it you mean rental bikes, right? How about renting a different vehicle, like a capacious van?
Yeah, rental bikes. Car/van rental is out of the budget
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Old 05-01-19, 03:03 PM
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I got a hitch rack when my wife got her Prius and couldn't strap a rack on the hatch, then got a hitch when I got a new car. I've carried bikes 1,000 miles each way for at least three trips, and 500 miles each way for a bunch more. Carry some chain lube in case you drive through a downpour, and lube the brake pivots, shifters, and cables if that happens. Wipe the bike down when you arrive. Unless someone rear-ends you (or the bike falls off the rack, or something like that) the bike will work when you get there and when you get home as well.

Unlike @wipekitty, I bungee the wheels so they don't flop and spin. It drives me nuts watching that in the rear view mirror.
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Old 05-01-19, 03:14 PM
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2000 miles riding the bicycle?

I haven't used racks a lot. Bikes have generally gone inside. I do occasionally go with Mom, and will bring the Bike Friday in a suitcase (inside of the car).

Roof Rack?

What about a trailer hitch rack?
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Old 05-01-19, 03:39 PM
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I also have done numerous trips of 1000 miles each way with a variety of trunk/hatchback type bike carriers. The only thing that has happened to the bikes were some minor scratches, got soaking wet and very dirty. Vehicles have also had some minor scratching. I take a look at the bikes, carriers and all straps/tie downs every time I stop for any reason. Give a tug/pull on all of those things also and tighten or adjust as needed. As for quality and safety and solid anchoring, a hitch mount carrier is the best type, IMO. For trunk/hatchback, I like Saris.
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Old 05-02-19, 06:51 AM
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I would use a hitch mount if I could (I have a nice Saris), but the hitch will be used for a luggage "tray," so that's out.

Many thanks for all the replies, everyone!
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Old 05-02-19, 07:06 AM
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You can always get a cheap, plastic tarp from Walmart or an Army Navy Store for some protection from the elements. Bungee cords attached to the grommets to keep it in place.
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Old 05-02-19, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TXCiclista View Post
Thoughts?
Bike & helmet:

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Old 05-02-19, 07:46 AM
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A sedan carrying 4 people and a platform on your hitch for "stuff" plus your bike? You're going on a family vacation in the United States of WalMart, not the Lewis and Clark expedition. It is my opinion that you're going to be taking too much stuff if you need a hitch platform. (I will concede I don't know the specific requirements of your family and you may have family members that insist on a different pair of shoes for each hour of the day!. Also, you may have a family member with special needs--beyond your need to ride your bike.)

Trunk rack is fine and will probably be easier on fuel economy. I'd suggest that if you're going to be away from and out of sight of the car and bike for any length of time, locking the bike in the car may be a prudent move. I travel a bunch with a bike on a rack and have never had problems but I have hauled bikes into motel rooms and generally secure them with locks at all times. Several years ago while on a trip, I was rear-ended, destroying a bike on a trunk rack and doing substantial damage to the rental car I was driving. Getting insurance to replace the bike was a big pain.

Having your own bike to ride while traveling is wonderful. Few rental places have bikes that I've enjoyed riding and the hassle of lining up opening and closing hours of rental shops with the places and times I would prefer to ride are hassles I'd rather avoid.

However, be brutally honest in assessing your plans. Will you be able to break away from your traveling companions to enjoy your cycling segments? Keeping everyone happy is often tough and don't take it for granted that your traveling companions will happily bend to your desire to ride your bike. They may bend but less than joyfully and everyone may pay a high price.

Hope you're able to take the bike and that you and your family have a harmonious and happy time.
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Old 05-02-19, 09:31 AM
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They make combo cargo carriers/bike racks. Get 2 birds stoned at once.
https://www.discountramps.com/hitch-...RoCAGsQAvD_BwE
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Old 05-02-19, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You can always get a cheap, plastic tarp from Walmart or an Army Navy Store for some protection from the elements. Bungee cords attached to the grommets to keep it in place.
I would be a little worried about a tarp (and even the bungee cords themselves) flapping around at highway speeds. If it flaps against the bike or car, it'll damage the finish pretty quickly.


This dilemma is the main reason why, when we buy a new car, we always choose something that will hold a bicycle and cargo. The car need not be that large: our 2007 Honda Fit looked tiny, but it would hold a bike, tools, spare wheelset, luggage, and the three of us for a weekend trip to a bike race. It was a little tight, but it worked -- and it got about 38 mpg on the interstate.
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Old 05-02-19, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
  • Pedals can move around and scratch up the bumper of the car. It might be prudent to remove the pedals.
Can koozies make great pedal covers!
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Old 05-02-19, 12:48 PM
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You could also go with a rooftop cargo box.



There are quite a few different sizes and shapes. And, they often show up used for a fraction of the new cost.

That could free up your hitch for the bike.
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Old 05-02-19, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Bike & helmet:

Whew, that is COMPACT!!!

Is that a Brompton?

My Bike Friday suitcase takes up half the back end of Mom's Prius. She doesn't like greasy stuff in her car, but perhaps one could do a soft duffel around the Brompton.
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Old 05-02-19, 01:13 PM
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When we had a small car and needed to haul 4 bikes, a roof rack did a good job. I've hauled bikes in a roof rack for 25 years and thousands of miles without any problem. Except when my wife tried to drive her car into the garage with our son's bike on top A roof rack is a fixture on our car. We also have our car and truck set up with hitch racks. Just a couple thousand mile on the hitch rack so far, but it seems to work well.

My wife's, mine and 2 daughters' touring bikes on car. Gas mileage was reduced.
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Old 05-03-19, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Whew, that is COMPACT!!!

Is that a Brompton?
It's a Dahon Curl, which folds smaller than a Brompton. Mine came with a nice heavy nylon bag, but if no then try the IKEA Dimpa bag.

The folded helmet is a CPSC-compliant Overade Plixi.

Last edited by tcs; 05-04-19 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 05-03-19, 08:01 PM
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If you are using a hitch haul basket for your luggage, perhaps you could use the bracket for holding the forks with the front wheel removed. Place the rear wheel on top of the luggage and it will be secure for the trip.

I drilled a couple of holes and mounted an item like this on the top rail and secured my mountain bike to it. Should work for any quick release type of fork
https://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Fork-...gateway&sr=8-6
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