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honeyblondie28 03-31-08 09:50 AM

Best Way to Transport Bike on New Beetle
Hello, I am new and have been scouring the internet for the best answer to my burning question. I am not a mad cyclist but I do enjoy to go on a bike trail when time and weather permit. I have a basic lady's Schwinn bicycle that I need to be able to get from my home to the bike trail, since the roads around where I live are not biker friendly and I am scared to ride on the roads, anyhow.

I drive a 2001 VW Beetle and have found it difficult to transport my bike anywhere. I almost fit the entire bike inside of my car once but the trunk came open while I was going down the road (perhaps I could attempt this again since I am only transporting one bike?).

Then I bought a bike rack that was mounted on the trunk and I had to buy a special strap (I forget what it was called) in order for it to fit properly because of the weird shape of the car. Well that system was not only unstable but a real pain in the butt to get on and off. I never did figure it out and I never attempted to put a bike on it and take it anywhere.

So I am looking to get something a little more sturdy and permanent on the car. I have thought of either 1) getting a trailer hitch installed and purchasing a hitch-mounted bike rack, or 2) getting a bike rack installed on the top of the car.

The sad thing is that the bike trail that I like to ride on is only a 10-minute drive from where I live! :p

I have read pros and cons of both and it has left me utterly confused and frustrated. I don't want to spend a fortune if I don't have to, but I don't want something that is going to injure my car or be a pain in the butt either.

Please offer the best advice possible! This is how I'm planning on spending my tax rebate whenever it gets here..... :D

RCordone 03-31-08 11:56 AM

I don't know about the new beetle, but a Thule trunk rack fit on my 1976 beetle without any issues.

alhedges 03-31-08 12:14 PM

Can you not fit the bike inside the car and keep the trunk closed? Even if you take the front tire off? Since you are only traveling 10 minutes, this seems like the easiest option - maybe put down a plastic 6 mil painter's dropcloth to protect the inside of your car. This is probably not a good option with passengers.

The next best option would be to get a hitch rack - decent ones start at around $150, and a hitch will probably cost about $200 or so. But the rack is easy to put on the hitch and the bike is easy to put on the rack. Probably you would be able to carry two bikes this way.

For several years I used a Saris Bones (tm) rack. It is a trunk rack that will fit on a VW and carry two or three bikes, depending on the model you buy. I like them better than other trunk racks I've used, but conceptually they are similar - you use three straps to attach the rack to the car, and then put the bike on the rack. Once you've set the rack up the first time, the most time it should take you to put the rack on the car and the bike on the rack is 10 minutes; five would be more typical. A two-bike bones costs around $100; a three bike model costs around $130.

The next option is a roof rack. I don't really like these for bikes because, not being very tall, I find it awkward to get a bike all the way up on the roof - it's much easier to put something on a trunk or hitch rack - particularly if you are just going for a 10 minute drive. Also, if you are inattentive you can damage your bike, garage, and car by driving into the garage with the bike still attached. A Yakima rack system to carry one bike, plus locks, costs around $500. This would only really be worthwhile if you needed the rack for other sports, like kayaking or skiiing.

honeyblondie28 03-31-08 01:42 PM

Thanks, allhedges. I was thinking about attempting to fit my bike into my car again, though like you said, I'd have to get something to protect the interior like a tarp or something. It's been a few years since I've attempted to put my bike in the car. I didn't take any wheels off or anything. If I could get it to fit inside, it would save me a boatload of money.

I agree with you about the roof rack. I wasn't liking the thought of lifting a bike on and off of the roof of my car all the time!

I guess I will try the cheapest option and try to get my bike into the car again. Recently I've had trouble getting my backseat to fold down for some reason, so I'll have to take that to be fixed first.

If all else fails, I will probably go the hitch rack route...

CastIron 03-31-08 01:51 PM

A clubmate has a Yakima fork mount on the roof. She seems happy with it.

martianone 03-31-08 03:08 PM

ten minute ride by Beetle car ?
why not bike to the trailhead ?

Retro Grouch 03-31-08 05:05 PM

I think that the best way would be a receiver hitch and one of the bike racks that holds the bike on it's own wheels. It's firmly attached to the car and there is nothing touching the painted parts of either the car or your bike.

rickyaustin 03-31-08 08:01 PM

My friend has a VW beetle and she fits her bike in it with the front wheel off. It is an old-school Schwinn-esque bike also.

If you have a nut/bolt on the front wheel - swap that out for a Quick Release axle to you can easily take the front wheel off/on.

This is an inexpensive option. Try it with the front wheel off (use a wrench now if you have to, to test it) and if it fits, get a Quick Release and you're set to go.

honeyblondie28 04-19-08 11:28 AM

quick release lever
I looked closely at my bike (it is a Schwinn Ranger 2.6 fs) and it does have a quick lever on the front wheel that I am assuming will allow me to "quickly" release the front wheel. I would love to do it this way but I am not sure how. I looked at the Schwinn owner's manual online and it was quite confusing. I pushed the lever into the "open" position and then after that, I wasn't sure what to do.

If you or someone else could direct me to a website where I could get some easier directions, or if you have "easy" advice to give me, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it. Our weather finally got a little nicer and I am just dying to get out there and ride my bike. Thanks so much.

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