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Rental car advice when traveling by tandem

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Rental car advice when traveling by tandem

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Old 07-06-18, 04:13 PM
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Alcanbrad
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Rental car advice when traveling with a tandem

We are planning to take our first trip with our recently acquired travel tandem. We plan on renting a car and doing day rides. Our plan was to rent a minivan that could carry the bike, however, it appears that the rental car companies are on to us and the cost of a minivan is more than our plane tickets. (When I started this thread I didnít plan on using the word plan in every sentence.)

My thinking now is to rent a midsize SUV which is a little more affordable and breaking the bike at the front couplers & cable splitters. It seems straightforward, however,I donít know if reassembly will be a challenge in handling and lining the two halves up since both sides of the bike will be fully assembled.

So I am seeking the wisdom and experience of the forum:

-Is my strategy of breaking the bike in half for transport to day rides reasonable?

-Any advice or experiences with regards to unknown rental cars and transporting a fully, or very nearly a fully assembled tandem?

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Old 07-06-18, 06:16 PM
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First, shop around more for a rental mini van.

Regarding dis-assembly and re-assembly: PRACTICE. The learning curve is steep.

We hauled our fully assembled Trek T50 from CA to OH and back a few years ago in a rented Dodge Caravan.

A Honda Fit will hold many tandems inside with just the front wheel removed, but the two people have to sit on the left side,
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Old 07-06-18, 06:34 PM
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If your travel tandem is a Comotion, then your couplers are in front of the captain’s seat tube and outside of the drivetrain. That makes it quick and easy to disconnect the front triangle and reconnect. I do this with our Speedster all the time, and it takes less than 5 minutes, probably less than putting it onto our rack. We have a Chevy Bolt, which is small, but I put down the rear seats and open the rear hatch, then slide the bike in backwards on its side with the front wheel and triangle hanging out the back. Then I undo the 3 cable connectors and 3 couplers, then lay the front triangle onto the rest of the bike which has been covered by a blanket. Then close the hatch. With practice this takes about 3 minutes.
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Old 07-07-18, 01:23 AM
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If you get a car with a large trunk like a Dodge Charger and fold down rear seat, you should be able to put the bike in with only removing the wheels (we rented on from Enterprise about 4 years ago, so check the size on the newer models). We had a '97 Cadillac Catera that we carried a Santana tandem in several times. Our current Santana has couplers and we've taken it apart at the couplers (not disconnecting cables) to store in the back seat of a truck when camping to avoid it being outside at night. We did have blankets to wrap it up and make it easier to keep the pieces from rubbing when carrying it. Renting a mid sized SUV is usually less than mini-vans. Tandems fit easily in our GMC Acadia. A road tandem should fin in a smaller SUV too. Take a tape measure and visit some car dealers maybe???

Good luck and enjoy your trip.
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Old 07-07-18, 06:34 AM
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We rented a Kia Soul and got our Santana broken in half with the two hard cases in the back. We put our other luggage inside the hard cases. With the Santana we had to remove the drive belt and disconnect the cables. I could reassemble in 10 minutes or less.

On another trip I got the Santana coupled with the wheels removed inside a Nissan Altima with the back seats folded down.

When there is a will there is a way.
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Old 07-08-18, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DKMcK View Post
On another trip I got the Santana coupled with the wheels removed inside a Nissan Altima with the back seats folded down.
I can totally see that. I had my (single) recumbent with rear wheel in place in an Altima recently and there still was plenty of space. Maybe taking the pedals off might be necessary to get through the car's tight spots.
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Old 07-08-18, 09:30 PM
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One solution is to rent a pickup Many times at National they are in the any car pick it line. We have a Sea sucker mount we carry and put it on top of the cab. Super easy to use and carry. We carried two tandems on SeaSucker racks on a van recently and had zero issues. It was a little unnerving to have two Calfee's relying on the vacuum pumps but it worked fine. Most times we rent a mini van so we can lock it inside. For long car rides uncoupling is pretty fast and easy.
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Old 07-09-18, 08:08 AM
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We normally rent a minivan when flying places. It's nice to fit the assembled tandem, its cases, and everything else inside the vehicle without struggling. We typically also have a car seat, pack n play, and child bike seat to cram into the minivan.

If you'll be driving around with the assembled tandem and no cases and no other passengers, I'd get a hatchback or small SUV. Our coupled tandem fits easily into the trunk (with rear seats folded down) of our Subaru Impreza hatchback after undoing front couplers and cable splitters only. The wheels stay on, the seats stay on, accessories stay in place. This assumes your bike splits in front of the front bottom bracket so you don't have to futz with the eccentric.

A third option is to travel with or rent a bike rack. I like the Allen 2-bike trunk rack ($35 at Walmart) because it folds flat into a suitcase.
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Old 07-10-18, 07:06 PM
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Thanks Folks,

My take-away is that I can consider breaking the bike when transporting/storing in a smaller vehicle. Our bike is a Co-Mo so I can take the front section off with just 3 cable splitters and 2 couplers leaving everything else intact. We are visiting our daughter so we can leave the cases with her while we are out and about. We have shopped around for car rentals quite a bit and all the prices are about the same and all the discounts are about the same giving us costs that are, you guessed it, all about the same. We are going to reserve a midsize SUV and I'll try and talk up a free, or very reduced rate, upgrade to a mini van.
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Old 07-23-18, 06:16 PM
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You got couplers . . . learn how to use them!
We can carry our custom c/f Zona tandem INSIDE a Honda fit and we don't have couplers.
Plan ahead!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 07-24-18, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Alcanbrad View Post
Thanks Folks,

My take-away is that I can consider breaking the bike when transporting/storing in a smaller vehicle. Our bike is a Co-Mo so I can take the front section off with just 3 cable splitters and 2 couplers leaving everything else intact. We are visiting our daughter so we can leave the cases with her while we are out and about. We have shopped around for car rentals quite a bit and all the prices are about the same and all the discounts are about the same giving us costs that are, you guessed it, all about the same. We are going to reserve a midsize SUV and I'll try and talk up a free, or very reduced rate, upgrade to a mini van.
It has been some time but in the past we have used Priceline to book a rental car. They have a feature where you can select the type of vehicle from about 6 different suppliers and bid on what you are willing to pay. The rental agencies will either accept your low bid or not. If not, you can just up the bid a bit until one bites. We got a rental car pretty cheaply that way.
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Old 07-24-18, 07:16 AM
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It does make it easier to rein-gauge the couplers on a tandem with less weight I.E. removing the wheels
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Old 07-26-18, 07:23 AM
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Are you renting in the USA or overseas? In Europe we always rent a station wagon ("combi" in Germany) and it works fine, especially if you have a coupled bike and don't mind breaking it in half. But you'll often be able to fit a tandem in without splitting it up. We can even get our S&S triple in a wagon by splitting it in half. Used to be in Europe you could easily get a real station wagon, which we always preferred because they had a long cargo space. Nowadays, we always seem to get "upgraded" to these combo SUV-station wagons that are very popular over there (and here in the USA, too). We use one-way rentals a lot in Europe, in combination with trains. With three people and a triplet, sometimes a car rental is a lot easier and more cost-effective. See some photos below of several different cars we rented on our last European tour. The bike is a Santana Cabrio S&S triplet, so a tandem would easily fit.

It drives my wife nuts, but I almost ALWAYS ask for a different car than they originally give me. You can try at the desk, but I often find better results by going to look at the car, then coming back and saying "That won't really work for us, do you have something more like [car you want]." They seem to be more amenable to switching if you've already looked at the car. Also, consider joining whatever the rental agency's rental club is (e.g., Hertz Gold). At least in Europe I find they treat me a lot nicer.




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Old 07-27-18, 12:15 PM
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If traveling with only two people a compact car should work fine saving on the rental and gas. We have successfully and quite easily carried a size large NON coupled tandem inside of several small inexpensive, by comparison, rental cars. Among those have been Sentras, Elantras, Jettas, Corollas, Sonatas, Altimas, Camrys, and probably others I don't recall.. All of these vehicles have fold down rear seats and the frame, with the captain seatpost/stoker bar and wheels removed, will slide right in through the trunk and rear passenger seat area.
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Old 07-31-18, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by tandemdr View Post
... and probably others I don't recall.. All of these vehicles have fold down rear seats and the frame, with the captain seatpost/stoker bar and wheels removed, will slide right in through the trunk and rear passenger seat area.
A Chevrolet Cruze was another one not mentioned that pulled an honest 40 mpg, too. We also had large panniers and bags for being self supported in addition to gear needed for tent camping.
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