Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Suggestions for traveling with bikes on BC Ferries

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Suggestions for traveling with bikes on BC Ferries

Old 07-20-18, 11:12 PM
  #1  
tourbiker
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tourbiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Vancouver/Whistler, BC
Posts: 110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Suggestions for traveling with bikes on BC Ferries

I just traveled on the BC Ferry’s ‘Coastal Celebration’ from Victoria to Vancouver where there are no bike racks and no place to safely put bikes. The crew member rudely told me to lean my bike against the other bikes that were already there. I was not allowed to find a better spot and had to lean my expensive bike against other bikes with no way to protect them. This has happened on other routes where they have older ferries.

The Spirit class ferries on the Vancouver-Victoria route have bike racks and the crew tend to allow bikes to be put along the sides aft of the racks where they can sometimes be secured. However, an older bike was leaned precariously against mine this morning as there wasn’t sufficient space.

I love riding in the areas served by BC Ferries but is it acceptable to risk damage? Or am I being too picky? BTW, I did discuss this with the ship's Chief Steward who was unaware that there are no racks on that ferry.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
tourbiker is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 10:49 AM
  #2  
travelinhobo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: No certain place. Catch me when you can.
Posts: 347

Bikes: I'm not a guy - brand doesn't matter.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You must be American. I can't believe this whiny post. What's wrong with putting your bike up against (gasp!) other bikes?? That's how it's been done on many of my boat trips in Europe. I'd love to see how a bike could be leaned "precariously" against another. Is this a real post? My suggestion: pop the ego or stay home.
travelinhobo is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 11:54 AM
  #3  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Left Coast, Canada
Posts: 4,149
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1675 Post(s)
Liked 640 Times in 372 Posts
That is status quo for BC ferries so you didn't experience anything too unusual. I ride the ferries a lot and try to get in the boarding que early or walk a little faster than the others (but not in a goofy way) so I get a good pick of leaning spots.

Sometimes there are bike racks just back a bit amidships near where the walk on baggage cars park but I actually prefer the wall as you can lean it pretty good. Just dawdle and wait until someone else comes so you can be present and help them lean their bike against yours if it's busy.. This double stacking usually only occurs at peak tourist season, otherwise there is enough room for everyone to single lean.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 07-21-18 at 07:00 PM.
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 12:51 PM
  #4  
seeker333
-
 
seeker333's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,849

Bikes: yes!

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 275 Post(s)
Liked 34 Times in 32 Posts
Originally Posted by tourbiker View Post
...Does anyone have any suggestions?
Cover top and seat tubes with an overlapping wrap of old inner tube(s). This will protect finish from scratches, and the tubes from dents to a smaller extent. This is sometimes done by commuters who lock and unlock their bike frequently.

You get similar protection from wrapping tubes with 3M Scotchlite retroreflective tape, but it adds some nighttime visibility/conspicuity.

Last edited by seeker333; 07-21-18 at 12:56 PM.
seeker333 is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 01:11 PM
  #5  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,817
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 212 Times in 132 Posts
We've traveled on BC ferries with our bikes many times without any problems.

​​​​All the bike tourers in my family carry "ferry straps". The straps are made from a 6' piece of 1/2" tubular nylon webbing with a Fastex side lock buckle. They allow a lot of flexibility securing your bike while on the ferries.
​​
Doug64 is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 07:21 PM
  #6  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,540

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3391 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 43 Posts
I always have a bungee cord at the ready when boarding a ferry.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 07:25 PM
  #7  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,540

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3391 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 43 Posts
Also if you can't afford to have it scratched (or stolen for that matter) then you are riding the wrong bike. Ride something you can afford to loose or have damaged. You will get scratches in many more places than just ferries. I got a pretty good on on a train out of Verona, Italy. I consider them sort of badges of honor. A lot of good memories come with them.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 07:45 PM
  #8  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,891

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3119 Post(s)
Liked 341 Times in 217 Posts
Rowan and I have travelled by ferry many times with our bicycles, and there have never been bicycle racks!!

Our experience with the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria, and then Nanaimo and Vancouver was just fine ... pretty much the same as any ferry we've used in various parts of the world.
Machka is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 09:25 PM
  #9  
Big Lew
Fraser Valley Dave
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia Canada
Posts: 546

Bikes: devinci monaco (upgraded)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've always traveled early in the year before the main tourist season. I've used Washington State ferries a few times,
and I've used BC ferries many times, including the Inside Passage Route and back and forth from Haida Gwaii without
any issues. Never saw a bike rack, but I could bungee my bike tight against the side bumper railing up at the front each
time which allowed me to get off quickly and out of the way. I also had no vandal or theft issues.
Big Lew is offline  
Old 07-21-18, 09:30 PM
  #10  
gregf83 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 8,989
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1052 Post(s)
Liked 174 Times in 104 Posts
We do a group ride once a year to Cedar, near Nanaimo and take a ferry. There is a rack that holds a couple of bikes the rest just get leaned against the side of the ferry. I don't recall having to stack bikes but we may have. We all have decent road bikes and they're always unlocked with our sweaty helmets offering the only protection. I believe the ferries have security cameras that cover the bike storage areas. I've never heard of a theft although I suppose someone could take a bike and stuff it in a van.
gregf83 is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 06:52 AM
  #11  
reppans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 771

Bikes: Brompton M6R, Specialized Tricross Comp, Ellsworth Isis, Dahon Speed P8

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 312 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
reppans is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 07:15 AM
  #12  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,966

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1740 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 219 Times in 183 Posts
I never took a BC ferry. I took a ferry from Key West to Marco Island, Florida. The ferry company insisted that their staff put our bikes on the ship, and nothing be attached to them. Thus I had to lug my four panniers, etc., onto the ship as carryon luggage.

Later I saw where they put our bikes, with the garbage bags. Photo was taken through a window. No damage was done.

I often have a 6 to 8 inch long piece of foam pipe insulation on my top tube held on with velco when I travel in case I might have to lock up my bike to a steel post or something like that that could scratch the paint. But that is the only protection that i have usually carried on a bike.


Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 07-22-18 at 07:18 AM.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 11:03 AM
  #13  
Papa Tom
Senior Member
 
Papa Tom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Long Island, New York
Posts: 4,094

Bikes: The same GT Outpost Mountain bike I've been riding since 1996, although I modify it throughout the year for commuting, touring, and recreational riding.

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 682 Post(s)
Liked 107 Times in 62 Posts
+1 for carrying a bungee or two. Some miscellaneous fabric (for wedging between the frame and the contact point on the ferry) wouldn't hurt, either. And when your bike gets scratched while on tour, do what I do and cover the scratch with a decal from the place you just visited. My entire frame is now plastered with "mementos" from cool places, and I get to look at them for hours at a time when I am riding.
Papa Tom is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 11:16 AM
  #14  
axolotl
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,851
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 204 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 24 Posts
I once took a ferry from Wales to Ireland. A ferry worker told me to move my bike to a spot he specified. When the boat arrived and I went down to my bike, I discovered that during the sailing, engine oil had been dripping directly onto one of my rear panniers and onto the sleeping bag bungeed on the rear rack. Oil had penetrated inside the pannier to the clothes inside. I filed an immediate claim in the ferry office. They sent me a check fairly promptly.

I've taken BC Ferries and like others, never saw a bike rack on their boats, or any other ferry boats throughout the world. My last time on BC Ferries was 2 years ago. I was on Washington State Ferries about 10 days ago.
axolotl is online now  
Old 07-22-18, 11:18 AM
  #15  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 42,752

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 194 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7380 Post(s)
Liked 983 Times in 622 Posts
hand rails are on the sides of the drive-on drive-off car decks ..

that is what you tie, with a short length of rope, your bike onto,
while the ship is underway .

used several open ocean ferries , on bike tours over the years..

1st on 1st off is a great advantage..



...
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 12:02 PM
  #16  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,966

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1740 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 219 Times in 183 Posts
Much smaller ferry, just used the kickstand. Quick trip across.

Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 03:03 PM
  #17  
GP 
Senior Member
 
GP's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,629
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+2 or 3 on bungee cords. I ride a train everyday where we stack 5 bikes in a 2 bike space so when we did the Pacific Coast tour recently, I brought along an extra for my nephew. We used them on ferries then to hold 1G water bottles to our racks.
GP is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 04:08 PM
  #18  
coolkat
Cyclist
 
coolkat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Seattle/Victoria bc
Posts: 584

Bikes: '84 Univega Specialissima, Surly Cross Check, '88 Kuwahara Cascade, '18 Specialized Fuse Comp, '77 Centurion Super Lemans 3sp, '87 Rocky Mountain Blizzard

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 74 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Some have racks on the horshoe bay-nanaimo run, as I recently found out. I started to lean my bike against the wall on the bottom level, then got yelled at to go use the racks upstairs. Of course, I was on my bikepacking bike, so the tires were too fat for their racks so I got yelled at again before they let me lean it precariously upstairs. The other one I've been on had racks on the bottom level. So it's totally a guessing game.

I grew up in the nw and have ridden wsf and bcferries my whole life, often with bikes, and i still get yelled at basically every time. I do like the ropes they have on wsf though.
coolkat is offline  
Old 07-22-18, 11:50 PM
  #19  
tourbiker
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tourbiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Vancouver/Whistler, BC
Posts: 110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions. I always have a bungie for the ferries (if able to use it) but will add something like a foamie to protect the frame.

I’ve also taken the Washington State Ferries and found that their ropes work well…a simple but effective method. I also haven’t had problems with the smaller Gulf Island ferries. One of the problems with leaning bikes together is that you have to wait until others move their bikes. On busy days on the major routes, I’ve seen bikes stacked up to 5 deep.

With more people biking, and BC Ferries having a bicycle surcharge, I’ll probably write to BC Ferries advocating for racks on ferries, as was recommended by the Chief Steward. But, I think we had a particularly grumpy crew member directing cyclists on last evening's trip.
tourbiker is offline  
Old 07-23-18, 12:09 AM
  #20  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 42,752

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 194 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7380 Post(s)
Liked 983 Times in 622 Posts
Remember bungees are elastic and the motion of a vessel on the water can stretch it and then bang things

if not tight enough...

which a Static rope will not allow that kind of motion cycle ..

tension and release..






..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-23-18, 09:10 AM
  #21  
Papa Tom
Senior Member
 
Papa Tom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Long Island, New York
Posts: 4,094

Bikes: The same GT Outpost Mountain bike I've been riding since 1996, although I modify it throughout the year for commuting, touring, and recreational riding.

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 682 Post(s)
Liked 107 Times in 62 Posts
Yeah, rope seems like a good idea for the reason you stated, but you never know the length you're going to need. A bungee can always stretch that final inch you need to reach a hook somewhere.
Papa Tom is offline  
Old 07-23-18, 12:21 PM
  #22  
GP 
Senior Member
 
GP's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,629
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You can use a Nite Ize bungee or their figure 8.

https://www.amazon.com/Nite-Ize-NCJ2...words=nite+ize

https://www.amazon.com/Nite-Ize-F9L-...e+ize+figure+9
GP is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Tcelen
Advocacy & Safety
68
04-13-18 04:24 PM
daihard
Pacific Northwest
8
10-25-13 03:40 PM
antimonysarah
General Cycling Discussion
4
12-18-12 09:03 PM
LuckySailor
Recreational & Family
16
12-10-12 10:52 AM
tshrode
General Cycling Discussion
2
08-20-12 03:55 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.