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Size of rental car when renting bikes on vacation?

Old 08-27-12, 10:03 AM
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alexdrozd
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Size of rental car when renting bikes on vacation?

My wife and I plan on spending a week in California for vacation. I think it will be too much of a hassle sending our bikes out or bringing them with us since we will probably only do 25 miles per day.

My question is if we rent them, what type of rental car do most people get? A small one (that can't fit the bikes inside) and rent a bike rack too? Or a larger vehicle that can hold both bikes inside. The 2 main advantages of them being inside is less chance of theft and protection from the weather.

Just wondering what others do since this is our first outing like this.
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Old 08-27-12, 10:10 AM
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When I did this, I rented a Chrysler minivan. I got a very good deal through work at National. We could have used a smaller car but it wouldn't have been as easy.
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Old 08-27-12, 10:17 AM
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I've found that just about any car can carry two bikes inside if you take off the bike wheels. One can fit in the trunk along with the wheels and the other in the back seat. My road bikes are both 60 cm frames and they fit easily in either position in a Toyota Corolla or similar size sedan. Have some plastic sheeting or other material to keep any grease or dirt off the car interior - and I try to do the bike loading out of sight of the rental agency to avoid any objections.
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Old 08-27-12, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I've found that just about any car can carry two bikes inside if you take off the bike wheels. One can fit in the trunk along with the wheels and the other in the back seat. My road bikes are both 60 cm frames and they fit easily in either position in a Toyota Corolla or similar size sedan. Have some plastic sheeting or other material to keep any grease or dirt off the car interior - and I try to do the bike loading out of sight of the rental agency to avoid any objections.
+1

That said I have sometimes found that I actually got either a free upgrade or even a cheaper choice for a larger vehicle. In all cases it was a one way rental so maybe they wanted to dump the bigger vehicles. Once when I went to pick up the car they said, "I can give you a minivan for the same price". It was great because my companion had a trailer and a ton of gear. Another time when I reserved the car on line the Jeep Liberty was actually cheaper than any of the smaller cars! That was nice too because I was going to be doing a couple days sightseeing with the car and I was able to sleep in the back of the Liberty also I was driving some bad dirt roads and the clearance was nice. In cases like that it might depend on how many miles you will be driving and what you will spend in gas.
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Old 08-27-12, 11:11 AM
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I have a mini-van (toyota) and you can easily fit two bikes inside plus various other traveling luggage etc.
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Old 08-27-12, 02:16 PM
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I can fit my large road bike and my GF's small road bilke in my '95 Mazda Protege. With the wheels off, hers fits in the trunk. Mine can go in the back seat with the front wheel removed. Plenty of room for other stuff you we use huge, hard-sided luggage.
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Old 08-28-12, 05:57 AM
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I don't own an automobile, so occasionally rent either for bicycle trip or a one-way part of a tour.

A basic trunk bike rack @ Walmart type store is ~$50 so even if you can't rent one from rental car company you can get one along the way. I've had three so far (once I brought back with me and used for local trips, one went to brother, one went to friend). With a back rack a basic compact car works fine to carry touring bike and gear.

Taking off both wheels also mostly works except for smallest sizes of rental cars. Depending on the rental car counter, I can sometimes swap if size looks to be too tight of a squeeze.

My recumbent is long wheel base and large frame. If I'm picking a no hassle choice then I'll get either mini-van or mid-sized SUV to bring that back. For example, Memorial Day weekend rode from Portland to Boise and picked up minivan at the airport to drive back.
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