Travels with my bike

Bike rack

When far horizons beckon, packing your bike on the back of the car might be the only way to see them. A few tricks let you pack them so you don’t damage your car or the bikes.

Roof-mounted bikes are quite secure. You just need to remember they’re up there. Don’t drive under car ports! You might also want to cover your handle bars and seat to protect them from squashed insects.

Rear-mounted bikes ride quite differently and can cause trouble if not well-secured. If you’re transporting a single bike on a “bike beak”, place it close to your car. It has less leverage there and won’t bounce around so much.

Sit the bike on the mounting channel so it’s as close as possible to its balance point. Try using a piece of wooden dowel in the empty slots to take stress off the securing plate and screws, and reduce the risk of them working loose. Secure the front wheel to the bike frame so the handle bars can’t flop around and damage both your car and the bike.

“Bike beaks” jam all the cables against your bike’s paintwork. Slip a piece of foam between the cables and frame before you place it on the rack. Check the foam on the rack itself too. A bit of cleaning and re-gluing can prevent metal grinding on your bike.

So one bike is relatively easy. What happens when the whole family is coming? Now you need to take care that the bikes make as little contact with each other as possible.

Take the pedals off with a 15mm open-ended spanner. Pedals always undo towards the back of the bike – right pedal in a counter-clockwise direction, left pedal clockwise. Try dropping out the front wheel of the back bike. Turn the handlebars parallel with the frame and secure them there.

Now you’re packed, make sure your tail lights and indicators are still visible. You’ll also need a number plate. Vic Roads sells special bike plates for under $30 (phone 13 11 71 or visit a Customer Service Centre). If you’re travelling at night, you’ll need a lamp to illuminate your number plate, too.

Happy travelling and see you on the road soon, God willing. Eddie Barkla

First published in the Bendigo Weekly Friday 1 September 2006

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