I often wonder what people in pre-car days would have thought of horses being towed around in floats. Strapping your bike to the car can seem just as odd, but it might be the only way to get your two-wheeled steed where you need to go.
Rather like a faithful dog, I’ve seen the prized carbon fibre road bike – minus its wheels – perched on a blanket in the back seat of a convertible. Getting your bike inside the car is certainly the simplest way to carry it.
If you have a bigger 4WD, you can often simply stand the bike in the back and secure it with a strap. In a smaller station wagon or ute, you can use “fork traps” mounted on the floor or a plank of wood to secure your bike. Drop the font wheel out and secure your forks in the “trap” the same way the quick release mechanism works on your wheels.
If you’re carrying the family, the dog, a picnic and everyone’s bikes, putting the bikes inside is probably not an option. A tow bar mounted bike rack is usually the answer.
Some just slip over the tow ball. With others you need to dig out your biggest adjustable spanner and fit a mounting plate under the tow ball first. However your rack is mounted, make sure it’s secure. You don’t want the rack moving while you’re travelling.
The most common racks are the “bike beaks”. The top tube of your bike fits into a channel and a top plate screws down to secure it. Secure the front wheel to the bike’s frame so the wheel can’t flop about. That saves damage to your car and other bikes on the rack.
Channel racks also fit on your tow bar. They carry bikes with the wheels sitting securely in a channel.
If you don’t have a tow bar, a strap-on rack could be an option. These can carry up to three bikes on a “beak”. The rack is secured to your boot or hatch with webbing straps.
Yet another option is the roof-mounted rack. They use a fork trap to secure the front of the bike and a velcro strap to tie down the back wheel. You can even buy covers to keep the bugs off your handlebars and saddle. With roof-mounted bikes, you must always be conscious of low carport roofs, branches and signs!
Whichever way you carry your “steed” enjoy your trip. See you on the road soon, God willing.