How to mount and transport your bikes safely?

Why?

If you are reading this blog, you prolly already know the biggest incentive of being able to mount and transport your bikes – the ability to access thousands of miles of pristine biking trails and create endless memories for your loved ones, in the process.

34478647680_0ba7b6d777_k
Courtesy: John Loach under Creative Commons License 

How?

Please read on to know how to get your car ready for mounting the bikes with a vanilla hitch based install. There are umpteen other options to mount but below route is what I and most of my friends took with no regret so far, so here it is –

Step 1 – Buy the hitch receiver

If you have the hitch receiver already in your car, please leap to Step 3. Many of the newer SUVs come with a factory fitted 2 inch hitch receiver so please check your car first.

If you don’t have a receiver yet, I would recommend buying a suitable 2 inch Class 3 hitch receiver from Amazon or your local auto shop favorite like Uhaul, Tuffy, Pep Boys and so forth. My car had it already but friends in Naperville have bought and installed receivers from our local Uhaul and had very pleasant experience. 

hitch_receiver

Alert: If you are buying it online, please be aware that the hitch receivers are tailored to your car make and model.

For the inquisitive ones, you can read more about the hitches here

Step 2 – Install the hitch receiver

If you are an adept DIY person, you can YouTube the installation. I am not. And for the fellow lesser skilled DIYers, I would recommend a professional install from your local dealer or auto service shops. In Naperville, my friends have used Tuffy and Uhaul (you have to buy the receiver from them) with desired outcome. 

Below is a screenshot on sample search on Uhaul website to find a suitable hitch for your car –

hitch_uhaul

Step 3 – Buy bike rack

Here comes the easy part – unless you want to dish out loads of money, I would recommend buying the Allen Sports Bike Rack from Amazon and be done with it. I have the Premier version bought from Amazon but you could take any of the others as well including Deluxe Locking. 

Bike_Rack

Step 4 – Install bike rack

If a relatively low skilled DIY guy like me could install the bike rack, anyone can. Just read (or YouTube) the instructions. I would recommend following accessories though –

  1. Quick release drive ratchet – I have the Stanley mechanics tool set which includes 3/8 inch drive ratchet but smaller (1/4 inch) or bigger (1/2 inch) ratchets should work fine too.
  2. 19mm drive socket for the drive ratchet you have, like this.

  3. Simple adjustable wrench to hold the other side – I have this one from Menards. 

ratcheting_driver
Ratcheting wrench

Step 5 – Mount bikes

Mounting is very trivial, just remember to start by keeping heavy bikes close to the car.

For women or kids bikes which don’t have a horizontal straight bar across the bike, the cross bar adapter helps a ton to keep them safely secured.

bike_cross_bar_adapter

If you are going for long distances, I would recommend using further protection to tie your many bikes together and nix any possible wiggling –

  1. Bungee cords like these.
    OR
  2. Any other strings you have at home to secure the bikes together.

That’s it, you are all set!

Total approx. cost – $200 (buy receiver) + $100 (install receiver) + $150 (buy rack) + $50 (mounting accessories) = ~$500

Special thanks to Rajeev Mishra for his contributions in writing this blog.

Ready to ride – please check out some joyful biking paths around Naperville here.


Did this help you to plan your own biking adventures? Please share about your bike mounting experience in the comments section or better still, shoot an email to me at cagespear@gmail.com. I will put the best ones in this blog itself!

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