Transporting Your Bike to the Trailhead

Transporting Your Bike to the Trailhead

You might have noticed over the past few years that more and more people have their bikes attached to their cars in some way or another. Whether it be mountain bikes or road bikes, it seems like every other car these days has people in it on their way to a ride. And if you don't see bikes on a car then you at least see bike racks attached to cars.

Unless you have a variety of trails that are riding distance from your house, you most likely need a way to get your bike to the trails so you can enjoy your investment. Depending on the type of car you have, you will have a few options to get you there. If you have a pickup truck then you will have the most options because there are several ways to transport your bike. The easiest way is to throw it in the back and hit the road but then again that is not the best way to keep your bike from getting damaged. If it's just sliding around the bed of your truck you can end up with scratches which for most people are no big deal, but you can also do things such as bend your derailleur or bang other parts into the bed of your truck.

Another option is to use a tailgate pad that drapes off the back of your bed. This way you can have the rear of the bike inside the bed and the front hanging over the back and have the bikes be held in place by the tailgate itself. There are many tailgate pad manufacturers and they usually also come with built in straps to hold the bikes in place.

Tailgate pad


Another option for tuck owners is the in bed type bike rack. There are many different configurations out there and some allow you to put the bike in the bed without taking anything apart and other types require you to remove the front wheel. These racks will of course take up the valuable space in your bed that can otherwise be used for your gear.

In bed bike rack


One of my favorite types of racks for truck is the type that can sit on top of the bed. That way you still have the bed open to hold all of your gear, as long as it doesn't go any higher than the top of the bed. Depending on your truck and the rack you can mount this type of rack right to the bed by bolting it on or using clamps. If you have a non-metal bed then bolting it on is probably not an option. These can be a little pricey and the size of your truck will determine how many bikes you can fit on this type of rack. The width of your handlebars will also make a difference but if you have a long enough bed, you can alternate front to back with the racks, so your bars won't be touching each other.

On bed Yakima bike rack


If you don't have a truck then you still have some nice options when it comes to bike transportation. One common type of bike rack is the type that attaches to the trailer hitch of your car (or truck). If you don't have a trailer hitch on the back of your car then you can get one installed for $2-300. Just keep in mind that there are two main sizes for the receiver end of the hitch. If you can, try and get the 2 inch model rather than the 1 1/4 inch size because if you plan on carrying multiple bikes or heavy bikes such as e-bikes you will want the extra strength. Plus you will have a larger variety of rack choices with the 2 inch size. These racks can carry 2 to 4 bikes and can be folded up when not in use depending on the type. Some of them hold the bikes by the frame while others allow you to secure the bikes using the wheels. I think these are the way to go if you go this route.

Hitch bike rack


If your car has roof rails then you can use them as a mounting point for bike racks as well. You can use the same types of racks that you can use when mounting your bikes on the top of your truck bed. Just keep in mind that if you have a taller car or are a shorter person then it might be difficult to get the bike off the rack. And if you are an e-bike rider, it can be a real challenge to lift the bike that high to get it on your roof. Some of these racks require you to remove the front wheel while others will allow you to leave it on which is the way to go in my opinion.

On roof rails bike rack


Finally if none of these options work for you then you might be stuck with the good ole trunk mount bike rack that straps onto the back of your car. Back in the beginning, these were awful and ended up scratching your car because they were not very stable, and the bike would tend to move around. These days they are much better and there are even models that allow you to carry multiple bikes. I am not a fan of these since the rack will need to make contact with the paint on your car in most cases but if you install and use them correctly, you should be ok.

Trunk mount bike rack

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to transporting your bike so there is no excuse not to get out there and check out some new trails. And if you don't have a car then I guess you will have to warm up by riding to the trailhead!

Posted by Preston Mason

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Categories: General

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