Carrying bikes with your hitch rack
Planning for a camping trip with the bicycles? You may want to consider using a hitch rack for your bicycles.
image © thule.com
If you've got a pickup truck or an SUV, you may think that you don't need to make an investment in a bike rack of any kind, because there's plenty of room in the back of the truck or your sports utility vehicle for a bike or two. Right?
However, after you've driven around with your bike rattling around in the back of your SUV or truck, you may change your mind.
It's not only the noise that may get on your nerves. Grease and dirt can quite easily transfer from your bike to the upholstery of the SUV, and of course you'll have to flip those seats up and down to ensure you have enough room.
Even if you don't care about the state of your truck bed, it's easy to scratch your bike as well and you don't want that. And if you're carrying more than one bike, the chances of scratches or staining is multiplied.
What can you do about it? You can't get a roof rack for your truck, obviously, and the roof of your SUV will be too high to comfortably lift a bike up to the roof.
No problem - if you've got a trailer hitch on the back of your truck or SUV, then all you need to do is get a receiver bike rack, more commonly known as a hitch bike rack. (The receiver is the name of the ball on which a trailer hitch is placed.)
Lots of companies offer hitch racks, from Thule to Saris to Yakima.
There's a couple of things you need to bear in mind when buying a hitch or receiver rack - what's the diameter of the ball on which the hitch has to fit? Once you know that dimension, you also have to decide how many bikes you're going to carry. You can buy a hitch rack that will carry up to five bikes at a time, but more likely, you'll be carring 2 to 4 bikes on your rack.
If you're nervous about having your bicycles secured on the back of you vehicle, you can also explore the option of a bed mount.
This is a device that runs horizontally from one side of your truck bed to the other. You then put your bikes onto this rack and secure them down so that they stand up securely and don't rattle around. You can also buy a similar device for your SUV, although you still have the hassle of moving around the seats - depending on the size of your vehicle.
If you've got a pickup or an SUV, then you've invested a lot in your vehicle. You've probably also invested a lot in your bike as well. So why not invest a little bit more in a receiver bike rack to keep everything safe, clean, and neat ?
Of course, if you're already carrying some sort of camping equipment behind your vehicule, you'll have to look at some other solution. There are racks that fits over a popup trailer tent, or you could just store the bikes inside the caravan. Whatever your options, it's great to have the bicycles at camping trips.