Best Way to Transport Bike?

jacksomd Posts: 49
edited July 2007 in Road beginners

I've just bought agreat new carbon fibre bike (a Planet-X) - something I've always wanted. Currently, when I need to transport the bike I load it into the back of our estate so it's nice and safe!

However, we've been offered a farmhouse down in Provence in France for three weeks at the end of September. I'd like to take the bike down with me. There's an emerging plan that a few of us may make an attempt on Mont Ventoux!

Given that my wife and kids may insist on taking some luggage with them (selfish!) I probably won't be able to fit the bike inside the car.

Given this I was wondering what the group consensus would be for transporting the bike down to the south of France?

Are roof racks better or are the kind that go on the back of the car (possible with an estate?) a better choice? Will my lovely new bike suffer being transported using either of these methods? Is there anything I should keep in mind using either method to keep the bike in it current condition? I did think about getting a bike box and strapping this to the roof bars but we may need to tranport more than one bike so I'm not sure this method is realistic! Does anyone have any other suggestions?

I know I'm probably being a bit paranoid about all of this but i am very proud of this new set of wheels! So, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help.



  • Do you have a towing bracket ?

    What tree ? ...........

    Trek 8000 ZR XC hardtail.
  • jacksomd
    jacksomd Posts: 49
    [MarvintheAndroid asked: "Do you have a towing bracket ?"

    No we do not have a towbar. Never thought to get one when we ordered the car!
  • I find two bikes are fine on the back "strap-on" carrier, and I use foam pipe lagging tubes to protect any parts which might rub. I know they often say they'll hold 3 or 4 bikes, but i wouldn't unless they were kids bikes. OK until you need to open the back in a hurry.

    I have never used roof rail carriers but I guess they are fine as long as you don't have any overhanging branches etc.

    You may be just as well off removing the wheels and loosening the handlebars and packing them carefully in the back of the car, wrapped in a blanket or similar.

    What tree ? ...........

    Trek 8000 ZR XC hardtail.
  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    I prefer to have the bike on the back, where I can see it.

    If you're going to France, there may be a height restriction on the car and this may cost more or cause problems.

    Get a high mounted rack and avoid having to use a light board and number plate

    Giving it Large
  • hopeful
    hopeful Posts: 76
    It's best to put a bit of money into this, as I discovered after wasting a fair bit on trying to save some (If you know what I mean). I now have a Thule 945 cycle carrier. It's towbar mounted and is fantastic. It's an immensely solid piece of kit which holds the bikes beautifully. It has all you need on it (except the registration plate). The best thing, with regard to holidays, is that the carrier titls to allow you to get at the contents of the boot. Even with the bikes on, it's a doddle. It cost about £160 from and is well worth the money. You need the tow bar, too, but (if you're as paranoid as you say you are), I'd recommend going for the whole hog.

    One thing to remember about the standard carriers is that, to be legal, you need to have a lighting board attached. That pushes up the cost which is better put into a Thule but, apart from that, there can be a bit of faffing around trying to get it properly and tightly attached. And once such a carrier is on, forget about trying to open the boot!

    From what I've read, putting a bike on the roof plays havoc with fuel consumption, apart from the added height complications.

    Anyway, as far as the Thule is concerned, I wouldn't look back.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I carry my bikes on the back of my car.

    I recently saw a guy drive his roof mounted ORBEA into a car park which was too low. The poor guy clearly forgot about the bike as it made a very loud crack as the front of the frame and rear wheel broke on the concrete doorway. I'd have to have a warning sign/reminder on the steering wheel if I had a bike on the roof as that would be such an easy and expensive mistake to make.

  • Eurostar
    Eurostar Posts: 1,806
    The traditional French approach is that you cycle to Provence with your mates while your wife drives the car. You extend your journey needlessly by sitting around in your wool cycling shorts drinking Pastis in every bar you pass. When you finally arrive the wife throws plates at the wall and accuses you of loving your bike more than her and the kids. You shove the kids outside so you can you make mad passionate love on the kitchen table, still wearing your club cycling cap and your Carnac black leather lace-up cycling shoes. All is forgiven.
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • HJ1976
    HJ1976 Posts: 205
    What about a variation on the roof theme- buy a roof box (slightly more aerodynamic) and strip the bike down and wrap it in blankets. then it is not blocking your visibility (the police were stopping people with rear mounted bike carriers last time i went to france and finingthem if the lights or nimber plate were even slightly covered), there is easy access to the boot, and if you get a locking box they will be safer.
  • irb10
    irb10 Posts: 32
    I use roofbar mounted carriers (Thule ProRide 591) which I find pretty good. The bikes are held pretty securely and you still have access to the boot. Can carry 4 bikes on the roof, unlike most rear carriers. Watch out for low barriers (e.g. car parks) though! Regarding protecting the bike, the only thing you need to watch is that the roof carrier's downtube clamp might pinch the bike's cables against the frame which can cause scratching, although a bit of tape should sort this. I image a rear carrier with multiple bikes is more likely to cause damage to your bike (or car), unless the bikes are well separated and protected.

    I think tow-ball carriers are probably the best solution, although you'll need a tow-ball fitted to your car which can be pricey which is why I didn't choose one.