Tag Archives: Bike rack

In most cases a bicycle rack for your auto is a necessity if you want to transport your bike safely. Here are a few tips and facts about choosing, buying and installing the right bike racks.

Getting a bicycle rack will protect your car and your bike!

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In most cases a bicycle rack for your auto is a necessity if you want to transport your bike safely. Consequently, by trying to transport your bicycle in the trunk, you can create serious damage to it. In light of that, here are a few tips and facts about choosing, buying and installing the right bike racks.

What is your bicycle rack going to haul

bike rack

The first choice in picking a bicycle rack is deciding what you will be transporting. Most trunk racks can only accommodate 3 bikes, so if you plan to carry more, that leaves you with roof or hitch racks. Furthermore, If you plan to carry kayaks or skis, that leaves a roof racks as your only option. So before picking your rack, be sure you know what you are carrying.

Roof racks for bicycles

Roof racks mount exactly as you would expect, on the roof of your car. Typically, they are made up of three parts; Load bars, feet and bicycle tray. The load bars are sized to match the width of your car and span from one side of the vehicle to the other. The feet, hold the load bar and mount onto the vehicle. Feet are specific to your vehicle and can mount to the rain gutters, factory roof rack, or door wells. A bike tray mounts to the load bars and holds your bicycle. Different bike trays can hold your bike by its fork, downtube, or wheels. Considering roof racks are the most complicated type of rack, they are also the most expensive. However, once you have a rack system, the individual attachments for bikes, skis, kayaks or any other product are relatively inexpensive.

Hitch racks for your bicycle

bike rack

A hitch rack fits into a receiver installed on the back of your vehicle (see image below). The receiver doesn’t need to be rated to pull a trailer, just hold the bike rack. Hitch racks are made to carry up to 5 bikes, all on the back of the car. Some versions require you to remove the bikes to access your trunk while some others can swing away from your vehicle with all bikes installed. Additionally, hitch racks can be locked to the car and bikes can be locked to it. The great thing about hitch racks is the cost starts very low.

Trunk racks for bikes

bike rack

Trunk bicycle racks, also known as strap racks, mount to the back of a car, by way of fabric straps and rubber hooks. The hooks fit into the gap between your car and its trunk. The attached straps get tightened down to secure the rack into place. Trunk racks typically have a maximum of 3 bikes. Due to the fact that they use fabric straps, trunk racks are not a good resource to lock your bike. They are however very inexpensive and easy to store when not in use.

Installing a bicycle rack

The tough part about bike racks is that there are almost as many racks as there are cars, and each car requires a different fit. Sadly, there is no one best way to install a rack. With that being said, rack manufacturers like Thule, Saris, and Yakima publish a fit guide to help out. Most of these brands are displayed at your local bike shop, so stop in and check them out. Remember, if you are going to install the rack yourself, follow the manufacturers guidelines for trouble use and to make sure your equipment is safe.

Rear bike rack visibility

Any time you attach something to the back of your car you can obscure visibility. Thankfully you can get around this by placing the bikes on the rack properly, and using your side mirrors. What you can’t get around is obscuring your liscense plate and tail lights. For that issue there is a handy product that solves the problem – The Auto Rack.

The Auto Rack is a tail light extension system that offers motorist behind a clear view of the operators intentions.

The Auto Rack is a tail light extension system that offers motorist behind a clear view of the operators intentions.

The Auto Rack is a patented auxiliary system that easily mounts to the last bike placed on the rack. Selecting either the aluminum or hard plastic frame model extends the visibility of your rear lights. Both models uses a standard 4-pole flat trailer light connection to transmit the stop, turn and tail light functions. They both have a mounting platform for your vehicle’s license plate also. So, by using a Auto Rack system, accidents can be prevented and there is less of a chance of being pulled over by police.

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I have seen many people put off using a commuter bike because they felt they didn't have the right bicycle, not realizing it was already in their garage.

Building the ultimate commuter bike with what’s in your garage

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

I have been using a commuter bike almost exclusively for the past twenty years. In that time, I have seen many people put off commuting by bicycle because they felt they didn’t have the right bike. While the right gear is important, many don’t realize that the right equipment is closer than many think. Take a look at how I would built the perfect bike for commuting, it may surprise you how close it might be to that bike hanging in your garage.

The ultimate commuter bike

For the sake of this article, we will start with a bike that is similar to what most people already have hanging in their garage. The Marin Farifax SC1, an aluminum hybrid with V-brakes, 24 speeds, and a flat handlebar. This bike is comfortable and efficient for most riders and durable enough for the rigors of daily riding. Additionally, the tires use a puncture resistant layer to fight flats.

commuter bike

The Fairfax SC1 is similar to bikes you will find in garages everywhere.

Bare minimum to be a commuter bike

As a bike goes, the Fairfax SC1 is pretty much commuter ready out of the box. If I were to add one thing it would be lights. Being visible as a commuter is job #1. While commuting, you typically share time and space with cars, so it is important to let them know where you are. I like to use a good tail light and a strong head lamp. The tail light is kept on blink mode while the headlamp shins bright and steady. This way, vehicles approaching from behind can see me easily, and the light from my headlamp allows others to see me and me to see them.

I would also recommend the basic tools necessary to fix a flat tire. That includes a spare tube, pump, tire levers, patches and a 1-$ bill. If you have never changed a flat before, practice once or twice at home before heading off on your first trip.

commuter bike

Being visible is a must

Next best thing

If I were to make another suggestion, it would be for a rear rack with bags, or a good backpack. While both options are designed to carry your stuff, they do their jobs slightly differently. A rack a bags work well to keep the weight of your gear on the bike and off your back. This option is far more comfortable than a backpack, but can be more jarring to the gear you carry (a real concern if you lug a laptop around). The backpack is not as comfortable, but is better for your gear, and easier to use if you have more than one bike. For either option I look for something waterproof. Eventually you will get caught in the rain, and keeping your gear dry is a necessity.

commuter bike

A rack and this bag from twowheelgear make carrying your gear easier.

On the subject of Dry

While not a necessity, fenders are a welcome addition to any commuter bike. I prefer the permanent, bolt on, style fender. I find they keep you dryer and stay in place better than the clip on variety. The fender does an amazing job of keeping you dry when the road surface is wet.

commuter bike

Fenders round out the commuter bike build.

The ULTIMATE commuter bike

Ok, I know “the ultimate” gets thrown around a a lot and it’s probably a better headline to grace the cover of cosmo than HaveFunBiking. So This is an overview of My ultimate commuter. As a base, I will start with the Marin Fairfax SC6 DLX. This commuter ticks a lot of the boxes for my ultimate bike and is not the only one on the market. Look around to see what is available in your market, and test ride to see what you like best.

commuter bike

Marin’s Fairfax SC6 DLX is a fully loaded commuter.

I like the Fairfax SC6 DLX because it uses a generator front hub, Internally geared rear hub, belt drive, full fender set, hydraulic disc brakes and a full carbon fork. The things I would change to make it even better is to use lighter rims (light weight wheels make a bike ride easier), and a Carbon handlebar to quiet some of the road noise. Other than that, I would probably loose the rear rack (as I prefer a backpack) and install some egg beater clipless pedals

Everything else

Beyond the bike there are lots of other topics that arise when you start commuting by bike. Things like what to wear, how to care for my bike, rain riding, etc. Rather than focusing on those concerns, I encourage you to think about how you are going to enjoy your increased fitness, what are you going to feel like when you loose those extra few pounds, and what amazing things will you create after you kickstart your mind aboard two wheels.

Bike Rack Folds Small For Travel

By Ben Coxworth, Giz Mag   

A lot of cyclists like to take their bike with them when traveling by air, or they’ll rent one upon reaching their destination. That said, they may still need a way of transporting it once they get there. Using a folding bike or renting a large vehicle are a couple of solutions, but Allen Sports has now announced another – the AL01, which is billed as being the world’s smallest folding bike rack.

The AL01 on a sedan or SUV (photo: Allen Sports)

The AL01 on a sedan or SUV (photo: Allen Sports)

Although no exact dimensions have been provided, the 6061-aluminum-framed AL01 is reportedly small enough to fit in a shoebox when folded down. This means that users could carry it in a suitcase, then put it onto the back of a rental sedan, hatchback, SUV or minivan as needed. Using three cinching straps, it can be installed within a matter of seconds.

The AL01 features dual-compound cradle beds with individual tie-downs (photo: Allen Sports)

The AL01 features dual-compound cradle beds with individual tie-downs (photo: Allen Sports)

Some of its other features include dual-compound cradle beds with individual tie-downs, wide pressure-distributing padded feet, and an included carrying bag.

The AL01 is available now on Amazon, for the rather precise price of US$43.02. There’s also a two-bike model, the AL02, for $90.

You additionally might want to check out the portable, inflatable TrunkMonkey bike rack.