Driving with a bike

With many years experience of touring the UK and Europe, Martin Spencer, the Club's Technical Manager, tells us his tops tips on how to safely secure bikes when driving.

More and more we are seeing our members venturing off on their touring holidays accompanied by their bicycles, mainly due to the ease of getting out and about once at the Club campsite. So we’ve come up with a few helpful tips on the best way to transport your bikes when touring.

Carrier on the back of the car:
Designs of bike carriers vary in terms of how high you need to lift the bikes. Unless the racks are high-mounted, you’ll need a lighting board with your car’s registration number on, incase the rack or the bike obscure the car’s lights or number plate. These can often be the most cost-effective racks. 

Towbar mounted carrier:
Those clamping to the towball aren't of any use when towing but if you’re fitting behind a bolt-on towball, this would be more stable and secure. Be warned though, the weight of the rack and the bikes do add to the noseweight, so it’s not ideal unless your car has some excess noseweight capacity.

Roof rack mounted carrier:
Although a good space-saver, it can be tricky getting the bikes on and off the roof rack. It is also one of the worst options for generating noise and increasing fuel consumption.

Inside the car: 
You’ll need to have a large car or perhaps small bikes! Realistically though, you’ll probably have plenty of bags and other kit that you’re taking with you already, to fit into the car. It might be viable to carry kids bikes inside a car or even one of the compact folding models but on the whole, it’s not the most viable option.

Inside the caravan:
Only a few caravans would suit this option, especially for adult bikes, as you’d need wider doors, enough space inside and tie down points. Both the Knaus Sport&Fun or the Swift Basecamp are good examples of caravans that are suitable. Be aware of the payload capacity though.

Bike rack on the back of the caravan: 
Hanging bikes, especially e-bikes, right at the back of a caravan can cause some stability problems. Only a few caravans have reinforced mounting points needed to add a carrier to. It is always best to check your loading and set-up carefully, before setting off.

On a caravan a-frame:
This is more common on the European models, although Bailey’s Discovery range has space for a rack. It does restrict access to the front locker and increases the noseweight, so always best to check your car’s limit first.

Do remember to think about your storage that you’ve got available at home, when you’re back from touring. Does the removable rack fold or dismantle or will it take up quite a bit of space in your garage or shed? Visit our Club Shop to get discounted member rates on bike racks like the Fiamma Carry Bike Pro E Cycle rack (below) RRP £420.73, Club Shop price £378.66, which as a member saves you £42.07.

Don’t forget about security and make sure you lock exposed bikes whilst travelling, especially when temporarily parking up at service stations, whilst giving opportunistic thieves an easy ride. Also remember to lock your bikes securely when on site as well, as having your bikes stolen could spoil your holiday. 

Exploring the great outdoors on two-wheels, at home or away, is one of life's simple pleasures. That's why we've partnered with Bikmo to offer enhanced cover for members and non members. Plus members get a discount off Bikmo prices. Bikmo's policy covers you against a financial loss if your bike, e-bike and kit is stolen or damaged anywhere in the world as standard; plus there are other great benefits like cover to get you back home (or to your holiday accommodation) if you hit some bad luck.

Check out our Club Shop for other discounted Club member rates on bike racks, bike locks, as well as bike accessories.

First published in July 2022. Updated November 2023.