Author Topic: Transporting 8-12 Bikes  (Read 8370 times)

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Offline kristina

Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« on: October 13, 2015, 12:39:59 pm »

I was wondering if anyone has experience transporting 8-12 bikes for a supported bike tour? I'm getting together with family and planning a week long supported tour with everyone. There are a couple of options I've been looking into:

1. A flatbed trailer that can hold bikes and be pulled behind a car (I've found some examples when googling around but it seems like they only exist in Europe) I'd love to rent or make my own ...

2. A roof rack on top of a passenger van or trailer - EXCEPT no rental company so far allows this option

3. Renting a passenger van and attaching a uhaul trailer. Does anyone have experience safely storing bikes in an enclosed Uhaul trailer?

For safety reasons it seems like the obvious set-up is to make sure that the passenger van (which is the SAG too) needs to always have the ability to carry all riders & bikes.

Does anyone have ideas or experience with something like this? Or maybe know a company in Northern California that rents SAG vehicles with bike racks. I'd love to hear any and all ideas!

Thanks so much for all the help! :)

Offline CoBikeJunkie

Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2015, 04:59:31 pm »
I have a 4x8 utility trailer that I've mounted Yakima bars on either end to use as a bike hauler.  We used fork mounts on the Yak bars to secure the bikes.  Then we had a couple long steel cables we used for locking them up.  Between our friends and us we filled it with 6 bikes and a tandem and luggage.  I would guess for 8-12 bikes you would have to get a trailer bigger than 4x8.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2015, 05:37:29 pm »
It may be that I don't "get it" because I have always toured self supported, but...
Why would "safety reasons" dictate that you need to haul all of the people and bikes at once?  Many people go on tours with no sag at all.  Are you sure you can't get by with the ability to haul everyone and all of the bikes in two, three, or more trips?

In a pinch one or two could stay with the bikes while everyone else could be hauled to where ever you need to go before the van(s) returned for the bikes.  It seems like you are likely to go to a lot of trouble to have carrying capacity that you probably won't need.

Offline aggie

Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2015, 07:28:27 pm »
I've seen a trailer that holds 12 bikes.  It was a small modified boat trailer that used yakima racks.  It had four bars that ran across the trailer.  The mounts were the type with a strap to hold the rear wheel and front fork minus the wheel is held in the other half.  Not sure what the mount is call but it is two separate pieces.  It appeared to securely hold the bikes and they were easy to access.  Not sure Yakima still sells the rear wheel holder but you could do the same thing with their Viper rack.  You may be able to find the discontinued racks on ebay or amazon.

Offline DaveB

Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2015, 10:32:41 pm »
Do option 3.  Commercial bike touring companies do just that, towing an enclosed U-haul or similar trailer behind a passenger van.  The trailer can haul all of the bikes and luggage, if you get the right size, and the van hauls all the people.

Offline BrianW

Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2015, 12:02:02 am »
I'd do either of these options:

1. Get Yakima or Thule rack setups to fit the number of bikes you need to carry and put them on the van. This is what you see a lot of bike tour companies do as it offers good flexibility. Most rental vans are Ford E-series, which take standard rain-gutter mount towers (like the venerable Yakima 1A tower, which can be found on Ebay and CL for cheap) for the racks. If you are sure that you will be renting an E-van (Ford E150, E250, E350, or Clubwagon) this is probably the easiest and most secure way to go, but it could get expensive. And loading on top of a high van is not for the faint of heart as you'll have to climb up on top and have somebody hand up the bikes. Also, some rental places are moving to the new-style Ford Transit vans. I'm not sure if they still have raingutters like the E-vans do. As far as the rental company allowing it, how would they know (unless you put it on in the parking lot or something)? Raingutter racks go on and off quickly and easily. As an aside, if you aren't familiar with driving loaded full-size vans, be careful. When they are loaded with people and gear they are very heavy and require extra skill (I have a Ford E350 campervan and am very familiar with them). Don't overload the van! Basically a van full of people is at max capacity, even without carrying gear (10 people @ 150 pounds = 1500 pounds or 3/4 ton).

2. Rent an enclosed U-Haul trailer. This assumes that your rental vehicle has a hitch on it. Not all do due to liability issues. To protect the bikes you can either build basic wood racking inside (you'll need to get the trailer well ahead of time and be handy to do this) or simply use foam sheets between the bikes. Since UHaul trailers are standard, you could rent one ahead of time for a day or two to fit and make your racks inside, store them until your trip, and then you are ready to go.

3. I'd also consider renting a separate U-Haul truck for the bikes and gear if you have enough drivers to support a second vehicle. If it's a supported tour, presumably you'll be hauling people's luggage around too and you need the extra room anyway. For this option, you could build some basic wood racks as noted above. Or simply use moving blankets, cardboard bike boxes, etc., to keep the bikes separated. Assuming you also have a passenger van, get a basic rack that hangs off the rear doors for the occasional side-of-road sag service. If you need to transport the whole group (bad weather, etc.) then use the box truck.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2015, 12:11:32 am by briwasson »

Offline hon_cho

Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2015, 04:35:24 pm »
Having done such rides with both Scout groups and large multifamily outings,  I have  personally transported multiple bikes using a large canoe trailer that would carry 6 canoes and using the bars that held canoes hold bikes,  we could carry 24 bikes( 3 bikes per bar, 4 bars on each side of the trailer).    It worked great for our purposes but I doubt many people would have access to such a canoe trailer. 

For our multifamily trip with 5 adults and 7 kids,  we used a pickup truck and a car with a 4 bike roof rack.  We had one driver who couldn't bike with us because of health issues and served as our shuttle driver.  We we were staying in rented properties along the route and didn't want to try to make the kids carry all their gear.  The arrangement worked well and provided for the the sanity and enjoyment of the adults as well as more carefree and simpler preparation for everyone. 

It has also been my experience that once you go beyond about 6 people,  it's very hard to transport both people and equipment with a single vehicle and even that requires a minivan/van/large SUV.    Enlisting someone who doesn't want to or can't ride to be your sag wagon driver is a great option.  Perhaps a grandparent? 

Hope you have a great ride, wherever it may be. 

Offline kristina

Re: Transporting 8-12 Bikes
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 11:48:49 am »
Wow - these are all really great ideas. I cannot thank you all enough :)

Our trips in December, so I'll be sure to post pictures and exactly how we transported the bikes so everyone can see!

Thank you, thank you!