/ Help! Family Bike Transport and Storage

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Bobling - on 09 Oct 2017
A few months ago I had a shed full of parasols, the lawnmower, garden tools, paddling pools and the like then my eldest 'got' cycling and had a big bike as a recent birthday present. I then inherited two more from my folks so we can all go on family rides together.

It's great and a whole new vista of family days out opens out but...I have no way to transport four bikes (and us) to a suitable bicycle route easily so I need a rack for the car (Vauxhall Zafira, older model). My shed is now also bursting at the seams and getting anything at all involves unpacking the whole thing, so I need some sort of snazzy weather proof and secure storage solution for aforesaid bikes.

Lastly I need a mini-bike thing that can be bolted on to the back of my bike so the youngest can come on our adventures with us.

Any ideas for any of the above would be very much appreciated, and perhaps a loan to help me pay for it all ; )
Allovesclimbin - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

Asgard bike sheds are fantastic , and secure. They will even erect them for you. As for transport I think you need one of those rear transporters that bolt on the back or a four slatted roof version ( Thule) or similar, which we use . Good luck!
ceri - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

My OH assures me that dining rooms are the correct place to store bikes, so I don't see your problem...
spenser - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to ceri:

My last other half always looked disapprovingly at the road bike sat in my dining room, then I aquired a mountain bike as well! She didn't even live with me either!
Sam W - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

I'd also recommend a rear mounted bike rack. After years of using the ones that hang off the boot, we upgraded to a tow bar mounted one and have never looked back. Slightly more expensive, but far easier to use, safer and they don't leave scratches and scuff marks on the car. We use a Thule rack, Halfords do a similar one that is slightly cheaper.
Rog Wilko on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

The technical term (maybe trade name) for the half bike for small child is a tagalong. Should help you find one on eBay. Makes it harder putting everyone's bikes on a car rack, though.
Ian Patterson on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Sam W:

> I'd also recommend a rear mounted bike rack. After years of using the ones that hang off the boot, we upgraded to a tow bar mounted one and have never looked back. Slightly more expensive, but far easier to use, safer and they don't leave scratches and scuff marks on the car. We use a Thule rack, Halfords do a similar one that is slightly cheaper.

Agreed re towbar mount - far easier to use than boot mounted (and once bikes are off can get into boot without removing rack) which means you actually use it!

For 4 bikes you do need to a little careful with towbar nose weight though - e.g. on my golf its 75kg, fine with 3 mountain bikes (<45kg) plus rack (~10kg), but could get close with 4 bikes particular if they're relatively inexpensive and therefore heavy.
LastBoyScout on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:
Can't comment on bike storage except to suggest you also invest in some decent security.

Regarding transporting them, though, you have a couple of choices. Easiest would be to get a rear-mounted rack for the adult bikes and put the kids bikes in the boot. You may need a lighting board if you're obscuring the lights, but most cars with 2 bikes can get away with it - take wheels off and put them inside if you need to.

Otherwise, your best option is a tow bar rack, as mentioned above, but they are expensive to buy and you'll need to factor in the cost of a tow bar and installation, including electrics. My neighbour has the Thule one and loves it.

Most portable between cars are roof bar carriers - I've got Whispbars, which were the cheapest by far for fitting kits. When I priced them up, Thule and Whispbar are about the same price for a single car, but in order to get them to fit both our cars, the Thule ones were around £100 more expensive. I use them with the Thule fork-mount carriers.

In any case, have a look here for what you need - they often have bargains where people have returned items: https://www.roofbox.co.uk/

Edit - thinking about it, by the time you've bought bars and 4 carriers, there probably won't be much difference in price between buying a tow bar rack - it'll come down to how often you use it and when you're planning on changing cars.

I went for the roof bar ones mainly because I already had roof bars for carting surf boards and kayaks around. These days, I am limited due to the difficulty of having a tow bar fitted to a company car.
Post edited at 10:35
LastBoyScout on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Ian Patterson:

> Agreed re towbar mount - far easier to use than boot mounted (and once bikes are off can get into boot without removing rack) which means you actually use it!

Most have a tilt facility that means you can still get into the boot without removing the bikes - I believe on some you need to watch for catching the pedals on the floor, possibly even the bars if you have very wide MTB ones.
djwilse - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

The other option instead of the tagalong (mini-bike) is a Trailgator. These are metal tow-bars that link a kids bike to an adults. For our kids they had the advantage that they could cycle for some of the journey but get towed if tired or it was hilly. It also allows for easier transportation of bikes than a tagalong, which are difficult to put on racks as Rog Wilko mentioned. Normally plenty around second hand.
http://www.trail-gator.com
Bobling - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to thread:

Thanks all of you for taking the time to respond, exactly the info I was after.
jethro kiernan - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:
plastic coated hooks on the roof of the shed can be an option to free a bit of space, obviously a decent bike should be kept in the living room
Post edited at 19:44
LastBoyScout on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to jethro kiernan:

My wife won't let me mount my Sunday best road bike over the mantlepiece
jethro kiernan - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Have a dislike for that
hedgepig - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

Getting bikes onto a roof rack can be a challenge for the small. I currently have Halfords towbar mount, which also helps fuel consumption, but it will only take 3 bikes.

But things are only going to esacalate. Bikes take up much more room than trad climbing gear.

We got me, 2 x 6-foot sons, 1 bike, in the old car, and 2 bikes on the roof. It was a Peugeot 107 which is the smallest actual car on the market. We drove 200 miles to watch the Tour de France en Yorkshire - bikes clearly necessary for watching road-races.

Between the 3 of us there were 15 bikes and 1 unicycle at peak-bike. With the sons now living away with a bike each, I having sold a bike, 3 old bikes having been recycled for refugees, the numbers are down. 2 in the hall, one in dining room, 6 in cellar (including the Projects and the unicycle). One uneasily sharing the garden shed with the new Kayak.

I am getting a new living room carpet now that the practise of changing inner-tubes while watching telly has ceased.
Dax H - on 14 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

I have tried a few different type's on my van over the years and to understand the Thule tow bar mount to be by far the best, also the most expensive but genuinely worth it.

Before anyone wonders, my van is a clean area due to my work on potable water, I didn't want to be throwing Muddy, dog, horse and fox shit covered bikes in the back.
wilkesley - on 14 Oct 2017
In reply to Dax H:

Plus 1 for Thule. I think the largest one you can get is for 4 bikes. Ours is a 3 bike version, which we have had for more than 10 years. Been to Scotland and Ireland numerous times without any problems. The rack will tilt to allow access to rear hatchback/tailgate.
radar on 15 Oct 2017
In reply to wilkesley:

I've got a people carrier and lots of bikes to transport. Ideally wanted a tow bar mounted one but VW wanted £1500 to fit a tow bar and put in the electric plug thing. A local garage wanted just over a grand. So I went for a roof rack. Good, but trying to lift a bike above your head, halfway over the car whilst locating it into the correct bits of the carrier - nightmare. Ended up buying a 4 step step ladder which made it a lot easier. Moral of the tale - towbar mounted carrier is way to go. If cost of adding a towbar is exorbitant, and your car is tall then buy a mini step ladder.

Bike storage. Think about ground anchors for your bike lock chains. Whatever you do security wise, if someone is determined they will steal your bikes whatever you do. All you can do is slow them down and make it noisey. They'll look elsewhere for an easier job.

Oxford ground anchors, motorbike chains and shackle padlocks. Shed alarms too.
Bobling - on 15 Oct 2017
In reply to radar:
Funnily enough as I was in the car park this afternoon (having been off on a family bike/scoot/walk)
quizzing an innocent passer by about his roof-rack I spotted a little step ladder. All a bit precarious though with a bike up above your head, stood on a step ladder!

Can roof racks take 4 bikes anyone know?
Post edited at 15:54
radar on 15 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

Depends on the weight of the bikes, and the weight rating of your roof rails. I put 3 on the roof and my bike goes in the boot. It would be possible, bit of a squeeze.

The mini step ladder is much much safer then standing on a back seat trying to reach up and over the roof. Flashbacks to dodgy roof routes on obscure Kinder grit routes. The mini step ladder really does make it so much easier. First time I used it in anger I got the ladder out in the car park at Dalby, I realised I had a few onlookers. Once I'd got the bikes off, two guys asked me where I got it from and could they try it out with their cars. A normal car should be fine without, but the added height of a people carrier is just a recipe for damaged humans/bikes/car.
wilkesley - on 15 Oct 2017
In reply to radar:

Sounds expensive. Mfr fitted tow bars are a rip off. My last two pickups came with tow bars fitted. The last time I bought one it was fitted by a guy that came to your premises. Can't remember the exact cost and it was several years ago, but was less than £500. A quick Google for a new tow bar for my Isuzu shows it would be around £500 fitted.
LastBoyScout on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Bobling:

> quizzing an innocent passer by about his roof-rack I spotted a little step ladder. All a bit precarious though with a bike up above your head, stood on a step ladder!

Not that bad with a bit of practice - I wouldn't be able to get more than 2 bikes on our 4x4 without one due to the height of the roof.

> Can roof racks take 4 bikes anyone know?

Most roof bars (in my experience) seem to be rated to 75 Kg and, with most bikes being around 12-15Kg, that means you should be able to get 4 on with plenty to spare. However, bikes are quite tall, so they can put quite a bit of leverage on the rack - avoid heavy braking and cornering if you can.

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