Whether you’re driving a classic VW campervan or the latest top-of-the-range motorhome the freedom and excitement of travelling to new destinations surely can’t be bettered. Or can it?
Taking your bikes with you is a great idea and the perfect match for life on the road. Just make sure your campervan insurance covers both your van and your bicycles. Read on for our top tips for carrying bikes on your camper.
Bike benefits when touring
Cycling is now one of the most popular pastimes in the UK.
The Sport England Active Lives survey reported that, in 2019, over 6.3 million adults were cycling for leisure and sport. With that in mind, many campervan and motorhome owners should think seriously about packing bikes on their next trip.
Cycling is an easy option for exploring the UK’s towns, cities and parks as well as more out-of-the-way places. From the rugged wonders of Scotland to the coastal pleasures of the south coast you can get out and get fit wherever you park up.
They’re also useful for short trips to the shops when your vehicle is parked – thereby adding both to the flexibility and eco credentials of any adventure.
Storing your bikes
Travelling with a bicycle doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. There are several options for storing and transporting your bikes on your road trip – whether inside, on the roof or on the back.
Whichever you choose, make sure you have the best campervan insurance that covers your treasured bikes in the event of theft or damage.
If you’re an infrequent rider or just fancy a quick day out, then it’s possible to transport bikes inside your vehicle.
With no need for screwing or otherwise attaching a rack you simply lift the bikes in, secure them and go.
However, there are several difficulties with this and it’s clear why it’s not the most popular option.
Campervans and motorhomes vary in size and not all have enough space to do this comfortably – particularly if you have several bikes or other passengers to consider.
If you’re driving with a bike inside it needs to be well secured so it won’t move around while you’re on the move. An insecure bike could damage your vehicle, itself or even you.
What’s more if you’ve gone on even the shortest of cycling adventures, your bikes will get dirty – not ideal for your beloved interior! The investment in a bike rack may be a small price to pay.
Remember that campervan insurance can include cover for your bikes as well as sporting and camping equipment essential to your outdoor odyssey.
On the roof
Another solution to the storage conundrum is to attach a rack to the roof of your vehicle. They’re relatively straightforward to install, but they might not be the most practical solution.
Even the tallest and strongest of owners will have a problem getting the bikes on to the roof, particularly after a hard day in the saddle.
Your vehicle is already tall so adding extra height in the form of bikes can make your vehicle ill-suited for some places. It could make for an expensive trip if you ‘forget’ your bikes when driving under low hanging branches or a bridge!
On the back
By far the most popular place to store bikes for transport is on the outer rear wall of your vehicle. If you’ve got a motorhome then attaching a bike rack should be relatively easy as there are no doors on the back to take into account.
While some motorhomes already come with some element of pre-fitting for the rack, others need a bit more work.
A good idea when buying a motorhome is to have a bike rack fitted as part of the deal. It can be a real sweetener!
Remember if you’re leaving the bike rack permanently attached, have a visual reminder to alert you when reversing.
Van conversions or campervans can require slightly more work.
Whether screwing, clamping or gluing the rack in place, you’ll need to take into account the style of campervan door fitting. Vertical opening doors and open-and-over style doors will require fitting in different ways.
Know the law
Keep in mind that if you want to attach bike racks to your home on wheels, you’ll need to follow the law and road regulations. Remember the following:
- Brake lights must be visible at all times.
- Bikes shouldn’t obscure your view of the road.
- Never exceed the maximum payload of your vehicle.
- If you’re leaving the UK, check traffic laws for your destination.
- Make sure bikes don’t stick out and cause a hazard.
- The rear number plate has to remain visible at all times.
To keep you, your vehicle and your bikes safe on the road here are some other tips worth considering:
- Invest in covers to protect your bikes from grime and water. While you can use plastic bags these aren’t as secure and could cost more in the long run.
- Check that the bike rack is designed for your vehicle model.
- Lock your bikes. Thieves love bikes and can strike at any time. Service stations and laybys are popular hotspots so invest in some good security.
- Invest in a sliding safety strap. It will securely hold the bikes during transport.
- Regularly make a stop and check the bikes are secure. Tighten fixtures if needed to prevent accidents.
- Keep spare parts for your racks. You never know when something will need replacing.
- Be careful when lifting. Bikes can be heavy and can easily damage you or your cherished vehicle. Slow down and use a proper lifting technique – care taken now could save time later in the garage or doctor’s surgery!
Enjoy your trip with Motorhome Protect
Choosing insurance cover from Motorhome Protect couldn’t be simpler.
Our specialist team will find the most suitable cover from our panel of leading campervan insurers. Benefits of campervan insurance through us can include:
- Cover for your campervan while you’re converting it
- Enhanced cover for personal effects
- Discounts if you’re a member of a campervan or motorhome club
Call Motorhome Protect to get a quote today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.