How to Carry Bikes on a Motorhome


Rear Mounted Cycle Carriers

We awoke to yet another glorious sunny day on Barra, although the wind was blowing a bit of a hooley.  We’d heard that the circular route around the whole island was a cycle ride worth doing and today seemed a good day to break out our bicycles, which had until now been securely fixed to the rear bike carrier on the motorhome.

We have a Thule 3 cycle rack fitted to the back of our motorhome.  We chose a 3 bike carrier, deciding to err on the side of caution and allowing for an extra bike if needed and also to give the option of more room between the bikes on the back.  But be warned, these racks are often mounted quite high up and so can be tricky to load and unload.  A tow bar mounted rack could be an alternative if the height is a problem for you.

Motorhome rear mounted cycle carrier
Gaffer tape and pipe lagging are your friends

Which brings me to the point at which I’d like to offer a word or two of warning and a couple of tips to prevent you wasting your money:

Motorhome Bike Rack Covers

If you’re thinking of buying a bicycle cover for the back of your motorhome, here’s few observations which might help:

  1. If it’s for 2 bikes, buy a cover for 3 bikes, to give you any hope at all of covering 2.
  2. The covers are made of cheese. (Well OK, not exactly cheese, but they certainly aren’t as durable as you might expect.)  So, pad all the sticky out bits on your bike before you even think about wrestling with the cover, think peddles, brake levers, handle bars etc.  Pete made some bespoke and reusable padding from bits of pipe lagging and fashioned some very handsome hand crafted handle bar end covers with pipe lagging and gaffer tape.  This will prevent you from rubbing holes in your new bike cover the first time you go out…. We learned the hard way and if you read reviews of rear mounted bike covers, you’ll find many others who’ve managed to rip holes in their covers on their first outing!

    Rear mounted cycle cover
    Padded bike handlebars ready for the cycle cover.
  3. Getting the bike cover evenly placed over your bicycles, once they are elevated way above head height on the back of the motorhome is a mysterious art and apparently Confucius he say – “Man trying to put bike cover on single handedly has two hopes and one of them is Bob.”  However, this activity will provide hours of spectator sport for your fellow campers on site.  So dear readers, spare your blushes and practice at home first and use Pete’s patented pipe lagging and gaffer tape bar end covers and things will go much more smoothly.
  4. Take a role of gaffer tape with you in the van on your travels, for when you’ve forgotten points 2 and 3 and chafed a chuffing hole in your new cover.
  5. Ignore points 1 to 4 above and just don’t bother covering your bikes.  Save yourself the money and hassle.
Bosch Performance Line CX Motor
The Weighty Bosch Performance Line CX Motor
Thule rear mounted cycle carrier
Thule rear mounted bike carrier with locks

The Dismount

Getting the bikes down off the rear mounted cycle carrier isn’t without it’s challenges either.

Pete’s steel framed road bike is pretty light and relatively straightforward to extract from the rack, however I’ve recently succumbed to the lure of an electric bike.  (More of this in a later post.)  While this new Pedelec machine is the source of much joy to me, it does cause Pete some further problems.  Not least nearly giving him a double hernia when he attempts to lift down over 20kg of electric bike from the chest height Thule cycle carrier.

At the point at which he is attempting his clean and jerk round the back of the van, we are both starting to wonder why on earth we didn’t get a motorhome with a garage and thinking that, what with him fast approaching winter fuel payment age and me with a right dicky back, we may have probably purchased the wrong van.

We’re both thinking it, but at that moment, it just doesn’t seem the time to discuss this currently insurmountable problem, as Pete’s just got a face full of handlebar as the weight of the bike suddenly shifts unexpectedly towards him.

A motorhome with a garage would make life so much easier, although I’m certain that it would also pose its own trials, I’m thinking repeatedly nutting your head on the top of the garage door opening might be one of the downsides.  Any observations on this point from owners of motorhome garages would be most welcome.

Maybe we should have just gone for a walk instead?!




4 thoughts on “How to Carry Bikes on a Motorhome

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