According to some, it’s bikes versus cars, cyclists versus car drivers. We don’t agree – most cyclists are also car drivers. Rather than rehash the tired bikes versus cars debate, let’s look at the reality – drivers have specific needs when it comes to a vehicle that can accommodate their alternative means of transport. There are certain car features that transform a car from “well, it just about fits my bike” to “wow, this makes my life a million times easier”. Let’s get started!
Size Matters When it comes to the trunk, size definitely matters. The bigger the trunk, the easier it is to fit one, two or even three bikes. But you knew that already. Bring your bikes with you, bring a tape measure, bring whatever you need to make an accurate judgement.
Keep It Clean Invest in a good quality cargo liner. Waterproof, easily cleaned and tough should be your buzzwords when you’re searching for this vital piece of equipment.
Don’t Be Shy When it comes to negotiating, the sky’s the limit. If you want roof rails, ask for them to be included as part of the price. Some car manufacturers include these as standard, so don’t be afraid to let the salesperson know that you’re aware of this. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Be Observant It might not be one of the first things you consider – especially if this is the first time you’re buying a car with your bike in mind – but pay attention to the trunk lip. If it’s high, you’ll find it difficult to lift the bike into the trunk.
Going Camping If traveling long-distance to races and cycle meets is a regular occurrence, you might have found yourself spending a small fortune on accommodation. A larger, longer car that provides space to sleep comfortably in the back is exactly what you need. Be prepared to pay a little more, but keep in mind this is an investment.
Aim For Flexibility Seats that fold virtually flat significantly increase the space available to your bike. Make it a priority to see how easily and how far they fold when you’re viewing the vehicle. Some seats can even be removed completely, which would keep them much cleaner.
Storage Is King If you prefer to keep bikes inside the vehicle, you’ll need somewhere for the many, many cycling accessories you’ve probably acquired. A slim line roof box comfortably holds your helmet, spare pedals and other necessities, keeping the interior clutter-free.
Ask About The Extras There are so many gadgets that have been designed for cyclists. Look out for lockable bike carriers that wrap around the bike rack and rim of the wheels to lock the bike in place. These give the driver extra peace of mind that the bike will remain secure throughout the drive. Internal bike holders work in much the same way – they securely lock the bikes in place when they’re in the trunk. These would be invaluable in case of a collision, plus they ensure the car’s interior isn’t damaged by bikes sliding around.
All cyclists have been there. You lift your bike into the car, then suddenly find yourself lying on the ground, bike on top of you, with bystanders chuckling. But trust us, it doesn’t have to be that way – all it takes is a little research and the determination to find the vehicle that’s a perfect match for your needs. Car features that have been designed with the cyclist’s needs in mind transform the journey to the cycle spot from a trial, to a joy.
If you’re a cyclist and you’d like to share your thoughts on the car features that have made your life easier, we’d love to hear from you! Just get in contact on Facebook or Twitter, using #carsforcyclists!