By Jean-Luc Théberge, author of the Guide du petit campeur québécois
There’s a tremendous variety of bicycle racks available on the Quebec market, from rooftop models to those that mount on your car’s trailer hitch or your RV.
Needless to say, each one has its advantages and disadvantages! Here’s a brief overview of the different types of racks. Start by carefully considering your needs, to make an informed decision. As is often the case, you may have to make some compromises.
Specialized stores can advise you on the appropriate model. Some of them even offer installation.
A rooftop bicycle rack may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, it must be installed properly and be of good quality, for safety’s sake. It is fairly aerodynamic.
Some of these racks also hold kayaks or skis. Keep in mind that your car is almost twice as tall when you’re carrying bicycles, so pay close attention to the height of underground parking lots, tree branches, garages, carports, etc.
All sorts of models can be mounted on your car’s trailer hitch. Some of them can hold up to four bicycles, but this adds considerable weight on the rear of the car. A good-quality rack will often avoid a variety of problems and possible damage to the car by the bicycles and the rack itself.
To avoid making the wrong choice, it’s often best to consult a specialized store. This will also let you see the latest models on the market and get valuable advice, to help you evaluate your needs and use the rack properly.
For this kind of rack, your vehicle has to have a trailer hitch, so you’re looking at an additional expense of at least $300. The rack may be installed directly on the ball mount or it may fit into the end of the trailer hitch, depending on the model. Your car dealer or a specialized store can usually advise you on this.
Many bicycle rack models can be mounted on your RV. They can be placed on top of a tent trailer, behind or even on the front of your RV. On the other hand, they must be perfectly installed, to avoid problems.
Bicycles are subject to much more vibration on an RV than on a car, so it is essential that the rack be very well installed and of good quality. You will also need to inspect the rack regularly while you are on the road.
These racks are becoming less popular.