It’s time to wrap up the bike rack install. I had to wait a few days for the final rack to arrive. Although I had ordered a twin pack of the Thule FreeRide 532 from Holdcrofts via Amazon and they had shipped out a twin pack, it would seem that their courier had ‘lost’ one and to Holdcrofts credit as soon as I emailed them they dispatched another… which the courier took four days to deliver.
OK, so now to fit the actual bike carriers onto the rack I had previously installed a couple of days ago.
We had opted for the Thule FreeRide 532 over the ProRide version. What put me off the ProRide were a couple of videos on YouTube showing just how easy it was to remove a bike supposedly locked on to the rack. The FreeRide 532 has two arms supporting the bike and offered an option for additional security…. which I’m not going to go into for obvious reasons!
It’s been a few months since we bought our VW Amarok and I hadn’t originally intended it to take this long to install a bike rack or carrier. What slowed us down was sorting out the bits needed for mounting a bike carrier above the bed of the Amarok. In the USA, pickups are plentiful and there are various companies that make carrier systems and mounts for pickups. My initial thoughts it would be fairly easy and started perusing the Thule website. Unfortunately they did not sell the correct mounting hardware for where I wanted to mount the rack.. on the side rails for the Roll-N-Lock cover.
Searching the internet found plenty of results for the type of mounting I wanted… all in America and the most promising system was produced by Yakimar. Continue reading
One of the things that came easily to us when we started caravanning was packing. We’d read on ‘the forums’ about people packing experiences and how long it took to “pack and load”, but honestly we never gave it a second thought. I then started to wonder why. I figured it goes back to our early days of flying in small… really small aircraft where it was the norm to shorten the bristles on your tooth-brush to save on weight.
We had developed over the years a packing technique that seemed to lend its self to the caravan quite easily. Now we can “pack and load” quite quickly as the key is prior organisation. We opted to use boxes from The Really Useful Box Co which makes things easy. Their boxes come in a multitude of sizes and the lids lock on securely allowing the boxes to stack neatly. We chose boxes that slide under the front bench seats and will also pass through the locker doors. Continue reading
After coming up with the Bicycle Conveyance Contrivance, I needed to do a bit of angle measuring. Andy Ingham had posted asking if I had enough clearance for a steep incline… and I posted back I thought I’d have 35 to 40 degrees. After I’d posted that I started thinking…. and then the doubt set in. So, a few days later as the rain had stopped, I dragged Sue back to the storage compound, this time armed with some straight edges and a combination angle set.
We hooked up the caravan and using my modified jockey wheel handle raised up the jockey wheel to its fully wound in position and then raised it in the clamp to its highest position. The next step was to determine the maximum angle the vehicle could be at before the jockey wheel touched the bike rack.
WARNING: this post contains maths! Continue reading
One of the big debates in the caravan world is how to carry your bikes. Our continental cousins have the advantage that their caravans come with a longer ‘A’ frame allowing a bike rack to be installed on it. Fiamma have an excellent range dedicated to just that. In the UK though, caravan manufacturers seem to prefer the stubby ‘A’ frame and basically because of this and the fact that UK vans seem to come pre loaded with the weight of a small elephant already on the hitch, we have to come up with alternatives.
Somehow carrying the bikes on the roof is a bit of an aerodynamic disaster as far as I’m concerned and Sue was adamant that they were not going inside her shiny new caravan so the only place left was to hang them off the back of the Freelander. We had a bike rack from a well-known car spares shop that fitted on the spare wheel and up to now had worked fine. The problem was it carried the bikes too low to allow us to tow the caravan. I’d adjusted the frame to lift the bikes as high as I could get them, but it wasn’t right and it seemed unstable. Time to look at alternatives. Fiamma was a logical place to start. They are well-known for producing equipment for caravans and motorhomes and have a range of bike racks that are designed with this in mind. Continue reading