With six weeks to go before we take delivery of our Free Spirit SS (see "About Us"), it’s time to start thinking about how to equip our first motorhome. First on the checklist is accommodating our bicycle gear: I have a Trek 7.9 FX and Virginia has a Specialized Vita Elite, both flat-bar road bikes. We’ve substituted original components with Shimano clipless pedals and a Selle Italia saddle. And for security, we have an OnGuard Mastiff chain lock.
But how can we transport these bikes? The van may be 23 feet long, but the floorplan is not designed for carrying or storing bikes inside. And although there is a 2” hitch receiver on the back of the van, there are problems with using standard hitch-mount bike racks. Most of them are just not built to withstand the additional motion stress caused by the long distance between the hitch and the rear axle of the van. In addition, we still need to be able to access the rear storage from the back doors, and there’s also a spare tire carrier mounted on the back of the van.
Right now, my favorite candidate is a hitch-mount double bike carrier by 1UpUSA, a nicely designed and sturdy platform rack that swings down for vehicle access. If I've measured correctly, this should clear the spare tire and also allow us to swing open the right rear door of the van. But we won’t know for sure for another six weeks!
[Follow-up in this blog post]