Author: Phoebe Nguyen

Best roof racks for cars

How to Carry Your Bike on a Road Trip with a Car Rack

One of the challenging sport or leisure gears to carry is your two-wheeled machine. Besides keeping it safe from damage during transportation to your chosen destination, you need to keep it safe from bad guys. 

Whether you are going to spend a long holiday in the mountains or a weekend get-away cycling, you will need your bike in the proper condition. The safest way is to carry it on the car roof rack using a bike rack. But is it only a bicycle that can be loaded on a car rack?

What Can be Loaded on a Car Rack?

The automotive industry is minding the transportation needs of its customers. In return, they have released car roof racks that make it possible to carry bikes with cars, among other items. 

By mounting your bike on the car rack, your outdoor activities will be spiced with fun. You can go to bicycle excursions, explore the woods nearby, or decide to hit the trail in your area without hassles. 

A car rack will also be required if you are carrying;

1. Mattresses

This is one of the popularly hauled items on car racks. To keep it secure, you will need to wrap the mattress in its bag and secure it using the packing tape. Use some strong ropes and straps to tie it to the rack securely. The fastenings should be well-centered. 

Note: You will be sleeping on it, so ensure it is kept dry and clean.

2. Your sporting gears 

Although you have your car rack installed firmly, you will need to use few bucks to purchase custom-built roof racks for your equipment. Such custom racks include bike racks, kayaks, snowboards, and surfboards. These kinds of roof racks are useful in protecting your expensive sporting gears.

3. Other luggage 

These may include camping equipment or if you are on hunting escapades, the hunting tools. Mostly you will need a foldable clamshell for the items with soft bags to ensure they are safe. 

Any rattling sound that you hear while driving, it is a sign that your cargo is not well-secured. Just pull over and do proper fastening. What are some of the installation tips when carrying your bike on a road trip? Let’s briefly look at that.

Installation Tips

Before you haul your bike rack on the roof, ensure you have the best roof rack for your car. There are currently multiple brands in the market. However, this will be determined by the items you are carrying. 

These roof racks are more stable and don’t block any access for your vehicle. The only problem of having roof racks is their cost and the energy required to lift the gears overhead.

Benefits of roof racks for cars

Whether your bicycle is carried uprightly, upside down, intact or the front wheel is removed, there are specific installation tips you should know:

1. Check the bike transportation laws

Before you start mounting your bike on the roof of your car, ensure that you are familiar with rules governing the transportation industry in your area. If your road trip is traversing to other states, you will need to know their laws. This will be safe for you from unnecessary fines. 

2. Check your car’s manual

This will help you know the weight that your vehicle is allowed to carry on its roof. This ensures you are safe together with your car. Every vehicle’s manual indicates the maximum allowable weight on both its roof and boot. 

3. Test your rack

Ensure you test the rack you have installed. The fact is, not all bikes fit certain racks, especially women and children models.

4. Ensure you secure the tires of the bike

No matter how you carry your bicycle, ensure the wheels are not bumping or swaying around. Use a strap or maybe a bungee cord to secure the tires.

5. Buy slightly longer load bars

The manual of your vehicle will recommend a specific size of the load bars that you can use. However, it would be best if you bought a load bar that is slightly longer than recommended. This will make it easier to carry other items. 

Conclusion

If bike rack installation seems like a hard nut to crack for you, then you can visit a professional mechanic in your area to help you out. Besides, if you are purchasing a new car, you can carry your bike racks to your dealer and let them install the racks for you. But remember to read all the reviews for roof racks to get the right bike racks for your car.

Or you can consider the bike rack for your car that is mainly used to carry the bike. With that, you will have the liberty of carrying your two-wheeled machine in any road trip you are going without compromising the condition of your vehicle, the safety of your bike, and other road users.

References:

(1) Top 8 Best Roof Racks That Will Make Your Travelling a BreezeAutance.com, September 7, 2017

(2) Why You Need a Bike Rack for Your Car?Volkerbicycles.com, January 20, 2020

(3) Roof rack (Wikipedia)

Essential Accessories to Go With Your Bike

Essential Accessories to Go With Your Bike

Bicycle riding is both a sport and a hobby. In fact, it’s a fitness hobby that can be enjoyable for general family outings or be competitive for mountain or road biking competitions. No matter which level of cycling you enjoy, there will always be special accessories to help you with each style.

In this article, I present several essential accessories you would want to have and use when cycling, irrespective of the type of cycling you undertake.

1. Helmets

Helmets are a key safety feature and are, in my opinion, mandatory whether the law states so or not. Falling off a bike is not fun, falling on your head can be deadly. Helmets come in many designs including the following types:

Road helmet, these are the original helmets that are made from a thin plastic shell covering an EPS foam interior, they have vents and are usually slim with an elongated design.

Metro 661 helmet or commuter helmet is a round-shaped helmet for road cycling, usually to work and back, they are also made of a plastic shell with an EPS foam interior.

Trail helmet has a blockier appearance that offers slightly more head coverage and is designed for use in woodland areas, providing just that more coverage against twigs and leaves.

Women’s Road helmets provide an exit point in the back of the helmet to account for long hair.

Aero Road helmets have a rounded, aerodynamic design that includes adjustable vent plugs to improve the aerodynamics for racing and downhill speeding. 

Downhill mountain bike racing is a special kind of helmet design that includes a chin bar and vents. These helmets are specifically designed for the extra windage you get when traveling at speeds downhill.

Mountain helmets come with a visor, which is used to block out the sun, as for the overall design they resemble trail helmets with a visor.

BMX helmet is a closed motorcycle-style helmet design for BMX bikes, these models can also be made of fiberglass as well as carbon fiber and are used in BMX races.

A Chrono helmet is an aerodynamic helmet designed for track and speed events, they are the ones you see in the indoor Olympic events and resemble a teardrop.

2. Bike Locks

There are some different bike locks to consider, and you really do need a good bike lock to secure your bike from theft even when parked in your garage at home. There are four different types of locks, and these include:

U-locks are the strong holders of the locks, solid bars of metal that made from high tensile and super hard steel alloys. Even a power tool will find it hard to break. They come in different sizes for different applications and are usually locked with a key or a code. 

Chain locks are the next level in security under a U Lock. They offer more versatility in locking up your bike in different locations and to different objects. If you buy a good one, it will deter thieves that recognize extra thick hardened steel chains. Some chains are designed to be worn by the rider while biking, just like a fashion accessory.

Folding locks are a relative newcomer to the locked scene. These locks gave a low profile and can fold up, making them a popular choice among metro bikers that want a smaller lock profile. They are similar to chain locks in that they require a chain or cable to secure the bike. They are in fact the least secure of all the bike locks and can be overcome with basic chain cutting equipment.

3. Bike Pump

Never leave home without a tire pump, if possible. You might have a patch kit in your pocket, but without a tire pump. If your tire gets a leak, you will not be able 5to fix it without a pump to fill it up. There are three models, the traditional pump with hose extension, standing pump with valve extension and the quick, solid fill throwing away pumps. Make sure you have at least one of these with you at all times.

There are 4 types of bike pumps that will come in handy in your garage or home to supplement the pump you take with you, these include the Hand Pump which is the portable pump you take with you. 

The Stand Pump that sits in a garage and is used for low-pressure tires. CO2 Inflators that are used for racing performance where speed inflation is key to success, and finally Electric Pumps that is set in a garage or at home due to its size and is perfect for more than bicycle applications.

4. Bike Light

This is a night time security feature and as important as a helmet. In fact, at night it’s even more important than a helmet and you should have two: one for the front and one for the back. Do not rely on your red reflector at the back, have a red rear light and have a bright front light. Even if you don’t cycle at night, there are those low visibility days, rainy days, foggy days, where that extra safety feature will save your life.

5. Tool Kit

While many might think that a tire repair kit is enough, a real toolkit is actually a lifesaver. A small foldable toolkit will help you out of many sticky situations and will be proven to be invaluable when you most need it.

There are different tools for different applications, but there is one general toolkit that you need for most on the fly applications and here is the list of tools you might want to have ready in your garage at all times.

  • Allen wrench set 2-12mm 
  • Open-end wrenches 6-17mm
  • Chain brush
  • Chain lube and cleaner
  • Tire levers
  • Tubes, at least 2
  • Tube patch kit
  • Floor pump with gauge

CONCLUSIONS

There are many other accessories to consider, such as reflective strips, bells and horns, and baskets, but the above list covers the essentials, where everything else is a great addition to have and in some cases a must-have dependent on your cycling needs.

Ways to Make Your Bike Look Cool

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Bike Look Cool

Cycling, for some, is more than just a way to get around, it is a profession, a hobby, a sport, a family activity, and a business. For some, upgrading a bike is not about making it look good, it’s about improving performance, but then if you do improve the performance, why not make it look good at the same time.

In this article, I present to you several bike upgrades that will improve its appearance.

1. Tires

Tires are the key to success, they are what connect you to the ground. A good tire improves your performance, and a really good tire will also look good while it beats off the competition. The best tires to get for both an optimized riding experience as well as being eye candy are wide tires that range between 25 to 28mm. Sure, you could go for those thin rock hard racing tires, but unless you are actually racing, why would you?

2. Bars

Bars come in all shapes and styles, you can get low slung, wide straight, high easy rider, in fact, you can get just about any bar design, shape and color and match it to the rest of your bike. Just remember, when pimping your bike, make sure it matches. There is nothing more discordant than a badly pimped ride.

3. Saddle

You don’t need a horse for a saddle, and you don’t need a simple black saddle on your bike. There are many options, sizes, shapes, especially materials and colors. Changing your saddle is not just about looking, it’s about comfort too. While you improve your posture and comfort your posterior, make it look good too. There is a wide choice of materials too, such as leather, rubber, and cloth.

4. Brakes

Brakes are extremely important safety devices, and the only upgrade you want to make on them is to make them more efficient and easier to operate. However, brakes have handles, and you can definitely upgrade the handles and bling them to oblivion.

5. Chainrings

Chainrings are always overlooked, and while you might use the same size chain ring for maintaining your current performance, you can tweak performance by upgrading the rings as well as buying some nifty looking ones that glare out a mile away.

6. The Bell

Yup, notice the title…not the horn, but the bell. Sure you can add all kinds of cute horns and sounds, but nothing beats the old style ring a ding round bell. A simple shiny bell in any color or finish to suit your bike will make it stand out, especially when you select a special designer model. On the other hand, you might prefer a horn that sings a tune or is connected by Bluetooth to your mobile device and is essentially a focused speaker.

7. Bike Stickers

Stickers are bike bling and if you want to make your bike stick out a bit, add a few stickers around the frame. Nike stickers can go anywhere on your bike, don’t just limit them to the frame, think of the wheels, the brakes, and especially the seat.

8. Baskets

There are baskets, and then there are baskets that look great as well as provide you with the service you require from them. When you do upgrade your basket, pick an option that will hold your backpack or have a flap that is coverable against the rain.

9. Reflective Tape

You might want to put some reflective tape on your spokes, and across your frame. Try not to go overboard, or you will end up with the mummy bike. Setting reflective tape requires some decoration skills, picking out the color and placing on just enough to be snazzy as well as productive.

10. Bike Vases

Yes, you read this right, a bike vase. While you are cycling in the city with all its grey buildings, add a bike vase and put in a flower and enjoy the splash of color and unusual site the bike vase offers.

CONCLUSIONS

Upgrading, blinging or pimping or all of them. It’s down to personal taste. You can make your bike just that little bit more responsive and efficient, and you can take it all the way to becoming a thing of desire where everyone looks at your bike with either a look of jealousy or incredulously. You decide what you want, but just know, there are so many ways to improve the appearance of your bike, and all within easy grasp.