Cyclying is an ideal way to get around when you are travelling in your caravan but how is it best to carry our cycles around?
Which Cycle Carrier Is Best
There are a few different styles of cycle racks around, these include:
Traditional roof rack mounting
Carriers mounted on the back of a car or via a towing bracket
Rear mounting the back panel of a motor home
You must always remember that a rack mounted on the back panel of a caravan is not safe as it may unbalance the tow vehicle.
Bike carriers that are attached on the A-frame add a lot of weight to the caravan nose which may exceed the tow cars maximum tow weight.
If you are using a bike rack that is secured on the back of your car, the law states that your number plate and rear lights must be visible Therefore in practically every case, a cycle carrier lighting board will be required, this plugs into your 12N road light socket or your 13-pin combined socket.
The are many racks available that fit onto motorhomes of all types. A lot of these racks will fit on to the back of your motorhome but again the law states that your number plate and rear lights must be visible, this means a cycle carrier lighting board will be required and plugs into the same place as the car rack. If you are fixing your rack to a coach built body, make sure the bolts are driven into a solid framework.
No bicycle racks should be fitted to the back panel of a caravan as this may unbalance your tow car and may even cause damage to your caravan. The only exception to this is if the manufacturer has specifically designed their caravan to be able to carry a bicycle rack on the back. It is essential that if your caravan is designed to carry a cycle rack on the back that you do not exceed the permitted weight limit provided by the manufacturers.
Travelling Abroad With A Cycle Rack
Spain and Italy have an extra requirement to display a red and white marker board if you have an overhanging load such as a cycle/motorcycle rack. Marker boards are manufactured by Fiamma in plastic and aluminium and are available from caravan dealers or accessory shops. In Spain, you can use either, but in Italy, the marker board must be aluminium. From a safety perspective, the use of a marker board indicating an overhanging load is a sensible option in any country.
Portugal has a rule that overhanging loads must not protrude beyond the width of a vehicle, so in practical terms, this means that cycles can only be carried on the back of a caravan or motorhome – they cannot be carried at the rear of a car. If you wish to carry cycles on a car, they must be carried on the roof, providing the combined height is not over 4m.