Unless it’s very close to where you live, riding your bike to the race venue isn’t exactly a practical way of transporting it. Bikes are bulky, heavy, and can be easily damaged (or have parts loosened or fall off) when being transported, making bike transportation a common, difficult, and detrimental issue for most cyclists and/or triathlon participants. Without proper handling or the right methods and equipment, you can potentially damage (or even lose) your bike on the way to your racing venue — which is definitely that last thing you’d want to happen before a race.
That said, we’ll be taking a look at the commonly-used methods in transporting your bike safely:
Stuffing it in the Trunk
For cars that have enough space at the back (or are able to fold down the back seat to provide more space), placing the bike inside the trunk is a common and viable option. Most of the time, you’ll need to disassemble a few parts in order to make them fit. The major advantage of this is that your bike is secured inside your vehicle, and at no (or minimal) extra cost (i.e. no need to purchase a bike rack, although you can secure it further with some cushioning materials). However, this does limit your space in the car, leaving no to little room for other items (or persons). Additionally, you’d have to deal with re-assembling your bike at the venue, so it’s best to travel and arrive early if you’re using this method.
Roof, Trunk, and Hitch Racks
Racks are one of the most popular methods and tools in bike transportation (both for races and casual use). Basically, racks are all exterior features that are attached to your car’s roof, trunk, or tow hitch that are designed to safely lock-in and secure your bike for transport without the need for disassembly. Each type of external rack have their own issues, commonly, the potential to scratch or ding your vehicle when securing the bike, and it also limits access to the trunk (for trunk and hitch racks). Hitch and trunk racks also expose your bike to damage during rear-end collisions.
One of the safest and most convenient methods of transporting your bike is with a truck, as they’re designed to transport heavy and bulky materials and items, after all. You can either choose to use a commercial medium truck (that you can rent) or a pickup truck (the more popular option). With a pickup, you can use cords, straps, pads, and truck-bed bike racks to secure your bike for transport, and have enough space for other gear (and your toolbox). In fact, you could say that a pickup can be a cyclist’s best friend when it comes to transporting, so you may want to consider looking for diesel trucks for sale in AZ if you’re a frequent cycling or triathlon participant, or simply wish to have a convenient and safe option to transport your bike.
Bike Transport Services
Believe it or not, there are companies that actually specialize in answering this specific need of transporting one’s bike — it’s pretty much a niche market. You’ll simply need to drop your bike off in one of their shops or offices, provide the details, and they’ll transport it for you (oftentimes in a larger truck, and in a hard bike case). However, there’s always the risk of transportation delays and accidents, and if the truck transporting your bike to the venue breaks down, there’s really not much you can do about it. This is why you should be stringent when picking a bike transport service company, and make sure that they’re well-reviewed, trusted, and have back-up plans in case of any issues (such as the one mentioned earlier).
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right transportation method and tools can make a huge difference in the race. Not only would a safe and efficient transportation method minimize the risk of losing or damaging your bike, but also reduces the need to assemble or re-tune-up your bike. However, it’s best to note that, even with the best bike transportation method and tool (or service), it wouldn’t hurt to inspect every inch of your bike before the race and make sure that it’s in top condition to not only finish the race but win it.