Although I have managed to get out on two wheels during September it hasn’t quite gone to plan. I made it to Amsterdam for the day touring on an e-Bike and I also made it to the Velopark for a spin out, however, I didn’t make it down to Revolve24 due to feeling unwell and then L’etape London got cancelled due to poor weather.
So I don’t have an event to chat about but I do have a whole heap of info about how I decided on a bike rack and what I think of the Decathlon B’TWIN 320 Rear Bike Rack.
It all started when I finally got a car again and got my freedom back (it’s a Volkswagen T-ROC incase you’re wondering; a new to market model from VW since January 2018). I’m keen to join rides with local cycling clubs to find the one for me but although close in distance many are awkward to get to on public transport or just too far (in my opinion) to cycle to and from. So the best solution was a bike rack for the car and after VW turned down my request to throw one in with our purchase (you can’t blame a girl for trying!) I needed to find out what my best options were…
A Roof Rack, Rear Rack or Tow Bar Fixed Rack?
So my reasoning was purely aesthetic. But upon investigation there are many more benefits for me to getting a rear rack.
Let’s start by ruling out the tow bar option for my own situation as my car didn’t come with one as standard. I did read online though (so don’t take this as gospel) that having a tow bar fixed to your car can affect your insurance premiums. They do have their pros though; I’ve been informed that they’re very sturdy and are also lockable which is useful especially in situations where you are camping. If you are looking for a tow bar bike rack check out this one from Thule; it came recommended from quite a few people.
A roof rack also has it benefits; it guarantees that you won’t need to purchase light fittings or extra number plates and will always have easy access to the boot. Although my car has rails on the roof already, my thinking was that the car is pretty high and it’d be too difficult to get the bike up on the roof rack.
The rear rack then comes out on top as the best option. Even with the perceived drawbacks of not having access to the boot, not being lockable and personally, not currently having space to store it anywhere else than the car boot! But it does give me the freedom to travel with my bike (without it taking up the back of the car), it’s easy to fit and relatively cheap.
The Basics About The B’TWIN 320 Rear Bike Rack
I’ve been a part of the Decathlon Bloggers Community for a while now and they’ve been exceptionally supportive of all my adventures so when they asked me to lead a training session for a photoshoot instead of payment I asked for this bike rack instead.
The B’TWIN 320 rear bike rack (£69.99 at the time of posting) is made for carrying up to 3 bikes and the positioning of it means that the number plates and rear lights are always visible. There are some bikes that you might need an adapter for but the two road bikes we used it for were fine. The rack itself weighs 9kg and can take up to 45kg in weight (max 15kg per bike).
The Saris Bike Rack (rear) also came highly recommended
Using The Bike Rack For The First Time
So, no joke when I tell you it took us over an hour to fit the bike rack for the first time. It brings back all the memories of putting up our tent! The manual seemed to be written in code and the YouTube videos we found spent so much time talking about the rack and not actually fitting it. Eventually I decided to watch the Decathlon video for fitting the B’TWIN 300 Rear Bike Carrier because in all honesty, I don’t really know what the difference is between the two models, they look the same, and we needed something to point us in the right direction!
The entire 20 minute drive to the Velopark was spent with one eye on the bikes to make sure they were still there. But we made it. It was much easier to remove the rack and fitting it again when we left the Velopark took all of 5 minutes. With all the straps on this rack, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with the ends… maybe trim them?! And the front wheel of the first bike we put on seemed to have a mind of it’s own, turning like crazy in the wind the whole time we were driving.
Now that I’m all kitted out with a bike rack for the car, the plan is to get in as many rides as possible in the next couple of months before the weather gets too crazy. I think evening rides are probably out of the question now as darkness draws in but I do have a turbo trainer at home to see me through the weeknights.
So here’s to winter training and thinking up some adventures for next Spring / Summer! …got any two wheeled adventures planned for 2019?