Bicycles

Bicycles are a great addition to a camper van or motorhome. Bikes make exploring towns, cities, parks and lots of other areas much easier. They are particularly useful for popping down to the shops when your vehicle is parked.

The downside to bicycles is storage. Bikes are difficult to store inside a vehicle, and a bike rack on the back is normally the best option. Here are a few options.

Bicycle storage options

Bike rack for camper vans with vertical style doors

Camper vans with vertical style rear doors need a bike carrier that attaches to the main opening door only. When the first door is opened the bike rack swings open with the door. When carrying bikes the rack does add considerably more weight to the door.

Fitting: Only fit this type of rack if your rear doors and hinges and in good condition. Drill through the door outer, and then add some wood batten inside the door. Use long bolts and large washers through the door and the batten to add strength and spread the load.

Bike rack for camper vans with an open-and-over style door

Camper vans with up and over style doors need a bike carrier that bolts to the door, on all four corners of the bike rack. This spreads the weight evenly. When opening the door the bike rack swings up also.

Fitting: Before bolting to the door, hold the rack in position and ensure the door opens fully without the rack touching the van.

Bike rack for a motorhome or caravan

Because motorhomes do not have doors opening at the rear, a simpler bike rack can be bolted directly to the rear. If a window is present the bike rack must fit over the window. Caravans have a similar design, and caravan racks often fit motorhomes.

Fitting: If possible add some wood batten inside the wall skin. Bolt the rack thorough the wall and into the batten. This will help spread the weight.

On the roof

If you have a roof rack you may want to store your bike on the roof rack, securing it with straps. Having a ladder is definitely recommended for climbing on the roof of a van

Storing in your vehicle

If you don’t have any kind of bike rack you can still store your bikes in your vehicle. Most bikes will fit inside camper vans and motorhomes when driving. Be sure to secure them well if you do. They will cause lot of damage if they move around inside the vehicle when you are driving. When camping you can leave the bikes outside, chained if necessary.

Darren’s experience: “During my trip around Europe I bought a bike in Spain. I didn’t have a bike rack on my panel van. I drove with the bike in the back, secured with bungees. When on campsites I left the bike leaning against a nearby tree. When free camping in more urban areas I generally put my bike in the cab of my medium-height Mercedes Sprinter. The bike just fits in, with the handlebars turned slightly to shut the door afterwards. Once in the cab I drape a dark blanket over it, so passersby wont see anything bright or reflective in the cab. When free camping by the beach I normally put the bike under the van, at the bake, and lock it to the spare wheel holder.”

Tips

  1. Always chain your bike to the rack. Thieves may try and steal it!
  2. Always check the bikes are secure before driving away.
  3. If you are spending time near the sea cover the bikes. They will rust quickly otherwise.
  1. Foldable bicycle
    Just don´t understand why you don´t buy a foldable bike?
    I live fulltime in Southern Europe, both wildcamping and on campsites. When parked for some time, I don´t even have to fold it; fits great in front of the seats, sheltered both for rain and theft. And while driving I fold it, takes 10 seconds, and put it on the floor in front of the passenger seat.
    Great quality bikes, also electric, and as long as you´re not thinking of Tour de France, they are more than comfortabel enough for whole daytrips around cities.
    Got lost, or too tired/too many beers on a late night “far from home”? Fold the bike and put it in the back of a taxi back home 🙂

    Reply

    1. Great idea. Foldable bikes
      Great idea. Foldable bikes are great for visiting cities, and general riding around.
      I love my mountain bike and road bike though, and always like to take them.

      Reply

      1. Well, I agree, I miss my mountainbike 🙂
        Just find it so much more convenient with a foldable after I moved into a motorhome.

        Reply

    2. Folding Bikes
      Unless you’re on a Camper van/Cycling holiday, folding bikes really are the best idea for just nipping into town for those breakfast croissants or a quick trip along the canal/river. You can even get BAGS for them now for under £20. You can leave them outside at night folded up under the camper and chained to the tow ring or other strong point. SORTED!

      Reply

  2. Roof access ladder
    HI.
    I’m looking for a roof access ladder for my VW Camper (“Trident”) type Hi roof, should have 5 steps and be made of stainless steel. Any body know where I might get one, I’m a OAP so would like to get a secondhand one if poss, or a new one if not to expensive.

    Regards to all.

    Reply

  3. Tow Ball Bike Rack
    I have a bike rack that fits on a tow ball. Anyone tried using one of these? It fits on my little car a treat and was thinking of getting a tow ball on the camper. That way there is no weight on the doors.

    Reply

    1. I haven’t tried one, but have
      I haven’t tried one, but have seen people use them. They seem to work well on a campervan.
      The only issue might be if you have a van conversion with back doors. Can the back doors open with the rack on?

      Reply

  4. Bike Rack for Van
    I saw a nifty bike rack (probably German) that was attached to 2 rails that were bolted to 10mm dia holes on the middle of van door hinges and pesumably swings open to allow access to the rear doors. Does anyone know the make of this rack?

    Reply

    1. Iain, I think I know what you
      Iain, I think I know what you mean.
      Did it swing out from the hinge, in a similar manner to some of the spare wheel holders on 4wd vehicles?
      I can’t find a picture anywhere.

      You swing the bike away, and can then open the door.

      Reply

  5. rear door coachbuilt cycle carrier
    Do you know anyehere i can get a cycle carrier for a autocruise valentine coachbuilt with rear door entry

    Reply

    1. marquis valentine
      Hi, i also have a marquis valentine with a rear door set in the middle, and also looking for a bike rack. Have had no luck yet. can any one help please

      Reply

      1. Are your vehicles like this
        It is difficult to add a bike rack to this type of door arrangement.

        Fitting one to the back will prevent the door from opening.

        There are bike racks that attach to the door, and swing open with the door. However, these are designed to be hung on panel van doors which are metal and stronger than your coach built doors.

        This one below may work, but you’ll need to check the amount of weight you can hang on the back door.

        http://www.campervanlife.com/go/outdoorbits.php?productid=448

        Reply

  6. covers
    Hi
    Thanks for the site for bike covers and I will make sure I get some rope. Thanks guys for the info.
    Catch you soon
    Selina

    Reply

  7. Hi Barry
    I covered the bare

    Hi Barry

    I covered the bare metal walls with 9mm ply wood.  And the glued on carpet.  I got the carpet from a local store.  It was a remnant (off cut) and got it for a cheap price.  It was more than I needed, which meant I had some spare, just in case of a mis-cut, and it allowed me to make a door mat, etc.  The carpet had a rubber back, which meant it was easier to glue to things.  I used contact adhesive, which stuck really well.  I used Evostick at first, but then found a much cheaper brand that did the same job.

    Happy Camping!

    Reply

  8. wall covering
    hi darren. i have a merc 310d, and iam going to convert it into a stelth camper van, i have just one question where do i perchase they covering, that you put on your wall’s.
    thanks barry

    Reply

  9. A few places
    Argos have some
    http://www.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Search?storeId=10001&catalogId=1500001151&langId=-1&searchTerms=bike+cover&Submit=GO+%3E

    and Towsure
    http://www.towsure.com/product/138-ATB_Cycle_Cover

    Also a good sized local bike shop will have them.

    Make sure you strap the cover down with some rope or bungy cords, to stop it flapping in the wind when driving!

    Reply

  10. Bikes
    Hi
    After more advise again, does anyone know where to get a cover for the bikes when they are on the rack. My bike rack is attached on the back.
    Thanks
    Selina
    PS I have looked at Halford

    Reply

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