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.”
- Always chain your bike to the rack. Thieves may try and steal it!
- Always check the bikes are secure before driving away.
- If you are spending time near the sea cover the bikes. They will rust quickly otherwise.