Roof rack with bikes - bad idea?
My wife and I are planning a 3-4 week trip from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest area for next summer in our 2005 Mazda 3 hatchback. We have a locking Yakima roof rack system for our bikes (both hybrid), and we'd love to take them along. At most, we'd probably only use them when were in cities or parks that have paved trails.
Does anybody have experience taking bikes along on a cross-country trip? I'm aware we'll take a hit on our gas mileage and we'll probbaly be more of a target security-wise, (they do lock) but is it worth it?
Last edited by snert; 12-30-2005 at 08:11 PM.
I see lots of folks doing this, and it seems to me that the bikes would make visits to a lot of places/attractions along your way a lot more fun, not to mention great exercise for you along the way and a positive environmentally. I'd do it if I had the opportunity. That's my uneducated opinion! Bob
Bikes on racks is VERY common in the PNW... I wouldn't worry too much, just use a padlock or other device, and you should be fine.
Originally Posted by Cascadia4-brad m
Seattle is working on becoming very bike friendly. Here's a link to the urban trail system in Seattle to give you some ideas. This website has some great info on other biking trails in Washington that you might enjoy. I think the John Wayne trail on Snoqualmie Pass is one of the neatest rides around. This website also has some good info on various bike trails in Washington including some great photos of the John Wayne Trail including the 2-mile long tunnel and the converted train trestles you can ride over. Very cool. And kinda spooky, too.
Two (wheels) for the Road
Now that the security aspects have been dealt with, let me address your concerns about the usefulness of and mileage penalty due to the bikes. I did a couple of long cross country trips with my bike strapped to my car. One was once around the perimeter of the US (about 9000 mi. altogether) and the other was a trip through the Canadian Maritimes. In both cases, having the bike made the trip different and significantly more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise. It is one thing to drive along a coast at 50-60 mph in a steel cocoon, it is quite another to pedal along in the fresh air with full panoramic views and live stereo sound. The mileage hit is negligible and will be lost in the fact that you're getting highway mileage rather than city mileage for the most part. Now, in my case I had a rack on the back of my car rather than on the roof, but I doubt that that makes any significant difference.
When I was young, I would drive around on my bicycle and pretend I was getting on the Interstate and traveling to some distant place. The sidewalk was the exit ramp to...wherever.
Originally Posted by snert
We started taking bikes with us a couple of years ago. It's one of the best decisions we've made. As AZBuck stated, being out in the fresh air is a nice change of pace. We've even hopped on our bikes at rest stops, just to stretch out (not at Interstate stops, though).
It's easier to get around some towns on bicycle than by car, or at least more convenient.
Thanks to having our bikes with us, we've seen things we wouldn't have seen otherwise, like a huge backyard koi pond in PA, a backwoods campground in KY, etc. I'd defnitely recommend it!