Cycling around the Grand Canyon may be grand, but cycling to the Grand Canyon may not be as feasible from where you are. The same goes for other amazing trails across Arizona, with more than 100 miles of park and mountain preserve trails around Phoenix alone, according to the city’s website. Even if you’re going for a closer jaunt around town, such as a ride along Tucson’s Rillito River bike path or a long cruise from Scottsdale to Glendale via the Arizona Canal path, getting your bike there should not leave you so winded and annoyed that you no longer feel like riding.
Get the right vehicle
Transporting your mountain bike strapped to an economy car the size of a roller skate typically won’t cut it. It’s easier when you have a large enough car, truck or SUV that can handle the load. Go for something like the Nissan Pathfinder, which you can check out at Phoenix Nissan dealers, that has ample room, strength and durability to transport your bike safely.
Get the right bike
A hefty mountain bike may be monstrously heavy, making it a major pain to transport. Opt for one that has a sturdy yet lightweight frame if you know you’ll be hauling it often. A folding bike is another option. NYCEWheels.com notes you can make a few quick adjustments then transport the folded-up bike on specially designed traveling wheels or in a bag or suitcase, not unlike George Jetson’s folding space mobile.
Get the right rack
Unless your bike fits neatly in the back of your vehicle, you’re probably going to need a traveling bike rack. Choices depend on the type of vehicle you have, how many bikes you want to haul around and how frequently you intend to haul those bikes, the Bicycle Network explains. Whatever rack you choose, make sure you have sturdy, adjustable straps to keep your bike secure in the rack and don’t forget to check it at rest stops. Bicycle Network outlines three options:
- Roof racks: These allow you to fully access your vehicle, park wherever you want and can generally hold up to six bikes. They may pose a hazard if you forget about them when entering low tunnels but take away the fear of your bike being smashed by a rear-end collision.
- Rear strap-on racks: Although potential rear-end collisions can decimate your bike, rear strap-on racks are handy for quick, infrequent rides. They can typically carry up to three bikes, are portable and versatile enough for a variety of vehicles. You usually need to install and remove them before and after each use.
- Bike beaks: Bike beaks, or tow-bar racks, require a tow-bar on the back of your vehicle where the rack is mounted. Three bikes are usually the max, but the beaks are much sturdier than the portable strap-on racks. They can also stay in place for future trips instead of being removed after each use. A caveat with both rear rack styles is ensuring your tail lights are visible and using a number plate attached to the rack if your license plate is obscured.
Know what to expect when you get there
Unloading your bike and keeping it secure are musts once you get to your biking destination. You may need to pull over and unleash your bike prior to pulling into a cramped parking space. You may also want to bring along a lock to ensure your bike remains secure both on and off the rack. Bicycle theft can be a lucrative business, especially in parts of Arizona where you can bike year-round, giving thieves plenty of opportunities to swipe and peddle your pedals.