Bicycle Network: Where to Ride
Have bike, will travel
Going on a trip and can’t bear to leave your bike at home? Let Ride On help you plan the most cost-effective and safest transportation of your loyal two-wheeled companion.
It can take a lot of careful investigation and preparation to transport your bike safely, whether you are travelling interstate for a Great Ride, to a regional trail, or overseas on vacation.
Your bike may fit in the back of your car (removing wheels might be necessary) but if you have more than one bike, they can get damaged. If taking bikes by car on a regular basis, a rack may be a good alternative.
There are three main types of car racks available, divided into what they are secured to; the tow bar, straps to the bodywork, or the roof.
Tow bar racks either support the wheels of a bike, or clamp the bike by its tubes.
Roof racks support the bike by one or both wheels; some require the front wheel to be removed, with the forks clamped on to the front rack.
Nylon webbing straps that secure a rack to the rear of your car are a flexible option, and are easily transportable, but are not as robust as rear racks.
Victoria: On Melbourne metropolitan trains, bikes can travel free at all times, but avoid crowded carriages if possible.
On regional trains they are also carried free, but space for bikes is an issue. Your best bet is to look for a locomotive service with a first class carriage, identified in timetable listings with a star. They have a large luggage area but no specific racking for bikes; take some cord to secure it to the wall. These services run at least two times a day on all V/Line train lines except the Ballarat line.
It's a gamble on the newer VLocity and Sprinter trains; they have very limited luggage room, so there may be no space for your bike.
Bikes are not allowed on buses, trams and regional coaches, but folding bikes are an exception to the rule; generally they can be taken folded on all forms of public transport, at all times.
International airlines: For most international airlines, a bike must be boxed, and its weight is included in the standard baggage allowance, which varies from 20 to 30kg. A boxed bike with riding clothes and accessories added could take up most of this allowance, leaving you facing an excess baggage fee for your other luggage.
Domestic airlines: For most domestic airlines, a bike must be boxed, and must be included in the standard baggage allowance, although there are exceptions.
This article first appeared in the June-July 2010 issue of Ride On magazine.
For a more indepth guide, Bicycle Network Victoria members can access the full story here.
To become a member, click here.