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Cycling holidays: Travelling with your bike

A guide to taking your bicycle abroad by plane or by car

25 Aug 2017

This feature was produced in association with The Roof Box Company

However you’re getting to your holiday destination, if your bike’s coming with you’ll want to make sure it arrives in one piece.

If you’re driving, stuffing it into your car’s boot is not recommended. A proper rack is a much better bet, either mounted on your car’s roof or rear.

But which type is best? According to Elliot Oxley at, ‘Firstly, you need to consider the number of bikes you’re carrying and their weight.

‘The car you’re using is also a factor as lifting bikes on and off the roofs of bigger ones can be a struggle. Rear-mounted carriers, meanwhile, may obscure your number plate requiring you to fix a lighting board.’

With all that in mind, we’ve picked out three of the best around.

The hard sell

Take your bike on a plane or a train, however, and you’ll need a bike bag or case. Bags tend to be cheaper but offer less protection than a hard-shell case.

For that reason, we'd tend to recommend the latter, of which the following is an ideal example...

B&W International Bike Box II

Type: Hard-shell bike case

Why’s it so good? German firm B&W has been making bike cases since 1983, and has carved out a reputation for robust and reliable products.

Having removed the seatpost and wheels, and turned the handlebars flat, your bike is then secured to the base with nylon cargo straps, while a further padded nylon strap is wrapped around the chain, and a foam block provides protection for the chainset.

Foam spacers and straps secure your handlebars, and there are fork spacers to prevent crushing, while your wheels travel in their own protective bags.

The whole lot is sandwiched between two thick layers of foam padding and the tough ABS shell is then secured via six interlocking points, four securing straps plus a belt with its own self-tightening buckle.

Now that’s what we call protection!

The really clever bit? The case takes frames of any design up to 62cm, so even the tallest riders are catered for.

And at under 300 quid – it’s around £150 cheaper than many of its main rivals.



Yakima Frontloader

Type: Roof-mounted tyre holder

Why’s it so good? Ideal for carbon frames, as it secures the bike to your car’s roof via its front wheel rather than frame clamps.

It’s super simple to use, too – roll the front wheel into that wheel catcher which holds the bike while you secure it with the retaining straps.

The really clever bit? The adjustable wheel catcher can accommodate just about any type of wheel, including those with disk brakes, and aero rims up to 70mm deep.

And when not in use, it conveniently folds away flat.



Atera Strada DL

Type: Tow-bar mounted, platform

Why’s it so good? Up to three bikes (or four if you opt to buy an adapter) can be securely fitted to this rack by their wheels via a ratchet mechanism, which’ll ensure you get plenty of peace of mind for your money.

It also means that size, shape and frame style won’t be an issue, which can be a problem with some hang-on racks.

It’s easy to fit – simply clicking onto the tow-ball of your car – and has an integrated light board, which will save you forking out and fitting one yourself.

The really clever bit? The platform has a mechanism that allows you to slide it backwards away from your car to allow access to the boot.



Buzz Rack Buffalo

Type: Tow-bar mounted, hang-on

Why’s it so good? This compact creation may look small but it’ll carry up to four bikes at a time.

Robustly built, it supports your bike by its top tube with padded arms to protect your bikes’ paintwork, while sturdy 300cm safety straps will stop them flapping about like flags while you’re hammering down the autostrada.

There’s even an integrated cable lock to keep your bike safe from oiks when you stop for a comfort break.

The really clever bit? It has a foot pedal that operates a hands-free tilting mechanism, which allows you to open the boot with the bikes still in place on the rack.

The arms also fold flat when the rack’s not in use.


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