How do you carry all those bicycles you want to take along with you on your trip? The receiver is taken up by the trailer hitch, or the truck bed has the fifth wheel hitch in it and there isn’t much room left. What do you do?
Well, there are a couple of options available to carry those bicycles and tow your trailer at the same time.
An obvious choice, but perhaps not practical depending on the type of trailer or the type of bicycle or bicycle riding you do. You may want the bicycles to be cleaner than what they might be after a good day’s ride. But inside is an option.
What about on the back of the trailer somewhere? But where, and how? There are 3 commercially available options more specific for RV’s, a few ready-made solutions and a few custom options. Let’s look at the commercial products first.
Spare tire mounted bicycle rack
This type of bicycle rack fits over the top of the spare tire that is mounted to the rear bumper and usually only holds 1-2 bicycles.
Bumper mounted bicycle rack
These bicycle racks usually hold 1-2 bicycles, but there are some that can hold up to 4.
Ladder mounted bicycle rack
This type is more of a “hanger” than a rack. It hooks over the ladder on the back of the trailer and holds (hangs) the bicycles by their tires. Only made for 1-2 bicycles.
These types of racks are less expensive than the following options and range in price from $40 to $150. If you use one of these types of carriers, make sure that whatever you attach it to (bumper or ladder) is capable of handling the extra weight of the rack and the bicycles. Trailer bumpers are not well known for their ability to support a lot of extra weight. They make a great location to store the sewer hose and hold a spare tire, but the extra weight of a loaded bicycle carrier might be too much for it. Check with your dealer or manufacturer to find out for sure.
Bumper mounted receiver
There are a few adapters that act as a receiver tube that can be bolted onto the rear bumper of some trailers. They are the standard 2” size, and will accept all sorts of accessories, like bicycle racks and cargo boxes. This would allow you to use the same bicycle rack or other accessories behind the trailer that could be used behind the tow vehicle when the trailer is not hitched up. Since this receiver tube would be more versatile and less expensive, it is a popular option for people that already have a bicycle rack they use in the tow vehicle’s receiver, but it must be used with caution when on the back of a trailer.
Since this option can accommodate more than a 2-bicycle carrier, it may be too much weight for the rear bumper to handle. Again, check with your dealer or the manufacturer to find out how much weight the bumper can handle.
Any more than 2 bicycles plus the carrier on the back could dramatically impact the tongue weight, towing characteristics and towing safety. I would check with your dealer for options for loading bicycles on the roof of the pop-up. Many of the bicycle racks on top of cars and SUV’s will also work on pop-ups.
In a similar way, but not to the same extreme, too much weight on the back of a travel trailer could impact the amount of tongue weight and therefore affect handling and towing characteristics. The larger the trailer, usually the more weight on the tongue and the less of an impact from a bicycle rack on the back. But for shorter, lighter trailers, this could be as big a problem as for the pop-ups. One of the RV-related bicycle racks with 1-2 bicycles should be okay, but check the capacity of the bumper or ladder first.
Not much of a problem here. An extra 50-75 pounds from a couple of bicycles and a rack will have little impact on the pin weight and should not affect handling. Make sure the bumper or ladder is strong enough to support the weight.