Summer is finally here, which means it’s the perfect time to break out your bicycle. Whether you’re looking for a mountain trail to conquer or just out for a leisurely ride at the local park, we’re here to share some tips, tricks and pointers to help you enjoy your bike time.
Tips for Transporting Your Bike
Sometimes the best places to bike are not the closest to where you live. If you want to take advantage of the best trails and parks, you’ll probably have to transport your bike there. Bicycles are bulky and a little cumbersome to stow. But with the right tools and tips, you can minimize the hassle.
Naturally, a bike rack is the easiest way to get your bike from A to B. There are a number of options available to suit just about every vehicle type and level of usage.
- Hitch Racks use your vehicle’s trailer hitch to transport bikes behind the vehicle, such as these offered by Ford Accessories. Depending on the size of your vehicle, they can be used to haul one or several bikes simultaneously. Hitch mounts are usually easier to install than their roof-mounted counterparts and can generally transport bikes without your first having to remove the front wheel. However, since they require the use of a trailer hitch, they might not be suitable for some smaller vehicles not rated for towing.
- Roof-mounted Racks are the most common. As the name suggests, these racks are built onto the top of your vehicle, transporting your bikes overhead. The good news is that roof-mounted racks can generally fit a large number of bikes and even odd-shaped ones. Most are convertible too, and can be used for extra storage. The bad news is that they can be complicated to install and sometimes limit your parking and driving options given the extra height they add to your vehicle.
Regardless of which rack you use, make sure to avoid direct contact between the bike and your vehicle. Friction can cause damage to both. Also be sure to strip your bike of any accessories before mounting it to your rack. You don’t want any gear falling off en route.
Bikes and Automobiles: How to Get Along
The relationship between automobiles and bicycles can be a tricky one. On the one hand, vehicles are sometimes necessary to get bikes and their owners to where they can enjoy a ride. But when bikes and autos need to share the same road, things can get dicey.
Here are a few pointers for drivers and bikers that can help make sure everyone can get along. Rules can vary from state to state and even city to city. Always be sure to check your local government’s rules to ensure you’re up to date on the latest.
Tips for Drivers
- According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), while on the road, bikes have just as much right to be on the road as cars do. Like cars, trucks and SUVs, bikes need follow traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles. So treat bicyclists with the same respect that you would any slow-moving vehicle. Click here to learn more about the bicycle “rules of the road.”
- Give bike riders as much space as is possible. Try not to crowd or tailgate bicyclists as it is unsafe and can cause injury. According to the non-profit Cascade Bicycle Club, many states have adopted a “3 feet rule.” This rule means you should give at least three feet of space (side-to-side) between you and a bicycle when you pass them. This is the law in more than 20 states.
- Be on the lookout for hand gestures that can signal a bike rider’s intentions. A left arm extended straight out means a left turn is coming. A left arm extended and bent upwards at a 90 degree angle means the bicyclist is planning on making a right turn. Check out these handy diagrams courtesy of the NHTSA.
The Best Ford Vehicles to Get Your Bike There
Ford has plenty of vehicle options for serious bikers who need a vehicle that can help transport gear.
- The Ford Edge delivers a great combination of performance, space and technology.
- If your favorite place to ride is off the beaten path, the Ford Escape and Ford Explorer can help get you there. Ample cargo room and an available hitch can make transporting your bikes easy.
- The Ford Transit Connect Wagon has space for your bike and your gear, along with sliding doors and a large tailgate for easy access.
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