I’ve been getting questions lately about how we haul our Yuba Mundo with us on vacation so I’ve decided to sum it all up into an official post on how to haul your long-tail cargo bike on a standard bike rack.
We have a Thule 956 Parkway bike carrier. It’s a few years old and it seems like the 956 version that Thule sells on their website now has slightly different bike mounts, though they look like they still would work in the same way. Here’s a link to the newest models on Thule’s site, and here’s a link to what looks like our older version on the L.L. Bean website. either way it’s a 4-bike, hitch-mounted bike carrier. You can also read this post I wrote back in 2010 about this style of hitch-mount bike carrier.
When we have to haul the Yuba Mundo, the most we can get on the rack is a total of three bikes because it’s wide and we’ve learned it’s best to use 2 sets of the rubber bike mounts (or ‘bike-cradles’) on each post for our cargo bike, instead of just one. Our first attempt at hauling the cargo bike on this same carrier was back in 2011 when we were about 5 miles from home on a family bike ride, and got a nasty flat that we could not fix on the road. You can read about that fun excursion in this post. After that trip, where we also used a bike adapter bar to haul the bike, we figured out how to carry it without the adapter bar, and took it on vacation with us in 2012.
Yes, we know there’s a Griswald family joke here. (ha!) But hey, it worked really well, and we drove 300+ miles with this arrangement that trip, which we’ve perfected over the last two years. The key, is to balance the frame on the mounting racks properly, and to use two of the rubberized “bike-cradles” for the Mundo instead of one. I’m only going to cover how to get the Yuba Mundo properly positioned on the rack here as I will assume you already know how to install the rack on your car/hitch, and how to operate it.
First – Get the rubber bike-cradles positioned on the racks. Push one all the way to the back on each rack, and keep the rest pushed all-the-way forward toward you as you can slide and adjust then after you get the bike up on the rack.
Second – Get the bike up on the rack and balanced properly. You may need another person to help you with this task depending on how tall you are, and your upper body strength since, as you know, this bike is not lightweight. Andrew can lift it up and on the rack by himself , though I do help out when I’m around to make it easier. You’ll notice in both my photos above that the bike leans downwards a bit, as it’s positioned so that the racks are further back on the bike. Also, position it with the front wheel to the right as in these photos, which keeps the sprocket away from hitting or leaning on the post of the bike carrier.
Third – Strap down the front top-tube on the bike by positioning it BETWEEN two of the bike-cradles and pulling the strap across them as in these photos.
Fourth – Strap down the bike to the second rack by strapping down both tubes behind the seat-post to the rack as if they were two bikes – meaning use one rubber bike-cradle for each tube. Check out these photos for some visual examples.
Fifth – Check for movement. Once you have these straps in place, you are pretty much done. We usually wrap a bungee around the frame to keep it close to the post, but it’s already pretty well locked in place . I’m all about extra bungees to be safe. We will bungee the front wheels (and rear wheel too) to the wheels of any other bikes on the rack to keep them from wobbling and spinning in transit.
Security issues – If we are traveling with our bikes we have yet to leave them on the rack overnight – we’ve taken them into hotel rooms or storage areas. But even for pit stops we’re careful about having our bikes secured. Extra bungees are great because frankly, they’re going to slow someone down. We also take our locks and lock the bikes together and to the rack as best we can – these days we all have ABUS chain locks which work well for this, but we’ve also done it with U-locks. We then use a cable lock (it’s the only kind that fits) to lock the actual rack to the hitch/car itself. There are small loops on the rack and on the car hitch that a cable lock can fit through ( see the photos in my earlier post about this carrier).
That’s about it. The rack is weighted to carry 400 pounds (UPDATE 8/18/14 – corrected to 165 lbs) so there is no worry about loading a heavy bike on it. And between the width of the Yuba’s running boards and front basket, there’s no way we could put 3 more bikes on there, so the fact that we use up an extra set of the bike-cradles is not a big deal either. Let me know if you have any other questions, comments or suggestions about this set-up and I’ll reply back here in the comments. If you are curious about other aspects of our Yuba Mundo cargo bike, check out some of the other posts I’ve written about it.