Meet The Bikemobile

12.19.2007 | 12:54 pm

Here’s something you may not know about me: after someone posts comments here for a while or I otherwise get to know them, I start considering what they might think of what I’m writing.

So, yes, sometimes I wonder what Al Maviva might write in the comment section. And I often wonder whether Dug will roll his eyes at a post where I talk sincerely about something.

Or, in the case of today’s post, I can’t help but wonder if Sans Auto and MinusCar will shake their heads in collective disappointment.

Because today, I am going to talk about how much I love my car.

Meet the BikeMobile
I used to be a car guy. I subscribed to several car magazines. I bought cars that were quick, balanced, and very fun to drive (Mazda Miata, Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, Acura RSX Type S).

To a degree, that changed when I got into biking. I can’t remember if I’ve shared this story (the problem with being both middle-aged and having a blog where you write daily about a single topic for three years is that eventually you’re likely to repeat yourself and not remember whether you’re repeating yourself), but I actually sold my Eclipse to pay for my first serious mountain bike.

But I still love cars. It’s just that now I look for different things in cars. Which is to say, when I shop for a car, I do so asking myself, “Will this be a good car for biking?”

As of last February — yes, I’ve had this car for ten months and have been too embarrassed to talk about it until now — I have what I consider to be a cyclist’s dream car.

Here it is:


Yes, I drive a 2007 Honda Ridgeline. Also known — to me, anyway — as The BikeMobile.

Beauty in Capability
I fully expect at least half of you to be formulating your comments around the “Wow, that’s a weird-looking pseudo-truck you’ve got there.” And by all means, feel free to write them. I know it’s not the most elegant-looking vehicle in the world. I even know it’s not a very cool-looking truck.

The thing is, I gave up on looking cool a looooong time ago, and it’s hard for me to picture a more practical vehicle for a cyclist.

Let me give you a tour.

Indoor Parking
Here’s the back seat of my truck:


First off, this means I can seat five adults in my truck — four comfortably enough for weekend trips to Moab.

More importantly, though, the seat cushions flip up and out of the way in one step, giving me a wonderful place to keep my road bike secure and out of the weather:


It’s hard to tell from this picture, but I don’t have to do any bike disassembly to fit the road bike in there — it fits in easily, and in fact lives there, always ready for me to take a ride.

Oh, by the way: the floor mats are all rubber — hose ‘em off and put ‘em back in. Or — as is my practice — don’t hose them off and just figure that eventually you’ll get around to it.

A Place for My Stuff
So if I have a bike always at the ready, how about the stuff that goes with the bike — helmet, shoes, clothes, bottles, pump, drink mix, gels, Shot Blocks, lube, rags, tubes, spare CO2 cans, and tools? Yep, I’ve got a spot for that, too. Here’s the truck bed:


But that’s not where I keep my stuff. All that stuff has a permanent home down underneath the truck bed:


I admit: this trunk-under-the-truckbed thing is what sold me on the Ridgeline. I can — and do — keep all my biking junk in there, where it’s always ready and its magnificent greasy stinkiness doesn’t interfere with the sublime audio experience my passengers can expect from my premium sound system.

Too bad my iPod mostly has 80s music.

Fork Mount
And now we come to the DIY part of my truck. Yes, I actually got all brave and installed a couple of locking fork mounts right into the front of the truck bed. You can see them a couple pictures up, but here’s a closeup of one of them:


I took the front bed plate out, drilled holes, reinforced the back with metal plates, and then sealed it all with silicone caulking.

To my delight, these fork mounts are as solid as rocks. I can’t even describe how proud I am of how this turned out. Here’s how the whole setup looks when I’ve got a couple mountain bikes in place:


Road bike in the back seat, two mountain bikes in truck bed, and — as an absentminded middle-aged man, I cannot overemphasize how important this is — I can pull the whole thing into the garage without first removing the bikes from a roof rack. (Those of you who have heard the sickening crunch of a bike on a roof rack colliding with a garage entrance — destroying the bikes, the garage’s fascia, the garage door itself, and the car’s roof in one misery-filled moment — will know what I mean.)

As I said: Dream car.

Other Stuff
In addition to the bikes in the truck bed and back seat area, I can easily put a bike rack in the 2″ receiver hitch, letting me comfortably haul four mountain bikes, their riders, and all their gear. Or if I want to get nuts about it, I can put two more bikes on the roof rack, making it easily possible for me to carry seven bikes at a time.

Also, there are around 70 cupholders.

I Am Not A Car Salesman
Effusive Ridgeline gushing notwithstanding, I’m not really trying to get you to buy a truck just like mine. I know for a fact that Kenny loves his Toyota FJ Cruiser as much as I love my Ridgeline — and in fact, his FJ Cruiser is in some ways a better BikeMobile than my Ridgeline is (The FJ Cruiser is a wonder when off road; the Ridgeline is only so-so).

In fact, I expect a lot of us cyclist types have bought our cars with bike transport considerations as primary criteria. I’m very interested in how others of you have set up your own personal BikeMobiles. What do you drive? How do you carry bikes? What do you keep in the car?

Oh, and MinusCar, and SansAuto: again, I’m really, really sorry.


  1. Comment by woogie | 12.19.2007 | 12:59 pm

    I took a look at the Ridgeline and have to say it does have some great features.

    For me the big negative was automatic only. Throw in a 5 speed stick and I’ll take another look.

  2. Comment by Jennifer | 12.19.2007 | 1:03 pm

    I think these guys are on your side.

    (Disclaimer: I’ve never owned an automobile and haven’t driven in years, so consider me neutral.)

  3. Comment by Don ( | 12.19.2007 | 1:12 pm

    Yeah, my car is so not bike friendly, I’m just saying. I actually work very close to a Toyota dealer, and I’ve been swooning over the FJ Cruiser. Saw one that was entirely black, w/ black rims. Looked incredibly sick, if I do say so myself.

  4. Comment by Boz | 12.19.2007 | 1:15 pm

    Nice choice. My choice is a Dodge Grand Caravan. Carries 5 passengers w/ the rear seat in the center, plus at least 2 bikes inside. Right now it has my MTB and 2 pairs of skis w/ kit for all. My wife drives a Mitsubishi Endeavor with a 4 bike hitch rack. We’re set for any bike trip.

  5. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 12.19.2007 | 1:17 pm

    Honda don’t sell anything like that here in Australia. Looks very cool (for a truck).
    The trunk in the back is a great idea. I use a rola roof rack on my station wagon which work well but bikes on the roof are often covered in bugs after a long drive. The way your bikes are stored in the back would keep them clean (until you get to the trail and then cover them in mud).

  6. Comment by Michael S | 12.19.2007 | 1:18 pm

    You’re right. That’s one ugly vehicle.

  7. Comment by will | 12.19.2007 | 1:18 pm


    I bought a Honda CRV a few years back solely because the sales literature said you could fit two bikes in the car standing up.

    I obviously purchased the wrong weapon.

  8. Comment by fatty | 12.19.2007 | 1:20 pm

    Don – Kenny’s FJ with the offroad wheels and lift kit is a revelation offroad, and still very comfortable on the pavement. you should get one.

    boz – as long as you’re on pavement, minivans may be the very most practical BikeMobiles out there. it’s amazing how much stuff + people you can haul.

  9. Comment by cyclostu | 12.19.2007 | 1:24 pm

    Three points of note:
    1) the Ridgeline is horrendously ugly – not as ugly as the Chevy Avalanche or Ponitac Aztec or anything, but ugly nonetheless
    2) it is a 4 door truck – I have a problem with 4 door trucks for some reason. either buy a truck with a real bed or an SUV for passenger room. You have to decide. I feel the same way about El Caminos – either buy a car or buy a truck. Man up and pick a side will you?
    3) garages are not meant for new vehicles – garages are meant to have bikes, bike work stands, wood working shops, and other hobbies. the one exception is if you have a project car – a 1973 VW Kharmann Ghia convertible for example :)

    I will also qualify my statements and say that I have rarely found others who share my sentiments. Fatty, I do like the color though. I had an old S-10 and I think that I washed it twice in 10 years?

  10. Comment by pelikan | 12.19.2007 | 1:29 pm

    That’s a nice setup, but when choosing my cyclemobile I had to get one that was inner city friendly (San Francisco). I ended up with a Matrix and it’s awesome. Easy parking, can fit a fully assembled bike w/gear with rear seats folded down, 30+mpg, 5 adults (all but one happy). etc, etc. Just wish it had better ipod options, that is to say I wish it had any.

  11. Comment by Fat Lad | 12.19.2007 | 1:31 pm

    I drive a punto… (for those not in the know a very small car that barely seats people let alone a bike and all the rest of the paraphernalia we MTBers insist on bringing with us)

    Fat Lad

  12. Comment by Walt Roscello | 12.19.2007 | 1:32 pm

    It’s true. Putting bikes inside was the primary reason for only looking at wagons last time around (we got a Jetta wagon). The Jetta wagon even takes the tandem, both wheels off.

    On the tandem list, the Honda Fit has gotten comments for being able to take bikes _standing up_, even tandems using the folding front seat. It looks like a good option for bikes if you want good gas mileage.

    Gee, there seems to be a trend with Honda and bikes – Ridgeline, CRV (Will, above), and Fit.

  13. Comment by mocougfan | 12.19.2007 | 1:35 pm

    I searched for the “perfect” vehicle for a while. The FJ Cruiser came real close. The Ridgeline is cool. However, my 2007 Toyota Tundra is simply the best. It holds 5 comfortably. The Roadbike fits in the back. So do the kids. I put a shell on mine. I’ve had it a few months. I took it to Yellowstone camping for a week with my wife and 3 daughters. Driving from Missouri to Utah tomorrow. Drives very well in the snow. Perfect vehicle.

  14. Comment by fatty | 12.19.2007 | 1:36 pm

    walt – and don’t forget the honda element.

  15. Comment by Don ( | 12.19.2007 | 1:41 pm

    Fat Lad: The fiat?

    Fatty: Yeah, I reeaaly want the FJ Cruiser. Its a matter of finances and talking the wife into a beast of a truck (in her mind).

  16. Comment by TomE | 12.19.2007 | 1:50 pm

    I drive a 2000 Dodge Durango and I’m able to fit four bikes on the top bike rack. the inside has room for up to six adults (with the third seat). Only issue there is I can’t fit six bikes on the car!!!

    The back does have a TON of room if you only have four folks in it. Have used it many times to haul four buddies and all of our gear (along with four bikes) to Fruita and Moab.

  17. Comment by MinusCar | 12.19.2007 | 1:52 pm

    Roof rack. You forgot roof rack in your list of items destroyed when running one’s bike into one’s garage. All three times I’ve had to replace parts of my roof rack.

    I’m ok with the pleasure you find in your truck Fatty. I already know you’re broken because you drive your car so you can ride.


    You’re still my favorite blogging cyclist in Utah named Eldon.

  18. Comment by Rio's Rider | 12.19.2007 | 1:57 pm

    While my Civic is not nearly as cool, or bike friendly, as your truck, I just had to say that I also was looking to buy a vehicle with my bike in mind. During my test drive I found it necessary to make a trip home install my bike rack to insure it would fit over the top of the rear spoiler.

    BTW, there’s nothing wrong with 80s music. :-)

  19. Comment by Eufemiano Fuentes | 12.19.2007 | 2:00 pm

    I will admit, my next car will be an element
    it is ugly ugly, but my bikes come first.

    I will get a roof box to put my really stinky stuff in. that trunk bed trunk is superb though.

    And I know you will like this FC, I am building a house and we got custom 11′ garage doors so I will never crunch a bike driving in. It was my wifes suggestion

  20. Comment by Tripp | 12.19.2007 | 2:02 pm

    My most recent car choice may seem a bit odd: a 2008 Lexus ES 350. It is awesome, for one main reason that may escape immediate notice: it has a trunk!. I can fit the bike in by taking off the wheels and putting them into the trunk with the bike. While this might not work with the TT bike, the road bike fits great. This allows me to do one thing that I couldn’t accomplish with my old car, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, or with our other car, a Volvo XC70 wagon, and that is: pack up the car the night before the ride. That way I can wake up at 5:30, stagger around the house in a daze, put on my clothes, and stumble out to the car secure in the knowledge that I’m not about to drive 30 to 120 miles to a ride or a race without something important like shoes or a front wheel. It also has a backup camera, so I can see whether I’ve left a wheel leaning against the rear bumper. Finally, it is so much more comfortable than the Jeep. And if I want to haul a bunch of guys to a race, I can always throw the bikes on the Volvo.

  21. Comment by OlyOop | 12.19.2007 | 2:08 pm

    Take pride in the fact that your color choice made what is normally just an unusually ugly vehicle a rolling Ah!-my-eyes! weapon.

    I knew I’d selected just the right bike transporter to fulfill my desires when it touched 120 mph on the mountain road between Rosyln and Leavenworth, with two bikes on the roof and registering barely any wind noise, and the computer told me that it was at that moment getting 31 mpg. Oh, BMW 330i, I am not worthy.

    And, yes, I was probably playing the Smiths or Depeche Mode at the time.

  22. Comment by UtRider | 12.19.2007 | 2:12 pm

    It’s all about the ‘01 Civic with a Saris Bones 3-bike rack for me. The Element has been tempting me for a couple of years now (specifically, each time I begin to plan my next solo run to my brother’s place in AZ) but until it gets better gas mileage I can’t justify the expense. Plus, my Civic is paid for. Which, I might add, is a tough situation to be in if you’re looking to upgrade vehicles. Wives (if mine is any indicator) don’t take kindly to the “Hey, I’m thinking of buying a new car [with associated new car payment...] so I can toss my bike in the rear cargo area!” argument. So until my Honda dies I’m out of luck…

  23. Comment by Jenni | 12.19.2007 | 2:22 pm

    Toyota Matrix- I have a hitch mounted Thule rack on the back which I absolutely love. It’s able to tip down to be out of the way to open the hatch with our bikes still on so I can get into the truck area.

    In bad weather, I put one seat down and Baby will fit securely and upright when I remove the front wheel, AND I can still manage to carry my son in his toddler seat.

    I super love the Matrix. I have a bumper sticker that reads, “Don’t postpone Joy” and I’ve already hinted to hubby that my next bike’s name will be Joy.

  24. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 12.19.2007 | 2:28 pm

    I drive a Mini Cooper S which is, by no means, a bike friendly car. However, I love it just the same. I take the front wheel off my mountain bike, fold down the rear seats, fold the front seat forward and it fits – barely! I carry around a couple of moving van mats to keep everything scratch-free. They do make a roof rack for it but I am holding out until I can get a receiver hitch and rear rack, which I will do just as soon as I have an extra $600 laying around…

    Oh yeah, my wife drives a 4Runner with a 4-bike hitch rack, for when the family wants to join me. She used to have an Element which we both loved, but we needed seating for more than 4, so we had to part ways with it. Sniff.

  25. Comment by Lins - Aust | 12.19.2007 | 2:30 pm

    I went from sports cars to a Toyota Hilux 4×4 (dual cab, cargo, bullbar, towbar, winch). The major criteria for my 4WD car choice was no interior carpet. Oh and a canopy over the cargo bay. Bikes go in the cargo bay or on a rack on the tow bar and all of my gear, plus spares) sit ready in a plastic storage container.

    I’ve even used the winch to pull a City Council guy’s work ute out of a ditch.

    I love my car. We “go places” in it whilst my husband’s European cars sit at home and dream of the bitumen.

  26. Comment by Max | 12.19.2007 | 2:35 pm

    I went with two friends of mine to a stage race once with 7 bikes and all of our stuff in a Prius. That was pretty amazing. Although I have to say, we didn’t get over 30 mpg, that little engine can’t handle 6 bikes on the roof.

  27. Comment by velofreak | 12.19.2007 | 2:36 pm

    The wife has a minivan with rocky mounts on the top. I don’t use that any more because she sometimes forgets that there might be bikes up there. All I have to say is thank goodness for steel frames!

  28. Comment by MTB W | 12.19.2007 | 2:40 pm

    My 4Runner works great for me. The back seats fold down (I keep them down year ’round unless I have more than one passenger) and I have plastic tarp down to keep it somewhat clean with all my biking stuff that I keep there most of the year. Besides, I often sleep in the back while camping and it’s one of the few vehicles where I can easily lay down in the back and still have headroom (I’m about 5′”11/6′). Since I mainly go camping when on bike trips, this is an important feature for any bikemobile.

    However, the bike rack on top is a problem. I just recently drove into the garage and took the entire bike rack and the two bikes completely off. At least the garage and bikes weren’t damaged! But scratched the top of the truck – good thing no one can see the scratches.

    Like the funtionality of the Ridgeliner, though. Particularly the trunk-under-the-truck-bed. My gf is looking at a Honda Fit for the same reasons – the seat fold up to allow room for a bike.

    Fatty, your car buying is interesting. Most guys go from cars to sporty cars as they get older (mid-life crisis, etc). You went from sporty cars to a truck. You must be getting younger every year.

  29. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 12.19.2007 | 2:40 pm

    Oh yeah, this reminds me, I left my cable lock in your truck after Fall Moab 08/Gooseberry edition. I hope you didn’t do something crazy with it.

    You know the Ridgeline is handy at hauling stupid, stupid, stupid heavy desks too. I wound up hitting that desk with a pick ax until it was in small pieces and put it in the garbage. It felt great.

  30. Comment by Kris | 12.19.2007 | 2:53 pm

    I bought a Pontiac Vibe (sister car to the Toyota Matrix, see pelikan’s post above) SPECIFICALLY with bikes in mind. I can put my road bike in easy, even with only the wide rear seat down. The mountain bike goes in, but requires both rear seats be folded down and it took a bit of experimentation to find the right bike position, but now I pop it in easily. One time I put both bikes in with the road bike stacked on top of the mountain bike – not for those with nice bikes afraid of scratches, but it worked for me. The bed of the wagon part and the backs of the rear seats are plastic so it’s easy to slide the bikes in and if I make a mess it cleans up easy. I put a large rubber floor mat in the back to further control any grunge and prevent my gear from sliding around. With a bike in I still have plenty of room for all my biking gear. I have a Thule trunk rack for it if I’m taking other riders.

    Our other car is a Dodge Grand Caravan. Ya, it’s boring, but it can haul a LOT. I can take out the rear seat and put bikes in the back. But most of the time we just use the 3-bike hitch rack. My wife and I have car-camped in it several times on trips to Moab, St. George, etc. We take the rear seat out, unhook the middle seats and push them forward then inflate a queen-size air mattress for comfy sleeping. And it’s pretty quiet inside even at noisy RV parks. One rainy evening we listened to music on the stereo while we played a board game illuminated by the dome light. A bit cramped, but worth it to save money on RVs or hotel rooms so we can buy more bikes stuff!

    And there’s nothing wrong with 80s music! Embrace your inner New Waver!

  31. Comment by Alex Esplin | 12.19.2007 | 2:54 pm

    I drive a Honda Fit. The back seats fold up, much like the back seats in your Ridgeline, and my bike fits in like a dream. I do have to remove the wheels, but it works. I also have to wrap the whole works in an old bed sheet so my wife doesn’t remove my head from my shoulders for getting the carpet/seats/etc greasy.

    The downside is it only holds one bike and doesn’t go far off the pavement.

    The upside is it holds my bike out of the weather and gets up to 45 mpg on the pavement.

  32. Comment by bradk | 12.19.2007 | 2:59 pm

    I challenge the Ridgeline to a bikemobile throwdown with the Yotavan!

  33. Comment by Old And Slow | 12.19.2007 | 3:04 pm

    As much as I admire your pitch-perfect priorities, I am not able to completely throttle my inner car guy.

    A. The Ridgeline is so ugly it makes my head hurt.

    B. My RSX Type-S is an amazing piece of hardware, black, fast, efficient, smooth, and since they don’t make them any more, rare.

    C. My Trek Madone and all the gear I need to ride a century fits in the hatch if I drop the back seats and remove the front wheel of the bike.

    D. My friends can get to the rides on their own.

  34. Comment by hobgoblin | 12.19.2007 | 3:13 pm

    80s music is cool.

    My bikemobile is a 2007 Hyundai Accent with a hitch rack to carry two bikes. When my wife and I go to races (she races, too), we can put the two bikes on the rack without taking off the wheels, with room in the back for a trainer, race wheels, our bags of gear, and a cooler with post ride refreshments. Plus, I get 35 mpg on the highway.

  35. Comment by Kevin G | 12.19.2007 | 3:15 pm

    Honda Element, for the very reason that I can fit two road/tri bikes inside standing up with no disassembly. Also, the entire interior is waterproof or rubber and can be (theoretically) cleaned with a broom or a mop. I keep a rubbermaid box in the back with all of my supplies and I’m always ready to go. Since I live in South Florida, I didn’t want to risk having my bike on an exterior rack when I’m at school all day, so this way it’s safe and secure.

  36. Comment by Fish | 12.19.2007 | 3:21 pm

    I’ve got a Corolla with a rack on top. The low price of the car allows me to buy a lot more bikes. One big downside with bike racks is the tendency of people to run their bikes into the garage. My Corolla/bike/garage arrangement is such that I can drive into my garage with my bikes on the rack without running the bikes into the garage. Add to that 36 mph when the bikes aren’t on the rack, and that is automobile perfection.

  37. Comment by Wanderer | 12.19.2007 | 3:27 pm

    My bikemobile is a 1973 VW Super Beetle. Yes, you heard correct. I pulled the passenger side seat out allowing me to cram my mountain bike minus front tire into the backseat angled into where the passenger seat used to be. The boot is great for storing bike related stuff in amongst the myriad parts and tools for the car. I even got it up to 50mph (downhill with a tailwind)! It doesn’t do well on dirt and taking anyone with is impossible – which has its added benefit.
    But alas, now that I live where one needs to drive further than 15 minutes to get to a trail, it has been retired. Someday it will rise again…after it is fully restored.

  38. Comment by randomhigh | 12.19.2007 | 3:31 pm

    I’m as clueless as a penguin in a circus when it comes to cars and bikes… is that fork mount thingy upside down or is it just like that cuz it’s pulled down? once you fit 7 bikes and 70 cups in all your cupholders, where do your friends sit? by the way, the inside of your car looks very clean… mine’s looks like a tornado pitstop.

  39. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 12.19.2007 | 3:39 pm

    Scion xB
    Back seat is huge, roomiest I’ve ever sat in, splits 60/40 and we have a rack that carries 4 bikes and extra wheels. We use this for trips where we have 2-3 riders and myself along with all their bikes and gear…and my gear, and coolers/bike food, and sometimes camping gear. It gets a little cramped at that point but we still get 30mpg.

  40. Comment by BillFrog | 12.19.2007 | 3:39 pm

    You have a blog dedicated to your bike, I have one dedicated to my car, well, bus. There really is no discussion about this: the best vehicle in the entire world is a VW T2 kombi. I’m especially fond of orange. It’s great: large enough for several bikes, offspring, dog, and it has an on-board fridge for beer (or champagne, depending on the mood), and a gas cooker on which to make coffee while the mechanically-minded member of the family ferrets around in the engine when it has broken down (yet again) on the side of the road.

  41. Comment by Born4Lycra | 12.19.2007 | 3:56 pm

    It’s all a matter of perception. I see a gas guzzling lump driven in most cases (not this one) by people (particularly in Oz but probably elsewhere also) who believe they have a god given right to abuse cyclists and other road users. The closest they come to going off road and therefore making use of the 4 wheel drive is when they hop the median to turn into a shopping centre and avoid the queue.
    I originally got back on my bike to cut down on petrol use, for fitness and to do a little bit in helping the environment. I ride it whenever possible. If I need to transport it my Hyundai Excel (Cherry) can move me and 3 other riders plus bikes on the rack and still make me feel good about the environment. My wife drives a Subaru Liberty (Hi Ho as in Hi ho Silver) and if necessary the bike rack can be swapped to it making the trip a little more comfortable than the Excel

  42. Comment by bikemike | 12.19.2007 | 4:01 pm

    just got rid of the ten year old saturn and was able to pick up a slightly used ‘07 toyota forerunner sport edition (nice chioce mtb w). if i’m going solo, i just put the bike in the back with both wheels on . sa-weeet. or pop the saris pro rack on the back, two bikes, upright with both wheels on and you’re down the road in about 30 seconds.

    honda ridgeline, awesome and darn near unpossible to beat in dependability and cup holder-tude.

    i’m in love with my car, gotta feel for my automobile. anyone? dug?

  43. Comment by eunicesara | 12.19.2007 | 4:04 pm

    Horses. Competitive carriage driver. Breed exhibitor. 4-H coach. Must have truck. Must have 4-door truck to take clients, friends, grooms, barn help, new recruits, (D: all of the above) with. Too many years with no seating. Two vehicles, more tires to go flat.
    The bikes have ridden: A, on a bike rack attached to something (bike dragged down Pennsylvania backroad); B, bungie corded to the oven handle in the RV; C, in the back of the horse trailer with the carriage (and horses); D, casually tossed in the bed of the pick-up truck on those occasions that I can’t find enough lung-busting terrain within riding distance.
    The fork thingie looks way cool. Mentioned that to a friend who has patented a bike holder, rack, thingie.

  44. Comment by Guy_of_TI | 12.19.2007 | 4:16 pm

    I can’t belive that no one else mentioned the excellence of the 1987 Synchro. I’ve had 7 bikes and 7 people INSIDE with a seat belt on everyone. Very necessary with it’s pecular off-road capabilities (the pogo effect.)
    It usually has two bikes and a tandem inside, but with 4 people the tandem front wheel has to come off. The other good thing is with three mountain bikes inside three people can still sleep at a rest stop.
    You never need to lock it either. As many other E-bay treasures, it has a “nothing expensive in here” patina because of all the big dents. Its as close to the perfection of kombi as you can get and still have four wheel drive.

  45. Comment by sans auto | 12.19.2007 | 4:27 pm

    I’m not against cars, I”ve had a lot of cars. I just don’t like driving them.

    Currently my wife and I share a Dodge caravan minivan. It’s great, This year more miles were put on my fixie than the minivan.

    Best ever bike mobile: 73 VW bus with a pop-top. It carried bikes, friends, had a sink, closet and bed. What else do you need? (you need to not get in a head-on collission that totals it)

    Other cars I have owned (just to prove I have had cars): Opel, Renault Encore, Renault Alliance, Subaru wagon, Suzuki side kick, VW rabbit, VW Thing, Hyundai Elantra and I think I had a Mazda pickup once.

    I think I got used to riding my bike when i owned those cars because their reliability forced me to ride… A LOT! See, there are good things about cars.

  46. Comment by Marge | 12.19.2007 | 4:28 pm

    I bought a Toyota FJ Cruiser this fall for my funmobile. I can put four bikes on the back and four of my gal friends inside, and we can go anywhere. I we get tired of single track we can do some four-wheeling in the FJ. If it’s just me I can throw my bike in back with the second row seats down. Now that skiing is upon us here in Grand Junction, I throw my skies on the Skybox on top and use it for fun in the snow. It’s a great machine and sooo fun to drive. Toyota ought give me something for all this . . . .

    By the way I’m a bit jealous that I’m not in the Biker Chicks picture. I do live in the same ward as them, have the pink jersey and I am working hard to some day qualify for the opportunity to ride with them. They are awesome. Merry Christmas to you and your family. We include Susan is our daily prayers.

  47. Comment by Bluenoser | 12.19.2007 | 4:36 pm

    Fatty, I was going to do the rant. All I can say is that it has gone from poser bikes to poser so called trucks.

    Those of us with real trucks and real jobs where we work with them, can’t afford either of the trophies.

    Don’t mean to cry, just sayin.


  48. Comment by Travis | 12.19.2007 | 4:39 pm

    I have to say I like it, and I actually have been looking around for something similar… then I came across this;

    Uglier, but I can get my bikes in the back… and check out the price! Enough left over to buy more bikes!

  49. Comment by monkeywebb | 12.19.2007 | 4:52 pm

    My car buying has been reactionary. I react to whatever I dislike about my last car by going a different direction with my next car. Here’s the history:

    Problem: I only have $1,000.

    Solution: 1979 Honda Civic station wagon with a 2-speed (!) Hondamatic (!!) transmission and a 1-speaker AM radio (!!!). Cheap and economical. Problem: It’s slow and only has a 2-speed transmission.

    Solution: 1991 Ford Escort GT (5-speed). It’s zippy and even has a tape deck! Problem: It only ran for 800-1,000 miles at a time.

    Solution: 1999 Honda Civic coupe. As reliable as a steel-framed fixie and five times the gears. Problem: Two doors.

    Solution: 1999 Acura Integra GSR sedan. Twice the doors! Super fast! It’s an Acura! Problem: A bit of a one-trick pony. I felt guilty every time I looked at a dirt road.

    Solution: 2003 Subaru WRX SportWagon. I can put anything in it and go just about anywhere. It’s been to the top of more mountains than my uncle’s FJ (he’s not trying hard enough) and my dad’s Dodge Dakota combined. Problem: It requires premium gas and can transport either four bikes and two adults or two bikes and four adults.

    Solution: I dunno yet. Maybe a Ridgeline.

  50. Comment by swiss | 12.19.2007 | 4:54 pm

    volkswagen transporter t4. only a seat for me and one other, everything else is for the bikes. totally self contained. the business

  51. Comment by Bob | 12.19.2007 | 5:05 pm

    I have an SUV and a Prius. The SUV is for biking and attending NRA meetings. The Prius is for biking and attending Al Gore speeches.

  52. Comment by Anonymous | 12.19.2007 | 5:10 pm

    Re: Minivans…. they are indeed the ultimate bikemobiles. On my college cycling team, we’d rent University minivans for race weekends. We would fit 5 people + 5 bikes + 5 duffel bags + tools, stand, and extra wheels in each one. And still got them airborne.

    A friend of mine has converted the back of his (yes, his) minivan to have two fork mounts inside it… very handy.

    Re: my vehicle of choice– I used to drive a 1970 Bug. I could fit one bike and wheels (wheels removed) on the backseat, and my gear on the front seat, and nothing else. Worked reasonably well, and I got 30+ mpg.

    My current vehicle isn’t much better: VW Rabbit. I can fit two fully assembled bikes in it with the seats down (and lots of padding in between), two disassembled in the hatch, or three on my roof rack. With one bike on top I still get ~31 mpg.

  53. Comment by Sean | 12.19.2007 | 5:12 pm

    Like many other cyclists I know, I lust after the Sportsmobile Lopes 55 but my Element does me just fine for now. Two bikes with wheels fit inside easy, 2″ receiver and Yakima roof rack on the outside for all the bikes I could ever want to haul. Seats fold flat and fit a double mattress perfectly.

  54. Comment by Willie Nelson | 12.19.2007 | 5:34 pm

    I drive an original FJ40 from Toyota, 1966 version and it’s a great bike-mobile if you have no friends and ride alone all the time, there is only room for you and one bike. The old Land Cruiser goes slow and steady and can’t be beat off-road. However, on road is another story… I think the newer FJ’s are a bit nicer.

    PS I will vouch for SansAuto owning a VW Thing, he used to give me a ride home from high school with it.

  55. Comment by Patrick from Astoria | 12.19.2007 | 5:37 pm

    A bit of lateral thinking: Allow that rowers are the waterborne kindred spirits of bicyclists, and that if you have a rack that holds one sizable piece of sporting equipment on your roof you’ll probably be able to fit most other devices as well.

    With that in mind, I’ve got to say that the guy I saw a few years ago carrying a racing shell on top of his Ferrari 308 definitely had it all figured out. Gotta think that a Colnago in the same place would look pretty appropriate….

  56. Comment by Jill | 12.19.2007 | 5:42 pm

    My little 1996 Geo Prism is great. 35-40 mpg, Alaska-hardened, and it hauls bikes and couches.

    By the way, thanks for the shout out earlier this week. It was fun to look at the blogs of some of your friends.

  57. Comment by becomingblue | 12.19.2007 | 6:07 pm

    99 Suburban. Hitch mounts front and back so you can load up the bikes. Plenty of room in the back for gear. Seats 6 adults in comfort, 8 if it doesn’t matter. And of course the roof rack can hold a storage shed amount of extras. Need even more room or going on extended trips, hitch up the trailer and we’re good for whatever. There may be a limit to what it can do. Best vehicle ever made.

  58. Comment by Kris | 12.19.2007 | 6:08 pm

    Fatty, nice job erasing your license plate number. What, do you think we’d use that info to look you up and stalk you? Paranoid are we? ;-)

  59. Comment by graisseux | 12.19.2007 | 6:17 pm

    Naught but an hour after reading this post and seeing the pictures of the “Bikemobile”, I saw an identical Ridgeline pulling out of the University Mall parking lot; the driver was bald and shortish. I couldn’t look closely enough to see if there were fork mounts in the bed. Was this a celebrity spotting? I think so. I just wish I had had a camera handy; candid shots of the famed Fat Cyclist must go for tens, nay, scores of dollars over at the celebrity gossip rags.

    1995 Subaru Legacy Outback. With the seats down two bikes will fit in the back. Three might fit, but with only two seats left, why would I need to fit three bikes? Added bonus: the pedals of each bike inevitably fuse with the spokes/drivetrain of the other bike, so by simply grabbing one seat tube, you’ve got both bikes in a handy, albeit horribly entangled and slightly damaged, package.

  60. Comment by dug | 12.19.2007 | 6:32 pm

    sans, you are a cheater. if your wife has a car, you can’t call yourself “sansauto.” worse, you and your wife SHARE a car.

    sansauto? pff.

  61. Comment by bryan | 12.19.2007 | 6:39 pm

    I have a 2000 Camry, which has carried bikes in four different ways. Wheels off, it goes in the trunk if the back seats need to carry stuff. Front wheel off, it goes from the trunk into the back seats — usually for solo racing trips. Or it goes in the back seat with both wheels off (way full trunk). Or it goes on the rack, which is rare. I generally only do that if there’s more than one bike.

    Oh, and thanks for the sox, Fatty.

  62. Comment by MonsieurM | 12.19.2007 | 6:46 pm

    Right now, there’s not much bike carrying here. -15 celsius and 70cm of snow in the last two weeks will put biking on hold. We’re finally having a winter for a change…

    But when the weather is better, like Alex Esplin, I drive a Honda Fit. Small, fun to drive, fuel-efficient, and incredible loading space for such a small car. I flip the back seats down, remove the front wheel (hooray for quick-release) and voilà, instant transportation.

  63. Comment by RachelGio | 12.19.2007 | 6:53 pm

    I drive a 10 year old RAV4 that I passionately love. I can haul 2 bikes and 4 people and their crap. But generally I’m the freak who wants to be at a race early so I go alone. I have a nice Thule rack on the back; can lock up teh bikes if I go in somewhere but my FAV!!! part is taht I can flip down one of the back seats and simply ROLL my lovely Seven in if I’m feeling paranoid about people oogling my gorgeous Ti. Or if I think some crank fueled a-hole on I-10 is gonna rear end me on my way to a race. Only complaint is that it’s too old to have a CD player, much less an Ipod hook up.

  64. Comment by joliver3 | 12.19.2007 | 6:55 pm

    Mazda RX-8 w/Yakima roof rack. I can fit 2 MTBs & 1 kid’s bike on the roof, or swap out one of the regular bike carriers for the tandem carrier when needed. I didn’t exactly select the car w/biking in mind, but I did check the Yakima website for fitments first. Some of the roof rack parts are coming up on 20 years old, recycled and reconfigured for use on three different cars over the years.

  65. Comment by Rachel | 12.19.2007 | 7:01 pm

    Your bikemobile is totally awesome. I only need to fit 2 bikes at any one time so my Honda Odyssey (minivan…oh, the horror!!) works just fine with both standing and with no disassembly. Eventually I may need to consider other options as children get bigger but for now this works.

  66. Comment by fatty | 12.19.2007 | 7:58 pm

    rachel – susan’s car is an odyssey. we’ve had it 8 years. fantastic van. back seat folds into the floor in ten seconds, making room for four bikes if you need. still room to seat four.

    sean – love the element. everyone i know who has one claims it’s the perfect cyclist’s vehicle.

    i heart honda.

  67. Comment by Rocky | 12.19.2007 | 8:43 pm

    Fatty – I trust that you will pass this along to Racer. Thanks for the greatest bike hook up in the history of bike hook ups. Seriously, thanks.

  68. Comment by bob | 12.19.2007 | 9:42 pm

    Element, hands down, My bikes like to be INSIDE.

    3 people, 3 bikes 5 days worth of stuff, including one of the people, who is a pilots, work luggage, all Inside and comfortable.

    3 people, 5 bikes, and a weeks worth of stuff, all inside, except 3 bikes on the hitch mounted rack.

    2 people, 2 whole bikes inside with seats out, including nice warm changing area for cold post pre CX racin.

    The ridgeline is intriguing, i might go with a Toyota Tacoma instead, with a topper.

    Sleep in the back,

  69. Comment by Little1 | 12.19.2007 | 9:43 pm

    hee hee… please put that spare wheel on and take pic?!

    p.s. i know you cracking jokes all the time… i just thought 6889ft a little excessive

  70. Comment by IndoorRolyPoly | 12.19.2007 | 10:11 pm

    94′ GMC Safari! I originally picked this $200 gem (saved it form a date with the crusher) up for my race bike (motorcycle) but found that I use it more for my pushies!

  71. Comment by El Animal | 12.19.2007 | 10:31 pm

    I am not planing to buy a car yet, but I’ve thinking that I should get a cyclist friendly car next time. Can I ask you how many MPG your ridgeline does? Just curiosity.

  72. Comment by Orbea Girl | 12.20.2007 | 12:35 am

    I have a 2-seater Smart car, oodles of mpg and so easy to park, with a wishbone carrier on the back which takes 2-bikes.

  73. Comment by TheLurker | 12.20.2007 | 12:38 am

    Werl, living in the countrysoide (get orfff moi land!) I don’t need to transport my bike great distances (I always thought it was supposed to be t’other way about, but there you go) to find somewhere nice to ride, but on the odd occasion I have to speed my bike to the bike hospital I rely on my trusty 1300cc 53BHP Skoda Felicia (non-UK readers – think beige trousers with elasticated waistbands, trilby or flat cap optional) with the back seat folded down. Of course that only leaves room for one passenger, but I’m a cyclist. We don’t carry no steenking* passengers. :)

    *No need. We generally reek to high heaven.

  74. Comment by Ryan Cousineau | 12.20.2007 | 12:40 am

    Honest to goodness, I drive a 98 New Beetle, and can fit a bike in the back with the rear seat folded down and the front wheel off. It gets a bit messy if the bike has full fenders. My proudest moment was the day I used it to take home a tandem, again inside the car, and with two people in the front seats.

    Okay, it was a small-wheeled, folding tandem, but still! A tandem! In a Beetle!

    For my more sane and social moments, I use a roof rack, but wish I had a hitch rack.

  75. Comment by Jake | 12.20.2007 | 1:42 am

    Great post. It’s funny how the car-haters often blag lifts to ride…

    I have a dual concern – I select my car based on a) how many bikes I can get it in it but also b) whether I can get my drum kit into it. I’d also like it if it went pretty quick, too.

    Lucky for me, then, that I chose the car here:

    A Skoda Octvia VRS. Fast, practical, and as a bonus, a car the police use (so people often get out of your way on the motorway!) – the perfect drumming cyclist’s car.

  76. Comment by Alex | 12.20.2007 | 1:44 am

    I just picked up a VW Golf turbo diesel to replace my Subaru Impreza. My main selection criteria were for me to be able to get in and out easily (I have a prosthetic leg), it be auto (My Impreza wasn’t – hence the change of car) and that I could get a track bike in the back. The Golf is sensational. And incredibly roomy, more so than many larger and recreational vehicles I looked at.

    Last time I went car shopping I would turn up with my bike and test out the ease of fit. If I couldn’t easily get bike in and out, well it was off the list. It was always funny to see the car salesmens’ eyes when I would rock in walking a bike.

    I had that fateful roof crunching experience about 10 years ago when my beloved Bianchi racer was crushed, the car roof buckled in, the windscreen smashed and the damage to the (communal) garage in the apartment block I was living in those days. Fortunately for me there was a good crash repair shop right across the street. I walked past that guy for a couple of years, always said hello but never thougt I’d need his services!

  77. Comment by Andy | 12.20.2007 | 4:16 am

    My car doesnt have as much space as the ridgeline but I am sure it drives better since its a car and not a truck. I wouldn’t trade my Subaru Baja for nothing. I can also carry up to 7 bikes if I so choose and thats with a car!!!

  78. Comment by Johnny | 12.20.2007 | 4:34 am

    Slap another of those locking mounts on the inside of the tailgate door and you would have room for a 3rd bike.

  79. Comment by Mike Roadie | 12.20.2007 | 4:42 am

    Great set up….three bikes at once. Won’t you feel bad when you show up to the MTB ride without the wheels, though?


  80. Comment by Pammap | 12.20.2007 | 5:04 am

    We travel mega miles all summer for bike racing and my boys were terribly uncomfortable in the back seat of my SUV so we traded it for a Chevy Uplander minivan. Very spacious; nice road car. Tight turning radius too so it’s easy to maneuver when hunting for a parking space at a busy race. We don’t need off-road capabilities.

    We leave out the third row of seats, have attached our bike mounts to a portable rack that lays in the back and we have tons of room for bikes, wheels, toolbags, gear, suitcases, coolers, etc.

    The boys have enjoyed the comfort of the rear captains chairs and getting to the race with a clean bike too since they are not on the roof collecting bugs. My old roof rack fits on my van so I can carry 5-6 bikes on the roof if needed. We have extra wide bars.

  81. Comment by Medstudentitis | 12.20.2007 | 5:16 am

    That’s one freaking environmental disaster of an ugly car. It’s almost as bad as my boyfriend’s Acura MDX.

  82. Comment by fatty | 12.20.2007 | 6:01 am

    medstudentitis – so i’m probably not going to endear myself to you when i say that i was seriously torn between the car i bought and the acura mdx, am i?

    andy – you might be seriously surprised about ride quality of the ridgeline. specifically, it rides like a largish honda accord.

    orbeagirl – seriously, a smart car? i’ve wanted one of those since i first saw one.

    johnny – i’ve considered doing that, but need to fold the gate down flat and slide stuff in often enough that i don’t want something poking up right in the middle of the gate.

  83. Comment by Donald | 12.20.2007 | 6:06 am

    I really like Hondas. We had a Land Rover Discovery… which was a great truck! OK… after everybdy stops screaming about how much gas it drinks… I know… and we sold it. I now drive a Honda Pilot. With a four year old boy… my bike and two golden retreivers… my wife and I still fit and we roll with no problems. Great truck and lots of room!

  84. Comment by SyracuseStu | 12.20.2007 | 6:15 am

    Off topic, but…Is no one else as impressed as I am about Alex with the prosthetic leg riding track? Reminds me of the employee I saw at Sunday River Ski resort in Maine years back…who took her prosthetic leg off, put it in a backpack, saddled up on a mountain bike and went SCREAMING off down the road after she got off work. 1 crank arm. Kinda made me feel like a pansy for riding the lift all day to the trails.

  85. Comment by cheapie | 12.20.2007 | 6:33 am

    wow. you got jill to post? after having BSNYC a while ago? who’s next? the pioneer woman? ;-)

  86. Comment by dailytri | 12.20.2007 | 6:35 am

    Love the review. I’ve actually always admired the Ridgeline. I used to own a Ford Explorer Sportrac. It was great for bike set ups as well. Many similar features (except the in-bed trunk concept which makes the Honda’s price worth it…totally) but extremely poor gas mileage. I went to a Mazda6 and reverted back to a trunk mounted bike rike.

  87. Comment by Jason | 12.20.2007 | 6:53 am

    I have a 2000 Silverado Ext Cab it has the capability of hauling 12 bikes + 6 people. Four bikes in the bed with all tires on. Four bikes on the Hitch and if need be four bikes on a removable roof rack. I could fold up the back seat to add another bike, but with all the other locations why.

  88. Comment by Nick | 12.20.2007 | 6:54 am

    I’ve gotta say, I think Honda makes some really innovative products. We have a Honda Fit, and — while obviously not to the same scale as your truck — I can fit a ridiculous amount of bikes and junk in there. It has the same flip-up rear seat concept, so I can fit two road bikes across the passenger compartment (although I need to remove the front wheels). I also fit three bikes standing up(one a tri bike) minus the front wheels, plus all my dorky triathlete gear and assorted other sundries, with the rear seats folded down when I drove to Ironman Lake Placid this year. And my fiancee wasn’t all scrunched up in the front seat to make room either.

    Of course, it helps that I’m 5′8″ and my GF is even shorter — small bikes are easier to fit.

  89. Comment by axel | 12.20.2007 | 7:13 am

    cheap small mazda protege – leaves more money for bikes and boats.

  90. Comment by TexasTailwind | 12.20.2007 | 7:20 am

    I have a Nissan Pathfinder. Main criteria when buying was:
    1. Can use my hitck bike rack
    2. Plastic/Rubber cargo area to toss all of my assorted (and often dirty/sweaty) bike gear.

    My lease comes up this summer and a Ridgeline is on my short list.

  91. Comment by Canadian Roadie | 12.20.2007 | 7:20 am

    For those of you with VW’s, my husband’s trying to come up with a similar solution to this for ours:

    Hmm, that link might not work. How do I post a photo?

  92. Comment by CLBlood | 12.20.2007 | 7:24 am

    Becomingblue, I have the bikemobile you have (2000 Suburban),
    including the front hitch. It seats 6 with seatbelts while holding 2 road
    bikes upright in back. The front wheels sit between the bikes
    with the Rubbermaid buckets of pre-packed gear, and the floor
    pump. The road bikes are on the same type of fork mounts that Fatty
    installed, but they are on a removable 2×4. My truck is a base model,
    so it came with rubber floors and crank windows, and only my floor mats are carpeted. There’s no CD player, which would trouble me if I ever listened to
    anything besides talk radio. In summer I get 18 mpg interstate, and I don’t expect anyone to believe me about that.

    Two great things about carrying the bikes in the Suburban: (1) The
    windows are so dark that passersby can’t see what we’re carrying;
    and (2) the bikes stay dry.

    My wife picked an Element, partly because it too has rubber floors,
    but more importantly because her road bike fits upright behind her
    with one rear seat folded.

  93. Comment by usimpto | 12.20.2007 | 7:25 am

    I too shopped for a new car this past summer specifically with biking in mind. I ended up with a Toyota Matrix and love it–I can fold down the seats and throw in my road or mountain bike without disassembly. But I ended up getting a hitch and a Yakima mount and now it’s even easier. And I get 30+ mpg.

  94. Comment by CLBlood | 12.20.2007 | 7:26 am

    I forgot to add: My bikemobile, in 2-seater configuration, doubles as the Bigdogmobile.

  95. Comment by hellkitty | 12.20.2007 | 7:40 am

    I dunno, we have an RSX and it’s pretty good for the bike. Flop down the seats, open the hatch and toss in the bike (or 2) whole.

    I understand what you’re saying though, part of the reason I put the Jetta out to pasture was the fact you had to take off the front wheel and wiggle the bike into the trunk past the half-assed UNfolding rear seats.

    Now I have a Subaru Legacy sedan where I have to put the bike in backwards (rear wheel first) to get it in the trunk. But it fits.

  96. Comment by Al Maviva | 12.20.2007 | 8:14 am

    Mid-sized sport-ute, roof rack for 2-3 bikes. Seats 5, so in a pinch I could throw on a trunk rack and stick a couple extra bikes on there. Yep, carrying bikes was a primary concern. I had a Ford pickup before that, with fork racks in the back.

    But a ‘77 El Camino in metal flake purple with a couple fork racks in the bed would be a sweet ride to take to races.

  97. Comment by fatty | 12.20.2007 | 8:21 am

    hellkitty – i’m not saying the rsx is not a good bikemobile; i put a 2″ hitch receiver on mine and used it as my bikemobile for five years. worked great. but it is strictly an on-road car, and you can’t realistically carry more than 2 people, their bikes and their stuff for anything but short distances (very tiny back seat).

  98. Comment by Walt Roscello | 12.20.2007 | 8:26 am

    Fatty – for the reverse-mounted bike, just mount the fork mount to a 2×4, not the truck. If it is long enough it will be stable, and you can move it when not using it. You might even have slots in the bed sides for it.

    Works inside vehicles too.

  99. Comment by PeteDMeat | 12.20.2007 | 8:30 am

    Fatty is an ex-DSM’r.

    The sadomasicistic tendencies (endurance biking, single speed, rigid, et cetera) now make infinitely more sense.

  100. Comment by CLBlood | 12.20.2007 | 9:09 am

    To “bikemobile?,” I think I have the biggest SUV among responders. You’re right, I do like to say I cycle. About 280 times a year. I had my ‘88 Nova fitted with a custom 2″ hitch three days before it was wrecked out from under me. My truck clears the road like a fire engine. Pardon the cliche, but Suburbans rule.

  101. Comment by je | 12.20.2007 | 9:35 am

    Sweet set up. Sadly, I have four kids so my ride is a mini-van. Actually, the four kids is not sad, the ride is.

    I, too, can stuff a fully assembled road bike into the middle row of the van and pull it out ready to ride. All I have to is put the shoes, helmet and sunglasses on and I’m rolling. I’ve got the rack up on top, but if its just me going out to start a ride I load the bike inside and take off.

    Sadly, this time for real, I am an absent-minded doofus and have pulled into the garage with my $3,000 ride on top. Luckily, the rack snapped off the roof of the van before the carbon fiber bike was injured. Only problem the bike had was the handle bars were shoved to one side.

  102. Comment by Daddy Style | 12.20.2007 | 9:39 am

    Nice but… not really one of a kind is it.

    We have a classic 1976 Ford 3/4 ton van I rebuilt 12 years ago. 1 ton springs and a RV cam. Seats 8 and carries 8 bikes outside with gear for all inside. I can fit 4 bikes inside if need be. I even have a custom Hitch/bike rack so we can tow the tent trailer as well. Don’t ask about gas milage. We need a full load just to pay for gas. Not a daily driver but she serves the purpose she was built for. Road trips.

    The coolest part is the 500 + stickers inside and out we have collected over the years. A one of a kind rolling piece of auto history.

    No worries about people not recognizing this rig as opposed to Hmm, I wonder if that was Fatty in that Ridgeline that looks like that other Ridgeline.

    Merry Christmas and peace, happiness and most of all good health to all out there in bike land.

    Ride on,

  103. Comment by Jouni | 12.20.2007 | 10:07 am

    Subaru Outback wagon – nice big roof for the Thule rack and ski box (stays on all year to haul camping/bike gear in the summer) and tons of room inside. Decent enough on gas for a bigger vehicle too.

  104. Comment by Dan K | 12.20.2007 | 10:25 am

    I went with a regular cab Ford Ranger 4×4 Off-Road model. Granted, I can’t move more than 2 adults for any period of time, but everything is a compromise. With a daily commute of over 70 miles, I needed the gas mileage of a smaller vehicle. The 4×4 makes it a good winter truck for living in NH, and it is remarkably capable off-road for a stock vehicle. Well, fairly stock, I replaced the cheesy factory vacuum-lock hubs with AVM manual locking hubs. I had initially intended to buy a topper for it, but I like the way it looks too much without one, so the bike tends to lay in the bed during the day and come inside at night. I mounted a chain to the bed that I can use to padlock the bikes in when I have to leave it, though that’s still less secure than I’d like.

    Also, having a trunk in the bed of your truck is where it’s at. One of the smarter things about the ridgeline, IMO. For everyone who doesn’t have a ridgeline, don’t fret; your bed can have a trunk too!
    I’m thinking this spring I’ll mount one of those completely under the bed facing up, and cut the respective piece out of the bed so I can access it like the Ridgeline.

    Anyway, nice truck, save for the cosmetics and automatic transmission.

  105. Comment by Clydesteve | 12.20.2007 | 10:47 am

    I do not like to pay for motor vehicles. So I don’t buy them very often. As in “I will sell no car before its’ time”. That being somewhere north of 250,000 miles. Current rigs:

    ‘94 chev Silverado 1/2-ton shortbox with long 2-seater cab. 2 fork mounts in the bed & Thule 4-bike hitch receiver rack. So I can carry the whole family worth of MTBs plus two road bikes when we go on vacation. I had the hitch, uninstalled, for 3 years. I only needed it to haul the horse trailer, so I didn’t need it. One week after receiving the Thule, I had the frame hitch installed.

    ‘94 Dodge Grand Caravan, bashed-in side. This is the school car pool vehicle. When I had to drive it, before a couple of the kids got drivers licenses, I removed the front wheel and stuck the lunch ride bike in the back, with plenty of room for 5 or 6 kids.

    ‘99 Ford Taurus. Not so much of a bike vehicle, but my wife sometimes drives the reverse of my 21 mile commute when I am late coming home for work, the wind is bad, and supper is waiting. remove both wheels, and the monsterous trunk has room for a 63cm frame.

  106. Comment by fatty | 12.20.2007 | 10:48 am

    jcwise, bikemobile? – you’re both out of line. jcwise, you don’t get to make ad hominem attacks. it’s not smart, it’s not funny. bikemobile? – you don’t get to use that kind of language.

    i’ve deleted both your comments. you should know better. seriously.

  107. Comment by KT | 12.20.2007 | 11:32 am

    Whoa, there fatty…. the RSX type S is a good gravel/mud logging road type of car– with the right driver.

    My younger brother Mark won the SCCA’s National rally series in Production class in 2004 with an Acura RSX type S. He’s a talented driver, I thought that car was a heavy pig (even more so when you add a full roll cage, rally suspension, rally tires, race seats, etc etc etc) and it understeers like a mofo.

    Of course, he went from a 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R (my rally car, up until October– it was his first) to the Acura, and now he’s in a 2002 Subaru WRX, and whooping up on a lot of folks with it, but all our rally cars have been basically stock in the engine/tranny department, and he’s learned how to drive really, really fast on loose surfaces in a broad range of power. Enough about him, though, he’s a recreational rider of really short distances towing kids to the local park.

    My daily driver is a 2006 Subaru Forester. My requirements in purchasing this my first new car ever were as follows:
    1- dark blue
    2- 5-speed manual tranny
    3- disc brakes all the way around
    4- good stereo/cdplayer
    5- enough room to haul the dog

    I fulfilled all those requirements, and got the biggest moon roof in the world and heated seats. Swank! It’s got enough room, with the seats folded down, to haul 15 rally tires and still have room for a passenger. Or, 5 adults and 6 cases of wine. Or, 1 passenger, 8 rally tires, and one dog.

    Or, since this is a biking blog, we put the bike rack on the roof and can haul two bikes up top, one inside (the carbon fibre bike, as I understand you’re not supposed to use a frame clamp on such materials), and possibly two passengers and the driver.

    Of course, my genius man has figured out how to MacGyver the roof mount rack to accomodate two frame-clamped bikes and the fork-mount for the CF bike. So that’s three up top, to go with the three people inside. Exciting!

  108. Comment by fatty | 12.20.2007 | 11:46 am

    kt – if you don’t mind me saying so, you rule.

  109. Comment by UtRacerDad | 12.20.2007 | 12:37 pm

    Love the bikemobile. Mine is an Isuzu rodeo, it had a roof rack until about 3 months ago when I forgot that the road bike was up there and tried (unsuccessfully) to park in a covered parking garage, seems that my rodeo is now rackless on the roof. I switched to a Raxter bike rack, best investment I made, should have went that way in the first place.

  110. Comment by Kris | 12.20.2007 | 12:43 pm

    I’m no rally driver, but I got my little Pontiac Vibe down and up the road to Mineral Basin for my recent White Rim ride. When driving to a ride, I don’t let little things like dirt roads and low ground clearance get in my way. ;-)

    Good topic, Fatty. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in putting high priority on my cycling needs when choosing a car. From the comments it’s been interesting that certain vehicles are standouts for cyclists, yet with motivation and ingenuity almost anything can be a bikemobile. We cyclist are a blindly passionate bunch, eh?

  111. Comment by Lifesgreat | 12.20.2007 | 12:59 pm

    I love my 2005 Honda CRV. I bought it with my biking in mind. I can put my fully assembled bike in and still have room for all my bike junk.

    I liked the space in the Element (I felt like I was driving a small room around), but I am a carpool mom in one of my other lives and I needed to be able to have a fifth seat belt.

  112. Comment by bikemike | 12.20.2007 | 12:59 pm

    bikes and cars, holy crap, it don’t get much better’n this.

    Susan, here’s hoping you have a very pain free Christmas.

    God bless us, each and every one!

  113. Comment by Sprocketboy | 12.20.2007 | 1:12 pm

    This is fun, and I am soooooo happy to see that your are driving some of that Candian-built Honda goodness. My own bikemobile is not ideal: a 2000 Mazda Millenia S. I bought this because it has a Bose 6 CD player in-dash and heated seats. It is only really used for long interstate trips, typically 10-12 hours so I wanted something really comfortable and quiet. According to the Wall Street Journal, it has one of the highest depreciation rates of any car on the market so I paid a pretty reasonable price for it.

    The trunk is enormous, which makes up for the lack of rear-seat foldability. Removing the wheels from my racing bike, I can put in the frame, the wheels, my gear bag, the Yellow Box Full of Cold Beer, a pump, a folding Target chair and table and some towels. Plus if a friend comes, another bike can easily go in front of the rear seat.

    This year I took the plunge and after buying a very nice hitch rack for $100 on E-Bay, I then spent $120 for a hitch and–gasp–$350 to install it. It works really well, although the bikes now sit outside. More beer space in the trunk. And it is much easier to not disassemble the time trial bike.

    I saw a great bikemobile all the time when I used to walk to work in Washington, DC: a white 1980 Chevrolet Caprice sedan covered with mountain bike racing stickers, with a roof rack suitable for about eight bikes.

    When my Mazda needs replacement, I might look at the new Honda Fit or the last generation CR-V. The Mazda 6 Hatchback is also a very cool solution since it has almost as much cargo space as the station wagon. I agree that minivans are great but if you drive alone most of the time they are probably overkill. And how about this new GM “coupe utility” from Australia: I need a 362 hp V-8 vehicle to carry my 15.2 pound Specialized Tarmac:

    In Europe this summer we rented a Ford S-Max minivan and were able to get five adults and five road bikes into it for a thankfully short distance. The Euros can have access to lots of neat bikemobiles, like the hilarious Skoda Roomster so visible at the Tour de France.

    But the best bikemobile I saw was driven by a racer in California. He had an old Porsche 356 convertible and was carrying his Pinarello, wheels packed on top, attached flat to the chrome luggage rack on the trunk lid (hood, actually). That’s style, man.

  114. Comment by rexinsea | 12.20.2007 | 1:18 pm

    I had a 96 Subaru Legacy wagon for the last ten years and it is/was a fantastic bike/ski mobile. Skis or bikes fit in the back but if you want more than one bike inside; a roof rack is a must. Excellent mileage and handles great on dirt roads. (no real off roading.)

    Just last month, I decided to try the Biodiesel thing and bought a Jeep Liberty CRD. Anybody want to buy a great Subaru?

    The Jeep is great! 22 MPG, 4WD – “Trail Rated,” leather seats, sun roof. And I get to believe I’m saving the planet with biodiesel. I don’t want to start a debate on the merits of biodiesel, there are plenty of other places to do that in the Internet. The rig is great becuase I can get two bikes inside if I take the wheels off and my skis can also fit inside. I don’t think I can pull off the bike inside fully assmebled like Fatty but I’ll have to try that.

    +1 on the mini-van. Once you get over the fact your in a mini-van, they are awesome people/gear movers. We have a Toyota Sienna. Gets the twins and older boy around town, up to the slopes and out for hikes/bike rides etc. Like the Ridgeline, it drives like a biggish Camry.

    My first thought when considering new cars is alway “how it’ll transport my stuff” not how it drives. :)

  115. Comment by Tim D | 12.20.2007 | 2:02 pm

    Do you get Top Gear outsdie the UK? If not, check out the Top Gear Toyota Hilux challenge on You Tube.

  116. Comment by WMdeR. | 12.20.2007 | 3:07 pm

    Cars (wow, what a popular topic! I wonder what this should tell us about ourselves?) I’ve liked for schlepping bikes about:

    1987 VW Vanagon Syncro. On the odd occasions it ran, it was a wonderful truck. It had a queen size bed, room for seven adults, camping gear, and several bikes, metric ton carrying capacity, off-road capable (yes, really), 20mpg fully loaded. It ate motors, though. Never buy a vehicle with a published cylinder head crack spec.

    2003 VW Jetta Wagon TDI. Runs on Biodiesel, so it doesn’t gas my fellow cyclists. 48mph on the highway with a rocketbox full on top, three (wheel-less) bicycles in tha back, and three adults (one with short-ish legs–the back seat isn’t too commodious) in the passenger compartment. Alternatively, one may haul several (four or five, depending on size) road bikes in the back with the seat down and the bicycle’s front wheels removed.

    Non-cars I’ve liked for shlepping bikes about:

    BOB trailer with dual-trays–room for tools, a pressure-washer, spare wheels, and a stand in the middle, a big bag of CX stuff, and two CX bikes on the racks. An emergency third bike pulling to the race. Self-propulsion!

    Flatbed Trailer pulled by the local bike-coop guru–man I wish I had a photo of the huge piles of things he shifts with it. We’re talking many, many bikes (okay, mostly bent frames on the way to the recycling center, but still, 3-400 lbs of stuff on two flatbed trailers in series), high MPG (maybe 1l of chain lube a year on the singlespeed?).

  117. Comment by Donut | 12.20.2007 | 3:33 pm

    We put two bike on the roof of the Subaru Outback or one (front wheel off) in the back of the Jag X-Type. It works for our little unit, but I have to get rid of the Jag (really just the payment). I am looking for a cheap used car that will carry bikes better than the Jag and get better gas mileage and I have gotten so many good ideas from these comments. I did see a guy this summer with an 80’s vintage Honda motorcycle with a homemade frame attached that carried a tray style Rocky Mount lengthwise behind the motorcycle!

  118. Comment by Dobovedo | 12.20.2007 | 6:34 pm

    The Dobovedo Team Car is my wife’s Honda Element, with rear seats removed and a homebuilt board with fork mounts on it. Basic and used only occasionally when I have a mechanical, bad weather hits me, or sometimes on long trips.

    My FlyteHaulerMobile (one of my road bikes is a Flyte Arsenal) is a very basic 2006 Ford Focus 3 door hatchback. The only modification here is that the rear seat bench is permanently removed, and the rear seatbacks are folded flat. Two bikes lay in the back quite nicely, separated by a thick foam pad, and I think I can even get three (though there’s only seating for two, so why bother). The extra space behind he front seats created by removing the bench holds my tool box, gear bins, pump and other stuff like first aid kit.

    I try to use the FlyteHaulerMobile as little as possible, keeping a running tally of how many more miles I have ridden than driven during the year. Bikes are currently up by about 3800 miles.

  119. Comment by Compare Mountain Bikes | 12.21.2007 | 4:44 am

    It’s a bit big and grey. Did you not think about a ‘normal car’ and a bike rack?

  120. Comment by John | 12.21.2007 | 5:10 am

    It’s ironic that the post I finally submit a response to after two years of reading your blog is about cars. I think most cyclists view our cars as merely an accessory to our bikes, albeit an expensive one. It’s like a travel case for a Stradivarius violin; a vital component not to be overlooked. My personal Velocipede Transport Module (VTM) is a Suzuki Aerio; an AWD micro-wagon (similar to a Fit). The collective value of the bikes it transports is far greater than the Blue Book value of the car. I have a roof rack for it, but most of the time, it’s just me and the “Right Tool for the Job” (RTJ) and I can put my Rocket Queen (my road bike – I name all my bikes after rock n’ roll songs – it’s my own form of anthropomorphizing) in the cargo hold along with a duffel bag of accessories and keep it out of the rain and away from bugs. If I’m mountain biking or racing cyclocross, I can put a The Crusher (MTB) or my Eurotrash Girl (CX) down on a large blue tarp and keep my patient, understanding and beautiful wife happy that our 1500-pound car doesn’t have 10% of it’s curb weight in mud.

    Thanks for writing, Fatty. I wish Susan and your family all the best. Sorry it took a post about cars to finally respond.

  121. Comment by Tobin | 12.22.2007 | 10:46 pm

    I’m surprised more VW Westfalia fanatics aren’t coming out of the woodwork here. Oh, wait–they’re under their Westfalias fixing whatever part just broke.

    I have an old 1982 VW Westfalia diesel, and it’s just about the ideal Bikemobile. It gives me:
    1) room to sleep 4 *inside*, with about 2 minutes set-up time,
    2) at least 3 bikes fit inside *easily*, with minimal or no disassembly (a 3-bike rear carrier for more bikes when needed),
    3) 28.5 miles per US gallon, and running on cheap (at least here in BC) diesel fuel,
    4) propane fridge for cold beer/salsa anytime
    5) propane fridge *makes ice cubes* in just a few hours. How cool is that?
    6) 2 burner propane stove *inside* for making meals while staying dry and warm on rainy days
    7) 2 burner propane stove for warming back up after early season road races / late season cyclocross races
    8) Porta-potti inside. Don’t think that’s cool? Think about this again next time you’re waiting in line for the honeypot at your next early season race. In the rain. Which is being driven by a 40 km/h wind. With the snowline showing 100m up the hill. With your race due to start in 6 minutes.
    9) loads of bike-stuff storage everywhere. This thing is nothing *but* storage!
    10) Getting to races on time is stress-free. Because I know that I couldn’t speed if I wanted to. So I am sure to leave early enough to get there on time. I get there too early? Have a snoooze in the full-sized double bed. And make a nice hot tea when I wake up. Without getting out of bed. Yawn.

    Mine isn’t great off-road, but it sees it’s share of logging roads and boondocks craziness. Since it’s old, I don’t mind the odd dent-in-the-pursuit-of-adventure. A VW Syncro Westfalia would be nice, but I’d rather not have the expensive-to-repair drivetrain. I also like the dead-simple layout and reliablity of the non-turbo diesel engine. It’s an engine I can fix myself if I have to (but it’s actually been quite reliable). Driving a 4000 lb brick with only 48 HP to push it takes some getting used to, but it can hold its own on climbs against (most) transport trucks. It cruises nicely at 65 mph on (flattish) freeways, so it’s not so bad.

    Did I mention the almost 29 mpg for a vehicle that can park in smaller spaces than many cars, carries a huge amount of stuff, and is an insta-camper loaded with the kind of creature comforts cyclists crave?

    If that doesn’t hook ya, have a look at this photo, taken last summer, 100 km up a logging road from the nearest pavement. (This is what cyclocrossers get up to when given a week off work in the middle of summer)
    Five days miles from anyone, alone with the Westfalia and my bike. And a few cases of beer. And several black and grizzly bears. And a moose. And a level, non-lumpy bed every night in a bug-free camper. Ahhh…

  122. Comment by Darren | 12.23.2007 | 2:30 pm

    My bike hauler is a ‘98 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I always keep the small back seat down for a quicky 1 bike load up. Both seats down and I fit 2 bikes just fine, room for 1 passenger and tons of gear. I take care of the pig less and less each year and someday if it blows up I just might not replace it.

  123. Comment by bikeuphill9 | 12.24.2007 | 7:19 pm

    My bikemobile is a ‘94 Ford Explorer with Forte fork mounts bolted to floor in the back. With flush folding seats it works great. Even have a three foot Cannondale sticker on my tailgate. Not bad to sleep in the back either.

  124. Comment by Bernie | 12.25.2007 | 3:34 pm

    My ‘07 Nissan Maxima regularly hauls 4 bikes + 4 riders + 4 extra sets of wheels + all other assorted gear necessary for a day trip to a race or stage race. Sorry Fat Cyclist, my car is the best bike mobile ever.

  125. Comment by Tom | 12.28.2007 | 9:30 am

    Wow, almost makes me abandon my unfounded dislike of trucks!

    Stuck with a Fiat Punto and a bike rack for my mountain bike (and girlfriend’s), while the road bike lives in the car, minus wheels & saddle on the rear seat, if its travelling so as to avoid paint scratching!

    And the less said about my Fiat’s offroad capability, the better….

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  129. Comment by Lana | 02.1.2008 | 5:52 pm

    I’m new to reading the blog, so forgive the late comments but I just had to for this one. When buying a new car this summer, I took my bike with me to the dealerships to make sure it would fit in the car. I am too short for a roof rack, I’m not a huge fan of hitch racks, I had to buy something Ford related, and I wanted something with decent mileage since I drive 70 miles a day to work. The sum of all that was a Mazda3 hatchback – decent mileage, I can fit my road bike in the back (front tire removed) and all my triathlon gear (and as I found out this week, my cross country skis as well). All in all I HIGHLY recomend just taking your bike with when looking for a new vehicle!

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  135. Comment by TexasCyclist | 01.24.2009 | 4:37 pm

    I am thrilled with your purchase. I have the very same Ridgeline, same color, just no roof rack. I did not care one bit for what cyclostu had to say. He’s telling you to man up when he has a cute little barbie car in the garage. Not right.

    That’s alright, I have had my Ridgeline for 2 years and still love it. The bike goes in the bed when I want the world to know that I’m a cyclist but it goes in the backseat when I’m in a hurry or the weather is bad.

    Truly excited to see you have the same GREAT taste.

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  139. Comment by Papa Bear | 10.17.2009 | 8:18 am

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  142. Comment by Jonathon | 12.15.2009 | 3:22 pm

    My triathlete wife and I currently have a ‘99 Civic with a Saris Bones trunk rack. Given that our bikes together are worth nearly as much as the car, we’re definitely interested in finding a vehicle that doesn’t stick them out where they can be easily destroyed by a typically-moronic Pittsburgh driver or low overhanging branches, but still also allows our 80-lb labradog to come hang out with whichever us is not racing that day.

    We’d been thinking Element, but clearly we’ve got more thinking to do (which is ok, we’ve probably got a good year or two before we’ll be able to afford anything…).

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