Bicycles are a great way to get around and explore once you arrive at your destination with your travel trailer. The problem is, most travel trailers have little additional room to store bicycles. So how do you transport your bikes safely and without damaging them or travel trailer? Easy. By mounting a bike rack on your RV.
Once we have decided that mounting a bicycle rack on your RV is a great idea, we need to decide where. The two best places to mount a bike rack are at the front of the travel trailer (on the tongue), or at the rear of the trailer (on the frame). Why not mount the bike rack on the travel trailer's bumper or ladder? Simple, most travel trailer bumpers are not designed for the additional weight of bike racks and bikes. The constant bouncing and jostling around during travel can and will weaken welds causing them to pull apart. In addition, the bikes close proximity to the real wall of the travel trailer can cause damage to both the travel trailer and the bicycles.
Here are several ways to safely mount a bicycle rack on your travel trailer no matter which location you choose.
Frame-mount bolt-on receiver
A frame-mount bolt-on receiver is an adjustable receiver that simply bolts onto the RV's frame. Since it is adjustable, it can accommodate many most frames and is much stronger than those mounted on the bumper. Installation is mostly dependent on how the RV manufacturer mounted the rear bumper. An under-the-bumper mount is the most common but you'll have to make sure there is enough ground clearance. Most hitch manufacturers offer a frame mounted receiver. You can carry two bicycles safely with this set up and not have to worry about damage.
Semi-custom Welded Receiver
By far the strongest and better of all the options is the weld-on receiver. It is permanent and you can safely transport more than two bicycles. You'll need to determine how much you'll need to carry then ask your welder to build your hitch set up to accommodate that weight. He will probably beef up the frame area with a reinforcement plate, usually at the attachment points. Or he may even replace your travel trailer's bumper completely. With this set up, you will have a very strong receiver to mount your bicycle rack. This type of semi custom fabrication will be more expensive but if you plan on taking your bicycles with you everywhere, this is the way to go.
This bicycle rack is all one unit that you can either bolt on or weld to the frame area at the tongue of your travel trailer. With this carrier, the two bicycles can safely be carried on top of the propane tanks. Also, you'll be able to keep an eye on your bicycles through the tow vehicle's rear window while traveling down the road. There are a two things to keep in mind when using this set up though. If tongue weight concerns you, this location may not be suitable for you. Two bicycles and the carrier can add considerable weight on the tongue. The other issue is that since the bicycles are carried over the propane tanks, you'll need to lift them up there.
If none of these solutions to mount a bicycle rack to your travel trailer appeal to you, you can go a couple of other routes. If you have room in the back of your tow vehicle, you can just carry your bikes there. Better yet, you can mount a receiver hitch to the front of your tow vehicle. Remember, the best solution to adding a bicycle rack to your travel trailer is the one that makes your life easier. Enjoy the road.