security locks

Security Locks, Bike Racks And More for RVing

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We’ve been car-free for over six months now and loving it. We also have a pretty good system down for transporting our bikes with us. Here are the security locks, bike rack and other items we use to keep our bikes safe on the move.

Attaching bikes to an RV with a bike rack

There are lots of ways to do this. Some people love their bikes so much they carry them inside their RV. Others buy a rack that attaches to the ladder on the back of their rig. There are also racks that attach to the bumper of trailers and to spare tires that mount to the back of some RVs.

But we have 4 bikes, and 2 of them are very heavy, so our rack is attached to our tow hitch. We have a 300-pound tongue weight limit on our hitch (that means that we can have no more than 300 pounds of weight off the ground and attached to the hitch).

I looked everywhere for a bike rack that could support our bikes, and asked bike rack specialists. The e-bikes weigh over 50 pounds each, and I just couldn’t find one made for an RV. They may exist, but if they were over $1000 I wasn’t even looking at them. One specialists in bike racks stated racks to hold heavy bikes like that are not made to attach to RVs because there is so much more bouncing and rattling that occurs on an RV than a passenger vehicle. He recommended a bicycle trailer. Those were well over $1000 and had wheels on the ground (something we wanted to avoid).

If you don’t have heavy bikes or only have 1-2, this search may be a lot easier. But if you have at least 2 e-bikes, here is the type of rack we use and recommend:

 Tow Tuff TTF-2762KR Steel Cargo Carrier with Bike Rack

At only about $160 with free Amazon Prime shipping, this rack costs far less than other racks out there. The rack can hold up to 500 pounds and weighs about 67 pounds itself. It secures the bikes at the wheels, which important for us because our e-bikes have step-through frames. The rack also has multiple places to attach locks, bungees, rope or chains to hold the bikes in place. If you don’t want to carry 4 bikes, you can flip the wheel holders down flat, or detach them completely.

We’ve had this rack for almost 2 years, and the only thing I’ve needed to do was re-paint it because it was starting to rust after more than a year of being out in the rain and foggy Bay Area weather. I just bought a couple cans of spray paint (I used the kind for painting the exteriors of BBQ grills), put 2 coats on it and it’s been fine ever since. It took less than an hour plus drying time and was super cheap, so if I have to do it again it won’t be a huge ordeal.

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Hitch stabilizer and lock

Even though the rack doesn’t bounce much and is well under the 500-pound limit for the rack, I still wanted to make certain it wasn’t flexing too much. So I bought a well-recommended hitch stabilizer on Amazon:

StowAway Hitch Tightener, Anti-Rattle Stabilizer for 2 Inch and 1.25 Inch Hitches

You clamp down the bike rack’s bar where it meets the receiver to help keep it steady. We’ve tested it and it seems to bounce around less than before. Also, it cost less than $20 so it was well worth it.

I decided upon one more precaution. It probably isn’t necessary because of how heavy the bike rack is with the bikes on it, but I didn’t want anyone driving off with the rack, bikes and all. So we bought a hitch lock.

Master Lock 2866DATSC Swivel Head Receiver Lock, Chrome

To use this lock, simply use it in place of your regular hitch pin. What I like about it even more is I read recently about people whose hitch pins slid out when the pin clip either fell of or broke. With this system, there is something stopping the pin from moving on either end, which makes me feel safer.

Bike security locks and weather protection

For our two road bikes, we have smaller security locks that are sturdy, but lighter and easier to bring with us if we go on a ride with them.

Hiplok Chain Lock

I like these locks because they have a thick, covered chain to keep from scratching the bike’s finish. You can also wear them around your waist when riding so you can carry a lock without having to figure out how to attach it to your bike. They run about $80 each but sometimes the older versions go on sale. Our road bikes aren’t super-expensive, but we bought them used for about $500 each so we don’t want to rely on a flimsy cable lock.

For our e-bikes, we wanted something heavy-duty that would deter just about any thief.

Kryptonite New York Noose Chain w/Evolution Series 4 Disc Lock

These locks are no joke. First of all, we have two of these plus a u-lock from the same brand, and one key does not fit all. I think if you lose the keys, you have to contact the manufacturer for a replacement based on your serial number or something. You can even buy a guarantee policy on it for whatever your bike costs–if the lock fails, they will pay for your bike.

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What we like most about this lock is its flexibility. You can use it like a regular chain, or make a noose on one end to extend its length or to wrap around a particular part of the bike or whatever you are tethering to. The chain is also covered to protect finishes, and the lock has a sliding cover to keep dust and moisture out.

In one of the reviews for this lock, a customer (I think from Brooklyn) said he had his bike locked to a sign post or something outside (his only option). He came out one day to find that someone had tried to saw through the lock and eventually gave up.

When we are out on our e-bikes, we have saddle bags so the 5+ pound weight per lock is not an issue.

We do have bike covers, but I cannot recommend any of them because they have all fallen apart. I don’t know of a cover that can withstand winds at freeway speeds, but if you think of one, let me know! At this time we are mainly using thick plastic tarps and bungee cords to keep the bikes protected. Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, we cover the bikes when we travel.  This keeps them safe from rocks and whatever else may get kicked up on the road.

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Bike Safety and Maintenance

One last thing we did for our e-bikes was invest in bicycle insurance. Our insurance covers theft when we are away from the RV, and even a “bike tow” if they break down. Ryan got a flat tire once and didn’t want to bend the rim, so he half-carried it for a couple of miles to the nearest bike shop that could work on e-bikes. We didn’t want to go through that again. If you need a tow, the insurance calls a towing company, explains the situation and they send a flat bed tow truck and strap the bike down. It looks funny to have the bike on that huge truck bed, but it’s effective.

Finally, we try to keep up on maintenance as much as possible. We’ve learned a few things about maintaining our road bikes, but the e-bikes are more complicated so we’re hesitant to try some things. Luckily for us, our e-bike manufacturer has stores all over the country.

Also, just a quick note about Amazon Prime: we love it. It’s something that makes our lives supremely easier, because we have access to many products that we can’t find locally. If you’d like to give it a try, they have a FREE 30-day trial membership.  Benefits include free shipping on certain items, access to Amazon Prime Music, Amazon Video, free Kindle downloads and more. Go to Amazon for more info: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Also, we’re adding a free PDF to our resource library featuring all of these items, plus some bonus information about other bicycle products we use to make our lives easier while traveling. Just subscribe below to receive free access to the resource library!

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