Rack n' Roll! Take your Ebike on a Summer Road Trip
With social distancing still in full swing, some of the usual vacation options may be out of the question this summer, like theme parks or your everyday tourist traps.
But for families looking to share some quality time away from home, an RV trip may be in order, especially since it’s a safe, responsible way to check out some new sights.
Every now and then, a Rad family interested in RVing will reach out to us and ask how they can safely take their electric bikes on the road with them. To help answer that, we turned to the biggest RV expert we know: Anthony Nalli.
Nalli’s the executive producer, host, and self-proclaimed head bottle washer of the "The RVers," a show dedicated to the RV lifestyle that airs on Discovery and your local PBS affiliate. He's also known to enjoy riding our ebikes around a campsite or two.
Here are a few pro-tips he shared with us:
1. Storage is Key
Specifically designed for electric bikes, Hollywood Racks Sport Rider Ebike Hitch Rack folds up when not in use, tilts down for easy cargo access, and includes a keyed-alike locking hitch pin, security cable, and locking frame hooks.
When you’re traversing across the country, you don’t want to be constantly worrying about how your bikes are doing.
That’s why Nalli says it’s key to pick a bike rack that’s up to the task.
“They’re not obscenely heavy, but they definitely weigh about twice as much as a standard bike. And if you're putting it on a bike rack, you got to make sure that that bike ride will handle it,” Nalli explained. “You have to find one that can fit with the wheels, handle the weight.”
And as for whether or not a rack can fit on the back, Nalli said that there should be nothing to worry about.
“Your trailer hitch should be able to handle the weight. No problem at all. Almost any RV hitch is going to be suitable. It's made for that."
However, for some ebike models, taking it along is even easier than strapping it to a rack.
“Because it folds up the way it does, you can actually keep the RadMini in the RV. Space inside the RV, especially when you’re on the road, is limited. Getting a full-size bike inside is pretty cumbersome, but with that one, you can put it almost anywhere.”
“Even if you don’t fold it so that the two wheels are touching each other and just fold in the pedals and handlebars, you've now just made the bike way easier to place anywhere in the RV.”
2. Use common sense (and a bike lock!)
It may be tempting to leave your bike unlocked and at the ready, especially if you're jumping on it pretty frequently to hit the campground showers or pick up snacks at the grocery store down the road.
Still, Nalli told us, it's still important to treat your bike just as you would on any normal, city ride. And that means using a high-quality bike lock to keep it secured, whether that's strapping it to a picnic table while your family romps around nearby or keeping it connected to a fixed part of the RV itself.
"You gotta do your due diligence," Nalli said. "If you're going to ride to a restaurant 10 or 15 minutes away and then sit around there for an hour, you just shouldn't leave your bike completely unattended and unprotected."
And for an additional pro-tip, Nalli suggested keeping your ride locked-up to your bike rack when it's on the back of your vehicle.
"When you're stopping overnight someplace or getting gas, you really don't want to risk anyone coming along and lifting it."
3. Respect your neighbors
Nalli was quick to point out that the RV industry has undergone explosive growth in the past two decades, and it’s only getting bigger.
The boom has led to a thriving RV community, one that’s well represented on any of the campsites you’ll be visiting this summer.
“Theft, generally speaking, is a relatively minor concern in campgrounds. It’s a friendly environment where a lot of people don’t even lock their doors,” Nalli said. “You're alongside a group of people who are like family. They tend to have a lot of respect and appreciation for other people.”
While you may not be meeting up for barbecues or sharing beers over late-night card games this year, it’s still worth the effort to get to know your neighbors, even if that’s just a friendly wave from a distance.
By integrating into the community, you’ll have the benefits of a makeshift neighborhood watch. They’ll see that you have an electric bike and can be a valuable resource if it goes missing and someone else is seen on it.
And as Nalli noted, that may be easier for owners of Rad Power Bikes since they have a unique look.
“They’re headturners. They attract attention even if you’re just sitting there. They’re cool, really different looking," he said. "People will take notice."