This summer Lena and her sports addicted hubs traveled cross country doing no less than six(!) triathlons during their summer vacation. Jules was even part of the race crew and was made to sit for hours cramped in the back seat between carseats and spare bike wheels. “Don’t let your foot touch the salad!” is Jules’ most memorable quote from the drive, to give you a visual. A road trip with precious cargo in tow, will truly test the bonds of friendship, marriage and your glutes. Here are the secrets to surviving a mega road trip with three bikes and two kids and a whole lot of helmets.
8. Don’t have $10K in Your Back Pocket? Cover Your A##
It’s a bit of downer to think about accidents, but travel out of the state or country can leave you with serious bills if you need urgent care. Something as simple as stitches can cost thousands of dollars and some hospitals require payment on the spot. Lena uses Travel Guard for affordable vacation packages that include 24hr concierge service. (Seriously, they will make reservations for you!)
7. Access Your Junk in the Trunk
The heavens opened this year with glorious rainbows and flying unicorns when Lena got a hitch bike rack installed – this means the trunk can open without moving bikes! Huge when you arrive at 3am and don’t want to spend an hour detaching a bike rack just to get your contact lens solution out of your suitcase. Praise sweet Baby J for the Thule T2 2 Bike 916 XTR.
6. Hitch is a Bitch
One teeny wrinkle in the hitch bike rack situation is that it sits very low to the ground on some cars. This means unless you drive a monster SUV, going over speed bumps, uneven terrain etc is a scary experience. So, go for a test drive with your bikes fully loaded to ensure your hitch is mounted at the proper height.
5. Honda Can You Hear Me?
Word on the street is that Honda’s new Civic Tourer Active Life Concept model can fit two bikes (in the car!). And, it even comes with an integrated roof box, bike pump, integrated tool box, maintenance arm and water bottle storage. Wha? No bike pump between your seat for that 12hr drive? Ok, Tesla, Honda you are both officially welcome to invite Lena to test out the latest model to see which is best suited for a cycling ninja warrior road trip.
4. Don’t Ever Buy a New Kids Bike
Screw the “shiny new bike” fantasy for kids. Shine is over rated and they will drop the thing after the first ten minutes. Lena preaches the virtues of recycled bikes. She scored two used kids bikes while on vacation at the local thrift shop for the low, low price of wait for it….$7 (total!). These bargain bikes are the perfect size, until next summer when they swap them out of Grandma’s garage for a bigger size.
3. Learn to Love a Motel
Road tripping with bikes usually means pulling over to spend the night somewhere along the way. Picturesque resorts are lovely, but haul your bike and gear through a crowded lobby once, and you will share Lena’s love for Motel 82. Back your car right up to the front door and there is no need to even take the bikes off the car. Check the bed before getting into it of course, but hey, it’s an adventure.
2. Bike Accident 411
The inevitable bike crash happened this summer to Lena’s man, not once, but twice. Once with a car (Hello people that is a bike lane!) and once with another cyclist in a race. Needless to say, road rash at 30mph is not a pretty sight. Lena found out about an amazing must-have for any cyclist that is a game changer for healing after an accident. Tegaderm film by 3M is basically Saran Wrap with an adhesive side, which is somehow breathable, yet waterproof and germ proof. When gauze was just not cutting it (the horror of trying to get gauze off him was not pretty!), Lena wrapped her man in Tegaderm and he was able to actually wear clothes again. The stuff is not easy to find in local pharmacies (it ain’t cheap either), so order it now on Amazon. Lena is happy to report that after almost two weeks, the giant patches of road rash are almost healed.
1. Break out the Bucket List
After six races, two crashes and 3000 miles of driving, Lena, and her man are pleased to report that they have both qualified with a spot on Team Canada for triathlon and duathlon. They will compete at the World Championships in Spain next year – Jules is pleased that they will not be driving to get there.