With warmer weather nearly here and with visions of campers and e-bikes in our heads, we decided it was time to get ready!
One of the items we decided we’d like to have, now that we have e-bikes, was a bike rack suitable for hauling them. Now, this bike rack is not for hauling the e-bikes on our travel trailer. Rather, it is meant to be inserted into the hitch on our Ford Expedition. Or, in other words, when we want to take a biking expedition in our Expedition.
We had a perfectly good bike rack for the Expedition; however, it is not rated for e-bikes. Each of our e-bikes weighs 60 pounds. Our bike rack was rated to hold 100 pounds, and the bikes hang from the top. E-bike racks are designed to carry the heavy weight of e-bikes with the e-bikes being supported on the bottom.
It’s not that we didn’t realize we’d need to buy a different e-bike rack for our Expedition. We just never thought about it. Kind of like stuff we found out we needed when we bought our travel trailer. What? We need a sewer hose?
Let’s get back on the bike trail here. Our local bike shop, Granada Cyclery, had four models of e-bike racks in stock.
Our selection was a model by RockyMounts with a purchase price of $539. This e-bike rack fits in the 2 inch hitch on our Expedition. This model has a feature where the rack locks to the vehicle’s hitch. This helps to prevent the actual e-bike rack from being stolen.
Secondly, on the rack, there is a cable with a built-in lock which is used to secure the e-bikes. This helps prevent the e-bikes from being stolen. Some kind of locking features were available on all four models. These are the times we are living in.
There was another very similar e-bike rack for about the same price. This one was the Thule (pronounced tooley) brand; however, it did not have the additional built-in bike rack cable with lock, just a hole where you could slide through your own cable and your own lock.
We had expected to pay about $500. When we looked into purchasing e-bike racks last summer, the online sellers were all out of stock. We chose to purchase now, in early March, thinking later in the Spring or Summer, we would be seeing “Mr. Out of Stock” again.
There were two additional models worth noting. One of the models allowed you to roll your e-bike onto the rack. Lean the rack forward, and there was a section to open where there was a contraption to be lifted out. The contraption was then unfolded and inserted it onto the e-bike rack base. This would allow you to roll your e-bike up up onto the rack. Even though it was called the “EasyFold” model, it didn’t insert quite right. The sales rep said it was missing a piece, but I believe him that it would work.
If it were just me loading a 60 pound e-bike onto an e-bike rack a couple of feet off the ground, I’d have to purchase this baby. Fortunately, my baby, Dan, has the muscles and saved us the $800 price tag of this unit.
The last model was another one where the e-bikes could be rolled onto the rack. Now, we didn’t look at it too closely, as the price tag was $1200. This e-bike rack had a power lift on it, and it even had brake lights on the unit as well. It was the Thule (remember pronounced tooley) brand, and I just have to say: the price on this Thule model was truly too much for us!
There was one more thing we wanted to buy from Granada.
Up until this point, while riding our regular bikes, Dan and I did not wear helmets. I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it is true. When we rode our old bikes, we never fell. Well, except that one time when Dan was carrying a soda and a candy bar. But other than that, we were pretty stable riders.
With e-bikes, it’s a different story. I fell shortly after we had just gotten the e-bikes, and I was just standing there. Don’t ask me how it happened because I’m not really sure. Dan fell once when we were riding the Katy Trail which is a packed gravel trail. Some other bikers were coming the opposite direction, and he moved to the edge of the trail. The problem is the edge is angled, and down he went.
Hopefully, we won’t fall on our future rides, now that we have more e-bike experience. However, I’m not risking it. We only have one noggin (each), and we need to use it every day. And this day, we used it to make a smart decision about wearing bike helmets.
The total ticket for our e-bike racks and the two helmets added up to $708.12. But wait, there’s more. The bike shop added on an additional 3% since we wanted to pay with a credit card. The sales rep did inform us of this before completing the transaction, and we agreed to the extra fee which was an additional $21.24. So, the grand total was $729.36. We always pay our credit card off in full, and we do get 1% cash back. We like the benefits of paying with a credit card, so we accepted the additional cost. I guess I could say again that this extra fee added on is another sign of the times we are living in.
But then again, so are e-bikes.