Bike trunk rack holds tight, needs adapters

Need a way to haul all those bikes around? The Thule Gateway 3 Bike Trunk Rack, available for $189.95 (shipping included) from rei.com, allows you to carry up to three bikes on the back of your vehicle when you don’t have a hitch, top rack or other way to transport them. One advantage to the Thule bike rack is that it is adjustable to the back of a variety of cars, ranging from BMWs to Fords, Hondas and even Hummers.

Adjustable levers on the bike rack allow it to be modified to the necessary angle and fit the back of your vehicle. A ‘Fit Guide’ tells you exactly what angle to set the rack to depending on the make, model and year of your vehicle. Pressing down — firmly — on the levers allows the bike rack to be adjusted to the proper angle.

The bike rack uses three different straps with two hooks on each to secure to the back of a vehicle. This includes two hooks at the top, one on either side, and two at the base of the trunk. As with any bike rack, the securing process can be difficult at first, but watching related videos on Youtube.com can make the process easier. Thule could also post videos of its own or take steps to ensure that its instructional manual, which comes in four different languages, is clearer.

Once strapped to the back of a vehicle, the bike rack is secure. The two arms for securing the bikes can be adjusted separately to fit the shape of a bike. In other words, one arm can be set lower or higher than the other. Had I done better research, I would have realized in advance the need to purchase three frame adapters (for $49.95 each) so that our trio of all-girls bikes could be mounted since they lack the boy’s straight bar. This about did in our budget, and, in retrospect, I should have spent the money putting a hitch on the back of my car, but at least we now can get our bikes to where we want to go.