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Old 09-19-2015, 07:21 PM   #1
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Ideas for Taking Bikes and Rear Storage Container

I've been trying to figure out how I can use my bike rack along with my rear metal storage container. I inserted the storage cargo container (it's the one that is metal and can collapse down) and tried to insert the bike rack into the open hitch off the cargo box. But, the bike rack was the same size as the opening. When I talked to someone at Camping World, they said that it's probably not a good idea to attach the bike to the rear cargo box hitch because it would be too much weight. So, I'm thinking of installing a rear ladder so that I can hang bikes off that and still use my cargo box.

I also was thinking of using some of the small free areas on the rooftop to add more solar panels and have area for long items. That's another reason I'm thinking of putting a ladder.

Any ideas on how I can maximize storage using the exterior of the AI (aside from a front hitch for bikes...I'm afraid that would be difficult for me to drive)?
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Old 09-20-2015, 05:14 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by roadmama View Post
But, the bike rack was the same size as the opening. When I talked to someone at Camping World, they said that it's probably not a good idea to attach the bike to the rear cargo box hitch because it would be too much weight.
Don't go by some salesman's estimate. Weigh everything and compare the weights to the capacities.

In this case, you need to know your Interstate's rated capacities. GVWR is 11,030 pounds. Rear axle weight rating is 7720 pounds. Hitch rating is 750 pounds (towing capacity 7500 pounds) for non-EXT models, or 500 pounds (towing capacity 5000 pounds) for EXT models. When you take all of the numbers and compare them to the actual weight of a travel-ready Interstate, you may find that your supposed 750-pound hitch capacity is only about 640 pounds for carrying a cargo box.

You will also need to know what the rated capacity is of the cargo box's hitch, and the weight of the bike rack complete with bikes.

If you add a ladder and mount a bike rack to the ladder instead of piggy-backing a bike rack on a cargo box, you still have to comply with the rear axle weight rating of 7720 pounds and gross vehicle weight rating of 11,030 pounds.

By the way, if you can physically lift your bikes up onto a ladder-mounted rack, you could lift them onto the lid of a cargo box. If you consider mounting a bike rack on the lid of your cargo box instead, your options are more numerous, because any rack that would mount to a car's roof rack could be bolted sideways to the lid of a cargo box as well.

With the bike removed, a rack like this would fold down so that it doesn't interfere with opening the box lid.

In any event, my crystal ball predicts a trip to your local public scales in the near future before you start attaching anything to the back of the van. Make sure you load up the van so that it's travel-ready before going to the scales— including full tanks— ALL of your tanks. Don't assume you'll always travel with empty water and/or waste tanks, because circumstances may dictate that you might not have access to a dump station before hitting the road for the next leg of a given trip.

Once you know how much weight capacity you actually have to play with, then you will have a better handle on your options.

Also, you don't need a rear door mounted ladder for adding solar capacity. Use an extension ladder, leaned up against your awning. Once the added panels are installed, you won't need to get up on the roof often enough to need a permanent ladder.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:04 AM   #3
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Might think about a folding bike you can stash inside.


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Old 09-20-2015, 11:01 AM   #4
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Might think about a folding bike you can stash inside.

Maggie

Great idea Maggie. That's what we did since we have an EXT model with lots of space for internal storage. Here is a photo of the folding tandem we now carry. It's made by a Bike Friday in Oregon. I'll have to dig thru my photos for a shot of it folded inside my van.

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Old 09-20-2015, 11:44 AM   #5
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Here are two photos of how I have stored the folding tandem in my EXT Interstate. BTW I noticed that Airstream now only makes the Interstate on the 24 foot long EXT Sprinter 3500 model.
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:30 PM   #6
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We are avid bikers, but didn't want to get into the hassle and loss-risk of carrying our expensive bikes on the back. So we bought 2 Dahon folders; put them in carrying bags and keep them right in back of the lounge (Grand Tour EXT). They fit nicely in their cases, side-by-side. They take up almost all the storage we would normally have there for other things, but the bikes are so essential to our way of traveling and camping. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND FOLDING BIKES FOR ANYONE WHO BIKES WHEN CAMPING.

Then next weekend we're doing a long annual ride up in Michigan, so we ARE carrying our good bikes on a hitch rack on back ... so that will be a new experience.
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Old 09-20-2015, 02:11 PM   #7
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My husband and I have had many issues with bikes over the years. First with our motorhome towing an SUV, we had the bikes on the back of the car - but couldn't access the rear opening of the car - big pain when that's how the dog gets in and out. Then we tried a bike rack on the ladder - that didn't work, as my husband likes to be sure to check the roof on occasion and had no access. We then purchased our A/S which we tow with a truck. The bikes are stowed in the back of the truck bed on hitches which attach to the tool box in the bed that goes across the front. Still, if we ever got a shell on the truck, we'd be in trouble again with the bikes! We'd like to get a shell and a generator, but for now are simply avoiding any boondocking, due to no generator and no place to put one!
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Old 09-20-2015, 04:05 PM   #8
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Ideas for Taking Bikes and Rear Storage Container

We have 2 Bromptons which fold up inside their bags and lie flat under the lounge and don't interfere with the bed extenders.


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Old 09-20-2015, 04:30 PM   #9
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We have the bikes on a bike rack in the rear, no problem. Next is where do you put the kayaks? I guess I'll have to begin a new thread for that one. So far all we have come up with is that they will go on our tow along vehicle when we fix one up.
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Old 09-20-2015, 04:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Don't go by some salesman's estimate. Weigh everything and compare the weights to the capacities.

In this case, you need to know your Interstate's rated capacities. GVWR is 11,030 pounds. Rear axle weight rating is 7720 pounds. Hitch rating is 750 pounds (towing capacity 7500 pounds) for non-EXT models, or 500 pounds (towing capacity 5000 pounds) for EXT models. When you take all of the numbers and compare them to the actual weight of a travel-ready Interstate, you may find that your supposed 750-pound hitch capacity is only about 640 pounds for carrying a cargo box.

You will also need to know what the rated capacity is of the cargo box's hitch, and the weight of the bike rack complete with bikes.

If you add a ladder and mount a bike rack to the ladder instead of piggy-backing a bike rack on a cargo box, you still have to comply with the rear axle weight rating of 7720 pounds and gross vehicle weight rating of 11,030 pounds.

By the way, if you can physically lift your bikes up onto a ladder-mounted rack, you could lift them onto the lid of a cargo box. If you consider mounting a bike rack on the lid of your cargo box instead, your options are more numerous, because any rack that would mount to a car's roof rack could be bolted sideways to the lid of a cargo box as well.

With the bike removed, a rack like this would fold down so that it doesn't interfere with opening the box lid.

In any event, my crystal ball predicts a trip to your local public scales in the near future before you start attaching anything to the back of the van. Make sure you load up the van so that it's travel-ready before going to the scales— including full tanks— ALL of your tanks. Don't assume you'll always travel with empty water and/or waste tanks, because circumstances may dictate that you might not have access to a dump station before hitting the road for the next leg of a given trip.

Once you know how much weight capacity you actually have to play with, then you will have a better handle on your options.

Also, you don't need a rear door mounted ladder for adding solar capacity. Use an extension ladder, leaned up against your awning. Once the added panels are installed, you won't need to get up on the roof often enough to need a permanent ladder.
I have this very bike rack in the shed. I used to haul my bike on the roof of my Nissan Pathfinder. I decided it was too high to lift the bikes, and got a receiver mounted bike rack.
If the OP wants this one, maybe we can work something out.
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Old 09-20-2015, 06:57 PM   #11
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We have 2 Bromptons which fold up inside their bags and lie flat under the lounge and don't interfere with the bed extenders.


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Wow ... they must fold up pretty flat. Our would never fit UNDER the lounge. Do you mind telling me which model, and how many speeds?

THX
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:36 PM   #12
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When you get the ladder installed, could you please post some pictures. I'm real curious how that would work. Re carrying bikes, I have a 2-inch receiver welded to my AS's frame (NOT bumper), and carry three bikes without a problem. I'd be reluctant to hang a loaded hitchhauler on this receiver, tho. Looking forward to the ladder experiment. jon
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:13 PM   #13
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Wow ... they must fold up pretty flat. Our would never fit UNDER the lounge. Do you mind telling me which model, and how many speeds?

THX

All Bromptons are a variation of the same bike. Ours are 6 speed - 3-speed hub and 2-speed derailleur. They were the smallest folding bikes I could find. The downsides are they are not trail bikes, and the price is pretty steep.
If you need pics of them folded in the Interstate, let me know.


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Old 09-20-2015, 08:46 PM   #14
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Not sure if you can get a front hitch mount for the Sprinter? That is how we have carried our two mountain bikes for the last 16 years, first on a Safari Minivan, then a Sierra 1500, now on a Sierra 2500D.

It has served us well in each case.


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