Hands up all those of you who remember the New Christy Minstrels. Those of you who don't, don't worry yourselves about it ... knowledge of this 1960s American "folk" act is not a prerequisite in understanding this post ... only the title.
As if we hadn't already invested enough cash in our beloved van this month, just a couple of days back I took her down to se the nice men at North West Towbars in Stockport where they fitted ... guess what ... a towbar. But, perhaps more importantly, a super towbar mounted cycle rack.
We already have a cycle rack which carries our Fiamma back box, but I removed the cycle rails for the sake of neatness and to use them means removing the box. So it's box or cycles, a decision we didn't want to have to make. Hence this nice bit of kit made by Pendle Engineering. We specified longer arms to keep the bikes clear of the rear doors and the box. Usually, fitted on a car, the handlebars would be accommodated by the sloping rear window but of course the back of our lovely van's vertical. So we actually ordered a four bike carrier (longer supporting arms) with just two cycle carrier systems fitted to it. It came complete with a number plate holder and lights.
As you can see in the pics our two bikes fit neatly on there with room to spare and there's no need to face 'em in opposite directions so we can still easily access the box lid with bikes in place. Also, being nice 'n' low it's really easy to load and unload the bikes unlike the many high positioned carriers out there.
We're off up to Arran soon and plan to try it out then.
Incidentally, we can open the offside back door a short way for ventilation when stopped in warmer weather. The door bottom contacts with the carrier arm so I've padded this bit of the arm with some rubber so as not to cause any damage.
With the carrier fitted the van measures 7m in length.
Now, with a towbar fitted, the next item on my shopping list might well be a trailer to carry MBM ... (my beloved motorcycle ... please keep up dear reader).
By the way, we're indebted to our friends Kim and Hamish for the idea of this cycle carrier. They have one for their Renault-based Devon Monte Carlo; a van conversion not dissimilar to ours.
The fun continues.
Oh ... all you New Christy Minstrel fans out there ... you can put yer hands down now. Thanks.