Friday, 24 February 2012

Of Long Weekends in Crieff and Prius Cycle Carriers

We had a lovely long weekend break last weekend, staying in a self catering lodge at the excellent Crieff Hydro hotel in Perthshire. If you are ever planning a break in this beautiful part of Perthshire, especially if you have children, then I thoroughly recommend it. There are something like 60 different activities you can do as part of your stay but the big attractor for us is the 6 free hours of childcare in their Big Country kids club ... which means we grown-ups get to play!  Hurray!

Whilst we made full use of the spa facilities we also enjoyed the woods, hills and countryside right on the hotel's doorstep. For us, as a family, this means taking our mountain bikes with us - 4 altogether. Now, you may be wondering how we get 4 people plus all our luggage plus food supplies (we went self catering after all) and 4 bikes into the Prius. Well, we have a tow ball mounted bike carrier. Hang on, I hear you say. A tow ball on a Prius? Yes, actually, that's right. How so, you ask? Well, I fitted a towing bar from and it has worked very well indeed.  I'll write about this piece of equipment in another post sometime soon, hopefully, since it really is an interesting item for prospective or current Prius owners.

In the meantime, I thought it might be useful to show some photos of our Prius with the bikes fully loaded onto the bike carrier.  Here is a back view.

And here is another rear view from a slightly different angle.  You can see our Thule roof bars too (though we didn't use our roof box at all for this trip).

The bike carrier that we fitted onto the tow ball is another Thule product. We chose a Thule tow bar-mounted 'hang-on' cycle carrier - model no. 9708. We ended up getting a good deal on Amazon.  You can get a better view of it mounted on the tow ball in the photo below. With the bikes fitted onto the bike carrier I can open the tailgate enough to get bags out of the boot. Without the bikes on the carrier but the carrier still in place on the tow ball I can fully open the tailgate, which is a great advantage.

You can see a close-up of the Thule 9708 cycle carrier (without bikes) in place and mounted on the tow ball in the photo below.

And lastly, a photo giving  a better view of the tow ball / tow bar. Pity I didn't clean the Prius first!  Ah well, I am blessed with after thoughts.

Well, that's all I wanted to post for now.  I hope you found all this information on carrying bikes with your Prius and that, yes, you can do it with a tow ball-mounted system on a car like the Prius.  

Word of caution: never ever tow a trailer or any other wheeled vehicle with a hybrid car like the Prius - it will cook the battery.  My tow ball is only as a mount for cycle carriers and luggage racks.

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