Subtitle: This Is Not A Review Of A 2017 Mini Clubman.
Sometimes when I’m riding around on my e-bike I hear these voices. At first I didn’t make much of the voices. But then they grew, they increased, and although they never got louder, they became part of life. After having lived among #Eurowastelanders for so long, especially z’Germans, I’m not unaccustomed to these voices, don’t you know. But I am, every once-a-once, surprised by what these voices say. For example. Most recently these voices made rude comments about the bike I’m riding. “Oh, he’s on an e-bike,” someone smirked. Or. “Look. That doesn’t count. It’s an e-bike.” And then there’s my favourite. “Guido, if you buy me an e-bike I’ll fcuk your brains out,” said the Wessie-schlampe to her half Italian pseudo boyfriend as I roared past them at 25km/h. But let’s not weird out too much worst-writing about living in tax them by the pu$$y Europe.
Although in my first e-bike post I made the claim that we gave up our second car so that we could become a single car household, and now we have two cars (again), I did not lie. Even though we’re once again a two-car household–on account my better half did something useful with her recent work slash compensation bonus–this situation is only temporary. After next September we will once again be a single car household. That’s when we are giving up the scam that is German corporate cars via greed mongering leasing companies. In the meantime, I’ve been given the challenge by my better-half to get used to our new vehicle and, more importantly, get it ready to do what it is we need it to do. I’m referring, of course, to our continuing to be not only a single car household but also to rely on our e-bikes for all of our local transportation needs and even some of our longer distance needs. That is, I use my e-bike for almost all my household chores. Whether I’m grocery shopping, picking up packages, or meeting with people in the city, my transportation of choice is my e-bike. Unless, of course, I have to lug around a few cases of beer, water or large amounts dog food for Beckett, our little killer pug. But that’s neither here nor there. Since I just surpassed my first year of e-bike ownership, I can’t say that I’m disappointed in this source of transport. Now that we’ve added a really, really cool Mini Cooper Clubman to the mix–with a friggin hitch–things have only gotten cooler.
Long worst-writing story short, we bought a Mini that has a factory installed hitch. The hitch, btw, is as cool as the Mini. The hitch fits neatly under the boot floor along with the spare tyre. When needed the hitch clicks neatly underneath the rear bumper and is conveniently locked in place. I bought a bike hitch-rack (Westfalia) via an Amazon warehouse deal; most certainly saved 150,-€ there. Secured to the hitch, the bike rack hangs off the back of the Mini as though it was meant to hang nowhere else. In other words, we’ve tested this bike hitch with more than 2000km so far and all I can say is… f’n cool! Although I can see through the rear view mirror of the Mini how the bikes sometimes wobble and shake while on the autobahn, I’m over all my fears that the whole shebang would just drop off while on our way to Croatia (which we’re gonna do next September).
As you can see in the pics (above), not only are the bikes fully integrated as part of the Mini when on the hitch & rack, but there is also the convenience of being able to access the split doors of the Mini, albeit only one at a time. That is, I’ve since learned that in order to access the boot of the Mini in this configuration, one needs to be prepared. First, make sure you pack stuff in the rear that only needs access if you can’g get to what you need through one of the two rear side doors. Remember that this is a six door vehicle. The issue recently came up when I forgot that I had put my wallet in a bike bag in the rear. At a gas station I had to then drop the bikes (see pic above) to get it. Obviously it was no problem. This wouldn’t be so easy, though, if the Mini was fully packed when traveling longer distances. And so. Heed this. Only one of the rear Mini barn doors is accessible with this hitch & rack, so you should pack the car accordingly.
Another cool aspect of this Mini + e-bike rack layout is that when it’s activated the electronic connector of the rack (for the rear lights, blinkers, etc.) responds accordingly. The rear doors no longer respond to remote activation. The rear parking guide also shuts off and the driver is given a fancy signal inside the car saying, basically, when backing up… you’re on your own. Btw, remote activation of rear doors is kinda waaaaaay Mini-cool. That might sound like a bit of blowhard BS by someone that doesn’t own a friggin Mini, but let me tell you: I’ve already been out and about with this vehicle where I had to park it in tight spaces. If you activate those rear doors with the remote and they swing open, anything in their way will be slammed and, worst, the doors will be damaged. So hats off to BMW/Mini folks for getting the rear doors right when the hitch is activated. Now I have to get it right when there’s no hitch.
As far as driving 2000+km with this bike/rack system on a friggin Mini Cooper? At first I was nervous. How can that little hitch hold all this–especially when driving 100+km/h on the German (drive with your brakes) autobahn? The answer: no problem. The hitch is rated at being able to carry much more than two e-bikes. Of course, I remove all excess weight from the bikes before putting them on. The battery is removed. The computers of the bikes are removed. The Abus lock on my R&M Charger GX is also removed. If on longer drives, especially where rain is expected, I also remove the seats and cover any open orifices with God’s tape. I mean, duck-tape. All in all, when emptied, each bike is around 20 kilos. The (Westfalia) rack is rated at being able to carry 60 kilos. Yeah. This is a pretty cool way to carry bikes around–even if they’re e-bikes (that might not deserve to be carried around; but that’s another worst-post).
Rant (and ride safe) on.