As a bike racer you know it’s ironic how much time you spend driving to races. Redlands, Chico, Bend, the Bay; from all this time in the van, you’ve come to find that as far as bike racing rigs go, there’s a few qualities that are essential:
Spaciousness-This almost goes without saying; when loaded down with 6+ guys and gear, you want all the room you can so you’re not jammed up against your teammate or find yourself inadvertently using a sweaty chamois as a pillow.
Rackability- This a must. A good team car needs to hold everyone’s bikes, but securely, in a way that you know for sure you’re not ending up with a heap of carbon and components on the I-5. To do this a good team car needs to have the proper mounting points.
Fuel Economy- This is often overlooked, but gas ain’t cheap, and let’s face it, until their’s public transit to Zamora or Copperopolis, we’re stuck driving.
Style- While some go too far on this spectrum (Rock Racing much?) the inverse is true. The plain white van is surly efficient, but I doubt inspires any sort of enthusiasm towards racing.
At TMB Equator, we’ve been blessed to have Toyota supporting us in making sure we make it to the races, reliably and in style. This year we drove their 2018 Highlander all over the West Coast, never without being loaded down with bikes bodies and gear. To say the Highlander exceeded all the aforementioned criteria would be an understatement. If it was a race, the Highlander would have come across the finish solo with some much time on the field it stopped for an ice cream cone.
The Highlander proved to be the consistent backbone to our success on race day. Serving as the mobile kitchen, bike garage, boom box, and of course, people mover; it was the once piece of equipment we found ourselves relying on daily. Spacious enough to fit a whole crew + gear, racking space for nearly 8 bikes, fully loaded got around 30 mpg, and that sweet wrap? Ya, style points.
We drove the car from sea to sky, and in all this time of abuse, never once have we had any sort of snafu or issue with that’s kept us from racing. This may come as no surprise from a brand who’s name is synonymous with reliability, but you would think in the process of all those glycogen depleted post-race miles, us spindly bike racers would have found some way to mess them up. If you think about it, Toyota succeeded in making the perfect bike racing car by making it impervious to bike racers, which the truest testament to reliability.
Thank you to our partners at Stevens Creek Toyota in San Jose for supplying us with the best race transportation on the market.