Cyclocross is a bike race with a major difference—it’s really hard! Competitors make laps of a relatively short course that features many different types of terrain, and obstacles that simply can’t be cycled through (meaning you have to dismount and remount the bike after carrying it through the block). The bike is lightweight, the course is tough and the cyclists have every skill from their athleticism to their bike-handling skills pushed to the limit.

You’d think that given the difficulties of the course, transporting a bike to compete would be the least of the cyclist’s worries. However, for anybody not wishing to use a professional bike transport service, there’s no other option: you and the bike have to travel by car. The search for cheap car rentals can seem almost as punishing as the course, and the problem of transporting multiple bikes for multiple competitors can be a real challenge.

Normally it would simply be a case of loading the car with a bike and driving, but since cyclocross riders typically have multiple bikes to deal with the inevitable mid-race cleaning that will be required, when hiring a car, you’d need one considerably larger than you’d normally rent to fit them all in. Obviously, this pushes up the cost of doing so—not only do you pay for a larger car, but for the additional fuel to run it.

It can be more cost-efficient to get a bike rack or rent a trailer to transport your bikes. While most hire-companies shy away from offering bike-rack rentals (although it’s always worth asking), most companies will let you rent a trailer for a fee. Pack your bikes into bike boxes by putting them into their highest gears and deflating the tires, and take off the handlebars, pedals, wheels and seatpost. Tape everything up securely, pack the empty space with bubble wrap and unpack easily—and with no damage—when you get there. Bike boxes can be purchased online and even from shipping supply companies.

By following these steps when hiring a car to transport bikes to a cyclocross event, you should ensure that both you and your bikes arrive in top condition for the race. Happy cyclocrossing, and good luck traveling to the races!