Bike rack minivan

City pileup of curbs and benches and bike racks and trash cans and flowerpots

Our family (three full sized bikes and one 20" kid bike) takes frequent road trips to discover new bike trails. We are good riders but not very clever at bike handling (i.e. taking wheels on and off, adjusting brakes, etc.) Our trips are anywhere from 25 to 500 miles away. We have a 2010 Honda Odyssey. I have a roof rack now but it is not practical for me to lift the bikes up and down every single time; it's way up there and the bikes get unwieldy. And it freaks me out to drive with the bikes on top while we are zooming down the highway. I am thinking of getting a trailer hitch installed and getting a four bike rack for that. But practical advice is difficult to find.
My main questions are: (1) both my wife and daughter have step-through frames. Are those converter bar thingees the solution to that? (2) is there a practical way to lock the bikes and the rack, or do you need to take the bikes off every time you stop and leave your car? (3) is it easy to load and unload from a hitch mount rack? (4) is the highway drive less freaky when the bikes are on the back of the car? Does it feel stable?

Finally, if you have a hitch-mounted rack is there a hitch or a rack that you think is great, or one I should avoid? It looks like U-Haul makes a pretty standard hitch and it's reasonably priced.

R. A. Allen Co., Inc. Allen Sports Premier 4-Bike Trunk Rack
Automotive Parts and Accessories (R. A. Allen Co., Inc.)
  • Patent pending design fits sedans, hatchbacks, minivans and SUV s - consult manufacturer web site for specific vehicle fit information
  • Patented quick snap set-up design allow for super-quick set up right out of the box
  • 21 Long Carry Arms easily accommodate up to 4 bicycles (140 LB Max capacity)
  • Individual Dual-Compound tie-down cradles secure and protect bicycles
  • Extra large car pads help to distribute bicycles load and protect vehicle finish

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