Today I went out looking for a bike rack for my car, because I need to take my bike with me on summer vacation. I don't have a trailer hitch in my car, so basically I have two alternatives:
1) buy a trailer hitch and a suitable bike rack
2) buy a roof rack and and a suitable bike rack.
I'd estimate that alternative #1 would cost minimum 150 € (assembly not included). Alternative #2 might be slightly less, but I can't tell yet, because my car is old and the stores I went to didn't have suitable roof racks for it. I'll have to go to a local parts store next week and ask if it's even possible to find a roof rack for my 1989 vintage automobile.
What's up with the fact that there are about umpteen different ways roof racks are installed in cars? Haven't they heard about standardization? I'd assume that roof racks were a lot cheaper, if there weren't a different model for each car. Not to mention the countless man-hours and frustration spent investigating roof rack catalogues that could be saved for something else, like bicycling. Many old cars actually have a nearly universal system for mounting roof racks: water gutters at the sides of the roof. But not my car, and apparently, all new cars.
I'm beginning to think that I'll probably have to transport my bike the budget way: disassemble it and stuff the parts to the trunk and cabin. It will not be easy, because the car will be filled with other stuff anyway. But it could work, if I wrap the chain and other dirty parts in plastic and tape them up.