I just picked up our i25Kia.com team car for the season, and needless to say we are pretty excited about it. I thought it would be fun to share the process involved with pulling the graphics together and some other insights I’ve learned about what makes a good caravan car. To start with, here is what I think are some important criteria for specifying a car for caravan duty in UCI races:
1. Meets the UCI maximum roof height requirement of 1.66m. This is for visibility and rider safety reasons.
2. Has a powerful enough engine to not open gaps in the caravan. Don’t be that guy in the Prius! (Good tires are also a plus for those alpine descents.)
3. Has an automatic transmission. Caravan driving is basically 5 hours of stop and go traffic. Not having to shift also makes it easier to hand up bottles, while live tweeting the race on your phone, and eating a sandwich – all at the same time.
4. Has enough room in the back for a cooler, spare wheels, and a grumpy mechanic to get in and out of it easily.
5. Has a kick ass stereo – preferably with satellite radio for those long drives across middle America. On board Navigation is also a big plus to keep your soingeur from getting lost on the way to the feed zone, to the race, home from the race, etc.
6. A solid bike rack is also a necessity. The most versatile set up is a three cross bar configuration that allows quick access to the outer four racks (usually uprights or ‘race ready’ racks for quick bike changes). We typically put 4-5 racks on top of the car and then add a trailer hitch mount for extra carrying capacity when needed for traveling. Our friends at Rocky Mounts are our go-to guys when it comes to all things bike carrying.
This season we are driving a 2015 Kia Soul ! with the ‘Sun and Sound Package.’ It meets all of above the criteria in spades (and I know there happens to be a few in stock at i25kia.com right now). Once you have the car in hand, it is time to design the graphics package. In the spirit of our new team kit design for this season, Brad Bingham and I drafted this up:
After getting design approval from our sponsors I then worked with the team at Front Range Vital Signs to come up with the final rendering of the car here:
Kevin and Adam at Vital Signs had the graphics printed up over the weekend and got them installed in less than 24 hours for us to make our departure deadline for San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Classic!