The cheapest way to carry bikes is to attach a fork mount (like the BikeTite - ~$35) to the crossbars of the roof rack. Then clamp down the rear tire to the other cross bar with a U-bolt. I've been doing this for years. Can even carry a tandem by extending the distance between the bars with a 2x4. (Painted black, of course, to match the rack).
Gets the bikes out of traffic and road spray and you still have access to the rear hatch. Only problem is reaching way up to the roof. Wasn't a worry with the old station wagon!
You don't need to get towing package to carry bikes. Another option is to just buy the Hidden Hitch for the Ody (Part# 70737) and slide the 4 bike carrier into the receiver. You can get a bike carrier that flips down/folds away so you still have access to the hatch.
If you are carrying tandem bikes, then follow GeorgeB's option.
Thank you for your input.
I tried to locate Hidden Hitch you mentioned. I guess that it is Trailer Hitch which I found in honda-accessories site for 1999-2001 Ody model. However, it is not available for 2002 model. They only have towing package. In the honda-accessory site for 2002 model, it says:
-2" receiver style design, 3,500 lb capacity. Includes wiring harness, drawbar, and rubber cover with "H" logo.
Includes Transmission Cooler and heavy duty Power Steering Cooler, which Honda requires for all trailer hitch installations on the 2002 Model.
What I don't understand is why 2002 Model requires these additions. Any idea?
Honda requires the additions because they assume that you will be towing a heavy trailer with the hitch. The downside of installing the hitch WITHOUT the coolers is that you may have problems getting warranty work on your transmission (if you have any transmission problems). If the Honda service guys see that you have a hitch without the coolers they may say that you have not been following Honda recommendations, despite your protests that you only use the hitch for a bike carrier.
2002 Granite Green EX-L
Splash Guards, Cargo Tray, Weathertech Mats