Bike rack on long trip
I have never owned a bike rack, but will be traveling to myrtle beach this August and was considering getting one for the trip. Is it practical to lug a bike on 12 hours of highway? Is it safe?
I saw there is a Hollywood express bike rack that isn’t too expensive but seems to have good ratings:
I have something similar to the first one. I use bungee cord through both wheels to prevent bicycle from swinging. Never used it for 12 hours but for 3-4 hours — no problemo. :)
I took my road bike to NC (+/- 10 hr drive) in late March on a similar rack. I just compulsively checked and re-checked the straps whenever we stopped. I got a little road-grimey from the highway miles, but otherwise was fine. I did remove front wheel, but otherwise did nothing special.
I have a Saris Bones Three Bike rack that I don’t use any more–it is, in my opinion, the gold standard in trunk mount racks. I have a roof rack now, so no I longer use the Saris.
I have taken my bike as far as Clearwater, Florida on this rack, and it is as solid as a rock.
I plan to list it on eBay/Craigslist, but will be looking to sell it in the $75 range.
I might be interested in that. When do you plan to list it?
Will it fit on a larger car – we are taking a hyundai santa fe? I also own a fiat 500 – will it fit that as well?
Thanks for the replies.
I’ve used a Saris Bones (type) rack on long trips. They will work for what you want to do. The weak link in the system is the webbing straps, which seem to loosen, or stretch over time. So, I recommend a couple of preventative actions…..
1. Bring a sock to cover the inside pedal of the bike closest to a vehicle. I scratched one car pretty good when I neglected to do this and hit unexpected road conditions.
2. Bungie the wheels so they don’t turn.
3. Bungie the front wheel so that it doesn’t turn at the stem. You want to minimize vibration, which could loosen the straps.
4. Each time you load the bikes, strap them on well, then stop after 10-15 minutes of driving and check the straps again. Things will shake out in those first few minutes of driving, curving, turning. After that, as long as the weather stays dry, you should have to retighten only every couple of hours.
5. Any time you stop and get out of the car, tug on the straps to make sure they are still tight.
6. When straps are tight, secure them by tying a knot, or otherwise preventing that strap from slipping back through the buckle and loosening. That will make Step 5, above, a litle more time consuming, but its worth the extra time.
I solved most of those problems by investing in a Thule rack that uses metal instead of webbing in the straps, and rachets them into place, rather than requiring me to hand tighten and then secure the straps. That thing is rock solid. But, it comes at a cost. It runs about $200. It was worth the investment for me.
Also, if you have a womens, a mixte or a non traditional frame, consider a $25 investment in an adapter bar. It’s a steel bar that has claw like appendages at each end. You attach one end around the seat post and the other around the handlebar step, and presto chango, you have a more traditional frame configuration for the purpose of racking your bike. Since balance is important to safe racking, keeping the weight centered, and level, is important.
Don’t let any of this discourage you. People rack their bikes all the time. Just take the time to do it right, and be overly cautious as you drive — meaning watch what it is doing through the rear view mirror, check it at every stop, and if anything seems unusual, stop and check it out. A five minute stop could make all the difference.
I think I have a rack LIKE that Hollywood Rack sitting in my basement unused.
I don’t remember the brand or anything, so can’t verify that it would work on a Santa Fe right now.
I’d be happy to let you borrow it some weekend to check it out.
PM me if interested.
I just want to add a comment about long trips – don’t forget to lock your bike! If you can’t lock it to the car (not the rack), consider taking it off the car and locking it to a post or something if you are going into a restaurant. Not to be paranoid, but it would be real easy to cut those straps and put the bike and rack into the back of a pickup and be gone.
I use the Saris Bones rack… I picked one up on the cheap ($35) from craigslist. I agree that for a non-permanent rack, it is the gold standard.
I currently live in Chicago but I’m back in Pittsburgh on average about once every other month… I tend to bring my bicycle back and forth when visiting my parents, a nine-hour drive.
Some things to keep in mind with car racks:
bikes aren’t secured from theft so you can’t leave them unobserved for any length of time (I run a cable lock through my spoiler, but that is a deterrent and not a safe method; you could run a cable lock through a tow-hook).
bikes with a steeply angled top-tube (mostly women’s’ bikes) may require an adapter to hang them from a car rack.
Italianblend, if you want to see how it works on my car you are welcome to stop by. I will be at work until 18:00 today (1000 Technology Drive) and then I am going to ride from OTB with PMTCC at 18:30. Car will stay at work.
Thanks all. I will consider your replies. I’m busy today. Going in for a physical. But thanks to my obsession of climbing greenfield ave, I’m thinner than I’ve been in many years.
Appreciate the offers though. Let me consider and get back.
My favorite theft deterrent for when I forget a lock: back into a parking space up against a wall or some prickly bushes. They still might be able to steal it, but they’ll have to work a lot harder to do it.
as long as it is a controlled backing up… my uncle forgot that he had two bikes on a rack and backed up too far in his garage! O.o One bike was salvageable with a wheel taken from the other. The other bike was lost.
I have an issue racking my wife’s bike (the steeply angled top-tube). @Drewbacca, you mentioned an adapter, can you provide some more information about that? I ~barely~ managed to fudge it to bring the bike home from whence I bought it, but involved some wrestling, a tiny bit of bending of the rack bars and the bike not even resting on the pad on one side when strapped in. So, that can’t be the indefinite go-forward plan.
I have one of these for my wife’s bike: http://www.amazon.com/Saris-Crossbar-Adapter-Suspension-Bicycle/dp/B000BT0Z9Q
I might be interested in selling it though, I bought a different type of rack down at thick so I don’t need the adapter anymore.
You can also try putting the bike on upside-down, just make sure you don’t pinch cables, etc.
If there are only one or two of you…
hyundai santa fe is big enough that you can take front wheel off and put your bike between front and rear seats. If you take both wheels of then should be enough space to shovel two bikes.
Thinking of taking the family, which, I don’t know if these things can adapt down to my oldest daughter’s 20″ bike as well? Just a little Ford focus (not wagon), 5 people, 4 bikes + a trailer makes things interesting. Right now it would be a two vehicle endeavor, the thought of which makes me a little ill.
I imagine that it would work on a child’s bike… but there is probably some published info out there that states any minimum.
On a related note, also always double check that no wheels are dangerously close to the exhaust pipe. I lost a tire this way once, using and older (lower sitting) rack and the angle of the top tube put the wheel directly in front of the hot exhaust gas. Simply swapping the orientation of the two bikes would have prevented that… :( Live and learn.
Heh, that (exhaust related blowout) happened to me once long ago going to Ohiopyle. I thought someone was shooting a shotgun at me or something. Had to buy a new tire from the shop there.
My ex has the same style rack; I’d recommend lubricating (I used the park green stuff) the knobs that tighten down the moveable trays; they can lock up and be a pain to turn if not
FWIW, I have a Saris Bones two-bike rack, and distinctly remember reading in its manual that the manufacturer suggests a 45-mph limit when in use.
I used to have one of those and did not remember that… in any case I drove from here to NC and back using it with 2 bikes with no problems. I was a bit nervous given how tiny the actual bumper on my Mini was, but if the straps are tight it stays on fine.
FWIW, at least this version of the manual says 65mph.
buffalo buffalo wrote:FWIW, I have a Saris Bones two-bike rack, and distinctly remember reading in its manual that the manufacturer suggests a 45-mph limit when in use.
“This carrier is not recommended for off-road use or for use at speed exceeding 65 mph
I average between 70-80mph on i80 w/out issue.
I have the Yakima Super Joe 2, a trunk rack, which I affix to my Honda Civic trunk.
I’ve carried bikes from PGH to Detroit and New Hampshire and back.
+1 to Drewbacca’s comment about the exhaust
+1 to Marko’s comment about locking it. I did figure out how to lock the frame to the car using a ~6′ cable run through a welded loop I found under my rear bumper.
I have used two different “crossbar extenders” that are basically the same as what @salty linked to. I did have to mod them somewhat with rags &tc to prevent excess rubbing on the frame or saddle. My frames are small…they seem better designed to work with medium and large frames.
Depending on the time of year & route, your bike may get bugs and rain on it. I covered my Brooks saddle with a grocery store bag, but the bag quickly shredded in the wind and gave the saddle some light abrasions ….wind erosion I suppose!
At night on long road trips, I take the bike off and put it in the hotel room or sometimes in the hotel baggage storage area.
Yakima and Saris are easy to get replacement parts for.
Pseudacris wrote:I covered my Brooks saddle with a grocery store bag, but the bag quickly shredded in the wind and gave the saddle some light abrasions ….wind erosion I suppose!
Was it wrapped tightly? I usually take my seatpost out and throw it in the trunk… but I also wrap plastic bags over the exposed frame to keep water out; it just takes a few rubber-bands to keep it snug.
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