Fifty Plus (50+) - Inexpensive bike rack for Fla. trip
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01-09-10, 03:45 PM
I suppose I could ask this anywhere but this is my BF "home": Mrs. and I are driving to Florida to spend the month of February. We're taking her Mercury Grand Marquis land yacht. I need a cheap trunk mount bike rack to avoid squashing my bike in the trunk. While the Merc has a huge trunk, I'm also stuffing an inflatable Sea Eagle kayak in there.
Any recommendations on an inexpensive (i.e., available at the likes of Wally World, Target, etc) yet sufficiently sturdy unit for very occasional use? (My Subaru WRX w/Yakima roof rack is my usual bike transport but Mrs. does not want to spend three driving days each way in the Subie.)
We'll be staying in North Ft. Myers. I've looked up the Caloosa Riders bike club there so if any of you are members this snowbird might join you on some rides. I'll be the guy on the red Schwinn Super Le Tour. (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3449485&l=0513005032&id=583760578)
You might try a couple of thrift stores and find a trunk mounted rack. I know here they usually have them. My wife has brought a couple different ones home from yard sales and they all seem to work okay. I currently have two that she paid $5.00 apiece for. One is a Bell and I am not sure what the other one is. Both of them have adjustable straps and they are very easy to fit to different cars. One thing that may not be necessary, but I do anyway, is I always tie a half hitch in the strap just in case the buckle doesn't hold.
I have hauled our two Litespeeds on both of them with no issues. I do lock the bike to the frame of the vehicle with a long kryptonite cable when I use the strap on racks.
Also, with these if you put the bottom hooks on the bottom edge of the trunk ,instead of the bumper, you can still open the trunk with the bikes on.
01-09-10, 04:56 PM
I've owned several different trunk mounted racks, including some really cheap ones, and they all worked OK for occasional use. The difference in quality seemed to be more in fit and finish, less in functionality.
One other tip - once you load your bikes on the rack, drive a few miles and then pull over and check. Things will have shifted a bit; it's wise to tighten, adjust, and tweak. My experience is that once you do that, you can drive hundreds of miles without a problem.
01-09-10, 05:18 PM
I picked one up off Craig's List for $20. I used a ratchet strap to hold the bikes down, stopped to retighten everthing after a few miles and traveled well over 1,000 miles with no problems.
This one might be a little more than you were planning but they might take less. It is on Detroit Craigslist.
01-09-10, 06:05 PM
Thanks RoMad, but that's about an hour's drive each way from me - and more than I want to spend too. Am keeping an eye peeled on CL, though.
The problem with cheap bike racks is that they can inflict a lot of paint damage. If you drive with your bike with some frequency get a good rack that doesn't touch the frame.
01-10-10, 05:46 AM
Got one at a garage sale for $5.00.
Used it only once. It worked.
01-10-10, 08:34 AM
SW Florida is a beautiful place, especially compared to Detroit in February. My daughter is living in Naples now - it we head down that way in Feb I'll look you up.
01-10-10, 09:48 AM
I've had really good results with Allen racks for around $35 new at (I think) MC Sports. I got it at our local store in Ann Arbor, but I've seen them at different MC's around the SE area. Sheldon liked them. I've never lost or scratched a bike with them. We've taken a pair of bikes to NYC and back, to Traverse City a bunch of times, and to Chicago and back. After 7 years still secure.
In comparison, Yakima, Saris, and Thule cost a lot more. Can't say if they're more durable.
01-10-10, 11:31 AM
It pays to belong to a bike club or three. Put out the word on a couple of local club BBs and a guy offered to loan me his Saris Bones rack.
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