Questions to those who use a trunk-mounted bike rack
I'm currently car-free, but on occasion I will rent a car and take my bike on a road-trip.
My only option has been a trunk mounted bike rack. I bought an Allen Sports rack which works great.
But I have a few questions to those with experience with trunk-mounted racks.
1. When driving with my bicycle mounted on the trunk-rack , it is essential that I lock my front wheel to the bike frame (with my cable lock) to keep the handle bar and front wheel from turning from the vehicle's motion, as the wheel can often hit and rub against the paint of the rear bumper. The problem with this solution is that the force from the cable lock on my spokes from the vehicle's motion has bent one of my spokes. Is there another method of keeping the handle bar/front wheel straight while driving without the potential of damaging the wheel or spokes?
2. On many of the cars I have rented, it is nearly impossible to position the rack where the rack itself or the bicycle is not covering the visibility of the license plate.
I'm concerned about getting pulled over by a cop or even getting a ticket for this. I drive mostly in California, Oregon and Washington state.
Has anyone else been pulled-over for their bicycle or rack obscuring the visibility of their license plate? How did you handle the situation?
Is there any solution for this?
3. I'm wondering how a bicycle mounted to a trunk-rack impacts highway fuel economy of a compact or midsize car.
I have no means of testing this, as I often rent different vehicles and have no way to compare trips with and without my bicycle mounted to the car.
Part of one of my wheels does stick out and I'm sure that the aerodynamic wake is effected by the bicycle mounted behind the trunk.
I'm wondering if anyone has done any testing on impact to fuel economy with a trunk-mounted rack.
4. On my road trips, I often leave my trunk-mounted rack attached the trunk when I remove my bicycle to take a bike ride.
I am always sure to lock the rack to the car's tow hook using the same long cable that I use to secure my bicycle to my car.
I'm wondering if anyone has has their trunk-mounted rack stolen or vandalized when they left it on their car.