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Morbid curiosity on roof racks

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Morbid curiosity on roof racks

Old 05-13-07, 07:32 PM
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ruck
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Morbid curiosity on roof racks

So I have a Yakima roof rack for my car and while driving back from the in laws today (off topic, but bringing the bike is a great idea for trips to the in laws, you get to ride, and get away for a bit, plus they're thrilled that their daughter's husband is trying to keep himself in shape) I was doing my usual worry about my bike flying off the roof of my car and I got to wondering, anyone ever have something like that happen? I know a few bikes have met their end at the mercy of a garage door just curious if anyone ever lost one in transit?

I almost lost the front wheel once, it was I think the first or second time using the rack and I had the wheel on the wheel fork, well apparently I didn't tighten it enough and on the way home I here this noise and sure enough I pull over and the wheel is off the rack, luckily it got tangled in the others bikes that were up there and I didn't lose or damage it. I guess this is why I worry about the bike.

My apologies if anyone has and I've brought back bad memories, but I am curious
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Old 05-13-07, 07:42 PM
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Never lost a bike from a roof rack but went through a car wash with my Thule wheel holders in the up position...

I needed new clamps for the wheel holders....
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Old 05-13-07, 07:43 PM
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I sometimes worry about my roof rack too but my car is lowered on race springs so the ride is pretty rough. I really only worry when i am hitting bumps or when im on cobblestone or brick roads.

I have however, had a bike fall off a trunk rack going down the highway. That sucked.
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Old 05-13-07, 07:53 PM
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I've used my Yakima racks for the past 15 years and never lost a bike or wheel. I always make an 'idiot check' and yank on the bike and rack to make sure it's tight before driving off though. When driving to races, I have seen a couple cars parked at the side of the road, all the bikes lined up against the guard rail being inspected after the rack has come off the car on the freeway, so it can happen (most likely when loaded to the max). There is a great story of Olympic great Beth Heiden and team mate leaving the airport with a rack full of bikes, only to arrive at home an hour later - with no rack! I gues someone got a nice gift at the roadside !

Just make sure everything is tight before driving off, you'll be fine.

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Old 05-13-07, 08:01 PM
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Never any problems with my thule..
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Old 05-13-07, 08:11 PM
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Yesterday at my LBS, Pedal Power in Middletown, CT, I saw a notice, "LOST BIKE!" -- someone's road bike had flown off of a roof rack at some point in an hour-long highway trip -- they didn't know where.

I said aloud, "Ouch!" and my young child said, "bikes can't feel pain". ha!

- joseph

p.s. - my 1st post -- I've been reseaching road bikes on this site. thanks for all the info and tips.
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Old 05-13-07, 08:19 PM
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Never lost a bike off the roof but I lost 2 surfboards that took the rack with them by bending the rain gutter clips off the rain gutters. The front rack let go first so the boards flipped up and really caught a lot of air before the rear rack let go. I stopped the car on the side of the highway, got out and was looking for the boards on the side of the road when I saw the boards still clipped to the racks fluttering down from way up in the air.
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Old 05-13-07, 08:44 PM
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We were headed back to SC from Atlanta, following some girls from the old Cox/Atlanta Velo team. They had their Litespeeds with Zipp wheels on the roof of the car. Now normally, if you are going to lose a bike, it comes off pretty quickly. Not this time...
We'd been driving for 2-1/2 hours at 75 mph without any issues. About 30 minutes from my house, one of the bikes just lifts off of their roof. It lands solidly on I-20 and slides to a stop in the middle of the left lane. I managed to miss it, got hard on the brakes and swerved to the shoulder. I jumped out and started sprinting up the shoulder the 100 or so yards to where the bike lay wounded, but alive.
I was 25 yards from making the save when a semi came over the small crest and flat ******** killed the poor bike. The sickening crunch of ti and carbon was almost too much to bear. Once the 5 axles of the truck finished it off, I ran across the highway and dragged the carcass back to the cars.
The biggest piece of the Zipp wheels was about 8 inches long. The frame was in 3 sections and was almost unrecognizable. The cables and spokes were holding all of the bits together
We joined hands, said a small prayer to the Madonna del Ghisallo and put it in the trunk, covered with a blanket, much like a dead body.

The truck never so much as slowed down! I really hope that dude got a flat somewhere down the road...
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Old 05-13-07, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jhglaw
I saw the boards still clipped to the racks fluttering down from way up in the air.
You, sir, have made my day.
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Old 05-13-07, 08:52 PM
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Ouch...hard to witness a bike being flattened like that.

My older stepson in his racing days had his bike launch itself off the rack on the team car on the wya back to Penn State after a race. Not destroyed, but definitely out of alignment. Not sure why that happened.

On the other hand my wife drove into our garage a few years ago with her Trek 5000 on the roof rack. The final score was: Trek 1, garage door 0

The only thing that needed to be done to the bike was replace the saddle (she'd be wanting a new one...hmmm). The garage door was a different story.
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Old 05-13-07, 09:08 PM
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My friend Walter drove his roof rack mounted cannondale into his garage. Totalled the bike, bent the roof rack beyond repair, damaged his car, and damaged his garage. Don't think those were warrantee claims either. For this reason (on top of the fact that I am often liable to space out having a bike mounted to the top of my car after a long ride) I will never own a roof rack.
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Old 05-13-07, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by damocles1
We were headed back to SC from Atlanta, following some girls from the old Cox/Atlanta Velo team. They had their Litespeeds with Zipp wheels on the roof of the car. Now normally, if you are going to lose a bike, it comes off pretty quickly. Not this time...
We'd been driving for 2-1/2 hours at 75 mph without any issues. About 30 minutes from my house, one of the bikes just lifts off of their roof. It lands solidly on I-20 and slides to a stop in the middle of the left lane. I managed to miss it, got hard on the brakes and swerved to the shoulder. I jumped out and started sprinting up the shoulder the 100 or so yards to where the bike lay wounded, but alive.
I was 25 yards from making the save when a semi came over the small crest and flat ******** killed the poor bike. The sickening crunch of ti and carbon was almost too much to bear. Once the 5 axles of the truck finished it off, I ran across the highway and dragged the carcass back to the cars.
The biggest piece of the Zipp wheels was about 8 inches long. The frame was in 3 sections and was almost unrecognizable. The cables and spokes were holding all of the bits together
We joined hands, said a small prayer to the Madonna del Ghisallo and put it in the trunk, covered with a blanket, much like a dead body.

The truck never so much as slowed down! I really hope that dude got a flat somewhere down the road...
OH NOO!!!
That's so friggin sad. My stomach definitely lurched a bit after reading that.
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Old 05-13-07, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by damocles1
We were headed back to SC from Atlanta, following some girls from the old Cox/Atlanta Velo team. They had their Litespeeds with Zipp wheels on the roof of the car. Now normally, if you are going to lose a bike, it comes off pretty quickly. Not this time...
We'd been driving for 2-1/2 hours at 75 mph without any issues. About 30 minutes from my house, one of the bikes just lifts off of their roof. It lands solidly on I-20 and slides to a stop in the middle of the left lane. I managed to miss it, got hard on the brakes and swerved to the shoulder. I jumped out and started sprinting up the shoulder the 100 or so yards to where the bike lay wounded, but alive.
I was 25 yards from making the save when a semi came over the small crest and flat ******** killed the poor bike. The sickening crunch of ti and carbon was almost too much to bear. Once the 5 axles of the truck finished it off, I ran across the highway and dragged the carcass back to the cars.
The biggest piece of the Zipp wheels was about 8 inches long. The frame was in 3 sections and was almost unrecognizable. The cables and spokes were holding all of the bits together
We joined hands, said a small prayer to the Madonna del Ghisallo and put it in the trunk, covered with a blanket, much like a dead body.

The truck never so much as slowed down! I really hope that dude got a flat somewhere down the road...
I am hereby retreating for a while to have a little cry.
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Old 05-13-07, 10:50 PM
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Unless one is driving a really tiny car...it's much better to keep bicycles inside the cabin. The expense of a modern full-suspension mountainbike or high-end roadbike just makes it too risky otherwise. If one must use a roof rack, it would be prudent to pull to the side of the highway during each hour of driving to ensure everything remains tightly secured.
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Old 05-14-07, 01:31 AM
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Many years ago, one of my teammates had his whole roof rack & 4 bikes fly off the car on the highway on the way to a race !! CRUNCH !! He blamed the rack somehow, but, knowing his mechanical skills, I suspect it was human error. I'm just glad I wasn't there.
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Old 05-14-07, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by damocles1
...
I was 25 yards from making the save when a semi came over the small crest and flat ******** killed the poor bike. The sickening crunch of ti and carbon was almost too much to bear. ... The truck never so much as slowed down! I really hope that dude got a flat somewhere down the road...


Sorry. That story is so sad, I had to laugh out loud.

I can hear the trucker on his CB radio now: "Hey Bubba, 'yall never guess what I just ran over ... ". If he only knew how much it was worth.

jw
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Old 05-14-07, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by mezza
I am hereby retreating for a while to have a little cry.
Mind if I join you? That's awful. Talk about an awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, eh? Must've been even worse to witness it...
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Old 05-14-07, 10:58 AM
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I had FOUR bikes on my roof rack and four guys in my car on the way to a century a couple years ago. We were all experienced and put our own bikes on the rack and I didn't do the usual safety check on each one. My car had a sun roof so we could see the bikes from inside as well.

To make room for four bikes, they are arranged with two facing forward and two facing aft in alternating directions, very close together (it's really quite a site). One guy happened to have recently damaged his road racer and was riding his touring bike with a rear pannier rack and he got an aft-facing position so that rack was presenting itself in a precarious position to the wind as we drove across the Benicia Bridge that windy Sunday morning.

We got almost all the way across when we heard BAM! It was like that bang in Apollo 13 where you don't quite know what it was but you're sure it's really bad. Buddy in the passenger seat looks up through the sun roof and says (with a crack in his voice) "My bike is gone <gulp>". I look in the rear view mirror expecting to see it bouncing along behind us and maybe get hit by a semi or something. Buddy in the back seat looks up through the rear window and says "No! It's still there". I pulled over at the toll plaza and saw the most amazing thing I could have imagined. Buddy with the touring bike had secured it only with the fork skewer mount, he didn't put a toe strap through the rear wheel in the tray. His bike had pivoted around the skewer mount, without hitting either of the bikes next to it, and landed on the brake hoods on the rear windshield and was doing a perfect little headstand. I would not have believed such a thing were possible, it could not have been a better outcome. Got an early fix of adreneline before the ride too.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:14 AM
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Saw someone nearly lose their bike on their roof rack. Drop-out snapped off, and the bike was dangling for a while. Only thing keeping it on was the rear tire strap.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:19 AM
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I've never had a roof rack and here's why:

I have 2 friends completely unrelated to each other lose their roof racks on the highway. The first one was an Integra with 2 mountain bikes. The other was a Camry with 2 road bikes and 1 mtb.

The guy in the 'teg is from Napa, CA. The ones in the Camry were on a trip down south from Vancouver, BC.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:25 AM
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Roof racks are where lawyer lips come into their own.

When using Thule front wheel holders on a trip I found out why they recommend using the provided strap to secure the wheel. We had one pop right out of the fork but the strap saved us.

Hasn't happened to me, but I recall a post a month or so ago from a fellow who said that both he and his brother had bikes come loose from their roof rack fork mounts. I asked if either bike had lawyer lip forks and he replied they did not.

I've been using a Thule roof rack system for around 7 or 8 years with no problems but I've never been totally comfortable with bikes on the roof. It's kind of an expensive solution but I'm getting a Honda Element in 6 weeks so I can carry my tandem on the inside.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by damocles1
We were headed back to SC from Atlanta, following some girls from the old Cox/Atlanta Velo team. They had their Litespeeds with Zipp wheels on the roof of the car. Now normally, if you are going to lose a bike, it comes off pretty quickly. Not this time...
We'd been driving for 2-1/2 hours at 75 mph without any issues. About 30 minutes from my house, one of the bikes just lifts off of their roof. It lands solidly on I-20 and slides to a stop in the middle of the left lane. I managed to miss it, got hard on the brakes and swerved to the shoulder. I jumped out and started sprinting up the shoulder the 100 or so yards to where the bike lay wounded, but alive.
I was 25 yards from making the save when a semi came over the small crest and flat ******** killed the poor bike. The sickening crunch of ti and carbon was almost too much to bear. Once the 5 axles of the truck finished it off, I ran across the highway and dragged the carcass back to the cars.
The biggest piece of the Zipp wheels was about 8 inches long. The frame was in 3 sections and was almost unrecognizable. The cables and spokes were holding all of the bits together
We joined hands, said a small prayer to the Madonna del Ghisallo and put it in the trunk, covered with a blanket, much like a dead body.

The truck never so much as slowed down! I really hope that dude got a flat somewhere down the road...
I knew that video of the Ti bike being run over by the truck undamaged was BS!
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Old 05-14-07, 11:40 AM
  #23  
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I lost a wheel. Now I always toss on a bungie cord just for good luck.
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Old 05-14-07, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Roof racks are where lawyer lips come into their own.

When using Thule front wheel holders on a trip I found out why they recommend using the provided strap to secure the wheel. We had one pop right out of the fork but the strap saved us.

Hasn't happened to me, but I recall a post a month or so ago from a fellow who said that both he and his brother had bikes come loose from their roof rack fork mounts. I asked if either bike had lawyer lip forks and he replied they did not.

I've been using a Thule roof rack system for around 7 or 8 years with no problems but I've never been totally comfortable with bikes on the roof. It's kind of an expensive solution but I'm getting a Honda Element in 6 weeks so I can carry my tandem on the inside.
That's why I got Thule's big ratchet system - holds w/o removing the front wheel. It's pretty substantial hardware. Properly installed, I don't see how my Thule could possibly come off - it's pretty solid.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:25 PM
  #25  
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This was driver error - not a rack failure: I saw a guy pull into a parking ramp with a bike on a roof rack once. He forgot it was up there, apparently. It sheared the rack off the car (ripped the rain gutters that it was clamped on to off the car I think). The bike was demolished and the car damaged. It was like a bad dream happening in slow motion and there was nothing I could do. The bike stayed firmly attached to the rack, however. It was a Yakima as I recall. There is now a thing hanging down in front of the entrance to the ramp to warn vehicles that are too tall not to enter.
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