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Roof Racks and Overpasses

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Roof Racks and Overpasses

Old 04-27-09, 08:36 PM
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bikr13
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Roof Racks and Overpasses

I just ordered a Rocky Mount roof rack for my car and was wondering if anyone had ever had issues with the bike hitting highway overpasses or stop lights.

I will have it mounted on a Tahoe and was curious if this would be fine or if it will be too tall?
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Old 04-27-09, 08:40 PM
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I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a roof rack and have never had an issue.
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Old 04-27-09, 08:47 PM
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I can't imagine the total height will be more than an 18-wheeler's, so any federal or state-administered roads should be fine. Might need to be careful on local roads, though. In Charlottesville, VA, where I went to college, there was a low railroad bridge that new students regularly got U-Hauls stuck under.
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Old 04-27-09, 08:48 PM
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Even with a bike on top of a car it's still going to be lower than delivery trucks, etc. Anything low enough to cause a problem will be marked for trucks. Just measure how high your bikes sit from the ground to the tippy-top and pay attention to all signs. I've cleared a few parking garages by inches but my car is very low and I think the top of my saddle sits at about 8 feet from the ground.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:02 PM
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Let the air out of your tires when you come to an overpass.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:10 PM
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There was a family I once knew that had a large van with bike racks on top (imagine a family of 6 cyclists and triathletes). They said they got pretty close on a few, but they fit on all publicly maintained roads.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:20 PM
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If you stick to major highways, you should be OK. Clearance can be much lower on old rural roads (e.g., railroad bridges) and also indoor parking garages. Low clearance areas should have warning signs indicating the clearance, because many trucks won't fit.
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Old 04-27-09, 10:00 PM
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It's not the highway overpasses that will get you, it's the drive-through overhangs, parking garages, ferryboats and low-hanging trees on rural roads.
Overpasses are plenty high enough to clear a Tahoe with two bikes stacked on top of each other. But after awhile you forget the bike is there, and then you duck into the ATM to get a quick hundred dollars... I've nicked my Atlantis a couple of times, no serious damage. Some people put a sign on the windshield or something on the dash to remind them there are bikes on top. I get used to those and don't see them anymore, so i leave the opaque panel of the sunroof open.
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Old 04-27-09, 11:54 PM
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Are you serious?
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Old 04-28-09, 12:01 AM
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Tip - when driving with the bikes on top, tape a note of your clearance height to the dashboard or the windscreen. You don't want to 'forget' that you are taller than usual if you don't drive with it very often.

Ditto what Velo Dog said...lots of stuff can get you and because you are in a 'normal' car you are not looking for it. Parking garages, fast food restaurant drivethroughs...
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Old 04-28-09, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by bikr13 View Post
I just ordered a Rocky Mount roof rack for my car and was wondering if anyone had ever had issues with the bike hitting highway overpasses or stop lights.

I will have it mounted on a Tahoe and was curious if this would be fine or if it will be too tall?
If your Tahoe has been converted to a monster truck, then you MAY have a problem. If not, you're good to go ... no worries.

... Brad
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Old 04-28-09, 07:19 AM
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You should have no problems as everyone else as said. I would measure your height after you get everything installed so you have it as reference.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:19 AM
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Standard height of a tractor trailer is 13'6". So you should be fine with most any roof rack going down the road. ( Bikes on top of our Durango, which is about as tall as any passenger vehicle on the road, top out under 11 feet).

As others have pointed out, its all the miscellaneous stuff that gets you.

And watch for very old tunnels, overpasses on rural roads. The height on the sign, is often the height at the center, and it can be much lower on the sides, which can come into play on a tall vehicle with bikes mounted toward the sides of the vehicle.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:32 AM
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If you have to ask here...you probably should be extra careful.

Just be aware of your surroundings. Don't do drive-throughs, banks, parking garages. You'll be fine.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
It's not the highway overpasses that will get you, it's the drive-through overhangs, parking garages, ferryboats and low-hanging trees on rural roads.
Overpasses are plenty high enough to clear a Tahoe with two bikes stacked on top of each other. But after awhile you forget the bike is there, and then you duck into the ATM to get a quick hundred dollars... I've nicked my Atlantis a couple of times, no serious damage. Some people put a sign on the windshield or something on the dash to remind them there are bikes on top. I get used to those and don't see them anymore, so i leave the opaque panel of the sunroof open.
Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
Tip - when driving with the bikes on top, tape a note of your clearance height to the dashboard or the windscreen. You don't want to 'forget' that you are taller than usual if you don't drive with it very often.

Ditto what Velo Dog said...lots of stuff can get you and because you are in a 'normal' car you are not looking for it. Parking garages, fast food restaurant drivethroughs...
+1 on both of these. We have rocky mounts on our Subaru. No issues but I don't think we're quite as high as a SUV. Tho... we've gotten REALLY close on some parking garages.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
It's not the highway overpasses that will get you, it's the drive-through overhangs, parking garages, ferryboats and low-hanging trees on rural roads.
Overpasses are plenty high enough to clear a Tahoe with two bikes stacked on top of each other. But after awhile you forget the bike is there, and then you duck into the ATM to get a quick hundred dollars... I've nicked my Atlantis a couple of times, no serious damage. Some people put a sign on the windshield or something on the dash to remind them there are bikes on top. I get used to those and don't see them anymore, so i leave the opaque panel of the sunroof open.
+1

Virtually all highway overpasses are set at a mandated minimum height, which I believe is 15'6". Pay attention to small local bridges, though...if you see anything listed under 9' (or 10' depending on how tall your vehicle is), pay very close attention as you pull up to it. If you think you're really close, and don't want to take the bike off for some reason, either have someone get out and watch as you very slowly pull under the bridge, or stick your head out the window and look. Either way, put your flashers on, and be prepared for people behind you to get a little upset if you pull right up to the bridge, and then realize yes, you do have to take the bikes down. Don't sweat it, though...better to get honked at, than to ruin your bike.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:38 AM
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If you're that worried, get a rear-mounted rack.

I can't believe someone out there actually thinks their roof-mounted rack with bikes may clip an underpass yet semis safely maneuver underneath them daily.

Unbelievable.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:42 AM
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Semis don't/can't go on all the roads we can in cars.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulex View Post
Semis don't/can't go on all the roads we can in cars.
He said "highway" overpasses and stop lights in his original post.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
Tip - when driving with the bikes on top, tape a note of your clearance height to the dashboard or the windscreen. You don't want to 'forget' that you are taller than usual if you don't drive with it very often.

...
That's a good idea.

Also, I'd suggest not driving on Storrow Drive (in Boston):

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Old 04-28-09, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jive Turkey View Post
He said "highway" overpasses and stop lights in his original post.
Correct. And by stop light, I assume he isn't on a highway. I have a motorhome that is 11'8". There are many campgrounds that I have to enter from a certain direction because, even though I can fit under all the lights, I can't fit under some of the bridges. One that we go to goes under the highway. Is that a highway overpass?
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Old 04-28-09, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulex View Post
Correct. And by stop light, I assume he isn't on a highway. I have a motorhome that is 11'8". There are many campgrounds that I have to enter from a certain direction because, even though I can fit under all the lights, I can't fit under some of the bridges. One that we go to goes under the highway. Is that a highway overpass?
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Old 04-28-09, 10:46 AM
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Parking garages are a no-no
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Old 04-28-09, 11:35 AM
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In New York on the state parkways there are lots of low bridges. Most are plenty tall in the middle, but are arch shaped so if you're in the right lane you might have a problem. It'll take you all of 2 minutes (if that) to measure your car with the bike on top.

Tree branches, overhangs, small bridges, those will getcha.
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