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Racked bike on long car trip: protection and maintenance?

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Racked bike on long car trip: protection and maintenance?

Old 07-10-19, 01:30 PM
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twalls
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Racked bike on long car trip: protection and maintenance?

I'll be heading west in my car with a bike on a back rack. The weather will probably be pretty crummy. I expect that a cover will block the rear view of the taillights, so the bike will be exposed.
The rear hub is "sealed", and the front is a dyno hub. The leather saddle will be off the bike.
What suggestions do you have to protect the parts and frame from close to 4k miles of weather?.
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Old 07-10-19, 01:43 PM
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Full bike covers cause a lot of drag if it is behind anything other than an RV, and can even bend a sturdy rack. Unfortunately I know this from recent experience.

If you google "bicycle drive train covers" you will see a number of covers available that cover your crank, front and rear derailleurs, chain and cassette. These are areas that can be hard to clean and may be subject to rusting. I have also seen others who wrap the handlebars and shifters with saran wrap or packing wrap to keep those areas clean. I think you will be faced with washing the rest.
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Old 07-10-19, 02:00 PM
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I've had my bike on the back of a car for a few hundred miles in the rain and I've always rode in the same conditions + grit, sand, and gravel dust. I wipe off my chain and apply a fresh lube of choice and go about. The only thing I do is lift the front of my bike vertical and bounce it on the ground on the back wheel to get any collected water out of the bottom chain stay. My drain holes are back by the dropouts. Water seepage if any into the vicinity of a greased bearing does absolutly nothing, it doesn't mix or change or washout the grease in any way, it evaporates or displaces and goes away. Sand, grit and others can hurt the life over time but on the back of a car is no less or more chance than general riding around town. Now... depending on amount of exposed steel screws/frame etc and things, you may get some surface rust but that is not a bearing wear issue. The car you are putting your bike on has the same exact style radial bearings on it's wheels as the bearings on your bike.


Last edited by u235; 07-10-19 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 07-10-19, 02:37 PM
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Bikeflights or disassemble and pack in car.
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Old 07-11-19, 03:41 AM
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I have done quite a few long trips, including at least one over 4000 miles, without covering the bike and not found it to be a big issue. I use a roof rack though. Not sure how much difference that makes.

I just consider it normal wear and tear. The bike didn't get any special maintenance other than normal stuff it would get any way. The only thing I really noticed was that it was pretty encrusted with bug splatter.

The bike didn't go long periods of time without maintenance or without being ridden since riding was a primary function of the trips. So generally it was 1-3 days of continuous driving at a time then I was somewhere riding.

If you really want to, a bike can usually fit inside even the smallest of cars with some disassembly. The smaller the car the more disassembly may be required.
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Old 07-11-19, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Bikeflights or disassemble and pack in car.
^^This^^
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Old 07-11-19, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeaddiction1 View Post
"bicycle drive train covers"
interesting. I was going to suggest at least covering them as well. I've done it for a cpl hr ride with road spray/salt conditions using plastic grocery bags & tape. but that wasn't perfect cuz I had to cut the tape when I got there & I only had shreds left for the ride home. haven't covered my bikes in the winter but I should at least cover the drive train


Last edited by rumrunn6; 07-11-19 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 07-11-19, 10:59 AM
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^^ That photo literally made me shudder.

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Old 07-11-19, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
^^ That photo literally made me shudder
who doesn't like a good blizzard ride. but yeah, when I got out of the car & saw that, I was like "Oops!"
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Old 07-11-19, 01:20 PM
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Most of the time, I've just put the bike on the back of a rental car and not had much difficulty.

The one time I did have issues was in the photo below. We had cycled from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay where my sister-in-law picked us up with a SUV. The dirt below came from driving back on the Dalton Highway.

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Old 07-11-19, 08:19 PM
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I took a bike on a rear car rack for 1,800 miles (no dirt roads) & no problem other than having to lash the wheels so they wouldn't spin. Now, I'd remove chain & perhaps cover chainrings/cluster. Dynohub, hmm. Maybe put a lot of grease on axles/dust-covers/whatnot & wipe off after trip?
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Old 07-11-19, 09:42 PM
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I use this for my drivetrain. I also cover my seat with two or three plastic shopping bags and then secure the bags with a copious amount of cheap electrical tape, around the saddle itself, not just around the seat post. This is to keep the bag from ripping in the wind. If you do remove the saddle, fine. If you remove the saddle and seat post, remember to plug/cover the hole that is left so water doesn't accumulate inside of your frame. Have a good trip.

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Old 07-12-19, 08:46 AM
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Mev-- get a haircut!!!
I know, I know, old photo....

Driving cross country once with bikes, I wrapped saran wrap around the chains half assedly to reduce cleaning afterwards, as I worried about the bikes looking like mevs.

That purpose built cover the other guy showed looks great.

Second covering up seat post hole. Cover up stuff if possible so less grit gets in places at 110kph.

If one bike, I'd do the dismantle and find inside space option personally.
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Old 07-13-19, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Most of the time, I've just put the bike on the back of a rental car and not had much difficulty.

What did you do with the rack at the other end?
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Old 07-13-19, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
What did you do with the rack at the other end?
It depends.

Some trips I end up out/back with the same rack. Other trips, I've bought a rack and drove it home - or donated a rack at my destination. Sometimes the cost of a ~$50 Walmart rack isn't as much compared to cost of a larger rental car - or cost of airline baggage fees, that I have parted with them as necessary.

Examples in point of different variations
- The rack in photo above I bought in Fairbanks Walmart. My sister-in-law thus had it to ferry us back from Prudhoe Bay. Flew home with the rack.
- Last year I drove to Abilene to start a trip, using a rental car. Turned out the car was slightly too small to easily fit the bike w/o disassembling my Surley front rack so I took a basic bike rack I had in the garage, put it on the rental car. Once in Abilene, I donated it to the rental car company at the airport.
- In April, I drove to Kerrville, TX to start a trip. The rental car was big enough to fit the bike inside.
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Old 07-13-19, 02:08 PM
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Clean it and re-lube things when you arrive at the destination.

I think I had a few spots of rust show up on my bike from the de-icing chemicals mixed in with the snow in the first photo.




In the second photo, the rear fender on my bike vibrated in the slipstream of wind from being on the back of that same Jeep but it was a different bike. The bracket that held my rear fender to the fender stays fractured on both sides from the vibration. But the bike worked fine with the stays unattached as shown in the photo for a two week tour. I bent them out so that they did not clatter from the vibration while riding. Planet bike did not warranty the fender, but they did mail me a new bracket (for free) so that I could drill out the old rivets and use a couple bolts to replace the broken bracket. I was happy with Planet Bike response on that.

Thus, if that bike goes on that same Jeep again, I will loosen the attachment bolts so the fender can move up against the tire and attach the fender to the wheel so it does not vibrate, probably with electrical tape or velcro strap.

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Old 07-13-19, 02:39 PM
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the fender thing is a good point. Havent had that happen to my fenders, but good to keep in mind thats for sure.
thanks

goes without saying, keep an eye out for any frame movement in rack, as gazillions of movements will wear away paint.
I also prefer to put a strap through wheels to stop freewheeling, especially as back will cause pedals to go around and maybe hit stuff on another bike etc.
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Old 07-13-19, 09:16 PM
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Several years ago I was driving eastbound on the interstate in a rural area, traffic was light. I noticed a car going westbound on the shoulder on the side of the road, behind that car I saw a couple people walking eastbound from the car which I thought was odd. Then about a hundred or two hundred yards later I saw a bike sitting in the middle of the traffic lane. A bike fell off their rack. And a quarter mile later I saw several tractor trailer units heading westbound, I never knew if the truck drivers spotted the bike in time to change lanes and avoid it.

Ever since then, I always put an extra velcro strap over one of the rubber band type straps that are commonly used on receiver hitch type racks to make sure that my bike stays there.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 07-14-19 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 07-13-19, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Several years ago I was driving eastbound on the interstate in a rural area, traffic was light. I noticed a car going westbound on the shoulder on the side of the road, behind that car I saw a couple people walking westbound from the car which I thought was odd. Then about a hundred or two hundred yards later I saw a bike sitting in the middle of the traffic lane. A bike fell off their rack. And a quarter mile later I saw several tractor trailer units heading westbound, I never knew if the truck drivers spotted the bike in time to change lanes and avoid it.

Ever since then, I always put an extra velcro strap over one of the rubber band type straps that are commonly used on receiver hitch type racks to make sure that my bike stays there.
Anything extra like zip ties, Velcro etc can't hurt but they probably forgot to put the straps on. I've done that but was only about 10 miles from home and no loss (luckily). The weight of the bike on the bar is the main force, the strap just keeps it from bouncing out and does see any real force. Similar concept to a hitch clip on a hitch receiver pin, not there for load bearing reasons. Now if you had a step through, MTB, or a traditional woman's bike and used the actual strap underneath to hold up the bike then yes but.. you shouldn't do that

I know feeling though, I lost a roof rack and my bags in it on I70 and it got ran over by a few trucks. I was running out and grabbing stuff between traffic for a while. Luckily most of it was clothes and was not damaged. It was one of those roof racks that used friction hooks in the door channels. It made it 600 miles before it went. I never used one of those again.

Last edited by u235; 07-13-19 at 09:50 PM.
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