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Dangers of bungee cords

Old 08-15-13, 09:34 PM
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Dangers of bungee cords

I have strapped one or two bungee cord to the rear rack of my touring bicycles for twenty years plus. Bungee cords are handy. On tours, I use them to secure luggage to the top of the rear rack. When running errands around town, I use them to hold items that won't fit in my panniers, e.g., a big package containing 24 rolls of toilet paper.

But I don't think I will stow bungee cords on the racks anymore. Today while riding to work, a cord came loose, wrapped itself tightly around the rear hub with the other end firmly hooked to the rear rack. Fortunately, I was travelling slowly, and was able to stop quickly. Had the wheel turned one or two more revolutions, the wheel probably would have locked. Fortunately, I managed to avoid having an accident today.

As convenient as it is to keep the bungee cords wrapped around the rear rack, I have decided it's too risky. In the future, I will find space in my panniers instead.

Does anyone know of alternative ways to strap stuff to the top of the rear rack that does not involve objects might get trapped in the wheel?
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Old 08-15-13, 09:38 PM
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getting them , loose , tangled in the wheel, is one big problem .. buckle tightened webbing straps don't have.
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Old 08-15-13, 10:14 PM
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I keep a couple of the long Nite Ize Gear Ties : https://www.niteize.com/collection/Gear-Tie.asp
wrapped around the rear rack for emergencies--In fact, used one to suspend bike from a branch on the way home today to have a look at the rear wheel's trueness. They hold their shape, so if one did fall off the rack somehow, it would still be in a compact coil and very unlikely to go into the axle.
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Old 08-15-13, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
getting them , loose , tangled in the wheel, is one big problem .. buckle tightened webbing straps don't have.
Sorry but if the webbing strap is long enough, can tangle in the wheel just as much. The only difference is that the webbing will tighten faster and tighter because it doesn't stretch. At least a bungee will stretch and take some time to lock up the wheel.

However, locking up a rear wheel shouldn't be that much of a hazard. Stop a front wheel and you'll go over the handlebars, stop a rear wheel and the tire will skid but should cause an accident. If you can't skid a rear tire without crashing, you really should work on your bike handling skills.
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Old 08-15-13, 10:44 PM
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Must have frightened you quite badly. You went 20 years without an incident. I also travel with both bungee cords and regular cord, but I always intertwine them around the racks. I've lost bungee cords and items held with bungee cords so I take the extra time to wind them around as much as I can rather than just secure them by the hooks.
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Old 08-16-13, 01:37 AM
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After a similar problem shredded one of my bungee cords, I got two 48 inch straps with locking clips to hold my camping gear (bag and tent) on my rear rack. They aren't as convenient as bungees, as instead of simple hooks to connect, I have to find both ends, connect them, yank them tight, and then secure the loose ends.

They also have the potential of getting tangled up in the spokes/gears of the rear wheel, but it seems like the gear is more secure with them. As an unexpected side benefit, I was able to use one of them as a belt to hold a pair of borrowed binoculars while hiking in Big Bend NP. In addition, I use them to hold my checked luggage together when traveling.

I wouldn't go back to bungees, though I often see them on the road for the picking up.
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Old 08-16-13, 06:56 AM
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Every time I go for a local ride, I see many loose S hooks and black rubber straps on the road from the black rubber hold downs used by trucks and other commercial vehicles to tie down stuff. These seem to be from the failure of the rubber.Most bungee cords seem to have very thin hooks at the end which would open under tension needed to secure heavy loads.
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Old 08-16-13, 07:23 AM
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acantor, Bungee cords are great, but can be taken for granted. Quality varies and even good ones have a finite life span of just a few months IME. I don't store them under tension and usually they're in the rack bag, which is almost always on the touring bike.

Brad

PS AK, It's amazing all of the items that can be found on the road!

Last edited by bradtx; 08-16-13 at 07:25 AM. Reason: ps
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Old 08-16-13, 09:02 AM
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I found double tri glide buckle Fastex, it uses plain webbing.. I position the buckle on top of the load ,

and since I can pull either end the buckle stays there



but more user error than the bungee or strapping inherent problem..

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-17-13 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:37 AM
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I keep one on my rear rack permanently to stow my shackle lock.
For oversized loads I have some 5mm nylon chord with a loop at one end. Non elastic chord is more secure for massively oversized loads.
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Old 08-16-13, 10:17 AM
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I prefer straps due to the unpredictable *snap* failure mode of bungees. Excess length is still an issue, but you have to just be diligent about securing the slack and occasionally checking on it. The cinch straps for securing kayaks and misc things to roof racks are handy to have around, you can cut them down to the minimum length of the biggest expected load...the mega pack Costo toilet paper bundle would be about right :-).

This is the sort of strap I'm referring to

https://www.amazon.com/Tamrac-S-113-C...dp/B0009PEUR0/

And another type

https://www.amazon.com/Master-Lock-30...dp/B0009V1WXY/
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Old 08-16-13, 10:43 AM
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Bungee Cords are awful. Webbing straps are universally better for cycling applications.
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Old 08-16-13, 10:46 AM
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I had precisely the same thing happen to me, in fact I double checked who posted the original post in this thread to make sure I wasn't answering my own thread

I am surprised I didn't break a spoke on mine, the bungee was wrapped around the hub and hooked on to a spoke, had I not been going slowly it likely would of snapped a spoke or two.

I broke down and bought a rack back with velcro straps becasue of it.
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Old 08-16-13, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TheReal Houdini
Bungee Cords are awful. Webbing straps are universally better for cycling applications.
No, they aren't. Not "universally". Wet webbing stretches and weakens. If you tighten your nylon straps when it is dry and then get caught in the rain, you'd better retighten the straps or you risk losing your load. Doesn't happen with bungee cords because the elastic doesn't weaken nor absorb water.

I don't use bungees with hooks, however. I use tarp or ball bungees and don't use long ones.
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Old 08-16-13, 01:40 PM
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At the suggestion of Wayne at the Touring Store we used on of these straps on our last tandem tour. Two thumbs up. Spring loaded cam makes tightening an loosening easy, but very secure. No slippage.
https://www.nrs.com/product/1442/nrs-1-padded-straps
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Old 08-16-13, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
No, they aren't. Not "universally". Wet webbing stretches and weakens. If you tighten your nylon straps when it is dry and then get caught in the rain, you'd better retighten the straps or you risk losing your load. Doesn't happen with bungee cords because the elastic doesn't weaken nor absorb water.

I don't use bungees with hooks, however. I use tarp or ball bungees and don't use long ones.
Only some forms of webbing stretch when wet. Nylon stretches, Polyester doesn't, and Polypropylene has less stretch than either of them, dry or wet. A good strap supplier (because who knew there were such things) like strapworks can make you a pair of straps of the material of your choice, with the hardware you like.

I find that really cheap bungee cords mitigate the danger somewhat; I've gotten a bungee caught in my wheel, and the hook of my dollar store bungee straightened out before I ground to a halt.
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Old 08-16-13, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050
Only some forms of webbing stretch when wet. Nylon stretches, Polyester doesn't, and Polypropylene has less stretch than either of them, dry or wet. A good strap supplier (because who knew there were such things) like strapworks can make you a pair of straps of the material of your choice, with the hardware you like.

I find that really cheap bungee cords mitigate the danger somewhat; I've gotten a bungee caught in my wheel, and the hook of my dollar store bungee straightened out before I ground to a halt.
Most people are going to use nylon because that's what's most readily available.
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Old 08-16-13, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Most people are going to use nylon because that's what's most readily available.
Most of the ones I see are polypropylene. Coughlans for example are probably one of the most frequently available and they are polypropylene. Very little stretch even when wet.

I have used both bungees and poly straps and find the poly straps are generally my preference.
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Old 08-16-13, 04:41 PM
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I found a few years ago, a cargo net for bikes with 6 hooks. This has worked well for all my long trips
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Old 08-16-13, 04:42 PM
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Getting stuff stuck in a wheel can result in having a really bad day.

About a month ago I came across a cyclist flat on the road with her bike and a car driver standing there with his cell calling an ambulance. The car driver had stopped after she had crashed. I stopped, helped her get her foot unclipped out of one pedal and get the bike off of her. Her Trek Madone had a tennis shoe stuck in between the front fork and the spokes. Apparently she had a pair of sneakers hanging from her handlebars from the laces and one sneaker got in the spokes locking up the front wheel and causing her to go head over heels.

Sometimes around home I carry a net made out of bunge material, but it is stretched tight enough on my rack that it is not going to come loose. I just make sure that I do not buy anything too big to tie down well when I am on my bike. I do not think I would even try to strap a pack of 6 rolls of TP, would not even dream of a 24 roll pack.

I have a small front platform rack that I use short velcro straps, sometimes for something large I need to use two velcro straps together to make one that is long enough. You can see the front rack and one of the straps I am talking about in the photo where I have a small lime green jacket strapped to that rack. Nice thing about the front rack is that I can see if something is starting to work loose.

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Old 08-16-13, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Most of the ones I see are polypropylene. Coughlans for example are probably one of the most frequently available and they are polypropylene. Very little stretch even when wet.

I have used both bungees and poly straps and find the poly straps are generally my preference.
Every place I've bought "nylon" straps from has been nylon. REI, fabric stores, straps for bags, webbing on backpacks, etc have all been nylon. You can definitely tell the difference when you fire finish the ends. Nylon makes capralactam which is very acrid. Polyester and polypropylene are odorless (mostly) when burned. I've never run across any kind of webbing that didn't have the capralactam smell whenm melted.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:25 PM
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Bungees, they can take your eye out. Beware.
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Old 08-17-13, 04:26 AM
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A friend of mine lost the sight in one eye due to a bungee cord snapping loose and he was an experienced rider.

I try to avoid them and use straps.

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Old 08-17-13, 11:02 AM
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https://www.bikebandit.com/bikebandit-com-cargo-net
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Old 08-17-13, 01:39 PM
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I have used these home-made bungees to secure my rack pack. They are made from high quality 1/4" shock cord and nylon hooks. I probably have over 12,000 miles on the same pair without any problems. The photo below shows a trashed tire (looking for a trash bin), my wet running shoes, tent poles, and rack pack held with the 2 relatively small bungee cords. They hold things securely and are easy to make. I've had a couple of pretty hard crashes and the load barely shifted!

My wife prefers the 4 hook "cargo net" bungee to hold her rack pack. She usually carries her running shoes in the space under the rack pack.

Loose straps on panniers seem like more of a problem than loose bungeees. It really does not matter what type of securing system used, if it is not secured properly it will cause a problem.





My wife's bungee "cargo net" is securely hoding a large, heavy, and awkward part for my table saw that I just picked up at the post office.

Last edited by Doug64; 08-17-13 at 05:22 PM.
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