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Thread: Road Trip Protection

  1. #1
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    Default Road Trip Protection

    In two weeks I'm embarking on a 5600 km (about 3500 miles for those of you south of the border) road trip from British Columbia to Arizona and I'm taking the DeSalvo with me. It has to be mounted on the roof rack (lovely wife + amazing 5 month old + his gear = no bike space in the VW) and I was just wondering if I needed any sort of protection for the bike. I'll be driving through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Arizona if that helps - I'm sure the weather in March will be somewhat sloppy.
    I've been looking at the Drivetrain condoms and the Scicon rear bicycle cover (covers the drivetrain and rear wheel) but I'm trying to figure out if they are even necessary or is there another option out there?
    In the collective experience of the Salon; what type of bike protection, if any, has worked best for the long road trip?
    As always, any input is welcome and greatly appreciated...
    Cheers
    Jay

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    If you want any sanity at all get the fairing for the roof rack. I have a Thule without it because I'm cheap and hardly ever use it, but the noise is horrific. The thing just howls above about 20-25 mph.

    As far as the bike goes, I use a couple of plastic bags over the saddle because I like my Turbomatics and don't want them to get destroyed any faster than need be. Tape the loose ends around the seatpost. Also I have used some plastic over the upper and lower headset as driving 70 MPH through the driving rain will have the result of forcing water into where it doesn't belong.

    Other than that, nothing.

    Don't drive into your garage. And always check the security of the clamps every time you stop. And check the integrity of the dropouts. They're probably way stronger than we think, but something makes me think the forces on the dropouts around corners and over bumps when mounted to a roofrack is not what the designers of forks had in mind.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    I drive to France with my bike on the roof and do 80mph most of the time on the autoroute with no issues and no protection. The only thing that bothers me is how much the front wheel can move sometimes if it gets a flap on so I jsut make sure to set the wheel well bits on the rack far enough apart so the straps are cinched sown tight.

    The thule is great and locks for the gas station security.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    The fairing is a must though. Like I said, it'll be noisy without it.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    [QUOTE=Saab2000;176305]If you want any sanity at all get the fairing for the roof rack. I have a Thule without it because I'm cheap and hardly ever use it, but the noise is horrific. The thing just howls above about 20-25 mph.



    I hear you about the fairing. The Jetta Wagon comes with roof rails and the Thule faring sizes are either too small or too wide to fit properly and effectively between them

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    and we have a thule box mounted on there as well...it's going to be noisy...
    maybe I should just put a new stereo system in...

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    would you consider a bumper rack?
    the ones that mount on a trailer hitch are solid and keep the bike away from the car body.
    also, the bike won't be in the direct wind path.
    does make getting into the hatch a problem although i think there are some models that swing out.
    Last edited by david; 02-21-2010 at 11:38 AM. Reason: spelling
    david corr

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    I've looked into the Swagman but the bumper would have to be cut to get a proper fit and access to the hatch would be a PITA. I already have the Thule gear so I'll have to work with it. I was really more concerned about protecting/shielding the bike...

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    Ever drive 3500 miles with a small child? I'm not sure the lack of a fairing is going to be an issue. Have a great trip.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by kohlboto View Post
    In two weeks I'm embarking on a 5600 km (about 3500 miles for those of you south of the border) road trip from British Columbia to Arizona and I'm taking the DeSalvo with me. It has to be mounted on the roof rack (lovely wife + amazing 5 month old + his gear = no bike space in the VW) and I was just wondering if I needed any sort of protection for the bike. I'll be driving through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Arizona if that helps - I'm sure the weather in March will be somewhat sloppy.
    I've been looking at the Drivetrain condoms and the Scicon rear bicycle cover (covers the drivetrain and rear wheel) but I'm trying to figure out if they are even necessary or is there another option out there?
    In the collective experience of the Salon; what type of bike protection, if any, has worked best for the long road trip?
    As always, any input is welcome and greatly appreciated...
    Cheers
    Jay

    When I am going from BC ( mere kms south of you) to Arizona, which I do often, my bike also rides the roof.

    I get some pipe insulation from Home Depot, wrap each tube and zip tie it in place.

    If I want to ride anywhere along the way, it comes off easliy, just bring more zip ties with you.

    But pipe insulation works best and its cheap. Use lots of zip ties.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    Ever drive 3500 miles with a small child? I'm not sure the lack of a fairing is going to be an issue. Have a great trip.
    we drove from Alaska to Virginia with a 2.5 y/o a few years back in a Jeep with no a/c in the middle of summer... Being the baby was in the back, we couldn't put the top down so we had to make do with the windows zipped down... She might have been talking to us the whole trip, but we have no idea with all the wind noise...
    Life is too short to grow up, go ride a bicycle!

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    Ever drive 3500 miles with a small child? I'm not sure the lack of a fairing is going to be an issue. Have a great trip.
    brilliant point. That stereo upgrade is looking like he best option...

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    I lived in Albuquerque for a short while a decade ago and drove there from the east coast. I had two bikes on the roof rack, as the car was packed to the gills with stuff. Performance Bike, I think, at that time sold something like the cloth bras that sports car owners put on the front of their cars to protect against rocks and bugs and similar stuff. Same concept: it stretched over the front of your bike and protected it against road debris and crap.

    I thought it was a brilliant idea. And it was, as least part of the way. I pulled into Amarillo for dinner and gas and continued on my way. The road from Amarillo to ABQ is desolate and straight and in the middle of desert. I was doing well in excess of 100mph for pretty much the entire way (oh, my younger days...). When I pulled into my place in ABQ and got out of the car, something wasn't quite right. Those bra things had acted like sails at high speeds and managed to actually push the bikes and the rails back on the rack track such that the bikes and rails were now hanging literally half off the top of the car and over the rear window. I never noticed it until I got out of the car. Everything was fine at 80-85mph all across the country, but above 100mph, it was a different story all together.

    Final thought: as Saab says, check the integrity of the dropouts on the forks where they're held down on the roof rack. Take corners slower than you otherwise would. Better safe than sorry.

    Have a great trip!

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    For security-related protection, does the the rack have locking skewers?

    We do a lot of highway travel with the bikes on top, and if there is ever an occasion where car has to be out of sight, especially at busy rest areas, I U-lock the rear wheel to the frame and wrap a cable around the roof rack and loop it through the lock. It's not fail-proof, but it will no doubt significantly slow down and neer-do-wells.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    I've traveled a lot with my bike on the car's roof. It makes me cry when it's winter, bad weather with rain/snow/salt/etc., but in the end the bike is way less dirty than after a 30km winter ride.
    So forget*** about it and enjoy the trip.


    *** maybe not, or you'll end up smashing bike and car's roof against the garage.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by EddieBirdsell View Post
    For security-related protection, does the the rack have locking skewers?

    We do a lot of highway travel with the bikes on top, and if there is ever an occasion where car has to be out of sight, especially at busy rest areas, I U-lock the rear wheel to the frame and wrap a cable around the roof rack and loop it through the lock. It's not fail-proof, but it will no doubt significantly slow down and neer-do-wells.
    I'm using the Thule Velo-Vise with locks so that shouldn't be a problem and the bike will be in the hotel room overnight...

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    It's been a long time since I used a roof rack (bikes now inside or on a hitch mounted thule T2) but in my recollection, any thing with a frontal area, and that includes cables, is a candidate for a bug hit. so, while most allof that can be washed or scrubbed off at the end of the trip, I'd suggest getting a roll of plastic wrap and just wrapping around your bar/tape/shifters to keep those nice and minty fresh. or just don't worry about it at all

    IMHO your biggest challenge is 1) keeping the kid happy (you try sitting strapped in for hours) or 2) driving into a garage when you are tired.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Protection

    That long of a trip with out use and continually on the roof Ideally you should protect the head set and chain. If you can not protect the chain give it a good wash before riding and the rest of the bike too. You will be amazed at the amount of fine particle sand that will end up every where.

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