This Post Might Save Your Bike’s Life


Last week I was lucky enough to knock a couple items off my #cyclingwishlist (like, literally). As I’m sure is the case for many of you, my list is pretty long….and it’s always so exciting when I’m able to make them a reality.

Ever since I got rid of my hitch mount bike rack, I’ve wanted to get hooked up with a car top mount. I just love the way it looks when I see a bike being carried on top of a vehicle.  Not that I carry mine all that much….but for those times that I do, I really have wanted to do it like this.  So my good friends at Lake Travis Cyclery ordered in a Thule for me, and then…get this…they even came over and installed it as well.  Yeah, that’s right.  How many bike shops deliver and install for no extra cost?  Amazing.

Along with the roof rack, they set me up with a shiny new Rocky Mountain Commuter bike.  I’m not too keen on using my road bike to commute around town so I’ve really been itching to have a bike that I can do that on.  They knew what I was looking for and got me exactly what I needed.

So how can this information help you save your bike’s life.  Well, have you ever had a roof mount bike rack?  This was my first….and let me tell you about the horrific experience I just went through.

On Saturday I decided I would take my kids over to a nearby park to do some riding.  I loaded my brand new Rocky Mountain onto my brand new Thule, and then put the kids bikes in the back of the SUV.  Yeah, looks nice doesn’t it?

Well this picture was taken about 5 minutes before I took off, drove about 100 feet away from my house, and then somehow managed to knock it all off with a tree branch.  Yeah, I still can’t believe it.  We were moving like 10 MPH and the next thing I knew the bike was laying on the ground behind me and the roof rack brace was totally bent up.  I was almost sick.

I’ve taken a look at that tree a few times this week and I can’t seem to figure out how it managed to do that damage.  It’s not hanging all that low, and it’s not even a very solid looking branch.  But the fact is….that’s all it took.  So I’m here to tell you this:  If you purchase a roof top bike mount, use all the care and caution that you possible can.  And when you think you’re exercising caution, become even more cautious.  It could just save your bike’s life.

Here’s a tip: Try putting a sticky note in front of you on the windshield saying “Don’t forget – There is a bike on the roof”.

The coolest thing about this whole mishap is how I was treated by Lake Travis Cyclery.  Not like I wasn’t already impressed with them beyond belief, but they did even more.  On Sunday morning they stopped by my house and replaced the bent brace on the mount, and then took the bike back to the shop for some much needed fixing.  Their kindness and incredible service will never be matched. And I’m not the only one around here that has experienced what these guys have to offer.  My friend, Torsten over at Giant On My Bike posted his experience as well.

Enjoy Your Ride

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14 Responses to “ This Post Might Save Your Bike’s Life ”

  1. Myrna CG Mibus on November 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Oh no! I’m glad that Tina is back up and running again. She’s a beautiful bike.
    (I am curious to know if you took an “after” picture)

    I’ve never used a top rack or even a rear-mounted rack. So far, I’ve been able to fit all of our bikes (four) in the back of my minivan. We have to take front wheels off. Not sure how things will fit when Ryan gets into a bigger bike but we’ll tackle that when we get there. If I’m just hauling my bike I can get it in my van without taking the wheel off.


  2. trailsnet on November 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    You’ve got quite a following on your blog. Nice job.
    You’re experience is one of the reasons I prefer a hitch-mount bike rack. I am super spacey and would definitely forget I had a bike up there; then I’d drive into the garage or under a tree, or into a car wash or…
    Besides, I don’t like to take the front wheel off like you have to w/ most roof mounts and I don’t like having to lift the bike that high.
    Of course I prefer to skip the whole “car” step all together and just ride my bike to the trailhead. Unfortunately, that’s often not feasible.
    Take care and happy trails.

    • Darryl on November 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Yeah, the roof top definitely looks cool…but can be a little scary. It also is more difficult to mount the bike on top of the roof as well.

      I got my rack mostly for the few times when I need to transport my bike, but generally ride from home.

  3. bikerly on November 6, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Great post, Darryl.

    Oh man I hate to say this but one time I actually forgot my bike was mounted up top and drove into the garage with it!

    A noise like I’ve never heard happened and I thought for sure my beloved Gary Fisher Paragon was busted to itty bitty pieces. Luckily, I was in college driving a cheap economy car that rode low to the ground and only my seat needed replacement.

    Your reminder is a good one. Sorry you had to experience this. I remember that awful feeling in my gut when it happened. I didn’t even want to get out of the car to look. Love the post it tip. I do this on my garage door when I have to take something to work… my ‘stupid human trick’.

    Lake Travis Cyclery – BRAVO! Service like that is more rare than an albino buffalo. This February I’m gonna drive down there (from MN) and buy stuff from them – and hopefully go for a ride.

    your new bike – what!? no singlespeed fixie flip-flop? I hope professor @egggman doesn’t see this post : ]

  4. Sabinna on November 6, 2010 at 12:07 am

    A timely reminder…for this reason I have always gone for the rear carrier solution. It’s easy to remove when not in use and the only thing you have to worry about is somebody crashing into the back of the car.

    • Loving the Bike on November 6, 2010 at 5:39 am

      Definitely a safer way to go.


  5. Kendall on November 5, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I hear you. That is some good advise to share. We always put the garage door opener in the glove box, just so we don’t accidentally drive into the garage after a long day. Even so, my wife one time drove into my mom’s carport with my bike on top of the van. She got two rafters in before she remembered. Somehow the bike survived with only some scuffing on the seat.

    • Loving the Bike on November 6, 2010 at 5:40 am

      Thanks Kendall, that is another great tip.


  6. Tim on November 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Did the same thing with my mountain bike a few years ago parking near the 360 bridge. Bike ok, rack ok…top of car not so much.

    It only takes one time. Never done that again.

  7. Heather Nielson on November 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Hey there, I’m so sorry! I did that exact same thing when I went to race Sea Otter in 2009. I had just finished the circuit race and was frantically driving around Monterey trying to find a motel, turned a corner, and went right under a ‘low clearance’….there went my brand new Jamis race bike. The sound of crushing carbon made me feel like I lost a limb. I immediately started balling. I’ll admit it. My brand new race bike was toast. I naturally skipped the Road Race I had planned the next day and spent the whole drive back home calling everyone I knew balling my eyes out.
    The good thing? I NEVER NOT pay attention to low clearances anymore. It’s unlikely that it’ll ever happen to you again. I know it sounds cliche’ but I know how you feel. Try to enjoy your weekend! Take care

    • Loving the Bike on November 6, 2010 at 5:41 am

      Thanks Heather, I can imagine how you felt after it happened. Lucky for me it wasn’t my road bike.


  8. Pamela on November 5, 2010 at 7:41 am

    We haven’t lost a bike this way, but only because we first lost a 350 dollar rooftop carrier — entrance to parking garage. Really easy to forget about rooftoof carriers. Be careful y’all!

    • Loving the Bike on November 5, 2010 at 9:52 am

      I have quickly seen that I’m not alone on this one. Yeah, the silver lining for me was that it happened with the commuter bike and not my road bike.


  9. Torsten on November 5, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Good customer service will be a key differentiator for Lake Travis Cyclery. We’ve moved from a product-centric economy to a customer-centric economy and social media is really pushing the power to the consumer.

    Hope your bike isn’t too badly damaged. I’ve seen people drive into parking garages like that…the result is never very pretty.


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