The benefits of a mountain bike as a means of transportation and as a form of exercise are well known. However, there exist some moments of adventure where you will need to carry your bike on a car roof to get from one location to the next. The following are some helpful tips to secure your bike to your car using a roof rack:
Roof Racks – A Brief Overview
When mounting your bike on a roof, your primary options before using a roof rack are tying your bike down with a rope or a strap. A strap is the superior option as it affords easy tightening without learning serious knots, but both will do.
However, when carrying your bicycle, you must always consider the wind speed. When driving, the wind will impact your bicycle, which may loosen it from the straps or rope. You need to be confident in these ropes or risk turning around, which makes your journey slower.
As well, you need to consider the speed at which you drive. Driving at high speed, such as anything over 80km/hr (50 mph), can be dangerous, and you risk losing your bike. If using rope or straps, this will definitely slow down your trip. With this in mind, roof racks are the best option to mount bicycles safely and securely.
A roof rack is an excellent means of mounting your bike on the car without any difficulty. Rather than tied down, your bicycle will be secured confidently to the crossbar of your car. Wind resistance and speed become less of a risk. If your vehicle lacks a crossbar, you can easily install one.
A Seasucker rack is a great option, and uses secure vacuum cups to attach to your car. A Seasucker is an excellent temporary rack if you prefer not to attach a permanent crossbar.
The cost of installing a permanent roof rack is a bit higher, but there are many economical options widely available. If you plan on multiple bicycle trips, it is a great investment for the safety of your bicycle, your car, and yourself.
Before you install a roof rack, always check your vehicle’s owner manual to confirm the maximum weight your roof can carry.
Advantages of a Roof RackRoof racks offer the following benefits:
- Easier access to the trunk door for loading and unloading
- Frees up extra car space
- Safe and easy handling of the bike
- Peace of mind for the safety of your gear
- Minimizes damage to the roof and crossbar.
When you look to purchase a roof rack, always ensure that you choose the best type. Roof rack models can be fork-mounted, front-mounted, or wheel-mounted – be sure to find the one right for your vehicle.
How to Tie Down Your Bike On A Roof Rack
After selecting a suitable roof rack, here are tips on how to fix your bike to the rack:
- Mount the rack. Most racks will clamp easily around the crossbar, which is the simplest way to mount your roof rack. Always defer to the manufacturers directions, and find the best position for your own vehicle.
- Place the bike in the rack. Ensure you carefully lift your bike onto the rack without damaging or scratching the car in the process. This may be a two-person job, and is easiest with a step-ladder.
- Secure your bike. There should be no need for any additional ropes or straps once the bike is in place, but for peace of mind you can always tie it down. Again, defer to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Lock the rack and bike. An important step, always double-check the rack lock before driving away, and ensure that your bike is additionally locked to the rack. The last thing you want is somebody taking off with your bike while you’re parked.
Here is a helpful video explaining the process of installing a roof rack and tying down your bikes to it (credit to Burning Rubber):
Once your bike hooks nicely to the roof rack, you are good to go. Enjoy the adventure!