I've used both the rack on the back of the car and the rack on top of the car. My favorite, by far, is the rack on top. Easy to put on and lock. No straps to tighten. I've driven thousands of miles with my bikes on top and never a mishap on the road. Down side:You could forget about the bike as you enter your garage. I would not forego the ride. As someone suggested, get a loaner from a bike shop.
Have your friend check with the local bike shop for a loaner?
I have a trunk mounted and travel all the time. I do worry about it though all of the time. Mine have the rubber tie down and I also use the extra webbing straps that are use to mount the rack itself to the car. I tie the top tube down and I also tie down the wheels so if by chance the rubber straps should break or give way .... I am hoping I will have enough time to get to the side of the road to re-secure the bike. I also constantly am looking in the rearview and side view mirrors when I am hauling the bikes.
We have a very old Thule hitch carrier that has seen better days. The straps are fraying and exposure to sun has hardened the plastic. This thing has got to go! It was not designed for mountain bikes and that is all we ride. She kept saying that the rack was fine. We had to use a combination of extra straps and bungee cords to secure the bikes.
I just took it upon myself to get a new rack. I bought Thule 916 XTR.
We have some darn nice bikes and using the old crummy rack was just asking for trouble. The ancient Thule we had had actually damaged the paint on my wife's Specialized Mika Comp. My wife was not pleased when she saw I bought a high-dollar bike rack. Then she used the new rack to carry her bike and loved it!
I don't think there is any way to carry a bike that is 100% reliable.
I feel for you friend.
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I guess we have been lucky so far and I hope our luck holds. Our bikes have been driven around for over 1000 miles with no mishaps, although occasionally a wheel loosens, but you can see it in the rear view mirror, and so far the 2 times that happened, we stopped and re-fastened it. Our bikes ride in a Yakima rack in the bed of our pick-up. We lock them with kryptonite locks and also lock the tail-gate so they can't be removed as a total load off the truck. The set-up seems to work well so far. I'm sure dedicated thieves could have a go at them, but at least they would need a pretty big block of time.
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I have always worried about that, too. I much prefer putting them in the back of the truck or van and hate driving behind someone with one just hanging bungied to the back of the ladder on a motor home.
We have a Saris, and I love it. The bikes can be locked onto the carrier, but if someone really wants them, they can take rack and all off the car.
I am always OH-so-paranoid and careful when traveling with my bike on the rack. Generally I don't drive very far with it either...50 miles is the furthest thus far. I watch those straps like a hawk. I worry also about traveling far in case I need to go into a restaurant / travel shop for the bathroom as I have no way of locking my bike / rack to the car.
Yeesh, that would be my worst nightmare to lose a bike that way! Ugh!
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My friend that I rode with on Friday went on a training ride with her husband and friend yesterday. They are training for the Houston to Austin MS150 ride which is NEXT weekend. Anyway, we were supposed to go on another long ride tomorrow...but she can't now.
When they got home, instead of 3 bikes on the back of their car, there were only TWO!!! They had somehow come off during the ride. And, believe me, she CHECKS those straps as she always has me double check them. We'd been joking about it on Friday as I said I couldn't imagine a bike ever coming off!
She said they went back over the 1.5 hour ride to find the bikes....they found PARTS of hers (and they are praying no one got hurt when the came off).
I'm not sure what the solution is, but be careful! She does have a regular sized, so short car (I think mine is a little taller) and I noticed that when we left our driveway on Friday that her bike must have hit the ground. Maybe that was the problem?
Sadly, she won't be riding the MS150 now. She said she'd volunteer, which I think is a great solution but I'm sure she's disappointed! Her husband's bike was OK, it was their friend's that also was lost. He is planning on buying a new one today, and his bike was fairly costly.
Just be safe out there! And, if you all have any ideas about how to keep your bike safe during transport...well, I'm listening!
Dana, Half Fanatic #1693
Completed 2013 Events: Feb 9 - Pedaling the Prairie, 45 miles Feb 16 - Lions Club Bike Ride, 46.5 miles Mar 3 - The Great Plane Ride, 25 hilly miles Aug 18 - TriGirl Sprint Duathlon Sept 2 - Dam Ride, 32 miles
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