Alert WARNING: Using a bike cover while on a bike rack while driving can KILL someone

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Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
4,548
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Hello, my name is Darwin Neal. Today I asked myself a question I often wondered if I'd ever ask myself: "Where did my bike go?"

Today I left Vegas northbound for an absolutely spectacular drive. On I-15N taking in the amazing views of snowcovered mountains and driving through old stomping grounds I used to fly A-10's when I was stationed at Nellis AFB. Knowing I was heading for snow country I put the bike cover on my rack which I've used many times. I've often wondered if it was acceptable as it sure had to resist a lot of wind force but I have a hefty bike rack (Kuat NV 2.0) after selling my much more flimsy Yakima rack. My yakima rack had one of the plastic holder at the top shear so I was done with that early on, very very impressed with the Kuat and even after this story that sentiment remains because I am a dumbass.

Very fortunate my Ventana has a rear looking camera to help monitor the toad and traffic coming up from behind. I had just done a crosscheck paying careful note to the bike as on my way to southern TX I had another bike incident where the rear wheel detached from the frame (clamp came loose) and the bike was leaning aft 30-45 degrees. Moments later after verifying all was good with my bike I asked that bone chilling question "where did my bike go". I noticed people were avoiding me like the plague but no one signaled me of an issue, I'm sure it had just happened.

I immediately pulled over to find the bike barely hanging on connected by the plastic strap that secures the rear wheel. The front bar (u-hook) sheared off at the connection. Had this bike separated it could have killed someone. IT COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEONE! My life would have changed forever having to deal with that as well as whomever I caused harm to in the process.

I secured the bike to the inner mount and drove on. Shook up and was stunned for quite a bit of time from this situation. I am sharing my story as I've done with every other one so YOU CAN LEARN FROM THIS TOO as I know others use bike covers on their bikes too and you CANNOT!

Before I went off attacking Kuat I did a search of their web site. It is there, as included below, that NO, you cannot use a bike cover for this very reason. Maybe someone with a brain would have checked this prior to using a cover???

The bike sustained minor damage as I believe I caught this soon. I will need to replace the handlebar and one brake. Sadly I need this bike for an upcoming campground as I won't be near places I frequent but I think I can ride it. Fortunately plenty of bike places in AZ so I'll try to get it repaired or see if I can get the parts myself.

One other note: As my bike is not of great value (around $800 + accessories) and as I often remove it from the rack at the campground I rarely secure it with the built in lock cable. This lock cable can save a life. It would have prevented the bike from separating from the toad as the only thing holding this in place was a plastic ratchet strap down. I will now ALWAYS use the bike lock cable integrated into the bike rack.

Before I leave you with this here is a secondary question that I don't know the answer to. Which insurance IF ANY would cover this situation if property or life were affected by the bike? The toad is being towed so I don't know that the toad insurance would cover this situation. As this is not part of the RV I'm not sure the RV insurance would cover this? This is an interesting situation that would be even more legal fees trying to figure out who is responsible to cover the damage.

Please learn from this terrible day that ended up with no one hurt by the grace of God. I'm still razzled just thinking about this.

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I can replace the one broken arm of the rack for $158. Don't really need it but I will likely order the part when back in stock.
 
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
824
I use the Yakima Longhaul. Very sturdy. Since I am a security freak, I use the through the frame lock on the bike rack, plus the two shells are secured with a bycycle Chan that runs through the wheel , throughh the frame and is secured to the vertical part of the bike rack. The cover is tied on with knots at various points and a triple final knot. Nothing has ever budged over thousands of miles, including many trips on the Indiana bumpeay. They are repaying it now so recent travelers may not know what I am talking about.

Glad to hear nothing serious happened.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
3,265
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
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2018
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Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
Yikes!!! Glad the bike didn't come completely loose. And, you are right in saying there could have been serious consequences if it had. One question you didn't answer is how baday was the bike damaged? Scary situation and we are thankful that the situation wasn't worse. Travel safely, my friend.

TJ
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
261
RV Year
2016
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40’
TOW/TOAD
Jeep JKU
WHAT??? 3x8 groupset??? We got to get you hooked up with the SRAM Eagle 1x12 GX/NX groupset!!! I put them on Ronni’s and my Trek MtB. Much better than the stock Shimano.

You do raise a good point. We travel with our bikes covered quite a lot. We have a 1UpUSA rack though...and the Jeep probably blocks more of the relative wind. Hasn’t been an issue.

I’m not sure about the insurance question. We added an umbrella policy with USAA, might give them a ring and see what they say. You’re right...who’s court does it fall into???
 
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Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
371
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Sarasota, FL
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1997
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Newmar
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London Aire
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40'
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2008 Jeep GC Overland
Fulltimer
No
Wow! Glad it didn't disconnect totally. Were you dragging the bike down the road?
On a side note, those mountains in the background sure look beautiful (y)
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
646
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Florida
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2018
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Newmar
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CanyonStar
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39' 11"
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Demco KarKaddy 460SS and VW Passat
Fulltimer
No
Glad this turned out to be a Learning moment without any injury. Thank you for sharing this, it is a good point to know.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
11
Location
Tulsa, OK
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2018
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Newmar
RV Model
King Aire
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45
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2018 F-150 King Ranch
Thanks Neal for posting this warning! I am taking delivery of the same Kuat NV 2.0 bike rack next week. Since this is the first time for me to haul bikes behind the toad I have been wondering about a cover for the bikes too. I had not considered, or even thought about, the added stress applied to the bike rack by the wind resistance created by the cover. Thanks for biting the bullet and posting this warning as it definitely prevented me from making the same mistake! You get big kudos from me and I'm sure many others who will ultimately benefit from your honest display of a mistake. What a great use of the forum!
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
183
Location
Kansas
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2017
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Newmar
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Ventana LE
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40
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2020 Jeep Rubicon
Little off-topic. I had a bike rack that connected to the bumper on my Montana 5er and probably 20,000 miles with two bikes on it without a problem. A friend bought an Arctic Fox which better built 5er than my Montana and lost his bumper in less than 100 miles. Now I do recommend to use an RV approved rack and don't attach it to the bumper
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
1,156
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
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Ventana 4326
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43
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2020 Ford F-150
I have a Yakima Four-Timer and carry it in the truck hitch with no issues, but I’ve not tried using a cover for this reason as well as the fact that they tend to block visibility of your toads tail lights, which can otherwise usually be observed through the bike wheels.

Still, it’s a hassle and at this point I am considering buying a fiberglass cap for the truck bed and carry the bikes in there, on a homemade PVC bike rack that just holds them vertical in transit. No fuss, best weather protection possible and we’d be a wee bit shorter.
 

JRS

Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
53
Location
Full timers
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Newmar
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Dutch Star 4328 - FL Chassis
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43
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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Wow! Good thing nothing no one was hurt. Thule 2 here and it's a pretty good rack. It's usually attached to our rig. We use a grill cover on ours and also like 5 bunge cords it to keep it tight.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
23
Location
Placerville, Ca.
RV Year
2018
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Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 3436
RV Length
34'
TOW/TOAD
Jeep Wrangler
Thanks for the reminders Neal! I just got my new e-bike and a new rack (1up). I made sure it was rated for being behind a motorhome and so far have not had any issues. 1up states can't be used with bikes that have fenders but as long as they are not overly long fenders, it's fine. They have the bars that push up against the tires (the main "holders"), a velcro strap for each tire and a locking bar that goes through a tire and locks to the rack on the other side. Besides their supplied items, I also use a ratchet strap to secure the bike to the rack. I don't use my cover when transporting because it blocks my cars brake lights and also the license plate.

A side note, while in the campground I secure the bike with several cables (need to get the stronger [expensive] bike chains that can't be easily cut). I also have two movement alarms on the bike I activate. As for the cables, they easily go up around the front slide-out arms and I also found I can put a cable through the front tire rim.

Motion alarms I use:
Fosmon Anti Theft Burglar Alarm w/remote - $18.99 on Amazon - This one I have attached to the frame
Kryptonite K004776 Locks - $46.99 on Amazon - This one locks on to disc brake

 

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Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
1,156
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
Today I went and ordered a Leer 180XS fiberglass bed cap so that I could get rid of the bike rack and keep them sheltered when driving through rain. For the kids bikes I probably wouldn’t care as they end up with a new bike every few years as they grow out of them, but last year I got MapWife a lovely all aluminum Priority Coast which has held up wonderfully against the elements. Now it’s time for me to trade in the Schwinn for something fun - a Canyon Spectral 5 or maybe a Spectral CF 9, haven’t decided.

All this money spent on bikes, and the major pain our Yakima bike rack has been, a shell with a bike rack in the bed just made the most sense to me.

So I started looking into truck bed bike racks this evening (I’ll probably go with the Advantage SportRack 4) but I happened across the Thule Insta-Gator and it made
me think of @Neal. If I recall correctly @Neal you pull a Colorado. Just a thought but it seemed an elegant little solution and I would think your bike cover would be a non-issue then. Of course, I expect you might also have a tonneau cover to keep all those Amazon boxes dry, but if you went down the a Fiberglass shell road with me, well being able to stack things vertically, you’d have
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Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
4,548
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Thanks @MapNerd but yes, I have a lockable tonneau cover as the back is full of RVF SWAG!!! My bike is just a middle of the road MTB but I do try to take care of it, I really like the Trek Marlin 7. It will survive, if not then I'll get another, not that expensive.
 
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