Using the Saris Bones car rack
We gave the car rack a pretty thorough workout – carrying it over 2000 miles from Caterham (Surrey) to Folkstone, Calais, the Pyrenees, Provence (Mont Ventoux), Massif Central, and back.
Cycling up Mont Ventoux and around the hills of Provence
Initially, we were both quite concerned by the amount of movement we could see in the rear view mirror. The bikes were bouncing around quite a bit, and every time we stopped, we’d hoist them up to check the straps were tightly secured. Though we did put some extra tension through the straps on most occasions, pushing the rubberised feet of the legs and arms more firmly on to the car, the entire construction was clearly never at any risk of going anywhere.
The degree to which the bikes were secure was made apparent when we failed to notice a speed bump, driving over it not excessively fast – but harder than any sensible bike owner might have liked. This time the jolt meant the feet did shift, and being on a quiet country road, we stopped to readjust it. Had it been a busier road, we would have pulled over where possible to do the same. The bikes were still securely attached and I wouldn’t be concerned that the rack would lose its grip on the car for many miles after the incident, though clearly it’s not a good idea to push your luck.
Over the course of our two week break, we did learn a few tips and tricks – especially since we were fitting and re-fitting the rack on a regular basis. The most useful trick was switching the brakes on our bikes to ‘on’, to stop the wheels constantly spinning. The second was using a bungee cord to fasten two wheels (my front, his rear or vice versa) to present the bikes from rubbing against each other (my bar tape had been suffering the wrath of the spokes on his wheel).
On a geeky point of note was that the rack dented the aerodynamics of the Toyota – reducing fuel efficiency by 8mpg when cruising at French autoroute speeds (130kph/80mph). However, that probably wouldn’t affect cars like my own humble Honda Jazz.
The Saris Bones 3-Bike rack was perfect for what we needed – an easy to fit solution that would allow us to use the ‘nice car’ without having to apply any long term or custom fittings. It took around 10 minutes to get up and running at the start of each journey, and also removes the ‘driving under a low barrier’ fear of a roof rack. You just have to get used to seeing your pride and joy rocking around a little bit in the mirrors – and it’s advisable to take a cable or D-lock for service station stops.
Interested? Check it out via Paligap here.