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Any ideas on how I can keep grit and all of the other nasty road stuff when transporting my bicycle 2,000 plus miles this spring to get home? It will more than likely be rain and snow on the way. They will be on a bicycle rack behind our Chevrolet Equinox. The suggestion of garbage bags over the cables sounds promising.


Update:

Thank you all for your ideas.

It looks like I will be driving into wintery conditions the closer I get to home. I wish I could afford an enclosed trailer, but I have no use for it after transporting bicycles. Bicycle covers are great, but they block the vehicles turn signals. I was looking for a low cost solution. I am going to remove all of the cables and wrap parts of the bicycle in shrink wrap.

Thanks again for all of the ideas.

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  • For rear-mount carriers there are covers available. I use one on my van. If you're actually loading the bikes onto a trailer, those can usually be covered too.
    – Chris H
    Feb 21 '18 at 6:56
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I'm assuming that you're putting the bike on a bike rack on a car or something. Note that different racks and cars can give different amounts of dirt accumulation; for example, the roof of a Chevy Suburban would probably be cleaner than on the back of a Mazda Miata.

One solution is to just let it get dirty and then clean it off when you get to your destination.

Another is to wrap the bicycle parts in something like trash bags taped tightly to the bike, leaving the parts necessary to grip onto the rack exposed.

Yet another solution is to put the bike in the car or trailer or something. I can get a 58 cm road bike in my hatchback pretty easily provided I don't need to have someone in the back seat.

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    You missed "make a road trip adventure out of it, take a couple days and ride home. " :)
    – Criggie
    Feb 21 '18 at 2:46
  • OK OP has edited question from 200 miles to 2,000 miles, so a couple days is perhaps optimistic.
    – Criggie
    Mar 11 '18 at 9:35
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Wrap the bikes in plastic stretch wrap used for protecting furniture when moving house. It wraps tightly so will not whip around and should be much easier to shape around a bike than a polyethylene tarpaulin. Secure with judicious amounts of packing tape.

You can poke holes in it for the rack arms to go through (or put the bikes on the rack then wrap them). You want to protect against crud coming up off of the road surface so a few holes at the top will not matter.

Perhaps put a couple of square feet of cardboard inside the wrap to soak up any moisture that manages to get inside.

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    I've been working with a temporary floor covering plastic that comes on a large roll. It looks like heavy gladwrap / food wrap / saran wrap, and sticks to itself nicely. Once the bike is tied onto the rack, wrapping it in plastic would work very well. Just cut it off at the other end, don't expect to save the wrapping.
    – Criggie
    Mar 11 '18 at 9:38
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When transporting a bike on a bicycle rack behind a car, there's all manner of bicycle-destroying grit, grime and chemicals that can get to your bike's components. Whether it's snow and salt or mud and oil, it can all cause damage to the workings of your bicycle. This means, then, that protecting your bike is the number one priority.

The best method to protect the bike is using a simple cover over the bike. This will stop rain, snow and any dirt from getting to the bike. This is probably the most common way! However, there are some drawbacks; Water, when it evaporates, can condensate within the cover if it's waterproof. They also don't help paintwork when in windy situations. I had a gorgeous red road bike which it's paintwork was brutally damaged by the cover after a 300 mile drive, and the bike had never looked the same again.

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  • This answer doesn't seem very useful at all. The first paragraph is just repeating the concerns that the asker raises in the question; the second talks about using "a simple cover" but you don't say what you mean by that and you say that using one wrecked your bike. That seems like a terrible recommendation, as well as being impossibly vague. Mar 17 '18 at 17:30
  • Re-read my answer. I said the best way to simply protect the working of the bike is to use a cover. To protect their paintwork or cosmetics, put it in the car. It's common sense. Why should I have to point this out? The first paragraph's purpose was to outline exactly what you need to protect the bike from. If you don't know what you're protecting the bike from, you can't protect it very well. It's great to say 'the elements', but knowing exactly what can/will damage the bike is the first half of the battle to keeping the bike in operation. Needless comment much...?
    – yollooool
    Mar 17 '18 at 19:06
  • Also, why did it take 7 days to make this point....?
    – yollooool
    Mar 17 '18 at 19:07
  • I didn't notice your answer until another one was posted, bumping the question to the top of the active questions list. The passage of time is irrelevant: nothing in your answer or my comment is time-critical. Mar 17 '18 at 19:13
  • .. Where did I say it was time critical? I'm saying, why did it take you seven days to make this point, despite when I made this comment, it would have also bumped the question to the top of the pending/active comments? As equally useless as you may think my question is, I think your comment on said question is about the same. Not sure why it's not that useful as I have given an answer. Nothing more. It's not like I advertised it as an answer and then not gave an answer in any way, shape or form.
    – yollooool
    Mar 17 '18 at 19:43
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You can try using a bike box/bike case. Those are cases specifically designed to pack your bike to be easily transported and protected from damages and dirt.

See the video below for the way you can use it.

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    How is the bike box going to be mounted on the outside of a vehicle? Mar 17 '18 at 13:33
  • @ArgentiApparatus I guess the suggestion is to put it inside the car, in one of these. That would certainly solve the problem, if it fits. Mar 17 '18 at 17:33
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    If it’s in the car why does it need to be in a case? Mar 17 '18 at 18:19
  • The best bet with one of these cases would be a ratchet strap onto a roof rack. My concern is the water. I know for a fact that these do not create a proper seal. The cases are great from things breaking the bike in transit, but protecting from liquids is not going to be this case's talent.
    – yollooool
    Mar 17 '18 at 19:09

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