Roof racks Rule.  photo-Honda

Guest Article: Proposed New Rule #96, the Marcellus Rule

Guest Article: Proposed New Rule #96, the Marcellus Rule

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This note arrived to the Velominati Bunker back in April. It was a confession. It was a cautionary one. Everyone knows someone who has done this. I nearly did it myself*. I replied to Alex, not sympathetically enough yet his message has stayed with me. Is this worthy of a New Rule? 

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

Dear illustrious members ,

I wondered if the members had a Rule for irregular removal of bikes from roof, off vehicle? I feel the need to explain a little incident that occurred after picking up my two Specialized bikes from storage after having moved house.

Both  bikes  were sitting comfortably on the Thule roof rack and we were making good headway back to my new residence in Bourne end. I had both my boys in the car and was a little distracted with a conversation with my eldest. Mentioned in the conversation was the issue of lunch. So it made sense to pull into Waitrose to get a bite to eat. Err need I go on? We entered into Waitrose at a good speed.

There was a horrendous noise that I cannot describe and still haunts me, followed by the sound of breaking glass as both bikes and roof rack hit the ground after briefly entering the boot through the rear window.

Some of you will remember an incident, many years ago, to a chap called Marcellus. I remember thinking I would never be stupid enough to drive my car through a barrier with a bike on top of my roof. Well I have exceeded this by wrecking my bike and my girlfriend’s bike. oops

Training is on hold for the moment.

Proposed Rule #96 -Twatting your bike.

Driver and also owner of bikes on roof of car, removes bikes from roof of car by driving through a barrier. Owner of bike shall be referred to as a twat until bike has been replaced, or repaired. Exceptions are if wife or girlfriend is driving car in which case a possible conspiracy theory may have to be investigated. This confirms the need for Rule #12: the number of bikes owned should be N +1. You can at least be sure of a spare available.

Waitrose are suing me for damaging their barrier

Bastards

*Two identical Alan CX bikes on the roof of my car as I delivered a racer to the airport after he won the cyclocross nationals many years ago. Luckily the handlebars lightly hit a warning sign as I ripped into the departure drop off. Had that gone badly, I would have had to find another sport.

// Guest Article // The Rules

  1. @Mikael Liddy thank god the bike’s OK, looks like a good’n.

  2. @piwakawaka even the carbon fork seems in good shape, though he’s replacing that just for peace of mind.

  3. @Mikael Liddy thats a classic, so I’ve been told, everything looks fine until the steerer separates from the fork crown!

  4. @Ccos This is the exact reason why I decided on a roof rack. I’ve seen the damage to bikes caused by other peoples lack of judgement on rear racks. I opted for a Yashima Frontloader and used it for the first time last week. Quick and easy to load and dismount. I did have to remind the VMH to stop once before we went through low arches at the castle we stayed at.

  5. decided against a roof rack for this very reason. i heard of a guy driving down the highway, his litespeed secured to the rack on the roof. only problem is, the rack wasn’t secured to the roof. so at cruising speed, he hears a sudden whoosh, looks in the rearview mirror, & sees the rack (w/his bike on it) skidding & showering sparks behind him on the highway. it landed “jelly side up”, w/no harm to the bike. so it’s a hitch rack for me–i can see it in my rearview mirror the entire time.

    also, if i need to drive somewhere & take my bike (& don’t want to dally w/ the hitch rack), we have a honda fit, so it goes in the back seat–no parts removal necessary. now mind you, i ride a 64cm frame!  follow along here: pop off the front wheel, turn the bars 90° to the left, slide the bike in from the rear passenger’s side door, & rest the bottom bracket on the edge of the seat (L crank up, R down). 1 fork arm will rest inside the door handle, & the majority of the bike will slot behind the seats. put front wheel between bike & rear seat, viola. takes less than 30 seconds. i put an old sheet down on the rear seat to prevent fabric from picking up any grease marks.

  6. @actor1

    i put an old sheet down on the rear seat to prevent fabric from picking up any grease marks.

    You mean the greased parts from picking up any fabric, right?

  7. @Bereanracer touché

  8. I’ve never put my bike on the roof of my car. She travel inside.

  9. I used to carry the bikes on the roof but having to reverse out of a French toll gate with a height restriction bar in the middle of the night in heavy traffic should have been enough incentive to find an alternative method of transportation. Watching a car in the rear view mirror swerve to avoid two bikes that had jettisoned themselves from the roof without warning certainly was. This is how we travel now:

  10. @Ron In most states in Oz, texting while driving will get you a $300-odd fine. Last year, someone got a jail term for killing a pedestrian while texting.

  11. This was my solution to having my bikes on the rook of my truck for 3 days while moving cross country. Never ran into anything.

  12. @GeeTee

    @Ron In most states in Oz, texting while driving will get you a $300-odd fine. Last year, someone got a jail term for killing a pedestrian while texting.

    yet a 21yr old only got a $4.5k fine & lost her licence for 9 months after admitting she hit a cyclist while on the phone & didn’t give a shit…

    http://www.standard.net.au/story/2219242/i-just-dont-care-texting-p-plate-driver-hits-cyclist/?cs=73

    http://www.standard.net.au/story/2225030/support-flows-for-texting-crash-victim/

    and yes, she happily went out & got busted for drink driving in between the accident & the court case because she knew she was going to lose her licence anyway…

  13. @Gianni

    @the-farmer

    When I first read this story I thought it was going to be about cellar based love with a man in a gimp mask! But disappointingly no.

    you revelations are rapidly putting me off buying a roof rack or even a rear rack or even putting the bike near the car ever again. It might limit my range but maybe safer just to cycle from home all the time, as I am the most forgetful person EVER when it comes to driving, Christ I’m only saved from fender benders because the land rover is so slow, Ohhhhhh look at that pretty field of wheat/barley/potatoes etc! You can guess the rest.

    I too am one viewing away from a fender bender, Ohhhhhh look at that pretty lass in the bikini/sarong/smaller bikini/that’s too small for a bikini, what is that? They are everywhere, worn beautifully. And a hazard to navigation in beach parking lots.

    Yeah but G, ogling crops is just how we roll in the countryside, besides Scotland’s too cold for anything less than 3 layers!

  14. @Chris

    I used to carry the bikes on the roof but having to reverse out of a French toll gate with a height restriction bar in the middle of the night in heavy traffic should have been enough incentive to find an alternative method of transportation. Watching a car in the rear view mirror swerve to avoid two bikes that had jettisoned themselves from the roof without warning certainly was. This is how we travel now:

    I’ve been thinking about this one; have I found a convenient Rule #25 loophole? After all the family’s bikes are transported on a dedicated conveyance that is worth less than any one of the bikes (apart from the green one which has subsequently been replaced by a rather nice 24 inch wheeled road/CX bike for the youngest velonipper).

  15. @Mikael Liddy

    yet a 21yr old only got a $4.5k fine & lost her licence for 9 months after admitting she hit a cyclist while on the phone & didn’t give a shit…
    http://www.standard.net.au/story/2219242/i-just-dont-care-texting-p-plate-driver-hits-cyclist/?cs=73 http://www.standard.net.au/story/2225030/support-flows-for-texting-crash-victim/

    and yes, she happily went out & got busted for drink driving in between the accident & the court case because she knew she was going to lose her licence anyway…

    Wow. What a twat. Nine months isn’t enough. :-(

  16. I’ve only ever used a trunk-mount removable rack when carrying >2 bikes. I can fit two road bikes quite nicely in the back of my car with the back seats folded down. When I put a rack on, my mileage turns to crap, so I prefer to put ‘em inside.

  17. Damn I missed this article!  Holidays on the Isle of Lewis unfortunately yield very poor internet connection and zero mobile phone signal.  I know someone who has done this and the tears and self loathing she endured still haunt me to this day.  I drive with 2 roof fork mounted bikes and this occurs to me on a regular basis but not so often that I can be confident it will never happen to me.   Love the rule….can we not find something more imaginative that twat though….it seems somehow to underplay the moment of realisation.  I am struggling for an alternative but there must be some great words/descriptions out out there…or should the person just not be referred to as Marcellus?

  18. Roof rack attached to car by suction cups! Hmmmm?????

    Good enough for LeMan to sell those suckers!

  19. @sthilzy Yeah those sucker things are popular out here for people wanting to put bikes on their Porsches – they seem to work and I haven’t heard any horror stories of them coming off.

  20. Merckx is happy to be on top.

  21. @sthilzy Good idea to mount on the hood.

  22. @ChrisO

    @sthilzy Yeah those sucker things are popular out here for people wanting to put bikes on their Porsches – they seem to work and I haven’t heard any horror stories of them coming off.

    Friends of mine have them. When they fail (which, invariably, every suction cup has to at some point), you’ll know about it in advance since it just won’t hold to begin with before mounting the bike. With three cups per main mounting point and two for the rear wheel strap, it has some fallback security.

    Ridiculously easy to mount and even easier to remove, and for a suction cup to last nearly three years in middle-eastern weather is quite impressive.

  23. @ChrisO

    @sthilzy Yeah those sucker things are popular out here for people wanting to put bikes on their Porsches – they seem to work and I haven’t heard any horror stories of them coming off.

    Yet they also sell this rule-violating abomination

  24. @tessar No, no, no, no, no.

    Dear god that just looks horrible; and will probably wind up causing all kinds of seatpost/saddle issues. That thing is actually worse than this thing (which make the poor bike look like they’re on their way to an abattoir)

  25. I have something to add to this – If you’re going to get a roof rack, get a cheap roof rack.

    I drove my bike into a height-restriction sign going into a car park in Cornwall. The impact on the front wheel neatly removed the bike from the £20 halfords own brand rack, firing it over the boot to land on the tarmac behind. As it landed on the back wheel a lot of the force was absorbed and the bike was actually still rideable, although I did end up replacing both wheels.

    If I’d done the same with a Thule carrier I would have probably completely destroyed the bike and ripped a chunk of my roof off.

    I’m going to make a sign to put on the dashboard in future.

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