Tip of the day: How to avoid decapitating your bike

If you have a bike…and you have a car…it’s likely the two occasionally mate.  There are many ways they can have a relationship together – be it inside the car, hanging out on the back, or one of the most popular – up on top.

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The problem with the up on top methodology is that it places the bike in the ideal position for a post-ride fail.  What kinda fail?  Well, you’ve finished up that long bike ride and you’re either exhausted…or jazzed.  As you approach the house you revel in the fact that you can finally relax a bit.  Naturally like every other time you near the garage you press the magical button and the garage door opens.  Moments later you start to drive in without a second thought.

And then you hear it…a bunch of snapping, shearing, and twisting pain.  You have now disassembled the bike in a less than ideal manufacturer recommended manner.

So, how do you prevent this?  Well, there are a number of ways that folks try.  Most center around placing something in ones garage that blocks them from entering – such as a box or traffic cone.

The problem with that is that I’m lazy.  That requires me to both remember and then actually complete the task of placing the item there pre-ride (especially early in the morning).

My method?  Much simpler.

As I leave the house and press the button to close the garage door I simply take the garage door opener off the visor and toss it into the passenger side on the floor.  This is beneficial in that I’ve now removed it from my easy access.  So I as drive back to the house hours later it’s no longer something I’d reachable mindless access to or press without realizing it.

Thus: Problem…meet…solution.  No bike decapitation.

Have a great weekend all!  And if you’re in the DC area and headed to the Bumpus in Rumpass on Saturday for the Olympic race and see me at the race, say hello!  Would love to meet ya!

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33 Comments

  1. I’ve done this, and it was expensive: $1600 repair bill for the car; the rack was ruined, and the bike has a huge dent in the top tube.
    Now I put the garage remote in the trunk with the front bike wheel. Solved.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    I’ve done this too. Snapped bike in two, ruined roof of car & damaged house….

    Reply
  3. Enjoy this weekend’s race :)

    Unfortunately DC is a bit too far from home (Madrid, Spain)

    Funny post, thanks!

    Sam

    Reply
  4. Isn’t it just that there are two groups of people with roof racks? Ones that have crunched their bikes on something, and the others that will eventually in the future?

    Reply
  5. I love your simple tips, lately! I used to worry that we’d do this all the time, but somehow we always remembered!!

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    What do you do if your car has a built in garage door button?

    Reply
  7. That’s why I have a rear mount bike rack. Plus alot less bugs are on my bike when I get to destination.

    Reply
  8. I live in the city where no one has a garage. Problem solved.

    Reply
  9. Someone I know uses an old bike glove and puts the garage opener inside it to remind himself. This is one of those mistakes that people seem to only make once. I personally only use rear mounted carriers because I’m sure I would end up making this mistake eventually.

    Reply
  10. My car has a built in garage door button. Apparently, technology is adapting so that roof racks can still snap bikes. Evolution?

    –Richard

    Reply
  11. That is the best solution that I have heard to date. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    Beware of rear mount bike racks! I used to have one but was in an accident on my way home (ironically) from my A race, hit from behind on I95. Carbon bike = death by minivan. Thank God my Zipps were in the car….

    Reply
  13. Ron

    Before leaving I just drag a garbage can into the middle of the entrance so I have to get out after opening it.

    Reply
  14. Jen

    The glove compartment in your car is a magical place.

    (1) It can hold your garage door opener when you want to make sure to not drive through. Handy when you have a passenger who might step on your garage door opener if it’s left on the floor.

    (2) It can hold a roll of masking tape so that you actually tape over the built-in garage-door opener button in your dashboard.

    Reply
  15. Chris

    Yes…I have been there. The carbon fork was ripped in half. Fortunately no vehicle damage. I did end up getting a new road bike though:)

    Reply
  16. MCWoody1

    Yakima used to sell a small spring loaded sign with a magnetic base that would attach out on the car’s hood. At speed, the wind would keep the sign down but when stopped, it would pop up a small red and white “ROOF RACK ABOVE” warning.

    It was an easy way to alert everyone else stopped at red lights that the driver liked to waste money on gadgets.

    Reply
  17. Having done that… I now have the same method – I put the garage door opener in the glove box. Expensive lesson!

    Reply
  18. Hilarious! With my hitch-mounted rack, I haven’t had to deal with this yet. Good thing to remember though as I almost certainly would do this.

    Reply
  19. I used to have a car with the built in door opener,I would lower the sunglasses holder to block the button, when I looked up to close the sunglasses thing, I would see the bike on the roof through the sunroof – problem solved. Well, actually it was solved when the lease expired on that car and I bought an element. Thing is ugly, but bikes inside, upright, clean on arrival, and I can pull in the garage no worries.

    Reply
  20. Baptiste

    Hi,

    I am sure this kind exists in the US.
    As an example:
    link to decathlon.fr

    Or you can buy it next winter during your ski trip ;-)
    It is the definitive solution!

    Baptiste

    Reply
  21. Repairment of the garage door is not an easy it really hard to do. i am working Alexandria Garage door repair

    Reply
  22. Christoph

    ….just came accross your article earlier and an hour later I see this pop up in the mtbr feed – The High-Tech-solution to the aforementioned problem:
    link to reviews.mtbr.com

    :)

    Reply
  23. Terry

    I saw people drove into shopping mall under roof car park. Bike and roof rack both got torn down >;<

    Reply
  24. David Levasseur

    I had to go one step further. I actually put the remote into a ziploc baggie with a note inside it that says, “Bike on roof.” Seems like overkill but ramming the bike into the garage is just, well, kill…

    Reply
  25. Anthony

    Works great at home; it just doesn’t remind you not to pull into a parking garage…

    I did this with my mountain bike. The handle bars got caught on the yellow rod that hangs down and says 7 feet. My thought was that my car is under 7 feet but something told me it didn’t seem right but it didn’t bother me enough to not proceed forward. I proceeded and ripped the bike and rack right off the car. I slammed on the brakes as soon as I heard this and said OH S***, the bike and rack swung back and forth on the hanging pole and broke the back window, and put some serious gouges in the roof and trunk. None the less this was on a serious incline in a tight garage and I did my best to drive away but a stick car on the only hill I’ve ever ben on in Florida wasn’t on my side. Bike made it out unscathed though!

    Reply
  26. Thomasbien

    The original idea of throwing the opener into the passenger foot well is not very helpful to me. Most of the time I come home the garage door is already open because my spouse is home.

    The better idea for me is commented above: drag an object into your spot in the garage to prevent pulling in. I’m thinking about a pivoting or telescoping arm attached the side garage wall that I can swing or pull into place when I leave with a bike on the roof. From this pole a red flag or sign would hang. It would be an obvious reminder not to pull in.

    Reply
  27. Eric Malinowski

    Don’t forget tree limbs.
    At Colonial Lake, I was so worried about hitting a fellow triathlete in the parking area that I forgot about the low hanging limbs. Going slow helped, but it still cost me a new, rather expensive, front fork.

    Reply
  28. I select my car based on one criterion: I must be able to throw my bike in the back of the car, preferably without having to remove the wheels. No roof rack needed.

    Reply
  29. K turek

    Easy solution. My girl friend has crunch her bikes before. So now she puts a folding chair in the middle of the garage to remind her about the roof rack. *THEN* she put a mirror on the back wall of the garage to SEE if she has bikes on the roof rack!

    Reply
  30. Jordi

    Tie the opener remote to the bike itself of place it in the saddle bag. ;-)

    Reply
  31. Frenchman

    Two of my girlfriends have done this to my car, but in public garages. The last one thought parking across the street from Redmond’s REI (you know where that is) was going to be faster than parking in their back open air parking like I had told her to. Grrrrr. And every time it’s my car insurance that takes the hit. Solution: no girlfriends or only biker ones?

    Reply
  32. Frenchman

    I am going to try the “obnoxious sign hanging off the rear view mirror” strategy. But I already I’ll forget to put it up.

    Reply
  33. MaximoBongo

    I have a different approach:

    I keep my garage filled with so many bicycles that the car can never enter…

    Reply

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