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Strapping kids bikes directly to crossrails?

Old 07-21-21, 11:40 AM
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Skankingbiker
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Strapping kids bikes directly to crossrails?

For various reasons, I am considering strapping my kids bikes directly to the roof cross rails of my subaru, laying them sideways (I already have a Saris 2 bike hitch rack that will have the adult bikes and the roof mounts are either uber expensive, don't work with kids bikes, or chinsy). Has anyone had success doing this? My son has a 24 inch MTB and my daughter a basic 20 inch kids single speed.

Other details. Will be travelling on interstate at highway speeds for 300 miles. I also own a roof cargo carrier that I might to use--they would be hanging off the back, but I would have more mounting points.

Please, do not tell me to buy a new hitch rack or spend $600 of 2 thule roof mounts for what is going to be a once a year trip
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Old 07-21-21, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Skankingbiker View Post
For various reasons, I am considering strapping my kids bikes directly to the roof cross rails of my subaru, laying them sideways (I already have a Saris 2 bike hitch rack that will have the adult bikes and the roof mounts are either uber expensive, don't work with kids bikes, or chinsy). Has anyone had success doing this? My son has a 24 inch MTB and my daughter a basic 20 inch kids single speed.

Other details. Will be travelling on interstate at highway speeds for 300 miles. I also own a roof cargo carrier that I might to use--they would be hanging off the back, but I would have more mounting points.

Please, do not tell me to buy a new hitch rack or spend $600 of 2 thule roof mounts for what is going to be a once a year trip
At one point I flipped a kids bike upside down and tied the handlebars to the crossbar (Outback). Can't remember how for I travelled, but it was perfectly secure. They're kids bikes - just cinch them down to whatever will hold them - they're not going to be blown off. Frankly, I'd be more concerned by what the bike might damage - roof paintwork, other contents of the cargo carrier, the carrier itself etc. Cinch them down tight and ensure that they don't move about - they'll be fine
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Old 07-21-21, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Skankingbiker View Post
For various reasons, I am considering strapping my kids bikes directly to the roof cross rails of my subaru, laying them sideways (I already have a Saris 2 bike hitch rack that will have the adult bikes and the roof mounts are either uber expensive, don't work with kids bikes, or chinsy). Has anyone had success doing this? My son has a 24 inch MTB and my daughter a basic 20 inch kids single speed.

Other details. Will be travelling on interstate at highway speeds for 300 miles. I also own a roof cargo carrier that I might to use--they would be hanging off the back, but I would have more mounting points.

Please, do not tell me to buy a new hitch rack or spend $600 of 2 thule roof mounts for what is going to be a once a year trip
I've done this. Depending on the height of the rails, you might want to take the pedals off so they don't scrape the roof.
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Old 07-21-21, 12:44 PM
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It's how we used to travel with bikes back when the family had a station wagon (remember those?).

We tied two bikes up to either side of a kayak for one 1,800 mile vacation; you might be able to do that around your rooftop carrier.

Get a few pieces of scrap carpet if you're going to lay the bikes down on the car, and lay them pile side down on the roof before you put the bikes on top. That'll help save the car's paint. And knots are your friend! Tie one end of your rope to the rail, loop it around a bike frame, tie the rope to the opposite side rail, repeat until you run out of rope. Or bikes.
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Old 07-21-21, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
It's how we used to travel with bikes back when the family had a station wagon (remember those?).

We tied two bikes up to either side of a kayak for one 1,800 mile vacation; you might be able to do that around your rooftop carrier.

Get a few pieces of scrap carpet if you're going to lay the bikes down on the car, and lay them pile side down on the roof before you put the bikes on top. That'll help save the car's paint. And knots are your friend! Tie one end of your rope to the rail, loop it around a bike frame, tie the rope to the opposite side rail, repeat until you run out of rope. Or bikes.
Its a new vehicle and it has the OEM crossrails, which are not terribly high, so I think I will mount the cargo tray just to give the bikes some extra clearance from the roof.
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Old 07-21-21, 01:32 PM
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For some reason, I didn't see the word "bikes" in the title, and thought "what fiendish person would strap kids directly to the crossrails?"

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Old 07-21-21, 03:23 PM
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What does a paint job cost?
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Old 07-21-21, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
For some reason, I didn't see the word "bikes" in the title, and thought "what fiendish person would strap kids directly to the crossrails?"
Ha Ha, I did the same thing.

John
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Old 07-21-21, 07:10 PM
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Please make sure you secure everything super tightly if you decide to do this. If anything moves add better straps and more straps and make sure it doesn't move at all and everything is safe. Note this is not an ideal set up and could be quite dangerous if done poorly.
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Old 07-21-21, 10:21 PM
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Used cheap harbor freight ratchet straps and flipped them upside down, strapped the handlebar to the front and the seat to the rear.
That said, my last 4 bike carriers were 20-25.00 each and required 15.00 each time to get a little extra hardware from Thule to get them to fit right. The sidearms are ok and I've been too lazy to take them off but have some big mouth traps to replace them. Problem is I prefer the sidemount clamp system to the big mouth but hate the newer, flatter style trays they came with but they'll serve if I ever need to start carrying 7-8 bikes. Both times I just searched craigslist and they were sitting their waiting to be bought. The most recent set I had to buy the whole roof rack but for 40.00 it was worth it. Just search for Thule and check every ad.
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Old 07-22-21, 07:08 AM
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You're going to scratch up the paint on the roof of your car if you just lay the bikes down. You'll need to put something underneath them (like a strip of carpet, as someone suggested) so that doesn't happen. Use good ratchet straps to secure them.
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Old 07-22-21, 07:20 AM
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Of course it'll work, use your common sense as pointed out: make sure the bike doesn't touch the paint on your car, ratcheting straps are your friends. Pad a few things as you see the need and roll on. I traveled cross country a couple times with my road bike strapped down to the add-on ski rack on my old Fairmont, you'll be fine.

Eric
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Old 07-22-21, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
For some reason, I didn't see the word "bikes" in the title, and thought "what fiendish person would strap kids directly to the crossrails?"

Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Ha Ha, I did the same thing.

John
I did too, but then it makes you wonder: if you strap the kids to the crossrails, would you then have room for the bikes to travel inside the car?
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Old 07-24-21, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Skankingbiker View Post
For various reasons, I am considering strapping my kids bikes directly to the roof cross rails of my subaru, laying them sideways (I already have a Saris 2 bike hitch rack that will have the adult bikes and the roof mounts are either uber expensive, don't work with kids bikes, or chinsy). Has anyone had success doing this? My son has a 24 inch MTB and my daughter a basic 20 inch kids single speed.Other details. Will be travelling on interstate at highway speeds for 300 miles. I also own a roof cargo carrier that I might to use--they would be hanging off the back, but I would have more mounting points.Please, do not tell me to buy a new hitch rack or spend $600 of 2 thule roof mounts for what is going to be a once a year trip
I've done that, just remove the pedals & use some padding that won't fly off to protect your roof / sunroof. tie them down well w/ thin rope, not bungee cords
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Old 07-24-21, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Skankingbiker View Post
Its a new vehicle and it has the OEM crossrails, which are not terribly high, so I think I will mount the cargo tray just to give the bikes some extra clearance from the roof.
in that case remove the front wheels, as well as the pedals. the front wheels can ride inside if necessary. use padding if nec. at contact points such as derailers & shifters
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Old 07-24-21, 07:01 PM
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It’s generally frowned upon to strap children to the cross rails unless they’re in approved car seats.
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