Racked with concern
September 2, 2010 1:39 PM   Subscribe

I need help figuring out if a certain type of bike rack on the bus will be dangerous to use with my bike. Details inside.

I recently got a new bike and I love it a LOT. My old bike is a road type bike, and I never had any problem taking it on the bus (I had no fenders or front rack on the old bike).
There are generally two types of front racks here on the buses in Chicago. The first is the Red kind. This type works really well with my bike, as the clamp fits around the front of the wheel. The second is the yellow type where the clamp pulls out and rests on top of the wheel. This is where my problem is.

The first time I took my bike on the bus, I had a bus with the red rack, and everything was fine. The second, it was the yellow. The clamp could not be put securely onto the top of the wheel because of the front rack/fender. It seemed like the bike was wobbling back and forth a lot while the bus was in motion, and the wide handlebars kept coming into contact with the windshield wipers. I ended up getting off the bus halfway to my destination and riding. (for the record, I’ll sometimes take the bus to work if it’s very hot, or I’m running short on time as I am not a fast rider.)

My question is: has anyone else had problems like this? Is my bike unsafe on the yellow rack? Could the wobbling be because of the weight of my bike and not the (what I perceived to be) non-secure fit on the rack? Can anyone else let me know of any experience they’ve had like this? Thanks!
posted by bibliogrrl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
We have similar racks in Minneapolis and when I rack my fendered bikes, I pull the clamp as far up the wheel as I can. So there is some pressure from the clampy part, but not straight down. Is that what you tried?
posted by advicepig at 2:00 PM on September 2, 2010

Here's a video from our transit organization.


You'll note that they expressly say to bring it as high as possible rigt around the one minute mark.
posted by advicepig at 2:03 PM on September 2, 2010

I've used both types of bike rack in Chicago and I'd say that if your bike looks just like the one on the Trek website, there's no way it'll fit securely on the "yellow type" rack. It's not the weight of the bike and I definitely wouldn't try putting your bike on the yellow rack again. If you take your bike on the bus a lot, I'd recommend taking off the front rack (it should be fine with just the fender).
posted by theodolite at 2:11 PM on September 2, 2010

advice pig - that's what I did, and I was completely alarmed by how insecure it was.

theodolite - That is what I was afraid of. The rack won't come off easily, as it has a light integrated into one of the stays. I'll just have to ride it. (not often a bad thing)
posted by bibliogrrl at 2:15 PM on September 2, 2010

As a member of the Chicago Girls with Mixtes that have Fenders and Front Racks Club this concern is precisely reason I have never put my bike on the bus. Sucks to know it really can't be done. Boo.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:27 PM on September 2, 2010

Hmmm. When I've used the yellow-type rack, & my bike has wobbled alarmingly as well, and I don't even have a rack in the way. I think it may partly be your rack, but also partly that those racks just aren't as secure as the reds.
posted by Windigo at 8:55 AM on September 3, 2010

I am currently on a yellow-racked Damen bus, and maybe I'm just drunk (too drunk to feel like riding home, obviously) but I am not particularly scared for my bike, wobbling and all.

OK, maybe a little.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:06 PM on September 27, 2010

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