Rain cover for on-the-hitch-mounted-rack use??



N

Neil Brooks

Guest
I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D

I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.

The rack uses cradles for the top tube (rather than fork clamps and/or
tire trays). It's this guy:

http://www.nbeener.com/THULE_RACK.bmp

I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
hours of being rained on is good for a bike.

How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??

There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
behind....

TIA,

Neil
 
I agree that the heavy rain is probably not a good thing -- especially with
all sorts of road grime being kicked up onto the bikes. Since you have no
other choice but to mount them on your hitch, I would look into covering
them well.

Garbage bags may be too flimsy of a cover. Wind forces behind your vehicle
will probably be very strong at highway speeds. Think of it this way, 65+
mph winds blowing on a sail (because that's what the effect will be of
having a horizontally mounted bike covered). A garbage bag will probably
tear quickly from flapping repeatedly agains pedals, grips, etc. I would
probably invest about $10-$20 on one of those blue tarps that you can get
from your local HomeDepot/Lowes/etc. When covering, I would make sure to
have the opening at the bottom of the rig, such that any water that does
make it up into the covered area can drip out. Don't make the opening
facing back because winds tend to swirl around a large object and push up
against the back -- it would be almost like having the opening on top, but
not as severe. Opening at the bottom would be my choice. Also, those blue
tarps come with metal rings that you can use to run a cord through. Use
them in conjunction with wrapping a rope around the whole tarp.

Good luck on your trip!

X_HOBBES



"Neil Brooks" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>
> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.
>
> The rack uses cradles for the top tube (rather than fork clamps and/or
> tire trays). It's this guy:
>
> http://www.nbeener.com/THULE_RACK.bmp
>
> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
>
> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
>
> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
> behind....
>
> TIA,
>
> Neil
 
"X_HOBBES" <[email protected]> wrote:

>"Neil Brooks" <[email protected]> wrote in message
>news:[email protected]...
>> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
>> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>>
>> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.
>>
>> The rack uses cradles for the top tube (rather than fork clamps and/or
>> tire trays). It's this guy:
>>
>> http://www.nbeener.com/THULE_RACK.bmp
>>
>> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
>> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
>>
>> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
>> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
>> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
>> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
>>
>> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
>> behind....

>I agree that the heavy rain is probably not a good thing -- especially with
>all sorts of road grime being kicked up onto the bikes. Since you have no
>other choice but to mount them on your hitch, I would look into covering
>them well.
>
>Garbage bags may be too flimsy of a cover. Wind forces behind your vehicle
>will probably be very strong at highway speeds. Think of it this way, 65+
>mph winds blowing on a sail (because that's what the effect will be of
>having a horizontally mounted bike covered). A garbage bag will probably
>tear quickly from flapping repeatedly agains pedals, grips, etc. I would
>probably invest about $10-$20 on one of those blue tarps that you can get
>from your local HomeDepot/Lowes/etc. When covering, I would make sure to
>have the opening at the bottom of the rig, such that any water that does
>make it up into the covered area can drip out. Don't make the opening
>facing back because winds tend to swirl around a large object and push up
>against the back -- it would be almost like having the opening on top, but
>not as severe. Opening at the bottom would be my choice. Also, those blue
>tarps come with metal rings that you can use to run a cord through. Use
>them in conjunction with wrapping a rope around the whole tarp.


Thanks, Hobbes. I meant 'garbage bag' by way of example, but it was
far from clear. I agree: stop at HD and get a grommeted blue tarp.

But...

I'm not sure I see a reason for any opening at all. Maybe that's the
most important thing I'm trying to determine. I'm thinking minimal
condensation in an 8hr trip. Maybe better just to use the rope +
grommet combo to tie it up *nearly* water tight, leaving the slightest
opening facing forward (toward the front of the car). This would
permit breathing and prevent condensation, no?

Thanks!
 
Condensation is going to occur mostly from quick temperature changes.
Moisture tends to form on the warmer side of the material seperating two
temperature bodies (I think) (ex: cold rain outside your car + warm air
inside the car = condensation on the inside of the windshield and windows).
However, since your bikes will be at about the same temperature as the
outside weather, I think you won't really get condensation underneath the
tarp.

I would probably try to seal the tarp as much as possible. The tarp is
going to flap in the wind due to random wind swirls blowing against and away
from the tarp. As it flaps, it will cause vaccums and exhausts of air into
the covered area. So, if air can freely flow in and out, it will probably
suck in moisture and blow it back out again. I think minimizing the amount
of airflow into the covered area would probably be best.

When you return from your trip, please respond to this discussion to let us
know how it turned out. I am curious to know how you make out with that.

X_HOBBES



"Neil Brooks" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> "X_HOBBES" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >"Neil Brooks" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> >news:[email protected]...
> >> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
> >> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
> >>
> >> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.
> >>
> >> The rack uses cradles for the top tube (rather than fork clamps and/or
> >> tire trays). It's this guy:
> >>
> >> http://www.nbeener.com/THULE_RACK.bmp
> >>
> >> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
> >> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
> >>
> >> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
> >> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
> >> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
> >> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
> >>
> >> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
> >> behind....

> >I agree that the heavy rain is probably not a good thing -- especially

with
> >all sorts of road grime being kicked up onto the bikes. Since you have

no
> >other choice but to mount them on your hitch, I would look into covering
> >them well.
> >
> >Garbage bags may be too flimsy of a cover. Wind forces behind your

vehicle
> >will probably be very strong at highway speeds. Think of it this way,

65+
> >mph winds blowing on a sail (because that's what the effect will be of
> >having a horizontally mounted bike covered). A garbage bag will probably
> >tear quickly from flapping repeatedly agains pedals, grips, etc. I would
> >probably invest about $10-$20 on one of those blue tarps that you can get
> >from your local HomeDepot/Lowes/etc. When covering, I would make sure to
> >have the opening at the bottom of the rig, such that any water that does
> >make it up into the covered area can drip out. Don't make the opening
> >facing back because winds tend to swirl around a large object and push up
> >against the back -- it would be almost like having the opening on top,

but
> >not as severe. Opening at the bottom would be my choice. Also, those

blue
> >tarps come with metal rings that you can use to run a cord through. Use
> >them in conjunction with wrapping a rope around the whole tarp.

>
> Thanks, Hobbes. I meant 'garbage bag' by way of example, but it was
> far from clear. I agree: stop at HD and get a grommeted blue tarp.
>
> But...
>
> I'm not sure I see a reason for any opening at all. Maybe that's the
> most important thing I'm trying to determine. I'm thinking minimal
> condensation in an 8hr trip. Maybe better just to use the rope +
> grommet combo to tie it up *nearly* water tight, leaving the slightest
> opening facing forward (toward the front of the car). This would
> permit breathing and prevent condensation, no?
>
> Thanks!
 
Neil Brooks wrote:

> "X_HOBBES" <[email protected]> wrote:


>>> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
>>> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
>>> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it
>>> immediately upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
>>>
>>> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
>>> behind....

>> I agree that the heavy rain is probably not a good thing --
>> especially with all sorts of road grime being kicked up onto the
>> bikes. Since you have no other choice but to mount them on your
>> hitch, I would look into covering them well.
>>
>> Garbage bags may be too flimsy of a cover. Wind forces behind your
>> vehicle will probably be very strong at highway speeds. Think of it
>> this way, 65+ mph winds blowing on a sail (because that's what the
>> effect will be of having a horizontally mounted bike covered). A
>> garbage bag will probably tear quickly from flapping repeatedly
>> agains pedals, grips, etc. I would probably invest about $10-$20 on
>> one of those blue tarps that you can get from your local
>> HomeDepot/Lowes/etc. When covering, I would make sure to have the
>> opening at the bottom of the rig, such that any water that does make
>> it up into the covered area can drip out. Don't make the opening
>> facing back because winds tend to swirl around a large object and
>> push up against the back -- it would be almost like having the
>> opening on top, but not as severe. Opening at the bottom would be
>> my choice. Also, those blue tarps come with metal rings that you
>> can use to run a cord through. Use them in conjunction with
>> wrapping a rope around the whole tarp.

>
> Thanks, Hobbes. I meant 'garbage bag' by way of example, but it was
> far from clear. I agree: stop at HD and get a grommeted blue tarp.
>
> But...
>
> I'm not sure I see a reason for any opening at all. Maybe that's the
> most important thing I'm trying to determine. I'm thinking minimal
> condensation in an 8hr trip. Maybe better just to use the rope +
> grommet combo to tie it up *nearly* water tight, leaving the slightest
> opening facing forward (toward the front of the car). This would
> permit breathing and prevent condensation, no?


If the wind blows in, the rain will blow in with it. Better to leave the back
or bottom open.

May I make another suggestion? Since this is temporary -- why not a disposable
plastic painters' dropcloth, available at Home Depot for a buck or two, held
together with duct tape? They come in several weights/thicknesses. The thicker
ones are easier to work with, aside from being sturdier.

FWIW, blue tarps are made of slippery polyethylene, which doesn't hold tape
well.

Matt O.
 
"Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote:

>Neil Brooks wrote:
>
>> "X_HOBBES" <[email protected]> wrote:

>
>>>> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
>>>> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
>>>> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it
>>>> immediately upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
>>>>
>>>> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
>>>> behind....
>>> I agree that the heavy rain is probably not a good thing --
>>> especially with all sorts of road grime being kicked up onto the
>>> bikes. Since you have no other choice but to mount them on your
>>> hitch, I would look into covering them well.
>>>
>>> Garbage bags may be too flimsy of a cover. Wind forces behind your
>>> vehicle will probably be very strong at highway speeds. Think of it
>>> this way, 65+ mph winds blowing on a sail (because that's what the
>>> effect will be of having a horizontally mounted bike covered). A
>>> garbage bag will probably tear quickly from flapping repeatedly
>>> agains pedals, grips, etc. I would probably invest about $10-$20 on
>>> one of those blue tarps that you can get from your local
>>> HomeDepot/Lowes/etc. When covering, I would make sure to have the
>>> opening at the bottom of the rig, such that any water that does make
>>> it up into the covered area can drip out. Don't make the opening
>>> facing back because winds tend to swirl around a large object and
>>> push up against the back -- it would be almost like having the
>>> opening on top, but not as severe. Opening at the bottom would be
>>> my choice. Also, those blue tarps come with metal rings that you
>>> can use to run a cord through. Use them in conjunction with
>>> wrapping a rope around the whole tarp.

>>
>> Thanks, Hobbes. I meant 'garbage bag' by way of example, but it was
>> far from clear. I agree: stop at HD and get a grommeted blue tarp.
>>
>> But...
>>
>> I'm not sure I see a reason for any opening at all. Maybe that's the
>> most important thing I'm trying to determine. I'm thinking minimal
>> condensation in an 8hr trip. Maybe better just to use the rope +
>> grommet combo to tie it up *nearly* water tight, leaving the slightest
>> opening facing forward (toward the front of the car). This would
>> permit breathing and prevent condensation, no?

>
>If the wind blows in, the rain will blow in with it. Better to leave the back
>or bottom open.


So this is where it gets murky. Isn't there an eddy (vortex?) behind
my car (or behind the bike rack with the tarp around it)? If so,
isn't a rear-facing opening likely to ingest the atmosphere more than
a front-facing opening?

I'm inclined to agree with X_HOBBES: not much likelihood of
condensation if I just bag the whole thing.

>May I make another suggestion? Since this is temporary -- why not a disposable
>plastic painters' dropcloth, available at Home Depot for a buck or two, held
>together with duct tape? They come in several weights/thicknesses. The thicker
>ones are easier to work with, aside from being sturdier.
>
>FWIW, blue tarps are made of slippery polyethylene, which doesn't hold tape
>well.


That's a good idea. I'll have to balance those points against the
reusability of the blue poly guy. I think threading nylon cord
through the grommets will create a nice cinch-sack (TM) for the bikes.

Thanks, Matt.
 
In article <[email protected]>,
Neil Brooks <[email protected]> wrote:

> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>
> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.
>
> The rack uses cradles for the top tube (rather than fork clamps and/or
> tire trays). It's this guy:
>
> http://www.nbeener.com/THULE_RACK.bmp
>
> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
>
> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
>
> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
> behind....
>


Check with camping and RV places, or even campmor.com. I have seen some
tan colored and tailored tarps specifically for this purpose.

If the setup blocks your rear turnsignals and or brake lights, you'll
most likely get a ticket...

HTH
 
H M Leary <[email protected]> wrote:

>In article <[email protected]>,
> Neil Brooks <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
>> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>>
>> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.
>>
>> The rack uses cradles for the top tube (rather than fork clamps and/or
>> tire trays). It's this guy:
>>
>> http://www.nbeener.com/THULE_RACK.bmp
>>
>> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
>> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
>>
>> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
>> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
>> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
>> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
>>
>> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
>> behind....
>>

>
>Check with camping and RV places, or even campmor.com. I have seen some
>tan colored and tailored tarps specifically for this purpose.
>
>If the setup blocks your rear turnsignals and or brake lights, you'll
>most likely get a ticket...


Excellent suggestion! Here's their version, and there's a store 30
minutes away:

http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus/index.cfm?skunum=27733

or: http://snipurl.com/ejfz

My theory: if the bike wheels don't block the turn signals, then a
tightly-fit cover won't. I'll absolutely confirm this, though.
Cheaper than being wrong....

I'll have to see if this is any more exciting/versatile than the
multi-purpose $10 tarp + cord idea....

Many thanks!
 
Neil Brooks wrote:
> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D


Don't forget to consider visibility when you bag
your bikes....yours, not the bikes. Make sure you
can see out of the rear window w/o too much
problem AND make sure you don't block people
seeing your brake and turn signals.
 
On Thu, 28 Apr 2005 16:26:27 GMT, Neil Brooks <[email protected]> wrote:
> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>


If you put anything on that bike that flaps in the wind your going to
lose paint. Bad Idea, the only thing that works is heat shrink plastic.

Bob
 
Neil Brooks wrote:

> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>
> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.


If this is on a vehicle that's fairly small (not an SUV), I'd be
concerned about covering a large surface that takes the full force of
the wind.
 
Rich <[email protected]> wrote:

>Neil Brooks wrote:
>
>> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
>> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>>
>> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.

>
>If this is on a vehicle that's fairly small (not an SUV), I'd be
>concerned about covering a large surface that takes the full force of
>the wind.


The more I think about that, the less I'm enamored of the idea.

It's a "classic" Prius -- no SUV. I'm going about 75 minutes on leg
one of the trip. I think I'll use that as the trial. It was about $9
for the nylon cord and tarp. If it doesn't work, c'est la vie.

Drag chute . . . yeah, drag chute....

I'm thinking, though, if I can really cinch it snugly, via the cord
through the grommets, then lash the tarp securely (to minimize the
flapping excess), I might get away without the Dumbo effect.

Stay tuned. I'll let you all know how it comes out.

Only thing I'm convinced of: weather looks gruesome and I'm not
subjecting the bike to 8hrs of rain. I'll figure something out.

Worst thing is: it's a darned 45mpg hybrid. I just put the receiver
on it today. This will be the first time I've put bikes on the
hitch-mounted rack. I'm gonna' lose an mpg or two in the process :-(
 
H M Leary <[email protected]> wrote:

>In article <[email protected]>,
> Neil Brooks <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
>> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>>
>> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.
>>
>> The rack uses cradles for the top tube (rather than fork clamps and/or
>> tire trays). It's this guy:
>>
>> http://www.nbeener.com/THULE_RACK.bmp
>>
>> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
>> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
>>
>> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
>> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
>> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
>> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??
>>
>> There's no room for them in the car, and . . . I'm not leaving them
>> behind....
>>

>
>Check with camping and RV places, or even campmor.com. I have seen some
>tan colored and tailored tarps specifically for this purpose.
>
>If the setup blocks your rear turnsignals and or brake lights, you'll
>most likely get a ticket...
>
>HTH


Knowing it will come close, I'm taking wheel bags. To err to the
conservative, I can bag the wheels, leaving the lights wide open.

If I just left Grandma at home, I could throw the *frame* in the back
seat, too, but . . . we're *so close* to Mother's Day... ;-)
 
Neil Brooks wrote:
> Rich <[email protected]> wrote:


>>If this is on a vehicle that's fairly small (not an SUV), I'd be
>>concerned about covering a large surface that takes the full force of
>>the wind.

>
> I'm thinking, though, if I can really cinch it snugly, via the cord
> through the grommets, then lash the tarp securely (to minimize the
> flapping excess), I might get away without the Dumbo effect.


I seriously doubt the bike mounting method was designed to withstand the
kinds of forces this "drag chute" is about to generate....

I'd test it with a huffy.... you might just lose the bike if the
tires-turned drag chute are in the windstream.

BUt I'm curious how it works out. I'm going to haul our bikes 1000
miles this way this summer.

Rich
 
CLIP)concerned about covering a large surface that takes the full force of
the wind.
^^^^^^^^^^^^
The more I think about that, the less I'm enamored of the idea.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Well, how about putting GRANDMA under the tarp?
 
"Leo Lichtman" <[email protected]> wrote:

>
>CLIP)concerned about covering a large surface that takes the full force of
>the wind.
>^^^^^^^^^^^^
>The more I think about that, the less I'm enamored of the idea.
>^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>Well, how about putting GRANDMA under the tarp?


She is a very slightly built, and generally understanding, woman.

Nothing like having your powers of persuasion tested periodically :)
 
On Thu, 28 Apr 2005 09:26:27 -0700, Neil Brooks wrote
(in article <[email protected]>):

> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid hours of
> being rained on is good for a bike.


Have you read anything that leads you to believe that eight solid hours of
being rained on is *bad* for a bike? ( Especially a touring bike, which by
definition is likely to be ridden in inclement weather.)


I wouldn't worry to much about it- a gently hosing off of road grime &
lubrication of bits is all you probably need.
 
Neil Brooks wrote:
> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.

-snip-
> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??


Anything you can do to keep water out of bearings or off a
leather/leather covered saddle is a good thing.

At highway speeds, any loose, flapping plastic sheet will
self-destruct so if you do use trash bags, tape copiously.

--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:

>Neil Brooks wrote:
>> I leave tomorrow for Northern Cal. Timing couldn't have been better.
>> Not only will I drive all day in storms, but /thunderstorms/, too :-D
>> I'm using a hitch mounted 4-bike rack, with my mtb and tourer on it.

>-snip-
>> I've never read anything that leads me to believe that eight solid
>> hours of being rained on is good for a bike.
>> How do you cover a bike on a rack like this? Do you just jerry-rig
>> plastic sheeting around the whole shootin' match (think huge garbage
>> bag, twist-tied at the back -- hatch side), then remove it immediately
>> upon arrival (to reduce likelihood of condensation)??

>
>Anything you can do to keep water out of bearings or off a
>leather/leather covered saddle is a good thing.
>
>At highway speeds, any loose, flapping plastic sheet will
>self-destruct so if you do use trash bags, tape copiously.


Thanks, Andrew.

I *did* get an e-mail from my hubs and bb, collectively, earlier.
They echoed your sentiments.

The new blue tarp seems sturdy enough. I'm sure that--once cinched
with the cord-through-grommets scenario--I can build a web of the thin
cord that will immobilize the flappable parts pretty well.

Maybe a picture if I think about it....
 
"Neil Brooks" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Worst thing is: it's a darned 45mpg hybrid. I just put the receiver
> on it today. This will be the first time I've put bikes on the
> hitch-mounted rack. I'm gonna' lose an mpg or two in the process :-(


Can you somehow turn the thing around and convert it into a sail? Maybe you
can actually improve your gas mileage! *Hehehe*

X_HOBBES