Bungee cords and rear-racks: A cautionary tale.

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by Tinker1980, Oct 2, 2008.

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  1. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    Hello, my name is Mark, and I've been addicted to my MB for three weeks. I have a story to tell, about safety.

    After work today, I installed my new innertube, and decided to ride my motorized bike to the local QT to fill my one gallon gas can. After spending a hard earned $3.23 for some 87 octane push-water, and mixing in the correct amount of 2 stroke oil, I strapped the full can to the rear rack on my MB, lashed a bungee cord over the can, and pedaled off into the night. (about 5 am) I rode under the I-244 overpass and my little helper was having a Happy Time starting to pull a hill, rattled over some railroad tracks and I felt something... odd... just in time to hear the gas can hit the ground and hear the motor stop. I leaned over the handlebars, to keep the weight off the skidding rear wheel since I was going an easy 18 MPH. After coming to a halt rubber side down and with no new skin abrasions, and stopped to investigate. The bungee cord had come loose when the gas can jumped up as the wheels rode across the RR crossing, came down faster than the bungee cord could take up slack, causing the cord to wrap up between the left-side sprocket and the spokes! After some time rolling the bike backwards I had the bungee cord out, and motored on home.

    What I've learned:

    Bungee Cord bad for heavy load. A gallon of gas is about 6 pounds, call it 7 with the plastic can. I needed a more secure attachment, and next time I fill up, I will have one.

    The roads in Tulsa are bad. I mean really bad. You've seen the roads in the background when they show in the news, in Iraq, where we've been bombing the **** out of them for years? The roads around my house are worse than that. By far. Well, after some front end work twice in 6 months on a truck that was otherwise OK for 20 years, I guess I didn't just learn that.

    I don't need to go 30+ MPH. I don't think the results would have been the same had this happened at a much higher speed.


  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Yep, similar things have happened to me. But I hadn't thought about it in some time. I guess I learned the hard way to be more careful with my loads.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Bungee cords are very useful. But when in proximity to your wheels, they should be handled with care.
  3. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    hey Mark

    that story could happen to many of us

    glad that you came through it in pretty fair condition there

    I think that at times we all wonder
    what would that BUNGEE CORD be like
    wrapped around my wheel ?
    or caught in our chain and sprockets ?

    yes - some food for thought here -- thanks Mark

    watch those BUNGEEs when we Ride That Thing Mountainman
  4. spyke hyzer

    spyke hyzer New Member

    I had a little brain fart when checking all my fasteners and spokes. I had undone the bungee to get the tool pack off the rack, after the adjustments a thought I'ld give it a test ride. Of course I didn't take the bungee off and it got wrapped in the spokes and it broke, not the spokes just the bungee. I was lucky it didn't do any damage, sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.
    Glad you didn't get hurt Mark. Did you ever fix the handlebar vibrations?
  5. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    Bungee cords have never done me wrong. I just always remember to use many of them for a single application. When I strap my gas can to my ezip to ride gas free to the gas station, just to get a chuckle, I use two bungees looped through the handle opposite of each other and the right length so they're very tight on there. It definitely doesn't move. In fact I'm constantly leaning my arse on the gas can because the bungees push it centered on the rack and therefore toward the seat.
    Just get one of those bungee assortments and stow several various sizes and tie each load down with at least 2 cords at all times.
    Glad you didn't spill your go-juice!
  6. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    I went out the other day so as to buy another one of those


    bought them at the same place as before -- Home Depot
    looked the same -- container -- same

    but -- when I got home and opened the bungee container up

    BUNGEE QUALITY WAS DOWN from last assortment bought

    usually a little less quality in a bungee cord would not matter too much

    but -- I am using these to tie down my MB in my wifes truck

    I wish to locate some (strong - old time) bungees somewhere ???

    so as to stick to the point of this thread here
    a poor quality bungee cord = more chance of falling loose - into something..

    ride that thing Mountainman
  7. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    Well I did it last night - had my first official MB wipeout. I was going up a hill and not up to much speed, when the wheels got caught in a groove and spilled me out into Union Ave.

    The Good - Bike was not hurt at all. Other than losing another headlight.

    The Bad - Right hand broken in 2 places, dislocated finger, Rash on shoulder. WEAR GLOVES. It could have been worse.

  8. JE

    JE Guest

    ouch. Yea I wear a dot Approved half shell Helmet, Gloves and Riding Jacket with Armor in it when i ride my Whizzer around.
  9. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    sorry to hear that Mark

    one momment we are touching base with you in thread
    next thing we know -- you have been hurt

    the wheels got caught in a grove
    yes - I too have been to this place
    it happenes VERY FAST

    we hope that you heal soon so as to

    Ride That Thing Mark ---------------------------- MM
  10. DougC

    DougC Guest

    What is safer than bungee cords is if you buy a couple of the motorcycle cargo nets and use them instead, one over the other. These have multiple hooks around the edge of a small piece of netting made of elastic cord.

    The reason bungee cords aren't ideal is that if they're strapped across the load on the rack and one hook slips off under tension (either the hook comes unhooked, or the hook slips off the end of the bungee cord) the cord snaps around and ends up in the spokes on the opposite side of the bike.

    The reason the cargo nets are safer is that if one hook comes off, the others still hold the whole thing on, it doesn't end up in the spokes.


    Even though, I am using some bungee cords right now. :-/
    I couldn't find any of the nets in local stores when I looked around. The bungee cords aren't built that well anymore (all I could find was ones with plastic end hooks). I just be careful not to stretch them very far, in use.
  11. stude13

    stude13 Active Member

    as a comercial driver i have seen bungees and every sort of material spread everywhere from texas to the north slope. the ratchet binders are cheap.
  12. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    I know i'll soon be better, i'm just glad it wasn't worse. i'm learning how to do lots of things left handed. I think my fiance is kinda happy - not happy i'm hurt, but happy that i'm not so independent, she wants to take care of me, lol. now if she can be convinced that i shoul ride the MB again once i'm healed up...

    Attached Files:

  13. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member


    that's THE BIG PICTURE Mark

    thank God you will be better soon

    and the best thing is --

    a nice fiance to take care of you while you are down...

    hey -- take it from the Old Mountainman

    ride that thing Mark ------------------------------- MM
  14. RLK

    RLK Guest

    Try Miltary surplus stores for quality black rubber cords that will strech to more than double their relaxed legnth. You really have to pull on them but that's how they are supposed to work.

    7 pounds of gas is nothing. We electric guys are dealing with 20+ pounds of battery. The black rubber with steel hooks are the only ones that have held up long-term for me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2008
  15. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest


    Went to the doctor today - the big purple cast is off, replaced by a velcro-and textile splint. My hand is barely mobile, i can move it a bit more now - not much. Still lacking that all important opposable thumb. 2 more weeks, and I start physical therapy to try to get my hand functional again.

    Gizmo has not collected dust, however - My other half has enjoyed it whenever she has the chance. She takes it on short rides, either to get groceries (my primary use for the machine before the crash) or just to ride around. I've been informed that I will be building another MB whenever I should regain use of my hand. :grin:


    Attached Files:

  16. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Good on her!

    Glad you are progressing well toward full healing. I can definitely relate to having to do tasks with your non-dominant hand - I was left-handed until I was twelve, then I had to learn to be right-handed. Truly a pain - my handwriting never did recover.
  17. scrollerguy

    scrollerguy Guest

    Coaster Brake

    I would like to share this incident with everybody. After building my stretch Columbia, I broke a few rear spokes, so I trotted over (38 miles) , to the nearest bike shop and bought a new single speed rear wheel with 12 gauge spokes. Well, don't you know that I was so excited I clean forgot about the coaster brake hold down. It's not difficult to imagine what happened when I used the rear brake. Yup! I destroyed the rear wheel, and the coaster brake.

  18. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    Sleeping bag straps (for keeping them rolled up tight) have never failed me. Get a couple at a camping or outdoor sports store.
    There is an art to using bungee cords successfully and I haven't mastered it. LOL
  19. When I used to haul gallon containers after having one leak because I didn't see the rear tire wore a groove into the can and sprung a leak I always carried anything heavy in front of me hanging from the handlebars. I've even carried a 26 inch wheel up front. That way you can always see what's going on.
    Later I got a kiddie trailer for stuff like that and now my trike.
  20. RLK

    RLK Guest

    +1 on the trailer. I found a Saftey First one on CraigsList for $10. Lucky me! All the nylon is sun-faded and torn, very weak, but the frame is solid so I got some 1" strap material and sewed up a custom floor and secured all the foldable cross braces to form a big basket. I have a great medium duty cargo trailer that cost me about $15 and an hour of labor. It brought home everything for T-day dinner home safely including glass wine and beer bottles and I didn't bungee anything down. I very carefully threw the grocery bags in and rode away! I love my crazy machine!