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I hope this doesn't sound like too dumb of a question. But I would value your opinion on transporting bikes on cars, especially for long distances when the weather might turn foul.
First, is there any harm in carrying a Specialized carbon-frame road bike on top of the vehicle with the commonly used systems such as Yakima and Thule?
Second, I have a VW Golf hatchback with folding rear seats. Would it be OK to lay the bike on its side (derailleur side up) inside the car and carry it that way? That might be a hassle, but the bike would not get pummeled by rain and wind-blown dirt.
Your advice and any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 

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Inside, inside!

Unless you just don't have the room, carrying your bike inside the car is the way to go. I take both wheels out, hang the chain over a piece of dowel rod placed against the seat stays, and put the frame into the car. Once the frame is in the car, I pack the space underneath the frame with small, light or soft items. On top of the frame I spread out a heavy blanket and put one wheel on it. I fold the blanket over that wheel and put the second wheel on top of the fold. A second blanket goes on top of all that to protect my clothes from all the bike stuff.

You'll probably be able to get the bike into your car with just the front wheel out. But with both wheels out, you might just be able to haul it with the rear seat backs up - completely out of sight and leaving the back seat for other stuff. A tip: practice putting the bike into the car and getting it out a few times before you hit the road. There's a certain way to rotate the handlebar over the trunk lip as you slide it in. You'll figure it out. One other thing - always packing your bike with both wheels out of the frame will make you very good at removing and replacing a rear wheel - which is a good skill to have in any case.
 

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A Golf will fit a 58cm road bike with a long top tube, with room to spare. Front wheel removed. My wife was wanting a Golf so we tried out the bike fit situation on a friend's GTI. I have an older Eclipse which also holds a bike easily with the front wheel removed and the seats folded down. I use some old sheets to protect the car and to cover the bike to protect it from the sun and hide it .
 

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Redline said:
Thanks guys...excellent suggestions. And, yes, the road bike fits in the Golf fine!
I agree with everything that was said above. I usually transport my bike inside my car (Honda Accord). Last year, I went on a bike trip with friends and one of my bikes was on a roof rack. We drove through a thunder storm at 70 mph. The effect of 70mph water hitting my bike wrecked the headset and required a lot of other work on the bike (I don't think that there was one molecule of lubrication left anywhere on the bike). Now, I did not cry too much -- the wrecked headset gave me an excuse to get a Chris King headset.
 
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