This is the sound of regret: a bike frame, or several, yielding to the concrete scythe of the low-clearance entry to a parking garage. When you hear it, you’ll be reminded — suddenly and without recourse — that the bicycles you’re transporting on the roof rack of your car are toast. Any poor distracted soul who’s had to cope with the aftermath — the what-a-waste remorse, the embarrassment in the presence of bystanders whose faces radiate pity, but who might as well be hissing, “You’re such a loser!” — never wants to hear that sound again.

That’s why, after sacrificing a beloved frame to the maw of an IKEA parking deck in Hicksville, NY a few years ago, I started using the admittedly low-tech preventive measure above. Now, whenever I transport bicycles on my roof rack I attach this simple, laminated, 8 1/2 x 11-inch sign to a small Velcro strip on the dashboard. Although some of my cycling friends tease me (in a loving way, of course) about my in-your-face remedy, none can argue with the results.

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