the real reason they keep you happy?
For the most part, people think that the fabric straps used to secure your tie-downs to your bike are called "happy" because they are soft and cushy and they don't a)scratch the chrome, b) crush or rip off the nearby cables and wires or c) keep the tie-down industry suppliers happy because you must spent another $x.xx's on a product that everybody has but you are clueless as to why...
After 40+ years of hauling bikes in everything from trucks to bumper hangers (1976 Bultaco Sherpa-T on my similar vintage Mercedes diesel sedan...) My buddy Michael Manns showed me how these straps are to be used to keep you and your bike happy.
At the GS Giant Stampede rally in the Big Horn Mts. of Wyo this summer, Mike's bike met with a rock and limped back to camp in 1st gear. Being 150 miles from the next destination in Billings, MT, and knowing that I was hauling my BMW G650GS on the deck of the toy-hauler... Mike Gave me a hug and asked, "Kurtz, old buddy, old friend, (assumed, regardless of actuality) Can I borrow your bike tomorrow?" I inquired about the details of how he suddenly loved my dirt demon... he explained his delima.
So my, now highly esteemed, bike moves to Michael's domain and he rides his bike up onto the deck. His first question was, as he stared up the ramps, "You think it will hold me?" I, of course, answered "Sure!" (turn on the cameras...) Mike pops the clutch and launches his bike up the 36" lift in 7.32 ' and onto the deck.
We then proceed to add the tie-downs and Mike comes around the trailer to show me how it is correctly done! I had found a sturdy frame piece on the bike and hooked an s-hook over it. Then I anchored the other end of the ratches strap to an anchor point on the frame of the trailer.
"STAND BACK," Mike utters... He then proceeds to re-route the "happy straps" to loop over and around the s-hooks. The strap around the bike was not his concern... The S-hook was the secret.
Given heavy bikes, rough roads, bouncing trailers and suspensions that give... Mike showed me how an s-hook could fall free from it's purchase (anchor point, mount...) and leave the cargo unattached from the trailer. Here's how he routed the straps:
Long version: These straps have a loop at each end of the strap (photo to be added.) After wrapping the strap around the handlebars/frame piece, anchor point, put both loops through the "eye" of the s-hook. Then pull the loops far enough through that they can be hooked over the s-hook itself.
Now the tension on the strap(s) can be completely released by bounces or jolts and the connection will not come apart. As soon as whatever josteling of the cargo has finished, the straps and hooks are secure and the load is restrained...
Keep your straps happy, and that, my dear, keeps you, your bike and the American public happy.
Also: If the straps are pulled over or around a square corner, be certain to cushion trhe corner with a rag or cardboard to prefent fraying of the strap. (Yes, the yellow straps in the images are cheapo... sorry)