Transporting a bike using a rack is the most reliable way, whenever you want to hit thrilling terrain that is far away from your home. But what if you don’t have a bike rack?
You would need to come up with some creative yet technically sound ideas to find out how to transport a bike without a rack. Unfortunately, which also becomes a punishing task at that time due to the boggling mind.
I know the pain and the frustration, because of being in the same situation once. When I had to reach the terrain on time and my rack got broken.
Having no time to order a new one, the clock keeps on ticking. Imagine how stressful the situation would be. However, I came up with an idea and managed to transport the bike on the vehicle’s roof, which proved to be an effective way out for us.
3 Ways to Transport a Bike without a Bike Rack
Afterwards, I did a brainstorming session and tested several other ideas as well to help you have multiple options to choose from, whenever stuck is such a situation.
Let’s discuss all of them one by one!
1. Transport bike inside a car
You can transport a bike by fitting it in the car if you don’t have a rack by your side. Though, it is not just as simple as forcing the bike into the car.
There is a lot that comes into consideration when you go with this method. You have to be conscious about the car seats as the bike can ruin them, about the bike getting scratched by any object and a lot more than that.
However, if taken care of every possible precaution, transporting a bike inside your car can be turned out as an effective way out. Before proceeding further, you need to question yourself;
- How much space is available inside a car?
- What size is my bike?
If you figure out a decent amount of space is available to accommodate your bike, then you can opt for this method.
But how to fit it in the car without ruining or damaging either your car or a bike? Here are the steps to follow;
1. Clean the bike
If you don’t often clean your bike, or ride off-road, there are chances of your bike already wrapped in dirt and mud. Before trying to put it in, you need to spend a few minutes wiping off all the dirt and unwanted residual particles.
Make sure to clean the bike from every corner including the frame, wheels and handlebar. Otherwise, you could end up inviting all those residual particles and dirt, to ruin the interior of your car. To clean and wash off the bike, you can use wet wipes or brushes that can make your bike shine like a new one.
2. Detach the front wheel
When going out on a bike adventure, you don’t take only a bike along with you. There is also other equipment and items needed to take along. Eventually, you end up having a fairly smaller space to adjust in the bike, as those items occupy most of the space in your car.
Thereby, if you struggle to stow the bike, you can take the front wheel off and store it in the wheel bag.
3. Fold Rear Seat
To make up enough space, you can fold the rear seat down, after taking a wheel off. Once done, you could slide in all the equipment and bike easily.
4. Take care of the chain grease
When you have put the bike inside above the rear seats, there comes another precaution to be mindful about. Eliminate or reduce the contact of the chain with your car’s interior. This can be done by putting a rug or a cloth underneath the bike, or by keeping the chain on the smallest ring.
You may also be interested to read about ways to remove bike grease from clothes.
5. Slide in the bike
Now is the time to slide the bike into the car, after cleaning it up, putting a rug or a cloth on the surface, folding the rear seat and semi-disassembling the bike.
Grab the bike from the frame and the triangle near the rear wheel, and slide it in after rotating at around 90 degrees. Make sure to put the bike in a drive-side up position to let its weight distribute evenly which will avoid damage to its gear. Once done, you can put the wheel on the bike and other equipment on the side.
6. Use bungee cord
Your bike will likely move a lot during the journey, and if the roads are bumpy you won’t be able to control the bouncing bike at the rear of your car. Therefore, better to make it stick to a position by using a bungee cord.
It will help you prevent the bike from unnecessary movement and damage as well.
2. Transport bike on top of the car
If you also have a few friends going with you, stowing the bike inside the car won’t be an ideal solution to your problem. As the bike and your equipment may already have made your car crowded.
When your car denies accommodating the bike in it, you can consider transporting it by putting it on the top of the car. Here’s how to do it;
1. Protect your car’s roof
You are supposed to place the blanket or any cloth on the roof of the car, at first. It will stop the bike from producing friction by rubbing it against the vehicle, and scratching or damaging your car as a result.
2. Disassemble the wheel
Now get back to your bike and disassemble the front wheel. Put it into the trunk and secure the bike to the top of the car’s roof. Make sure to place it at the center and away from the windshield so your vision does not get blocked.
In case, you have rails attached to the top, also cross-check for their compatibility and the weight capacity to match it up with your bike’s weight. You can also find other instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you do follow them strictly.
However, if you don’t even have a rail, place the blanket and put the bike on top.
3. Secure the bike at the top
In the case of the rails at the top, you would be following the instructions from the manufacturer as the way of use varies from one rail type to another. But if you don’t have one, you can just place it on top and strap it with the rope, bungee cord, Ratchet Straps or whatever you want to.
The only thing to ensure is whether the bike is properly secured or not, whether it will move during a journey or will remain static.
The downside of transporting bike on the top of the Car
The only downside to this method is that it is more applicable for covering the shorter distance, and needs a lot of attention. If you have overlooked any point by any chance, it will be equivalent to putting another’s life at risk on a road.
Points to Consider While Transporting Bike on Top of Your Car
Transporting a bike on top can also be not allowed in your area, and can be fined to violate the law. Still, If you are convinced to use this method, take the following points into consideration;
- Do not over-tighten the strap as it can damage your car
- Do not speed up as it can loosen the strap and make the bike fall off
- Keeping checking the status of your bike after 10-15 minutes of driving
3. Using the Car Trunk to Transport Bike
If you have to cover a long distance and also do not want to ruin either the interior or the roof of the car, then this method can be a true blessing for you. However, it takes a bit more time to exercise, but worth every second you would spend on it.
Disassemble the whole bike, separate the bike components, and put them into the boxes. Later on, put those boxes into the trunk of your car. Don’t forget to wrap your bike’s components with foam or cloth when putting them in boxes.
Once reached the desired terrain, you can reassemble the bike and hit the terrain. How safe is it to go with, isn’t it?
Final Thoughts about Transporting Bike without a Rack
Transporting the bike inside or at top of the car can be done, but involves a risk of your car damage, if not done properly. I would recommend choosing these methods only if you can understand the technicalities of securing the bike correctly and can prevent the bike from producing friction and scratches as a result.
However, disassembling a bike, putting it in boxes and fitting it in the trunk can be the safest method even for a naïve, which requires a bit more time to exercise relatively. Now the decision to choose one is over to you!
Hi, I’m Alexandra Betty, co-founder of OutdoorGearsHub.com! I am a cycling enthusiast and currently living in Waltham, Massachusetts. I love just about everything about the cycling industry, which is why I created this site! Combining my passion with my work has always been extremely important to me. Feel free to reach out, leave comments, or recommend improvements to the site and its content so we can help you improve your cycling experience!
I am on a mission to enable everyone to spend more time on a bike and outdoors. So whether it’s on the road, gravel, mountain, e-biking, or just cruising around – Outdoor Gears Hub is the place to come for trusted advice.