how to transport a bike without a rack - Thebicyclegeek

When the biking bug bites, it doesn’t let go! The fresh air in your face and your muscles pumping as your bike takes you through the best of places is part of the addiction. If you’re traveling farther from your home, your bike and vehicle need to become one to get there. Here’s how to transport your bike without a rack if you have yet to invest in one.

How to Transport a Bike Without a Rack?

If you’re a regular cyclist, attaching a bike rack to your vehicle might be first prize, depending on certain factors we will explore further down. But perhaps your finances are taking a break from life right now, or it’s still on your to-do list to purchase a bike transport rack. Depending on your vehicle and available space, you could stow it inside, outside, or on top while driving.

Put The Bike Inside The Car

Putting the bike inside the car - Thebicyclegeek

Putting the bike inside the car sounds pretty straightforward. It can be, but fitting it in could be problematic if you have a small car, and you might have to dismantle the bike to make her comfortable. You can get a bike into almost any vehicle, and working cleverly and gently will prevent both from getting injured.

Transporting your bike in an SUV or station wagon is a breeze! You can flatten the back seat of your car and slide the bike in without dismantling anything. Easy as pie! But here are a few pointers for protecting the bike while transporting it.

  • Put an old blanket or sheet underneath the bike to protect the seat fabric.
  • Place the bike inside the vehicle with the gears facing up to avoid damaging them.
  • Take care that the chain and chain rings don’t hook on the side of the vehicle.

If you need the back seats of your car for passengers or other luggage, or your car is tiny, you can remove the front wheel. Most cyclists are quite particular about what happens to their bikes, so if you don’t have a bike rack but are uncomfortable slipping it in naked, a bike bag or case might make you feel better.

Tips: Taking off the front wheel is easy, and it protects the rear mech and stops the chain from falling off.
1. To remove the front wheel, pull the quick-release lever and twist the cam on the caliper brake to open the brake blocks. This helps the wheel come off more easily.
2. Twist the handlebars and pop the bike inside the vehicle, gears facing up.
3. Lay another blanket or sheet on top of the bike before resting the wheel on it to prevent damage or scratching.

Put The Bike In The Truck

If you have a pick-up truck, it’s easy to pop the bike on the truck bed. But, as a protective bike owner, you will do everything possible to secure and protect it from getting damaged.

A simple and inexpensive option to safely transport your bike on your truck bed is to build a DIY rack out of PVC pipes. It may not look that fancy, but it does the job well.

Alternatively, you can strap the bike down with bungee cords or soft straps to keep it from moving around while traveling. It is a good idea to put something soft like blankets or sponges down on the truck bed to avoid scratching or damaging the bike or the truck.

Another option for transporting your bike on a truck is using the tailgate to support it. You can buy tailgate pads that fit over the tailgate. The fork and front wheel hang outside the tailgate, and the thick, resilient pads prevent damage to the bike and the truck’s paintwork.

Many truck-owning mountain bikers choose this option because it addresses several challenges with other carrying methods. Longer frames, bigger tires, and suspension features can cause difficulties when transporting mountain bikes on hitch racks and roof racks. A truck bed with a tailgate pad can easily accommodate up to six bikes at a time.

Put The Bike On The Car Roof

Transporting a bike on the roof of a car is doable but hardly ideal, especially if you don’t have a built-in roof rack. Still, if that’s the only way you can transport your bike from A to B, let’s look at how to do it properly so that neither the car nor the bike gets hurt.

The first prize would be to have a large piece of sponge or mattress to lay on top of the roof. Failing that, you could use a thick blanket like those used by furniture removal companies. Take the pedals off the bike before strapping it to the car.

It’s also better to wrap the bicycle in blankets rather than packing it on top of them because the blankets often work their way loose at high speeds. You can then tie the bike to the roof with rope or ratchet straps, threading it through the car doors rather than the windows.

Built-in roof racks make the job easier, but if it’s tightly strapped on the roof, you can still transport the bike without a rack. It might be wise to do a test run in the neighborhood before embarking on a road trip.

Using Spare Tire Racks To Transport A Bike

Some cars have a spare tire rack mounted on the trunk. This can double as a safe method to transport bikes and other outdoor gear. Most types allow you to load the bike on top of the spare tire. The benefit of using the spare tire rack is that you can get into your trunk unimpeded when the bike is loaded.

Using A Bike Transport Company To Ship A Bike

If transporting the bike on or inside your vehicle is not going to work, you can always hire a bike transport company. You can choose whether you want them to pick it up from your home or if you want to pass it to them at a drop-off point. You will purchase a box to ship the bike, package it, print your emailed ticket, and pay for it. The cycle lands safely on the other side.

This system can work well if you really have no space inside or outside your vehicle to store your bike or if you are flying to your destination. It can be costly, though.

Should I Buy A Bike Rack?

It’s great to go off on a ride in beautiful surroundings, but often these spots are far away from home, so we have to find the best way to carry our bikes in or in our cars. Bike racks can be the perfect solution, but it’s not always necessary.

These are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to buy a bike transport rack for your vehicle:

  • How often will I need to transport my bike to different places? If you’re an avid cyclist who regularly goes on rides far from home, you might be a candidate for a bike rack.
  • Does my vehicle type demand a bike rack for safe traveling? If you can transport your bike in an SUV or pick-up truck, buying one might not be necessary.
  • How many bikes do I need to transport? Invest in a rack if you have a small car and need to carry more than one bike over and above your other luggage.
  • How many people must travel in the car? A bike rack is a good idea if you have a larger vehicle but regularly travel with family or friends. You don’t want your peeps to fight with a bike for space inside the car.
  • Can I afford a bike rack right now? Sometimes we must make another plan until we can afford a bike rack.

5 Tips To Travel With Your Bike

When you’re off on a road trip, transporting your bike without a rack, keep these five tips in mind:

  • Tip 1: Don’t leave your car parked in the sun too long if your bike is inside. The heat can cause the tires to burst.
  • Tip 2: Drive slowly and negotiate bumps carefully to prevent the bike from getting hurt.
  • Tip 3: If you transport your bike on the roof without a rack or on your spare tire rack, do your best to secure it against theft.
  • Tip 4: Cover your bike if it is visible inside the car to prevent a “smash and grab” theft while you’re away from your vehicle.
  • Tip 5: Clean your bike before stowing it inside or on top of your car.


If you don’t own a bike rack and have a road trip planned with your best buddy (your bike), you can still get it from place to place with a bit of planning. Putting it inside your car, strapping it to the roof, or using your pick-up truck’s bed can solve your problem. Safe travels as you rack up those miles!

How to Transport a Bike WITHOUT a Rack? -5 EASY WAYS

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