One of the easiest ways to transport your bike from place to place is installing a rack to your trunk, hitch, or roof. It’s great for anyone traveling long distances but plans to go for some bike rides.
But, if you have no time to purchase one or can’t afford it, there are other ways to transport a bike without a rack skillfully.
You won’t end up damaging your bike or the car by following the alternatives in our guide. We have compiled four methods for transporting a bike without a rack.
Transport the Bike on Top of the Car
One of the easiest ways to transport your bike if you don’t have a rack is to strap it to the roof. You don’t need a roof rack for this either, and it’s pretty straightforward to get it done.
Disassemble The Bike
First, disassemble a few components of your bike, especially the front wheel. This will make it possible to place the bike with its handlebars facing up without damaging the roof or the wheel. Place a clean blanket on the top where you would put the bike to prevent dents and scratches while you drive.
Get a Strap or Rope
Get a highly durable strap or rope that can hold the bike in place, and identify if you have crossbars or rails on the roof of your car. Place the bike at the center of the roof, so it doesn’t block the windshield. Then, fasten the bike to the roof using the strap or rope.
Secure the Bike
The straps should run through your vehicle’s door asides from only the windows for extra protection. Cover all the essential components of the bike using the straps, which would stop them from moving when driving on a bumpy road.
Transport the Bike Inside the Car
If you’re planning on driving for a long time, it would be safer and gentler on your bike to transport it inside the car, especially since you don’t have a rack. You need to ensure enough room to take your bike, so check the size and the space available.
Make Sure Your Bike Is Clean
Start by cleaning your bike thoroughly. The bike should be spotless, so there won’t be any dirt or mud on your car’s interior. If the bike is new, then this might not be a problem. But if not, it’s best to keep it very clean.
You can wipe the bike’s surface with wet wipes and brushes to remove the mud and dirt. Also, check the handlebars, tires, and frames, or you might have to clean your car when you get to your destination.
Remove the Wheel and Free Up the Trunk
Your bike might be too large to fit in the car, but you need to remove the wheel if this is the case. Removing a wheel is pretty straightforward and can be easily put back afterward. You can store the wheels in wheel bags and keep them in the trunk.
It’s essential to place the left cog side of the back wheel down so it doesn’t affect the bike’s gears. Then, you need to free up the space in the trunk after semi-disassembling the bike. This also involves putting the rear seat down to maximize the space.
Adjust the Bike Chain
One more thing you need to do before putting your bike in the car is put the chain on the smallest ring. This would stop oil and grease from going into the surface of your vehicle and causing a mess. You can also place a clean cloth on your car’s interior to prevent spills.
Put It in the Vehicle
Now that your bike and car are ready, you can place the bike into the vehicle, facing up the driving side. When the bicycle gears face forward, the bike’s weight is distributed evenly and won’t wobble too much.
Positioning and Strapping In
Position your bike in a 12-o’clock position, and you should avoid putting the total weight of the bike on the gears so they don’t get damaged. Also, consider the type of road you will be driving on when positioning your bike.
Once the bike is in place, you can fasten it securely with a tie or a bungee. A bungee cord would prevent any damage to your car or bike and stop it from wobbling when driving through the road. You can put the bike back together and enjoy your ride when you get to your destination.
Use the Car Trunk
If you don’t have space in your car and can’t put the rear seats down, you’ll have to use the trunk alone. This is also safe, although it takes more time than the previous two methods and isn’t ideal for those who don’t have the right tools.
Disassemble Your Bike
The first thing to do is divide your bike into all the pieces that can fit into your trunk. This step would take a long time, especially since you have to reassemble it at your destination. If you’re not familiar with the bike parts, you can label each one or put the bolts and nuts in separate containers to easily identify them later.
Get a Box
Then, get a box and put all the disassembled bike parts. You should surround the inside of the bike and the parts with foam and cloth to prevent damage while driving on a bulky road. The box should be spacious enough to carry all you need and fit perfectly in the trunk.
In Your Pickup Truck Bed
If you have a pickup truck, you can easily put the bike in the bed without needing a rack. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t secure the truck, as it can become scratched while moving around during transport.
You need to get bungee cords or soft straps to secure it. These are cheap and also highly reliable. Don’t purchase ratchet-type straps if you can avoid them, as it’s more difficult to properly hold the bike down and protect it with these than with the bungee cords.
When securing your bike in the truck bed, don’t only focus on the front of the bike because the rear can also move on the roughest roads. So, make sure you purchase a very long strap that can hold the back of the bike down from the saddle.
Tips for Transporting Bike Safely
To prevent your bike and the car from getting damaged, you should keep some tips in mind if you don’t have a bike rack. Here are some helpful pointers that would help.
• Take a test run when you first strap the bike to ensure it is secure. This is especially if the bike is on your roof or in the pickup bed. You can drive around your neighborhood for a short time.
• If you’re moving with more than one bike, both bikes should be in direct contact to stop them from shifting to each other while you ride.
• Cover the area where you put the bike with a tarp or cloth to prevent damage and dirt.
• Don’t over-tighten the straps when trying to secure your bike because this can damage the bike and the car. Instead, ensure it is just secure but not too tight.
• When moving with your bike, don’t speed or rapidly change lanes, especially since you don’t have a bike rack. Instead, you should drive gently and be mindful of the bike.
• Check the government regulations of your area to ensure that it is not illegal to carry a bike on the roof if this is the method you choose. Some laws don’t allow you to carry cargo without a proper rack.
• If your bike is on the roof, you can use netting to cover it and keep it in place.
Can you fit a bike in the back of a car?
Yes, you can. You can fit your bike in the back of the car, especially if you have your rear seats folded down. If the bike is too large, it usually becomes easier to disassemble some parts, mainly by removing the front wheel.
How do you transport a bike in a small car?
You can transport a bike in a small car by disassembling it and then putting the parts in a box and the wheels in the trunk. If you don’t know how to remove the parts of your bike, you can put the rear seats down and push the bike in, but you might still have to remove the wheel.
When is it ideal for transporting your bike without a rack?
If you don’t have a rack because you can’t afford it or can’t purchase one in a short time, you can then look for ways to transport it without a rack. These methods would make it easy to move with your bike if you don’t have a rack.
Is strapping a bike without a rack safe?
As long as you keep your bike secure, carrying your bike without a rack is safe. Ensure that your car and bike are protected and that you are using high-quality ropes or cords to secure the bike.
Can a mountain bike fit in a car?
Yes, your mountain bike can fit in a car. Mountain bikes are more high-end, so getting a mount for the trunk, hitch, or roof is better to transport them. If not, you can pull down the rear seats and arrange the bike in them.
Although carrying your bike with a rack is the most convenient way to transport, you can go for alternative ways of carrying your bike. You can move your bike in the car, trunk, on the roof, or in the bed of your pickup truck.