How to Transport a Bike Without a Rack

Last Updated: March 2022

Biking is one of the physical activities you can indulge in to stay fit and healthy. While on the road, it’s recommendable to consider tugging your bike along to continue your fitness regime while on the road. Besides, biking in a new location is one of the best ways of exploring new environments.

One of the accessories you need to transport your bicycle is a rack. The rack is made of sturdy material and has special parts meant to hold the bicycle in position as you drive. Without it, you will have to look at other alternatives.

Here are expert tips on how to transport your bike without a rack.

Carry It Inside Your Car

When going for long-distance drives, it’s safer to have your bike inside the car instead of having it on the roof of the car. However, you have to prepare for the process due to the limited space inside the car. Safety is one of the key factors that you must keep in mind. Here are the specific steps you should take to carry it well in your car.

Step 1: Give it a Good Clean

You don’t want the bike to tamper with the condition of your car. Therefore, take time off your busy schedule to give it a good clean. Wash out all the mud and dirt and give it enough time to dry completely to avoid staining your car interior upholstery.

Purchase wipes and brushes are specially designed for cleaning bikes. Pay more attention to the frames, handlebars and tires as mud often gets stuck here.

Step 2: Detach the One Bike Wheel

This is not a must, but most of the car’s trunk doesn’t have enough space to house the normal bikes. Please remove one of the wheels for it to fit in the trunk. Doing so will also allow you to store your bags and other travel accessories, such as a camera tripod if you intend to vlog the travel experience. 

If you decide to remove the back wheel, ensure that the cog side is facing down to prevent the spokes from tampering with the bike gears.

Step 3: Consider Folding the Rear Seat

This step is closely related to the previous one as it helps to create more room in the car. Folding the rear seat down will ensure that the bike perfectly fits the car. Be careful when disassembling the bike to avoid damaging any of the parts.

Step 4: The Chain Should Be on the Smallest Ring

Earlier, we mentioned the importance of keeping everything tidy to prevent staining the car interior surfaces. It’s advisable to keep the bike chain on the smallest ring again to prevent its grease and oil from dripping into the seats and car mat. 

You can also go the extra mile to place a clean cloth under the pedal to prevent any dust remnants from coming off and making your car untidy. The dust particles can also be brown into the air as your drive, thereby compromising the quality of inside your car.

Step 5: Lay it Down at the Back

Disassembling will make your car smaller and enable you to carry the parts more efficiently. The last step is to lay the bike down at the back of the car. The drive side and bike gears should be facing upwards. Placing the bike in this position will ensure even distribution of its weight. 

Otherwise, if you lay it down incorrectly, the bike’s weight will be exerted on the gears, resulting in mechanical issues. The pedal should be placed on a 12 o’clock position to achieve and retain stability as you drive. Check out this article for more details on how to do it right. 

Step 6: Fasten the Bike Using a Bungee Cord or Tie

Prevent the bike from moving from the recommended positions above by securing it with a bungee cord or a tie. This step will significantly prevent damaging your car’s interior, especially when driving offroad. 

If your budget allows, purchase bike racks for truck beds online. The article offers a detailed analysis of the different racks in the market to make an informed decision when shopping. 

Traveling With the Bike on the Roof of the Car

Not all cars have enough space in the trunk to accommodate a bike. It gets even more complicated to travel with the bike if folding down the rear seats still doesn’t avail enough space for the bike. No need to worry, though; you can still travel with it on the roof of your car. Keep reading to learn how.

Step 1: Remove the Front Wheel

For this hack to work, the first thing you need to do is remove the front wheel of the bike to transport it without the rack. The handlebars should face upwards. It’s recommendable to place a clean blanket on the car’s roof to prevent the gears or the chain from scratching or denting the car. 

Step 2: Hold it Down Using a Strong Strap or Rope

If you don’t have a rack, purchase a strong strap or rope from one local store or online. Use the strap or rope to fasten the bike on the car’s roof rails or crossbars. Experts recommend placing the bike in the middle of the roof to prevent any parts from hanging across the rear windshield and blocking your view of the road ahead.

While in this position, use the strap or rope to fasten the bike on the roof. Make sure that you purchase a strong rope that can withstand the harsh outdoor weather conditions. If you decide to use a ratchet strap, make sure that the webbing is in the right slot -in the middle of the spool. Make sure that you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to strap it correctly. 

Ensure the bike is tightly held in position, then run the straps through the doors and windows to hold it in a stable position when driving. Depending on the size of your bike, you may have to use pieces of blanket or cartoon to protect the bike and prevent the metallic parts from scratching off your car paint. 

You may also have to cover the bike with a waterproof material, but this depends on the weather conditions. The material can also be used to protect the bike from the harsh UV rays of the sun when driving during the day.

Final Thoughts

There you have it; those are the two most recommended ways of transporting a bike without a rack when going for a road trip. Take your time to disassemble the wheel by using the right equipment to avoid damaging any gears. Don’t shy away from seeking help from a professional if you are unsure how to do it well. The expert will cushion you from expensive repairs you would have caused by trying to wing the whole process yourself.

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