Biked are great for exercise and fun, but if you live in a neighborhood which is not great for biking, you will have to transport your bike at some point. This is particularly true if you are an avid mountain biker, but you live in the city.
The thrill of riding through mountain trails is incomparable to riding in the neighborhood. Obviously, you can easily transport your bike if you get a bike rack. Besides protecting your bicycle during transportation, they will ensure your car is safe and that it reaches its destination safely.
However, what option do you have if you do not have the funds to purchase a bike rack? There are ways you can transport your bike without a bike rack but while doing this remember you are seriously gambling with your equipment.
Usefulness of a Bike
There are a decent number of uses of bicycles even if the main obvious use is transportation. You can use your bike for more than one purpose, since most bikes are multi-functional. Below are some of the common uses of bikes.
- Recreation- Most bike owners use their bikes for this reason. It is easy to recognize them through the bike racks on their SUV. People using their bikes for recreation will visit trails and mountain downhill but there are very low chances they will ride their bike there.
- Transportation- in plenty of areas, you can move around easily using a bike. There are some who use bikes to commute to and from work while others use their bikes to run errands. In European and Asian communities, riding a bike to get to your destination is considered very common. Children who are too young to drive also use bicycles to move around.
- Work- in highly populated areas, bicycle delivery and couriers are considered more efficient that using vehicles because of traffic.
- Exercise- obviously, even if you use your bike for any of the methods listed here, you will still be exercising. Riding bicycles is a great way to workout especially because riding a bike has very low impact on the leg joints unlike other activities like running,
- Racing- there are a variety of bicycle races which focus on endurance, speed or anything pathfinding.
Ways of Transporting a Bike without a Rack
In the Car Trunk
The simplest way to transport your bike without using any extra equipment is stowing it in your car. If your car trunk is large enough, you are lucky enough since you will have to get away with the agony if removing all items and equipment in the trunk.
Even if your car trunk is large enough, you should remove all the appliances in it since during the ride the stowed items may shift causing cracks on your hike. If you plan to carry some friends along the ride, this will make your car even more crowded.
You should also keep in mind the hassle of taking the bike out once you get to your destination and stowing it back when it is time to leave for home. This process becomes even more tiring if you had to disassemble your bike for it to fit in the car.
If there was mud, you are also faced with the problem of leaving greasy stains everywhere in the car and tearing upholstery. Also, people never consider the temperature in the car during sunny weather. If the sun is scorching and you leave your bike in the car, its tires will pop.
If you are looking forward to transporting more than one bike, this might not be the best method for you.
On top of the car
If you do not care about the condition of your bicycle or car, you can strap the bicycle to the roof of the car without necessarily having a car roof rack. However, when doing this you will be gambling because there are high chances of your bike falling of if the straps are not well tightened.
Also, if you are transporting more than one bike through this method, you will have to mount it upside down and this can lead to scratching if the roof hence loses of paint. If you are transporting your bike for a short distance, you can consider using this method. However, if for longer distances at freeway speeds, you will be flirting with accidents.
To make transporting your bicycles easier using this method, remove the front wheel and the side pedal and place a blanket on the car roof before strapping the bike. With this, the handle bars will be facing up but you might end up with a car dent if you do this regularly.
With this method, you risk being fined for placing other road users at risk not to mention hauling an unsafe load.
In the Trunk Rack
This is a good option for you if you transport your bike occasionally and you do not need to have a permanent bicycle rack to transport your bike. You can swap a trunk rack between your cars if you realize one is not effective. With this method though, you are leaving your trunk rack and the bicycle at a risk if being stolen and damaged.
Since trunk racks are less expensive than bike racks, this might be a better option for you. The fact that the racks can be swapped between vehicles and you can load your bicycle on the trunk easily and keep am eye at it when driving makes it even better.
However, if you do not secure your bike well to the rack, it might fall causing damage and an accident. Also, transporting your bike at the trunk rack leaves your bike at a risk of being damaged in case a rear accident occurs. You cannot access the trunk of your car if you use the trunk rack to transport your bicycle.
The Hitch Rack
You can easily install this in the tow hitch at the back of your vehicle and you could use it to carry more than one bicycle. Depending with the model, you can hang the bike on the plastic cradle or load it in the wheel tray and lock it in a secure manner. All hitch rack models make it possible to carry the bike without removing the wheels.
This is a good method of transporting bikes since the racks are suitable for use frequently and they can be shared between vehicles. Loading the bicycle on the hitch rack is easy and with some models, you can access the far trunk without removing the bikes from the rack. You can be sure that your bikes will not be in contact during the ride since the platform model secures the biked well and prevents them from swaying.
With this method however, you expose your bike at a risk of being damaged if a rear accident happens and your bike might be stolen if you have not secured it well. Also, purchasing a full featured hitch rack can be expensive and some racks can be heavy, weighing over 60 pounds.
This is a surprisingly reliable and easy way of transporting your bike without a bike rack. Secure the bike with soft straps or bungee cores to the bed of your truck. As you choose the straps to use, avoid using ratchet straps since they will make it difficult for you to find the right tension to hold your bike well.
When using straps, also, ensure you secure the rear and the front of the bike since supporting the back alone may make it get bouncy. It would be recommendable if you looked for an extra long strap and secured the rear of your bike by the saddle.
What to Consider When Transporting Your Bike without a Rack
There are factors you should consider when transporting your bike without a rack. Below are some of them.
- Distance- you have to consider the distance between the place of departure and arrival. There are some methods of transportation that might not be good for long distance, especially if the road is rough. The condition of the road too, matters. Transporting your bike on top of the car in a rough road might not be the best decision to make.
- Number of bicycles- if you are carrying the bikes or your family members for sporting, you should consider using a method which will accommodate all of them.
- Car type- your car type matters because if you want to use the trunk and your car is small, you will have to remove everything from the trunk for the bike to fit. If you have MPV or SUV, you might have more options.
Transporting your bicycle without a bike rack is possible. However, it is associated with many risks and is inconvenient. You could invest in a proper bicycle rack even if it is just for the peace of mind they provide. Bicycle racks are very affordable and you wouldn’t want to expose your car and bicycle at risk at the expense of an affordable bicycle rack. At the end of the day, a bicycle rack will work well for you and will not leave your bicycle and car at any risks.