How To Transport a Bike Without a Rack

While bikes are a medium of transportation themselves, often times we need to move them from one location to the next by means of an external agent.

Using a bike rack is usually what most people tend to do, as this is the safest and not to mention, the simplest and most stress-free way to get your bike where you want it to be.

Let’s face it though, not everyone knows how to transport a bike without a rack, or want to loosen their purse strings and buy a bike rack itself.

The dilemma of not wanting to buy a bike rack but also wanting to transport it is one that is quite common. 

If you are one of those people who do not want to spend money on a bike rack, then this article is here to let you know about all the possible ways in which you can transport your bike where you want it, without even having to invest in a bike rack! 

Steps/Hacks To Follow To Transport a Bike Without a Rack

Below we will be going over a few ways in which you can transport your bike without making use of a bike rack. Read on to find out!

Using a Car:

Transporting your bike with a car is not as simple as it sounds. There isn’t always enough space to put the bike inside the car if you’re traveling with friends or family.

Side by side, there will always be the risk of getting the interior of your car ruined by the various parts of your bike.

Not to mention, you should also take into consideration the high possibility of chunks of the bike’s paint coming off cause of rough scratches on the vehicle body.

However, moving your bike to and fro from one place to another in a car is one of the safest ways to carry out this task.

Tips for transporting the bike using the boot:

Having a car with a big boot or trunk will let you disassemble your bike into smaller parts. Here’s how you can get it done in no time!

  • Disassemble the front wheel
  • For those with minimal trunk space, disassemble the front AND back wheel, along with the saddle of the bike
  • Place the bike inside the boot before hitting the road.

Tips to transporting the bike using the back seat:

Another great way of using your car to move your bike is by placing the latter in the backseat.

  • Firstly, the bike should be cleaned. Make sure to get rid of any stain or mud or anything on the wheels or any part of the bike to prevent your car seats from getting soiled
  • Take apart the front wheel
  • Place the bike on the floor of the car instead of on the seat
  • Make sure to keep the bike in a way that makes the left pedal lean on the seat. This maintains the equilibrium of the vehicle
  • Place a cloth between the seat and the left pedal as an added precaution. You could also put a cloth between the dropouts and the seat to ensure nothing gets on the car seats
  • As the bike is inside the car, restraining it is a must, as this can make sure the bike won’t bump into anything in the car during a bend.

Tips to transporting your bike on the roof of your car:

You might also choose to hoist your bike up on the roof of your car while you travel to your destination. Follow the few steps we are about to mention to get this done-

  • Firstly, put a blanket on the roof of the car
  • Then remove the front wheel of the bike including the non-drive side pedals. This is to make sure your bike is not scratched
  • Mount the bike in the upside-down position on the roof of the car
  • Adjust the handlebars so that they face up to the sky to minimize any scratches forming on the car roof.

Note: This method can lead to you getting a fine on the road for transporting an unsafe load and also endangering the people on the streets.

Side by side, transporting your bike on top of your car may also dent the roof of the vehicle. This actually depends on how often you are placing the bike on top of the bigger vehicle and also on how large the distance is.

A bigger distance covered might mean that the roof of the car will be damaged to a greater extent.

Using a Truck Bed to Transport Your Bike:

A second way of transporting your bike is by using the bed of a truck. This may sound simple but it still requires some extra things to secure the vehicle.

Not to mention, once you are driving, it may be difficult to see if the bike has fallen off of the bed.

Aside from that, there is also a pretty high risk of the paint on your bike getting scratched off if you do not secure the auto mobile properly to the truck.

To make sure your bike does not move around in the truck and give you those paint scrapes, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Firstly, get a bungee cord
  • Tie the cord to connect the bike to the truck. This will give the bike more stability and protect it from bumps on the road. You could even use a soft strap to carry out this step
  • We recommend not using the ratchet kind of straps as they will not properly be able to get the optimal tension needed to keep the bike in place and stop it from moving around
  • Use another strap to secure the rear end to the saddle of the bike to ensure that it won’t just slide off.

Transporting your bike with a Multi-Sports Trailer:

Using a multi-sports trailer is a good idea to transport a bike if you are planning on other extracurricular activities and will be carrying additional equipment along with you, such as surfboards, golf bags, badminton bats, etc.

The trailer will make sure that you can carry everything you need including your bike. The best part is that you can carry not only one but several bikes, because there is a lot of space inside. 

Another positive thing about the trailer is that it is pretty easy to load a bike into it, so you do not have to work very hard to get it done.

However, this option cannot always be available for everyone as trailers are quite pricey and they can prove to be inconvenient when it comes to garage space.

Also, a hitch receiver and lock should be used on the trailer as it is quite difficult to always be aware of your articles in the back. If you have decided to use a trailer, do remember to religiously check up on your bike from time to time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a bike rack to transport my bike?

It depends on your budget. If you think your bike will get scratched or damaged, which we must add has a high possibility of happening, you should invest in a bike rack.

Can a bike be damaged if you transport it without a rack?

There is a chance that it might indeed get damaged. However, if precautions are taken, the chances of these issues arising can be reduced considerably.

This also depends on the distance you are transporting your bike. A very long distance covered could be more damaging without a bike rack and if not done right, can easily go wrong.  

Do we damage the bike when we hang it from the wheels?

Bikes usually put more pressure on the wheels as the whole weight of the vehicle is focused on one point. However, a lot of people still hang their bikes from the wheels as they may not have enough space to put it anywhere else. 

If you have no other choice but to do so, make sure the bike is hanging down lower at the frame so that taking it down will prove to be easier. If you are transporting many bikes at once, alternate the front and rear wheels, so that the handlebars don’t get in each other’s way. 

How can I secure a bike rack on a car?

A lot of cars have a tow hook that is welded onto the frame at the back of the car. Once you thread a cable lock through the frame and rear wheel and under the frame of the car, you can then secure the ends on the metal hook. Thread it to the front wheel if the cable is too long.


Now that you know how to transport a bike without a rack, we hope you also understand that each method comes with its own pros and cons. 

Transporting your bike without a bike rack will save you money, but it may be a bit dangerous for passersby and inconvenient for others on the car/truck with you.

These ways can all be stressful to some extent, and as mentioned before, an easier option is to simply invest in a good bike rack.

However, if you are determined to transport your bike somewhere without using a bike rack then follow all the precautions that we have recommended in this article and hope your bike along with the vehicle you choose to transport it in, will be fine.

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