How to carry a Bicycle in Car – 5 Easy Ways
With increasing, bicycle enthusiasts wanting to go on longer rides or weekend rides, carrying the bicycle is a bigger question that is always asked. How do I carry the bicycle easily 50Kms and take a coastal ride over the weekend? I wanted to answer this question and took to the internet to find out.
Carrying a bicycle is relatively easy in a car with few additional accessories. The most preferred way is to make use of a Bicycle Rack fit on to a car. It can be either a Roof rack or a Boot Rack. Some of the cheaper options include dismantling the bicycle and loading it up in the boot or the rear seat. The rest of the article discusses all the ways to carry your bicycle easily.
Carrying it in Car Boot/Trunk
This one is usually preferred if you are looking to carry up to 2 bicycles in your car. There is no way to directly fit the entire bicycle in the Boot, thus we will require a simple disassembly kit. The kit consists of the usual spanner and Alen key to take the front tires out and in some bicycles, even the rear tire(Usually possible in a Single Speed Bicycle) and load them easily up in a car. The picture below shows the disassembled bicycle loaded up in the boot of the car.
- Cheaper option. Do not have to worry about additional accessories on the car
- Putting the Bicycle in Boot does not take up the back seat space.
- The major disadvantage is, the boot space should be enough to fit the Bicycle. Trying to fit a larger frame bicycle into a smaller boot space is going to be extremely difficult.
- The Assembly and disassembly take time. A minimum of 30 minutes of the total time is wasted doing this. If you are going to carry your bicycle regularly, this can seem really annoying.
- The maximum a boot can fit is up to 2 Bicycles, possible only in larger trunk/boot space cars.
Carrying it the Boot is still preferred for riders who are looking to ride the bicycle now and then. This brings up the question of how frequent do you want to carry the bicycle. If you are a regular, then invest in a Quality Bicycle Rack.
Using a Rack
If you are ready to invest in a quality Bicycle Rack for your car, then there are few considerations before buying one. There are 3 different racks, prized almost equal but with different mount positions.
- Boot Rack
- Roof Rack
- Tow Rack
Boot Rack is the most used Rack by all Bicycle Enthusiasts. There are a lot of racks in the market that can fit up to 2 bicycles easily. The Boot Rack as the name suggests mounts to the back of the car. The quality and placement are very important as a heavier bicycle can cause a possible dent to the boot of the car.
The Boot Rack as shown below is good enough to fit on the boot with an attachment running inside the boot. The strap fits snugly and does take up to 2 bicycles on the holder.
- Less hassle. Lift the bicycle up and lock it with the strap on and the job is over.
- Cheaper than a Roof Rack or Tow rack. If your use is to fit 1 or 2 bicycles, this one is the obvious choice.
- Poor placement of the Boot Rack can create minor to major dents on the car.
- There is less control over how the boot of the car can be used. Since most of the Boot Racks take considerable time to fit the back of the car. This makes it difficult to open or close it frequently.
Boot Racks are really easy to load once mounted on the car.
Not used often, the Rook Rack is mounted to the top of the car. This makes it easy to load up to 4 Bicycles with a lot of room to load the front and rear tire easily. Some of the Rook racks do not have the front tire support, this means you might have to remove the front tire out and load. Read out the specification of the Rook Rack clearly before opting for buying them.
- It can load up to 4 bicycles. If you ride in groups frequently, then this one will be really helpful.
- Setup is easy on the top. It does not take up so much time and effort. It also can be easily dismounted, unlike the Boot Rack.
- You will have to lift the bicycle high enough and make sure that the loading is properly done
- It will be really difficult to navigate low passes(Subways, tunnels, etc) which can damage the cycle mounted on the top.
Not frequently used, but the Tow Racks are essentially a simple Boot Racks but fit additionally as a tow. They essentially have small wheels that are in contact with the road and can carry up to 6 bicycles easily. There are ramps to load the bicycle on to this Tow Rack and help in transporting the cycles easily. They are heavily priced compared to all the accessories in this article. Unless there is a definite use for this Tow Rack, look out for a Boot Rack or the Roof Rack as your viable option.
- It can carry up to 6 bicycles easily.
- Usually comes up with a ramp to load the bicycles
- Acts like an additional vehicle stuck to the back of the car
- Expensive of the entire accessories listed here
Using a Bicycle Carry Kit
If you are really in a space crunch and also do not have the budget to spend a Rack for your bicycle, the next choice is using a simple Bicycle Carry Kit.
These are essentially big bags or boxes that can accommodate a dismantled bicycle. The emphasis is on the word ‘dismantled’ because you will have to spend enough time to disassemble the entire bicycle and then pack it up in the Carry Kit. The video below shows how the Carry Kit looks like and can be a good choice if you are looking to spend some time assembling and disassembling the entire bicycle.
Found this useful video on youtube that demonstrates the size and the time taken to pack a Carry Bag/Bicycle Carry Kit by disassembling the entire bicycle. The average time if you are really good at it should be upwards of 20 minutes.
Carrying in your Back Seat
This one seems really easy to do, but not so much! Most often carrying a bicycle in the back seat of the car requires removing the front tire and at times even the pedal and handlebar out. This is usually a time taking task, but not so much as compared to the above idea. If you are looking to save up on your money or not a frequent long traveler (I prefer this method most often since I do not carry my cycle for long distances anyway).
Disassembling usually takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes. It can be made super easy by making use of the available tools like Alen Key, Spanner and the tire removal kit. Removing the Front tire is enough for most of the time. Throw all these into your back seat but be careful of the handlebar as it can crack the rear windshield easily! (Do not save up on the Rack and break your Windshield).
The below video is useful to see how you can load the car through the back and on to the rear seat. You can even load it up directly on to the back seat. Be aware of the trunk space as sometimes you will have to make a lot of changes to fit the entire bicycle in.
The bicycle usually has to have the front tire removed in order to fit in properly. The video will help to understand how that is possible.
Check Local Laws
Sometimes the local laws do not allow additional carry on to the car like a rack unless they are properly sanctioned by the state department. These are not so in most of the countries or states, but still very much possible that they exist and you do not know about them.
Research a bit about the local laws before buying or loading up a Bicycle Rack in your car. If the laws do not permit additional racks on the car or carrying Bicycle on top of the car, then the only option you have is to either go for a Bicycle Carry Kit or buy a bigger van/car to load up all your bicycles for your next journey!
I am really curious to know what you guys do with all the above options. If there are any that is not listed here, drop them in the comment section below!