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How to Transport a Bike Without a Rack? – 3 Easy Methods

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale


A bike rack is the most convenient way to transport your equipment from one place to another. If you cover long-distance travel, and want to bring a bicycle with you, using a bicycle rack is really reliable.

However, if you do not want to splash out some money or have no time looking for the ideal rack for your travel needs, how to transport a bike without a rack?

Well, there are several ways to carry your bicycle even without a rack. It includes putting it inside your car, installing it on the top of your car’s roof, and storing it in your trunk’s vehicle. For more details, continue reading this article below.


Method 1: Transporting a Bike Inside the car


The best way to transport bikes, especially when traveling long distances, is by using a car. However, you cannot just throw your equipment inside your car because of how limited the space of a car is. It is important to ensure the safety of your bike and the car, as well.

You can end up damaging both of them if you fail to take extra measures. Transporting a bicycle in your car will still require you to be careful and strategic on how you can safely install the bike in the vehicle.

There are things you need to consider when putting a bicycle inside a vehicle. It is crucial that the back of your car has a decent amount of space to be able to carry the size of a bike.

If you are confident that your car has enough room to accommodate your bike, you can proceed to the following steps:

Step 1. Clean your bike

The first thing you should always consider is the cleanliness of your equipment. It is essential that you clean your bike firsthand, so you can avoid dirt going inside the car. You do not want dirt and mud staining the interiors of your car, so it is better to ensure that the bike is clean before putting it inside.

You can use wet wipes and brushes to remove dirt and mud on the bike’s surface. Make sure that there is no manure left that can fall off when you are driving on the road. Remove unnecessary particles on the tires, frames, and handlebars, as well.

Step 2. Take the bike wheel off


If your bike is too big for the car, you can take the front wheel off. By removing one wheel off, you can have extra space to accommodate the rest of the equipment. You can use wheel bags and store them in the trunk. For the back wheel, ensure that it is left cog-side down and this will prevent the spokes from messing up with your bike gears.

Step 3. Fold the rear seat down

The second step is folding the rear seats down. It is important to semi-disassemble your bike, so it can perfectly fit inside the car. By folding the rear seat down, the equipment will not take much space.

Step 4. Keep the chain on the smallest ring

In order to prevent grease and oil from going on the surface of your car, you should keep the bike chain on the smallest ring. In this way, it can lower the chances of grease making contact on your car’s surface. You can also put a piece of clean cloth beneath the pedal to prevent dirt from coming off, and going straight to the vehicles’ interior.

Step 5. Lay the bike down in the back of the car

After you disassemble some parts of the bicycle and make it a little smaller, you can now put it inside the vehicle. For this step, it is crucial that you put the bicycle on its drive side up. Meaning, the bicycle gears must be facing to distribute the equipment’s weight evenly.

Make sure that the overall weight of the bicycle does not entirely rest on its gears. You can damage your bike, especially the gear, if you fail to consider this important step. For the pedal, you should keep it below the 12 o’clock position in order to enhance the stability of the whole equipment when the car is moving while on the road.

Step 6. Use a tie or bungee to securely fasten your bicycle

Since your bike will move a lot while the car is on the road, you must tie it down securely in the car. You can use a bungee cord for this step and this will prevent damage to both your car and the bicycle itself.

Method 2: Transporting a Bike on Top of the Car


If there is not enough room to accommodate your bike inside the car, you can choose to carry the bike on the roof without a rack. You have the option to strap the bike to the car even without using a roof rack.

Step 1. Disassemble the front wheel

You need to disassemble some components of your bike, particularly its front wheel. In this manner, you can transport a bike without a rack with its handlebars facing upward. Ensure that you place a clean blanket on the area you will install the bike. This will prevent your car from getting dents and scratches when moving.

Step 2. Get a solid and durable rope or strap

It is essential to use a durable strap when putting your bike on the car’s roof. Then, look for the crossbars or rails your vehicle roof has. With the rails, it depends on how you lay the bike on top of the roof.

When you attach a bike to a car without a rack, place the bike in the mid-section of the roof to avoid blocking your car’s rear windshield. Then, use straps in fastening the bike on the roof. Depending on the type of the strap you use, it is crucial to know how to properly use them.

For a ratchet strap, you need to place the webbing into the slot in the middle side of the spool. You have to follow the right instructions about how to strap them correctly. Then, strap them around the bike, and ensure its correct tightness.

Run the straps through your vehicle’s door instead of just the windows. In this way, you can add more safety and protection to your bike, especially when the car is moving. Make sure that you cover all the important components of your bike using the straps. It prevents the bike from moving, especially when the car is passing through a bumpy road.

Method 3: Storing Your Bike Into the Car Trunk

If you have time to assemble and disassemble a bike, you also have a choice of putting it in your car’s trunk. You have to disengage all the bike components and place them in a box.

Choose the correct size of the box that fits well in the car’s trunk. It is also one of the safest ways to carry your bike during your long trip. It will keep your bike safer with foam and cloth surrounding them inside the box.


Carrying your bike using the rack may be the most convenient and safest way to do so. But there are still great alternatives without having to shell out money for a bike rack. It is vital to ensure that you still keep your bike safe and protected at all times.

The methods on how to transport a bike without a rack we mentioned above are tried and tested ways to bring your bike on long-distance travel with your car. We hope that you find them effective and use them on your future travels.

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