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How to Transport a Bike Without a Rack: 5 Tips & Tricks

Car with Hitch Bike Rack

Bike racks are very convenient for transporting bikes far distances, but not everyone can justify buying one. If you need to transport your bike somewhere but don’t have a bike rack available, don’t despair! There are several ways you can safely get your bike to your destination, but some are easier than others and depend on what you have available. Let’s check out how you can move your bike without a bike rack.

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The 5 Tips to Transporting a Bike Without a Rack

1. In the Trunk

Image By: PIX1861, Pixabay
Difficulty: Intermediate
Items needed: Bike disassembly tools, boxes, bubble wrap (optional but useful)

If you have some time on your hands before your trip, disassembling your bike and packing it in boxes can help you transport your bike and save valuable space. This is perfect if you have a small car or are packing a lot of gear in your car. First, you’ll have to completely disassemble your bike. Once the bike is in pieces, pack everything into clearly labeled boxes. Use layers of bubble wrap or old blankets to keep pieces from rubbing against each other.

2. In the Back Seat

car backseat
Image Credit: Ammacintosh Pakpintong, Shutterstock
Difficulty: Intermediate
Items needed:
Vehicle with large back seat, bike disassembly tools, bubble wrap, tape

If you have a larger vehicle like an SUV, you can fully or partially disassemble your bike and simply transport it in your back seat. How much you disassemble it mainly depends on how much room you have available. Before putting the bike in the back seat, lay down some bubble wrap, then wrap bubble wrap around the bike and tape it in place. If you have a big enough back seat, you can regularly use this method and never need a bike rack.

3. In a Truck Bed

Men Taking the Bicycles off the Pickup Offroad Truck
Image Credit: maxpro, Shutterstock
Difficulty: Easy
Items needed:
Truck with large bed, rope/straps/bungee cords, old blankets (optional)

For those of you with a truck, transporting your bike is a breeze. Simply put the bike in the bed of your truck and secure it to your truck with some rope, straps, or bungee cords. Ratchet straps are probably overkill, but they would work as well if you want to make sure your bike won’t move around. If you’re especially concerned about your bike, you can lay down some old blankets before putting the bike in place.

4. Use a Trailer

car with trailer
Image Credit: Gabor Tinz, Shutterstock
Difficulty: Intermediate
Items needed: Trailer, ratchet straps

This method is obviously more complicated than others because you have to have a trailer and a vehicle to tow it, but it’s probably the easiest and most secure way to transport a bike. Hook up your trailer to your vehicle and put the bike on the trailer. Attach it to your trailer with ratchet straps – rope and bungee straps also work but aren’t as secure.

5. On the Roof

Bikes on a red car roof
Image Credit: Evgeny Bakharev, Shutterstock
Difficulty: Intermediate to expert
Items needed: Rope/bungee cords, crossbars (optional but recommended)

This method is way easier if you have crossbars or rails on top of your vehicle, but it’s doable even if you don’t. For cars with crossbars, have someone hold the bike in place while you loop rope or bungee cords through it. Next, thread the rope or cords around the roof of your car and secure it tightly. Using more cords or rope is always recommended to ensure the bike is securely fastened to the roof.

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Bike racks are handy but not always on hand when we may need them. Luckily, there are several ways you can transport your bike, though they depend on the type of car and equipment you have handy. Moving a bike in your trunk is the most straightforward method, but using a truck or SUV can be very effective too. Regardless, there’s a method on this list for everyone.

Featured Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock


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