Many times, when you need to take your bike along with you, you might not have a bike rack. That does not mean that you cannot take your bike with you.
There are a few ways to take your bike with you without a rack.
I will highlight all the three ways below. Once you go through them, it will be up to you to decide whether you need a bike rack or not.
How to transport a bike without a rack?
There are essentially three ways to transport a bike without a rack, including transporting it inside the car, on top of the car, or in the truck bed.
Depending on the vehicle you have, you might either be able to transport it within or on top of the car, or if you have a pickup truck, you can transport it on the bed of the pickup truck.
I will go into the details of all these three methods below.
1. Inside the car:
One of the best ways to transport the bike without a rack is to put it inside your car. You need to understand that you might not be able to use the rear seats of your car. Only then can you take your bike with you.
You need to take care of a few things while storing your bike in the car. These include:
• You have to ensure that you place the bike so that it does not scratch the car.
• You have to ensure that you have little luggage along with the bike. That is because there will not be much space after keeping the bike.
• You will need straps to keep the bike in place inside the car.
• The seats in the rear should be foldable. Only, in that case, it will be easier to store the bike in the car.
• If you plan on storing the bike inside the car when it is locked, the temperature inside the car can increase significantly. It is especially true for sunny days. In that case, it is good to take the bike out or keep the air conditioner on. In that case, the bike will not suffer extreme temperature.
Thus, if you’re willing to take these few precautions, you can undoubtedly transport the bike without a rack inside the car.
There is another way to take your bike with you without the rack. I will highlight that below.
2. Top of the car:
Another alternative which you have is to carry the bike on top of your car. You might be thinking, doesn’t this require a car roof rack?
The answer is yes and no. If you have a roof rack, you can certainly carry your bike. However, without that also you can carry the bike.
However, when you’re carrying the bike without the roof rack, it is time to make some arrangements so that the bike can remain in place. Otherwise, there is always the risk of the bike falling off.
The way to do so is as follows:
• You have to remove the front wheel of the bike. You have to also remove the pedal of the non-drive side. After that only, you can place the bike on the roof.
• The handlebars of the bike should be facing up.
• You will still need the bike holders on top, which use the suction mechanism to stick to your roof. That way, you can keep the bike in place.
With this method, you need to still understand that there might be a dent in the roof temporarily. If you opt for this method regularly, a long-term dent might develop in your roof.
There is another way in which you can carry the bike on the rooftop. I will highlight that below.
• You have to mount the bike upside down. To do so, you have to ensure that the handle of the bike is in the mounting mechanism rather than in direct contact with the roof.
• Secondly, you have to use multiple mounting mechanisms is for the front half of the bike and the rear half. In that case, it will become easier for you to mount the bike and travel a fair distance.
You have to keep in mind that this method is suitable for traveling short distances. If you are going to travel at expressway speeds, this method is not ideal for you.
These are the two ways in which you can carry your bike on the rooftop.
In case you have a pickup truck, there is a different method to carry the bike. I will highlight that below.
3. Truck bed:
If you have a pickup truck, you might find it easier to transport the bike without a rack. You can use the bed of the pickup truck to transport your bike.
However, it is necessary to buy those straps or bungee cords. In that case, the bike will not go around on the truck bed. That is why; you will not have to worry about any kind of scratches as well.
Most pickup trucks have a hook that simply attaches to the bungee cords or the soft straps. You can attach them to the handles or the wheel of the bike.
However, you will still need a suction mechanism to keep the wheels in place at the bottom.
That is the bare amount of gear that you will need to transport the bike in your pickup truck bed as well.
You need to understand that the bike’s stability is entirely dependent on the suction cup mechanism you use. If the suction cup holders are up to the mark, you can transport the bike over longer distances on the truck bed as well.
Thus, it is not always necessary to install a bulky or big rack to transport the bike. If you occasionally transport your bike and do not want to invest in a bike rack, you can try out any of the three methods I have highlighted above. However, you need to understand that these are semi-reliable. It might so happen that scratches can occur, or the bike might get dislodged. That is always a risk involved.
In case you want to buy any type of bike accessories; you can go through my post on bike parking rack, outdoor bike racks, Royce union mt bike in my post here, here, and here.