How to Load Your Bike in Your Car

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Introduction: How to Load Your Bike in Your Car

Travelling long distances with a bike can

be a challenge, especially if you have a smaller car. After all, if you’re driving around in an SUV with a massive body, hanging a bicycle off a bike rack from the back of your car seems like a pretty mild challenge. However, if you’re travelling long enough or far enough that the bicycle might be damaged by exposure, or if you’re carrying more bike than you have car space, you’ll have to try a bit harder to fit your favorite mode of transportation into your vehicle.

Disassembling your bike is the easiest solution to long-distance travel with a bike, especially if you have multiple bikes and limited space. But not all riders know how to disassemble a bike, and there are a few things to keep in mind when disassembling and loading a bike that you want to remember to avoid accidentally damaging your ride. Here’s a step-by-step guide to disassembling your bike and loading it into your car properly.

Step 1: Disassemble Your Bike

The first step is to disassemble your bike properly. Flip your bike over so that it’s resting on the seat and handlebars instead of the wheels, giving you easy access for removal.

First, determine what kind of wheels you have on your bike, quick-release or thru axle. If it’s quick-release, you can easily pop the wheels out by pulling a lever to open without having to unscrew the wheel axle. Just twist the nut after pulling the lever open in order to pull the wheels out.

Once the wheels are removed, make sure you remember to use a pad separator tool to keep the hydraulic disk brake pad from compressing too much and damaging their functionality. This simple device can save you from brake damage when you’re trying to ride, so don’t neglect it.

Step 2: Lay Newspaper Down

Once your bike is thoroughly disassembled, create a space in your car for the pieces to go. First make sure you have space cleared in the back. Put down your seats if you can to create more space. Then take sheets of newspaper and lay them down in the trunk, overlapping so that no carpet is exposed. You don’t want any grease from your bicycle staining the inside of your car, as that would be difficult to remove.

Step 3: Place Frame in First

With everything disassembled and the newspaper laid down, you can finally put your bike in the car. Place the frame in the vehicle riding side up - that means the chain and other riding mechanisms are facing that sky, rather than pressed onto the ground. Once the frame is carefully placed in the car, place the wheels on top of the frame and below the frame, in a sort of interlocking pattern, in order to provide cushioning and weigh the frame down, minimizing movement and bouncing during the actual car ride.

One wheel partially underneath and one on top while keep everything still and prevent your bike from damaging your car or vice versa.

You can stack bicycles on top of each other when stored this way, although some cushioning such as blankets would provide protection to the paint job and the more delicate details of your bicycle. If you're in a driving accident, and need the services of a DWI lawyer, this along could save you hundreds in insurance costs.

The downside of transporting your bike this way is that, if you have a small car or minimal trunk space, one or two bikes will very quickly take up a lot of room, minimizing how much stuff you actually get to bring along. Whenever possible, look for a bike rack so you can place your ride on top of or on the back of your car instead. This saves space inside your car while still safely transporting your bike with you.

However you transport your bike, make sure you take care to protect both your vehicles from damage during the ride.

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    2 Comments

    One issue I see is that on a lot of bikes, particularly mountain bikes, resting the bike upside down on bars and seat will damage or set out of whack the derailleur and brake controls. So watch those pricey XTR components!
    Secondly you may have also mentioned pedal removal. Makes the whole package a lot slimmer especially with multiple bikes. Its very fast if you have a cordless impact with the right size hex socket. Just remember right pedal is regular thread and left is reverse threaded.
    Lastly if you use messy grease or oil as chain lube you might want to attach the chain to the frame with a ziplock bag and a few zip ties or some tape. Save your upholstery or carpet a lot of agony. Myself I use wax based lube like white lightning so its not too messy.
    When you put it together use a torque wrench if called for. You would be surprised how loose a lot of critical parts can get. In the US harbor freight sells a 1/4" drive clicker for around $15 on sale. If you have a carbon fiber bike its a must. You can find proper values on the mfrs sites or rough values at park tools site.

    Nice tutorial. Unfortunately, I only have a compact car. So I have to take a bike apart in order to fit it in my car.