Riding a bike is one of the healthiest and most environmentally friendly alternatives to driving a car. But you may find yourself in a situation where you have to somehow pack your bike inside a standard sedan.
It could be that you’re going on a camping trip, you’re planning to ride your bike once you reach a particular trail, or you’re moving to a new city or state.
Regardless of the reason, you may be stumped about how to fit a bicycle in a car—it looks like it would require a lot of maneuvering to make it happen.
Don’t worry; it’s not as hard as it seems. You can pack up your bike and reach your destination without worrying about damaging it. The truth is that bikes fit quite easily in most cars—even small sedans and hatchbacks—as long as you know how to do it correctly.
In this article, we share our nifty tips and tricks, including what to do before you begin and how to fit a bicycle in a car.
Read on for all the hacks you will need!
Before You Start
Here is what you need to do before trying to fit your bike in your car:
1. Clean the Bike
Before anything else, make sure your bike won’t track dirt, grit, mud, grass, or other debris into your car—you wouldn’t want to ruin your upholstery. Use a damp rag to wipe down the bike frame and tires.
2. Protect the Car Trunk
Bikes have many heavy and angular components that may ding your vehicle’s interiors when placed inside. As you drive your car, these parts will move around—turning a sharp corner may lead to unsightly bumps and dents.
Lay down an old blanket, mat, or a bunch of newspapers in your trunk and wherever else you will place bike parts. Cover your car seats, too—this will prevent dirt and grease from damaging your upholstery.
Even the simplest coverings will protect your interiors from marks, scratches, and punctures due to the gear cogs and other sharp elements that make up your bike.
3. Lower Back Seats
Lower the rear seats of your car if you can. This will help you fit your bicycle into the back seats through the trunk.
If you have a large mountain bike, this trick is especially useful to free up more space and get your bike into your car, along with other big objects you may need to bring with you.
Here are the steps to follow for how to fit a bicycle in a car:
1. Remove Wheels
If you have a large car, such as a minivan or an SUV, you may be able to fit your bike inside without taking off the wheels.
However, if you have a sedan with limited space, you will have to break down your bike into its component parts so you can fit them comfortably.
Switch to the lowest gear to reduce the tension on the chain so you can easily remove the back wheel. Use the quick-release lever to remove the front wheel.
2. Turn the Handlebars
To further streamline the shape of your bicycle for storage and transport, carefully spin the handlebars inward. This will shorten the length of your bike frame so it can easily fit in your car’s rear seat or trunk.
3. Gears Faced Upwards
Make sure that your bike’s gears don’t face down when you fit your bike into your car. These gears and cogs are often muddy or greasy and can leave permanent marks on your car’s interiors.
Carefully maneuver the bike frame so the gears face upwards and do not touch your upholstery or trunk. As previously mentioned, laying down an old blanket or newspapers will keep your car clean as you transport your bike.
4. Pay Attention to the Brakes
If you own a bike with disc brakes, attach disc brake plugs. This will prevent the levers from messing up the positioning of your brake calipers if the levers are pressed during transport.
These plugs will also prevent your brakes from getting jammed and putting your bike out of commission. If this happens, you’ll have to pry open the brake calipers or bleed the brakes if you have hydraulic disc brakes.
5. Put the ‘Dry’ Side Up
Always set down your bike frame with its ‘dry’ side up when fitting it into a car. The ‘dry’ side of a bike means the side where the derailleurs, brakes, and chain are fitted.
This positioning will prevent excess pressure that may damage the bike components responsible for propelling the bike forward.
6. Use the Bike Wheels to Cushion the Frame
Once you’ve properly loaded the bike frame into your car, put the wheels down in the remaining available space. Position them so they shield the parts of your bike’s frame that can get damaged during transportation.
Snugly storing all the parts of your bike with minimum free space will prevent unnecessary scratch marks and punctures on your car interiors and the bike itself when you drive over bumpy roads.
You can also opt to secure the bike frame with seatbelts. This will add to the safety of your bike and ensure that it reaches your destination in one piece.
Fitting a bike in a car may seem tricky at first. But with the help of our guide, a bit of careful dismantling, and proper positioning, you should be able to do it in no time at all.
And you won’t have to worry about damaging your car or your bike in the process!
We hope our easy guide on how to fit a bicycle in a car resolved all your doubts about transporting your bike in such a small space. If you enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful, check out more such guides and articles on our website.
Last Updated on July 13, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic