Whether you want to pack a change of clothes to work, carry camping gear for a hike, or haul a full load of groceries from the store, you can do it on a bike. There is a whole range of options for choosing how to carry cargo on a bicycle. From roof racks to baskets and different types of bags, you will undoubtedly find a method that suits your needs. There are also a variety of specialized freight bicycles that you can purchase to meet your needs in this regard.
Method 1 of 3: Install a cargo rack
Step 1. Choose a rear-mounted rack for a high load capacity on the bike
A rear rack is a luggage rack that is installed on the bicycle above the rear wheel. You can tie the load directly to it, place saddlebags (bags made specifically for this purpose) or put a trunk in the luggage rack to store the load.
If you are only going to install one rack, a rear rack is the most versatile option with the highest load capacity
Step 2. Add a front rack for more cargo capacity
The front grills go above the front wheel and are smaller than the rear ones. You can tie items directly to them, attach smaller saddlebags, or use them as basket holders or handlebar bags.
If you don't need a lot of cargo capacity, you can also just use a front rack instead of adding a rear rack
Step 3. Use a cargo net, straps, or bungee cords to secure items to the grill
A cargo net is an elastic net with hooks on the edges that is designed to keep items in place on a bike rack. The straps are similar, but they are just individual straps rather than a mesh. Bungee cords also work when you wrap them around objects tightly and hook the ends to the grill.
This is the cheapest way to transport cargo on a bike rack. A mesh or cargo straps will cost you about $ 5, with bungee cords being even cheaper
Step 4. Mount the saddlebags on the sides of the rack for a modern and versatile option
Saddlebags are bags specifically designed to mount on the sides of a luggage rack. They are easy to attach and detach using clips, straps or hooks so you can take them anywhere.
Saddlebags are usually sold in pairs (one for each side of the rack) and can range in price from $ 50 to $ 300, or even more
tip- Saddlebags are available in various sizes and styles. You can get stylish saddlebags that enhance the look of your bike to go to work with some daily load or waterproof and highly functional saddlebags for cycling excursions.
Method 2 of 3: Use Bags, Baskets, Leashes, or a Trailer
Step 1. Bring a backpack or messenger bag to carry small loads
A basic backpack is enough to carry light loads on the bike. A messenger bag hangs off to the side, exposing your back, which can help keep you cooler if you're biking on a hot day.
Bicycle and outdoor supply stores often sell backpacks and messenger bags that are designed to make riding more comfortable for cyclists
Step 2. Attach a basket, box or drawer to the bike to give it a classic and functional aesthetic
There are a wide variety of baskets available that attach to the front of the handlebars or to the sides of a roof rack for when you just want to pack a few things. Another option is to bolt or otherwise secure a box or drawer to a rack for the heaviest loads.
- The baskets are easy to remove when you don't need them, while a box attached to the grill will be a bit more difficult.
- Keep in mind that carrying items in an open container will mean that they are not protected from the rain. A waterproof bag or cover will solve this problem.
tip: You can use any type of box or drawer to create the aesthetics and functionality you want. For example, you can get a wooden box from a home improvement center or even repurpose a plastic milk bottle box for a practical and functional look.
Step 3. Use handlebar bags or saddlebags to carry small essentials
There is a wide variety of small bags designed to be attached in front of the bicycle handlebar, on the frame or under the saddle. These bags are good for storing things you want to take with you while riding your bike, such as repair kits and tools or personal items like your phone and wallet.
You can find all kinds of accessory bags at a bike or outdoor supply store to customize your bike and carry different loads
Step 4. Secure things to the bike frame with straps or bungee cords
Use frame straps, rubber straps, or bungee cords to secure the load to the bike frame. Make sure the straps don't twist or interfere with the bike's mechanisms, such as the brake cables.
- Frame straps are velcro straps made specifically to secure things to the bike frame. Rubber straps, such as those used to tie skis, as well as rubber or normal bungee cords, also work.
- The junction point between the seat tube and the down tube and the point between the down tube and the top tube (near the head tube) work well for attaching objects to the bike with this method.
Step 5. Get a bike trailer to transport large amounts of cargo
Trailers of all shapes and sizes are designed to attach to the rear of bicycles to carry larger loads. Get a trailer that attaches to the seat post or rear dropout.
- Trailers are a good option if you want to keep your bike light and unloaded most of the time, but want to be able to carry heavy loads from time to time.
- Bicycle trailers can often carry 100 pounds (45 kg) or more and come in waterproof models or even models designed to carry specific loads.
Method 3 of 3: Buying a Cargo Bike
Step 1. Get a long tail cargo bike for plenty of modification options
Longtail bikes have an extended rear rack that can be retrofitted with large saddlebags, drawers, boxes, or even extra seats. Choose a long tail cargo bike if you want to be able to adapt it to meet various cargo hauling needs.
- Long-tailed bikes typically come with top-capped panniers, mesh to secure cargo on top, and optional handles or backs.
- A long-tail cargo bike will cost you between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000.
- Keep in mind that these bikes are larger and therefore more difficult to maneuver than regular bikes or some other types of cargo bikes.
Step 2. Buy a utility bike for a sturdy, easy-to-ride cargo bike
A utility bike is a conventional bike but built with a heavier frame so it can support more weight. They are easier to ride and maneuver than large cargo bikes, but are still capable of carrying large loads.
Utility bikes also often have metal racks or baskets built into the frames for immediate cargo hauling
Step 3. Choose a delivery bike to carry a cargo box in front of the handlebars
Delivery bikes are roughly the same size and shape as a normal bike, but with a smaller front wheel. They have a built-in box or platform in front of the handlebar to carry the load.
They are a good option when you want a cargo bike that is not too big or heavy, but has room to carry cargo in front when needed
Step 4. Buy a box-type bike to carry large loads on the front end
These bikes have an elongated base at the front and a smaller front wheel. Between the handlebar and the front wheel is a flat or box-shaped cargo area that sits low off the ground.
- Box bikes are a good option for making deliveries around town, such as grocery deliveries. They can even be used as food carts on the bike.
- Box bikes can be quite expensive, costing between $ 2,500 and $ 6,000.
tip: This type of cargo bike is also known as box bikes or long Johns.
Step 5. Get a cargo trike or pedicab to increase stability
They are similar to box bikes, but with a third wheel at the front or rear. They offer more stability and balance to carry heavy loads on the front of the bike, but are more difficult to maneuver around corners.
You can get more sophisticated cargo tricycles that lean when cornering for more maneuverability than a normal bike
- Use an insulated bag or cooler to keep food cold if you're shopping. You can carry them in a saddlebag or in a basket.
- Any load increases your overall weight. If you want to go far or fast or plan to do a lot of climbs, keep your load as light as possible.
- Consult the employees of a bicycle shop to help you choose the right equipment and install it correctly if you are not sure how to do it on your own.
- Make sure no straps, bag corners, or other loose ends interfere with the wheel, pedals, gears, or brakes.
- Always fix the load securely. Use bungee cords or straps to secure things in place.
- Check that you can maintain balance and control of your bike with whatever load you are carrying before riding through traffic. Shifting or swaying loads can unbalance the bike, while heavy loads extending behind the seat or rear axle can cause the bike to wobble.
- If you ride your bike at night, make sure none of your lights are hidden by the load. You can get lights that are attached to the racks to make them more visible.