Tips for Transporting a Bicycle
Bicycles are awkward for packers and movers, and if you’re going to be moving interstate or across the country (or even further) it’s a good idea to pack them with care. Otherwise they can spread dirt, fall over and damage other items, or just be difficult to handle.
Cleaning is key. Even a sparkling new bike can spread black, stubborn stains from the tire rubber. Before packing up a bicycle and putting it in a mover’s truck, brush off any dry mud (preferably outside- if you live in an apartment, cleaning your bike over an old sheet will keep the dirt from spreading). If the bike will be moved with furniture or anything else that may be stained by contact with the tires, wrap it in a dust sheet or plastic wrap.
On most bikes, the wheels can be removed quite easily. This always makes transport in a truck easier- just remember where you packed the wrench that will be needed when the time comes to put the bike back together again!
If your bicycle is moving to storage rather than straight to a new home, it can be left as a complete unit but spraying moving parts like the chains and gearing mechanisms with an aerosol oil product before putting a bike away can be very helpful. It’ll prevent rust from building up and will make sure the bike still works when you need it again.
Be aware that most bike tires will gradually lose pressure over a month or two. That’s quite normal and nothing to worry about. If the tires are flat when you wheel a bike out of storage, that probably doesn’t mean they need replacing. Just pump them back up and they’ll almost certainly be as good as new.
Of course, bicycles can also be transported in your own car. Storage & moving may not be the issue- instead, you might just want to drive out of the city and enjoy cycling in the fresh air. If so, you’ll almost certainly need a rack of some kind. Even if both wheels come off your bicycle easily, it’ll probably get muddy and dirty when you’re biking off road, so an external rack can make life much easier.
There are two types of bike rack. The first is the rear-mounted variety. These either mount to a tow hitch or to the trunk, and provide two vertical bars poking out behind the vehicle. One, two, or sometimes three bikes can be lifted on and strapped in place quite easily.
The second type of bike transport rack mounts onto a standard roof rack. The front wheel of each bike usually needs to be removed before they are lifted onto the roof. This kind of rack is considered more secure than a rear-mounted carrier, but it’s more difficult to get the bikes on and off. The largest roof-mounted racks can carry up to half a dozen bicycles.
If you want to carry a lot of bikes or one or two bikes a long way, a roof-mounted rack is probably the best option, but if the rack won’t be used very often or over long distances, a rear-mounted rack might be fine- they are usually cheaper and simpler to install.