If you suddenly need to transport your aunt’s luggage to the airport and your bike is the best choice for transportation, it’s important to know how to carry luggage on a bike.
Luggage is different from backpacks and messenger bags. Luggage is often heavier and has a hard outer shell. There is luggage on wheels, wheeled duffels, sturdy suitcases, and those that look like backpacks but have wheels.
Sure, you can pedal on your bike and carry it on your shoulder while you ride. However, you should realize that heavy luggage on your back isn’t a comfortable nor safe way to ride your bicycle. While that’s an option, we want you to know a few more ways to safely carry your luggage on your bike.
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- How to Carry Luggage on a Bike?
- Factors You Should Consider Before Traveling With A Piece Of Luggage
- Safety and Security
- Final Thoughts
How to Carry Luggage on a Bike?
There’s a lot of talk about packing luggage but not enough about carrying it on a bike when you need it. A suitcase is bulkier, bigger, and heavier than a regular backpack and can’t be stuffed into panniers at will.
Here are a few ways you can transport your luggage on a bike.
Strap onto the rear rack
When cyclists carry a full or empty piece of luggage, they prefer to carry it on the rack of their bikes.
Bike racks are available in front and rear and are specially designed to carry large loads without damaging the bike. Bike racks can be made of metal, steel, and alloys, and some have integrated straps and cords. Stripping the heavy load to the front bike rack above the front wheel makes steering the bike difficult. That’s why I prefer to use the rear bike rack to carry a suitcase.
Since the rack carries a significant amount of weight, you’ve to be careful about the bike’s balance when pedaling and parking. We always recommend mounting a kickstand if you don’t already have one to increase stability.
Place the luggage horizontally on the rack and make sure the rack sits right in the middle of the luggage when you attach it. Since bike racks come with either an integrated rope or clamp, you should use these to secure the suitcase.
Read more: Best Rear Bike Rack Reviews & Buying Guide
There are several ways to secure a piece of luggage to your bike’s rear rack if it doesn’t have its own ropes, starting with tie-down straps. Use both diagonal and straight tension straps with ratchets to secure the luggage to the back of the bike.
We recommend AUGO Ratchet Tie Down Straps with rubber-coated hooks and handles for hooking if you use such straps. A quick-release system ensures that you can detach the luggage just as quickly as you attached it. With a 2200-pound breaking strength, you won’t have to worry about the straps breaking in the middle of the road.
We also like the ROK straps for this option, which offer similar protection with buckles on both ends. You can also use any of these to securely tie down your luggage.
If you want to carry lighter or smaller luggage on your bike, a bungee cord will have a similar effect. The strongest bungees on the market are UV resistant, made of rubber, and stretchy.
If you’re not sure how long the cord needs to be to secure your luggage, you can get a set of cords in different lengths.
One way to secure a smaller piece of luggage to your bike rack is with a bungee net.
This method uses bungee nets, where you can simply hook the hooks onto the rack once the net is over the luggage.
However, in this case, we recommend combining the nets with either bungee cords or a couple of straps for more security and stability. You should check out these Zoe Sunny rubber latex mesh nets to secure your luggage reliably.
When it comes to transporting something of considerable size while you’re on the road and focused on pedaling, cyclists inherently prefer trailers over any other medium. The biggest advantage of the trailer is its versatility, but it comes with a price tag.
If you’re carrying your luggage in a trailer while riding, all you’ve to do is strap it on without giving it much thought. Besides, trailers are incredibly spacious and stable. The only factor you need to keep in mind is planning ahead when using a trailer.
If your luggage is too big and your trailer is too small, you mightn’t be able to fit it in, let alone take it with you. We like using trailers for carrying luggage on a bike because they don’t weigh down the bike itself or interfere with the steering, making it safer for riders who prefer a bike that’s easy to control at all times.
When asked what type of bike you should use if you need to carry loads regularly, we answer with our eyes closed. The answer is always cargo bikes. Cargo bikes are designed specifically for cyclists who need to carry loads, bags, and groceries daily.
Unlike conventional bikes, these bikes have a wider wheel space in addition to the space to carry the cargo. If you aren’t used to riding cargo bikes, you may feel like you don’t know how to ride a bike for the first few rides, especially if you’ve loaded your cargo bike with heavy luggage.
This means that it’ll take you a while to get used to riding a cargo bike. Also, it’s essential that you know the capacity of your cargo bike and set limits on how much luggage you can carry. We also recommend buying a longer cargo bike because it’s more stable and robust than a shorter one.
E-commerce companies have made the cargo bike the new mode of transportation for almost all deliveries. The load capacity of these bikes varies, but even the smallest ones have more capacity than your luggage rack.
Related reading: How to Carry Boxes on a Bike?
Factors You Should Consider Before Traveling With A Piece Of Luggage
Before you haul a big, fat piece of luggage on your bike, there are a few factors you should consider and keep in mind.
These factors play an important role in the balance and handling of your bike while riding, whether your luggage is adequately secured, and what type of luggage is best suited for transport on a bike.
Pay Attention To The Weight
Luggage is usually heavy, and with all the clothes and belongings you’ll be stowing inside, you’ll want to keep an eye on the weight.
Your bike’s rack is only designed to hold a certain amount of weight. While we’re not saying that the weight of the luggage will break your cycle, too much extra weight can throw off balance.
As the bike’s center of gravity shifts toward the rack, you need to make sure your bike stays balanced when you pedal.
Make Yourself Comfortable
One of the most important aspects of carrying anything on your bike, especially something as bulky as luggage, is that you need to be comfortable with the extra weight and different handling.
If you’re a newbie on the bike, we advise you not to take the risk of carrying something as heavy as luggage.
Many experienced cyclists also struggle with carrying larger pieces of luggage, so you should pay attention to your bike’s riding position, comfort, and stability.
Type of Luggage
There isn’t just one type of luggage. Before you decide how you’re going to carry luggage, you need to know what kind of luggage you will transport. The method you use will also depend on what baggage you want to carry.
While you can carry a wheeled backpack on your shoulders and strap one of the smaller pieces of luggage to your handlebars, there are hard-shell suitcases that need to be attached to the rear rack.
Safety and Security
You don’t want to lose your luggage on the way to your destination just because you didn’t secure it or tie it down properly. The more safety precautions, tie-downs, and buckled straps you use, the better.
Follow these two simple tips and steps to ensure your luggage is secured and safe on the road and in the parking lot.
Use a Kickstand
Adjustable bike stands or kickstands are a real lifesaver when you need to carry luggage on your bike. You may need to stop and park in the middle of the street, or you may need to stop to retrieve something from your luggage.
Use Extra Straps or Cords
It doesn’t matter if you use bungee cords, rack straps, or a bungee net to secure your luggage to the rack. Always use additional straps to secure your luggage to the rack. The more straps and cords you use to secure your luggage, the better.
Install A Platform on the Rack
Some people prefer to add a platform on the rack for better stability. This is especially helpful if you’re carrying your luggage on a narrow rack without folding wings.
If you don’t want your hard case luggage to rattle all the way, especially if it’s carrying less heavy stuff, you can have such a platform.
Related reading: How to Carry a Baby on a Bike?
If you’re toying with the idea of carrying your luggage on your bike, it’s essential to know how to transport your luggage safely and properly on your bike.
Even though the three methods mentioned are suitable for any amount and type of luggage, you should always keep safety and balance in mind.
Make sure your bike is stable when you ride with all the luggage and that the capacity of the trailer or bike isn’t exceeded.