If you have been bestowed the responsibility to carry your aunt’s luggage to the airport all of a sudden, and your best bet is your bike as the vehicle, it is vital to know how to carry luggage on a bike.
Luggage is different from backpacks and messenger bags. Luggage is often heavier and designed with a hard outer covering. While there are wheeled duffels and sturdy cases, you can also find ones that are much like backpacks but include wheels.
Sure, you can pedal on your bike and have those on your shoulder, all the while you ride. However, we’d like to warn you that heavy luggage on your back is not the most comfortable ride you are going to enjoy. While that, certainly is an option, we’d like you to explore a few more options on how to carry luggage on a bike securely and safely.
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How to Carry Luggage on a Bike
There is much talk about the art of packing a piece of luggage but not enough on how to carry one on a bike when one needs to. Luggage, being bulky, bigger, and heavier than normal backpacks cannot be stuffed around any pannier bags as you’d like. Here are a few possible ways to carry your luggage on a bike:
Strapping It Up on the Bike Rack
When bikers are carrying luggage full of belongings or one that is completely empty, one of the most preferred ways of transporting the luggage is by carting it around on the rear rack of the bike.
Bike racks, available in both front and rear options, are particularly designed to carry hulking loads without damaging the bike. Bike rack can be made of metals, steel, and alloys with integrated straps and cords in some.
Because bike racks carry a significant amount of weight by themselves, you would need to be careful about the balance of the bike while pedaling. We always suggest installing a kickstand if you don’t have one already to add more stability.
On the bike rack, horizontally place the luggage, and make sure the rack sits right in the middle of the luggage as it is placed. Since bike racks would either come with an integrated rope or clamp, you would want to use that to tie down the luggage first hand.
There are a number of ways of attaching a piece of luggage to the rear rack of your bike if it does not have ropes on its own, starting with tie down straps. In both diagonal and straight ways, use ratcheting tie-down straps to secure the luggage to the back of the bike.
When using such straps, we suggest using ones like these with come with rubber coated hooks and handles for clasping. A quick release latching system would make sure you can release the luggage as easily as you can attach them.
With 1500 LB break strength, you’d never have to worry about the straps snapping middle of the road. We also like ROK straps for this option to provide similar protection with the buckles on both ends. You can also use both to tie down the luggage for the most security.
If you have lighter or smaller luggage you are looking to carry on your bike, using a bungee cord or bungee net would have similar effects. The strongest bungees in the market are UV resistant, rubber made, and stretchable.
If you have doubts over how long of a cord would be needed to tie down your luggage, you can consider buying a set of multiple length cords. Similarly, one of the many ways of carrying luggage on your bike involves cargo netting.
This procedure uses bungee nets that allow you to simply hook the hooks to the rack once the net is laid over the luggage. In this case, however, we suggest coupling nets with either bungee cords or a couple of straps for most security and stability. You may want to check out these rubber latex, 3×3 grid nets for reliable netting security for your baggage.
When to comes to carrying just about anything while you are on the road, concentrating on pedaling, bikers have an innate tendency to choose trailers over any other medium. The biggest advantage of having trailers is how versatile these carriers are. You can choose to have a trailer that either attaches to the seat post or one that hooks onto the rear rack of your bike. Depending on what kind of bike you have, you may want to choose one of the kind.
Of course, you can transfer your bags and luggage’s occasionally or whenever you need to, trailers are also great if you have to take your pet or your kids out for a ride to tow behind you.
If you don’t want to spend time strapping and tying down your luggage to your rack or if you don’t have a rear rack at all, we suggest you considering investing in a trailer like this.
Carrying your luggage in a trailer as you ride would only require you to throw the luggage into the carrier without much thinking. Additionally, trailers, are incredibly roomy, as well as stable. The only factor that you’d need to keep in mind is that you may have to plan ahead when you are using trailers.
In case your luggage is too large and your trailer too small, you might not be able to fit it in, let alone carry it along. What we like about using trailers to carry luggage on a bike is how the bike itself is free of loads, making it safer for riders who prefer a light bike to ride.
When asked what kind of a bike should one use if one needs to carry loads more regularly, we answer with our eyes closed. The answer is always cargo bikes. Cargo bikes or freight bikes are particularly designed for bikers riding with loads, bags, and groceries to carry.
Unlike traditional bikes, these bikes have a broader wheel space in addition to the space for hauling necessities. You can find two wheeled cargo bikes or three wheeled, manual, or electronic.
E-commerce companies have made cargo bikes the new transport means for carrying just about any delivery. Cargo capacity on these bikes varies, but the smallest ones have better capacity than your rear rack. Cargo bikes are available in 3 primary types including the long tail, mid tail, and front-loading cargo bikes.
Long tail cargo bikes are made with a rear rack that is extended and flat. Here you would get more platform space and can carry more than one piece of luggage if you need to. You’d still need straps and cords to securely affix the bags. Our favorite for carrying luggage is a front loading one.
Not only does this make sure that the luggage is never out of your sight even when you are riding, but the boxy area contained between the seat post and handlebar is also all you need to put your luggage into.
These cargo bikes make sure you need no other tool, neither tie downs to carry your luggage. Midtale, to have great capacity and we particularly like the ones that fold up for storage. The other addition to even swifter transferring of luggage and any other loads is electric cargo bikes.
E-cargo bikes are faster, more efficient, and require less effort to ride on steeply or choppy roads. The downside of these bikes is the price tag that often discourages people from investing in one.
With cargo bikes, we’d like to chip in a few pieces of advice when you are carrying luggage on them. If you are not used to riding cargo bikes, a first few rides might make you feel like you don’t know how to ride a bike, especially if you have loaded your cargo bike with heavy luggage.
That is to say that, cargo biking takes some time to get used to. Furthermore, it is important to note the capacity of your cargo bike and set limits to how much luggage you can carry on them. We also suggest you get a longer cargo bike, just because they are more stable and steadier than shorter ones.
Factors to Consider before Riding with a Luggage
Before you haul big fat luggage on the handlebar or the rear rack of your bike, there are several factors that you need to consider and keep in mind.
Each of these factors plays an important role in how you balance your bike during the ride, whether your luggage is secured enough and what kind of luggage is best for carrying on a bike:
Beware of the Weight
Luggage tends to be hefty and with all the clothes, utensils, and tools you might be carrying inside the luggage, you would want to keep a weight check.
Your bike’s rack is meant to carry only a certain capacity, although we’re not saying the weight of the luggage will break of your bike parts, too much weight, whether at the back or front of the bike, can tip off the balance.
Since the center of gravity will sway away towards the place where the luggage is placed, you would have to make sure, the balance of the ride remained steady when you are pedaling.
See If You are Comfortable
One of the most important aspects of carrying anything on your bike, particularly something bulky like language and carry on is that you need to make sure you are comfortable riding with the additional weight and compromise of space if any.
If you are a newbie rider, we suggest you do not take the risk of carrying something as heavy as a luggage. If it’s empty, you’d still need to make sure it’s well secured.
A lot of more expert bikers also feel the need to have assistance as they haul bigger duffels, so you’d want to be wary of your sitting position, comfort, and bike stability.
What Kind of Luggage
Luggage is not one kind. While you can carry a wheeled backpack style luggage on your shoulders if you want, and strap one of the smaller sleeve luggage on the handlebar, there are hardcase duffels that need to be secured on the rack.
Before you decide how you would carry the luggage, you would have to know which kind of luggage you are about to carry. The method you use would also depend on what luggage you may be carrying.
Here are a few different types of luggage that you can expect to carry on your bike: Wheeled Duffel, Hard side Luggage, Carry on, Wheeled Backpack, Travel totes:
Safety and Security
You would not want to lose your luggage on the way to your destination just because you didn’t use enough security to lock it or tie it down safely. The more security, tie down, and buckled straps you use, the better.
Follow these two simple tips and steps to make sure that your luggage is secured and safe when on the road and when parked:
Use a Kickstand
Adjustable bike stands or kickstands are a life saver when you are planning to carry luggage on a bike. You may need to stop and park in the middle of the road, or you may have to stop to get something out of your luggage.
Either way, there is a chance that, if your luggage is hefty, it would take a fall on the ground, with the bike hitting and damaging a few of the parts.
Use Extra Straps or Cords
It does not matter whether you are using bungee cords, rack straps, or bungee net to secure your luggage to the rack. Always use additional ties to secure your luggage to the rack. In case of looping around the luggage and making it stay put, the more straps and cords, the better.
Use Platform on the Rack
For better stability, some people prefer to add a platform to sit on the rear rack. This is especially helpful if you are carrying the luggage on a cargo rack that is weigher too narrow or too broad.
If you don’t want your hard case luggage to rattle all the way, especially if it carrying lesser stuff, you may add so.
If you are thinking of taking out your luggage while you ride out with your bike, it is imperative to know how to carry luggage on a bike, safely and correctly.
While the three methods we have mentioned are most ideal depending on how much you are carrying and what kind of luggage suits your carrier, you may always want to be vigilant about safety and balance.
Make sure your bike is steady as you ride with all the loaded luggage and also ensure the capacity of the trailers or bike is never exceeded.
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