MTB
On The Ride: How To Boot Your Bike In A Car
On The Ride: How To Boot Your Bike In A Car
Written by Tan Zhi Ming and Dean Koh
Published on
It can be tricky to fit a bike into a car neatly.
It can be tricky to fit a bike into a car neatly.
We’re all in love with the idea of spending our free time riding, the adrenaline racing through our veins, our legs burning with the effort as we shred one of the many mountain bike trails here in sunny Singapore. To get there, one could opt to ride there from anywhere on our tiny island. For those time strapped, and keen on rationing stamina, we’d opt to drive out to the trails instead.
The dedicated among us would have already went out there and got a car rack for transporting your bikes. If the size of your car permits, such as if you’ve got a family MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) or a hulking SUV (sport utility vehicle), you’d have the convenience of laying your mountain bike out flat with the rear seats folded down.
For those with niftier rides, such as a compact hatchback or sedan, packing your bike in might be a challenge akin to a game of Tetris. To help make things a little easier, we’ve put together a quick beginner’s guide on how you could pack a ride or two into your car.
Packing a bike is easier than it looks.
Packing a bike is easier than it looks.
For demonstrative purposes, we’ve made use of this 1 Series, a compact hatchback from German carmaker BMW. For it to have any chance of accommodating a bike, you’d want fold down its rear seats to gain access to 1,200litres of real estate from the boot. And while the car’s long enough to accommodate a hardtail without removing any wheels, it’s not the most effective use of space, especially if you’re looking to ride in pairs. Consider also, the need for gear, such as your helmet, ice box of drinks (optional), and bags with change of clothes.
Fold down the rear seats for more space.
Fold down the rear seats for more space.

Ace The Space

1. Fold down the rear seats

It helps free up more space lengthwise for longer bikes. Line the boot and back of the seats with a mat or newspapers. Given how much mud and grime you’d pick up on a ride, you’ll be thankful later.
Removing the wheels makes packing easier.
Removing the wheels makes packing easier.

2. Remove the wheels

Quick-release levers make this a cinch, especially for the front wheel. Remember to shift down to the lowest possible gear so that your chain has the least tension. It’ll make removing the rear wheel a whole lot easier.
Brake plugs help the secure the brake calipers.
Brake plugs help the secure the brake calipers.

3. Mind the brakes

For bikes with disc brakes, remember to stick on some disc brake plugs. Should the levers accidently get squeezed during transportation, it won’t mess up the alignment of your brake calipers. In worse cases, you’d be unable to ride as your brakes could get jammed. Remedying this will see you pry the calipers open, or re-bleed your brakes (for hydraulic disc brakes).
Lay the bike with its gear side facing out.
Lay the bike with its gear side facing out.

4. ‘Dry’ side up

When packing your frame into the car, always place it ‘dry’ side up. This refers to the side of the bike where the brakes, derailleurs and chain are located. You won’t want unnecessary pressure on the parts that actually drive the bike being damaged, right?

5. Wheels as cushions

This is the easy part. Once your frame’s neatly packed into the available space, place your wheels where convenient. Do use the wheels to cushion portions of the frame that are likely to rock. The idea is to keep everything together snugly with as little free-play as possible. Roads near the riding trails might get bumpy, and you wouldn’t want any unnecessary scruff marks on either car or bike.
When packing two bikes: Consider using the wheels as ‘padding’ but placing them between the frames.
The wheels are easily managed with the frame packe
The wheels are easily managed with the frame packe

6. Other considerations

You might want to wrap a bunch of newspapers or an old rag around your pedals. The very studs that offer your shoes grip might scratch the interior of your car, or yourself, if you’re careless.