How to Travel With a Bike – Car, Plane, and Train

Your bicycle can only take you so far but there are just some destinations wherein your bike will need transportation, too. It’s not a problem, no matter where you go, you can easily travel along with your bike. However, certain rules apply depending on several factors, which are discussed below.

If you want to know how to travel with a bike, by road or railroad, or up in the air, just keep reading.


Things to Consider

Before getting to the specifics of traveling by car, plane, or train, there are several things that you need to take note of. These are just some of the questions that you need to answer so you can know how to travel with a bike:

Bicycle Type

The first one is what kind of bicycle are you bringing? Of course, one of the easiest bicycles to transport is a folding bike. However, if you are looking to enjoy riding through rough terrain and are looking to bringing a mountain bike, then things might be more complicated.

Just remember that most bicycles, especially special ones like mountain bikes and road bikes, aren’t built for portability. They are, after all, designed for transportation. But not to worry because it is still possible, you just might need extra equipment and effort for the travel.

Distance or Location

How far is the place you are going to? If your destination is a bit farther but can be reached by car, then it might be better to go the longer route. After all, it’s easier to transport your bike in your own vehicle than having to pack it and lug it around a transport terminal.

Baggage Price

How much is your travel fare? Now, if there really is no other way to reach your destination but to go on public transportation, then think about the baggage price. Since bicycles are big and heavy, they can’t be brought with you as a carry-on. So, you need to account for the extra checked baggage price when you purchase your ticket. Unless you want to pay for overweight fees once you are at the airport or train station.

Bike Insurance

Do you have bike insurance? If you do, make sure the coverage also includes transportation of the bike. It also helps to check if your bike insurance covers other locations, especially if your destination is outside of the country.

Travel Frequency

How many times do you need to travel with your bike? If you are just making a major move to another city or country, then you might not need special equipment. However, if you plan on going to bike trails or join bike events every week or month, then you should consider getting a bike bag or the best tailgate bike pad that can be placed on your vehicle.

retro bike standing at the beach

How to Travel With a Bike by Car

There are many options that you can do for traveling with a bike if you have your own car. It’s better if you have a pickup truck or other spacious vehicles. If you have a small bike or a foldable one, it can be as easy as putting it in your trunk. Some can even do away with squeezing the bike in the backseat but this will require some disassembly.

However, for other bike models, you should consider getting one of the following:

Tailgate Bike Pad

This is one of the easiest solutions for transporting a bicycle but isn’t compatible with smaller vehicles. You just put a bike pad over your truck’s tailgate and then place the bike on it, with one of the wheels inside the truck and the other outside.

Bike Rack

There are plenty of bike racks that you can choose from, including a trunk mount, rooftop mount, and hitch mount. The main trouble with a bike rack is, it’s a permanent addition to your vehicle and can only accommodate a few bicycles.

How to Travel With a Bike by Plane

You will need to properly pack your bicycle when you travel by plane. Make sure to check with the airlines that you are flying with if they have certain rules for bicycle transportation. Others might request tires to be deflated while parts like pedals, mirrors, and lamps need to be removed. Here are two options for traveling with a bike by plane:

Bike Case

Perfect if you and your bike are always on the go. Your bike should fit inside the hard shell bike case perfectly. What’s more, it should meet the regular bicycle case guidelines for airline use.

Cargo Box

If your travel by plane is a one-time thing or isn’t too frequent, then you can do away with a strong cargo box. Make sure to contact the airline you are traveling with ahead of time. Some airlines need to save a spot for your cargo box.

How to Travel With a Bike by Train

When it comes to trains, you need to check ahead of your trip how to bring your bicycle. Some commuter rails only allow folded bicycles. Meanwhile, for passenger rails, you also need to pack your bike in a box or case, just like in an airplane.

Bringing your bicycle on the AMTRAK will depend on your origin and destination or train route. If your bicycle is smaller and weighs less than 50lbs., you might be able to bring it as a carry-on.

Final Thoughts

Even if you already know how to travel with a bike, it doesn’t hurt to ask official transportation providers so you’ll have a smoother trip. When traveling with a bike it also helps to always bring tools, you’ll never know when you might need to assemble and disassemble your bike.

  • Category: FAQ