How to Secure a Bicycle to a Roof Rack

Written by rob garland
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The safest and most efficient way to secure a bicycle to a car's roof rack is to use a roof-mounted carrier, which attaches to the roof rack, and then attach the bicycle to it. This is an inexpensive method and fits most types of bicycle crossbar. It also prevents the bicycle from scratching the car roof. The "Consumer Reports" website refers to roof-mounted carriers: "the upsides are that the bike is easier to manage up on the roof and unique frame shapes can be accommodated."

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Roof-mounted carrier
  • Wrench

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  1. 1

    Use a roof-mounted carrier. These are available at bicycle stores, camping suppliers or online retailers. Refer to the instruction manual of the specific carrier to attach it to your roof rack. If the carrier requires you to remove the front wheel of your bicycle, do so by loosening the nuts and bolts on each side of the front wheel fork using a wrench, then place the front wheel in the boot of your car. Place the nuts and bolts in a safe place.

  2. 2

    Carefully lift the bicycle onto the roof rack of the car. Align the rear wheel to the carrier wheel tray and secure it by snapping in the adjustable clamps or locks depending on the brand of carrier you selected.

  3. 3

    Place the front wheel fork of the bicycle in the wheel tray and secure it by adjusting the clamp or lock key. Adjust the clamp to fit the specific type of the bicycle's front wheel fork, again depending on the brand of carrier you selected.

  4. 4

    Push and pull on the bike to ensure it is firmly clamped in position. Undo the clamps or lock key, remove the bicycle and place it back in position until there is no movement and it is firmly held in place.

  5. 5

    Add a second bicycle by following the same steps.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to the owner's manual of the specific carrier rack for instructions on clamping or locking devices used to secure the bike in place.
  • Be aware of tunnels or parking garages with low ceilings. Ensure that the front wheel is reattached correctly (if you removed it) by reapplying and tightening the nuts and bolts on the front wheel fork using a wrench.

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