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Transporting bike inside minivan without a rack?

Old 08-01-17, 10:51 AM
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Transporting bike inside minivan without a rack?

Hey folks.

I am starting to join rides with groups in further distances from home, so I have to transport my bicycle inside my Toyota sienna minivan. I don't think that just putting the bike inside the cargo area is safe in case I get into an accident. I googled this issue and most people remove the front wheel and attached the bike to some sort of rack with a quick release mechanism. Would removing and putting back the front wheel every time I need to transport the bike a hassle or would it affect the brakes or wheel alignment?

Is there an alternative (say using bungee chords?) and if so what should I be careful about? I know I should keep the drive side free and not lean it on the interior, anything else?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-01-17, 10:58 AM
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I wonder what you think is unsafe about it. If you're worried about the bike, don't. The bike will be very safe unless you're in a collision where it'll be the least of your worries. Just lay it down on it's side and push it forward so it won't slide when you brake.

OTOH - if you're worried about the bike flying around and injuring you in a collision, then the bike won't be any worse than whatever cargo you've carried before. If you want that extra bit of assurance loop a length of webbed strap through the rear wheel or other part, and trap it under the rear door.

Or if the van has exposed attachment points, stand the bike up (removing the front wheel if necessary) and tie it to the side.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I wonder what you think is unsafe about it. If you're worried about the bike, don't. The bike will be very safe unless you're in a collision where it'll be the least of your worries. Just lay it down on it's side and push it forward so it won't slide when you brake.

OTOH - if you're worried about the bike flying around and injuring you in a collision, then the bike won't be any worse than whatever cargo you've carried before. If you want that extra bit of assurance loop a length of webbed strap through the rear wheel or other part, and trap it under the rear door.

Or if the van has exposed attachment points, stand the bike up (removing the front wheel if necessary) and tie it to the side.
Many thanks for that. Yes, I was concerned regarding the bike moving forward if I brake suddenly and hitting me (or the passenger) if it is not locked down.

On the other hand, I want to make sure that the bike does not get itself damaged (e.g. gears) since it is not tied down and can move from side to side.

Cheers.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
Hey folks.

I am starting to join rides with groups in further distances from home, so I have to transport my bicycle inside my Toyota sienna minivan. I don't think that just putting the bike inside the cargo area is safe in case I get into an accident. I googled this issue and most people remove the front wheel and attached the bike to some sort of rack with a quick release mechanism. Would removing and putting back the front wheel every time I need to transport the bike a hassle or would it affect the brakes or wheel alignment?

Is there an alternative (say using bungee chords?) and if so what should I be careful about? I know I should keep the drive side free and not lean it on the interior, anything else?

Thanks in advance.
IMHO, it is good advice not to lean the drivetrain side of a bike against stuff. It gets grease on the stuff, and can get stuff on your drivetrain. Plus, there is the possibility of damage to the drivetrain.

You bring up a good point. Cargo in the back of vans and wagons can fly around in collisions and injure occupants. And most people don't really think or do anything about it.

I have a Subie wagon that does most of my bike transporting. It is transported with the front wheel off and the bike laying down in the rear compartment. It also has tie downs, and I use the heavy rubber bungees to hold the bike and the front tire down to the surface of the rear compartment. Is that enough? I seriously don't know.

I also have a Sienna van. This is probably utter nonsense, but I remove the front wheel, put the front of the bike in first, and wrap the rear seat belt harness around the seat tube of the bike. The notion there is that if the bike moves forward, it should be restrained by the harness. Will that work? I seriously don't know.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:11 AM
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I have been transporting my bike in the rear of a Ford Transit Connect for the past 5 years with the front wheel off and there is no damage to the bike or the wheel. The best way to transport the bike is to place a piece of plywood or presswood on the floor and put a bike mount on it. You may have to fold down one of the seats to get the bike in.



Here's an old photo of my Ace in the back of my van. My bikes stay in the van all the time so you probably won't want to put a full plywood floor as I did.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:17 AM
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I think that you worry too much.

There are lots of choices for carrying a bicycle inside of a minivan. I think it's hugely better than carrying your bike on the outside of your vehicle - out of the rain, road grime and away from viewing by the less-than-honest. Popping off the front wheel is not a big deal but, with a minivan, it probably isn'g necessary either.

You didn't ask, but a milk crate is great for carrying your shoes, helmet a few tools, etc. I keep cool weather gloves, a balaclava and a wind shirt in mine even through the summertime. I don't know for sure what's lurking at the bottom of my bin but I can say for sure that it's bailed me out plenty of times.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
IMHO, it is good advice not to lean the drivetrain side of a bike against stuff. It gets grease on the stuff, and can get stuff on your drivetrain. Plus, there is the possibility of damage to the drivetrain.

You bring up a good point. Cargo in the back of vans and wagons can fly around in collisions and injure occupants. And most people don't really think or do anything about it.

I have a Subie wagon that does most of my bike transporting. It is transported with the front wheel off and the bike laying down in the rear compartment. It also has tie downs, and I use the heavy rubber bungees to hold the bike and the front tire down to the surface of the rear compartment. Is that enough? I seriously don't know.

I also have a Sienna van. This is probably utter nonsense, but I remove the front wheel, put the front of the bike in first, and wrap the rear seat belt harness around the seat tube of the bike. The notion there is that if the bike moves forward, it should be restrained by the harness. Will that work? I seriously don't know.
So, you remove the front wheel every time. Does this affect the alignment or anything else? Thanks.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
I have been transporting my bike in the rear of a Ford Transit Connect for the past 5 years with the front wheel off and there is no damage to the bike or the wheel. The best way to transport the bike is to place a piece of plywood or presswood on the floor and put a bike mount on it. You may have to fold down one of the seats to get the bike in.



Here's an old photo of my Ace in the back of my van. My bikes stay in the van all the time so you probably won't want to put a full plywood floor as I did.
This looks nice!
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Old 08-01-17, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I think that you worry too much.

There are lots of choices for carrying a bicycle inside of a minivan. I think it's hugely better than carrying your bike on the outside of your vehicle - out of the rain, road grime and away from viewing by the less-than-honest. Popping off the front wheel is not a big deal but, with a minivan, it probably isn'g necessary either.

You didn't ask, but a milk crate is great for carrying your shoes, helmet a few tools, etc. I keep cool weather gloves, a balaclava and a wind shirt in mine even through the summertime. I don't know for sure what's lurking at the bottom of my bin but I can say for sure that it's bailed me out plenty of times.
Yes, I am more tempted not to remove the front wheel every time. I guess I need to consider the arrangements of the second row to see which is best. I can have the two middle row seats next to each other, with a little bit more distance to the side, or have them apart with distance in between. I need to experiment to see which one would work best, and whether I need to have the back wheel in first or the other way around.

Sorry, I don't mean to make a big deal out of nothing, but I just want to be sure I am not causing damage to the bike or jeopardizing the passengers.

Cheers.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:25 AM
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I use a couple of folded up pieces of grippy shelf liner to help keep my bike from sliding around. It's laying on the non-drive side. I put a piece under the rear hub and another under the pedal. ( the remaining contact points are the saddle and the end of the drop bars and the front wheel.)

The shelf liner also keeps cardboard boxes from sliding, so the pieces stay in the car.

My bike fits without removing the front wheel. It's nice to not have to deal with reattaching it and checking that the brake pads are spaced correctly.

Last edited by rm -rf; 08-01-17 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
I use a couple of folded up pieces of grippy shelf liner to help keep my bike from sliding around. It's laying on the non-drive side. I put a piece under the rear hub and another under the pedal. ( the remaining contact points are the saddle and the end of the drop bars and the front wheel.)

The shelf liner also keeps cardboard boxes from sliding, so the pieces stay in the car.

My bike fits without removing the front wheel. It's nice to not have to deal with reattaching it and checking that the brake pads are spaced correctly.
I'll give these shelf liner a try. Thanks.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:44 AM
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I don't know anyone who removes the wheel (except for space reasons) and attaches it to some sort of rack. I bought a Forester in large part because I can lay my bike flat without moving the front wheel. I make sure it's positioned so it won't slide forward if I have to brake hard.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:45 AM
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I throw it into the back of my pickup and go. On my SUV, for trips it goes on the back rack. If the rack isn't mounted, I put down a seat and bend, fold, shove, kick, however... lay it down & just stuff it in.

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about how to transport.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:52 AM
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You're over thinkings and making this far too complicated. The bike is tougher than you allow, and the risk of it hitting you is slight since it's too big to pass between the seats, or even above the seat backs unless it takes flight while still horizontal which is beyond extremely unlikely.

Just do as thousands do, lay the bike flat, right side up so the chain doesn't stain anything, and push it all the way forward so it doesn't slide when you stop (thought the first stop will achieve this without your help). Then just drive with the same care you should use with anything or anybody else in the van.

The only time you need more than minimal common sense is when carrying multiple bikes which can scratch each other or get tangles with pedals in the spokes or otherwise. Then you need to tie them to the sides or use some kind of separators.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I don't know anyone who removes the wheel (except for space reasons) and attaches it to some sort of rack. I bought a Forester in large part because I can lay my bike flat without moving the front wheel. I make sure it's positioned so it won't slide forward if I have to brake hard.
do you usually remove the left pedal then? or no need for that?
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Old 08-01-17, 11:58 AM
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I've got a Ford Transit Connect mini van, purchased specifically to carry bicycles. A single bike, I just plop it on its side, derailleur side up, and I'm out of the parking lot before other people get their bike on their rack. Two single bikes, I have loops on the side to hold them both upright. Tandem, I've got a wooden holder for the wheels mounted on the van bottom and it stands upright in the center.
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Old 08-01-17, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
do you usually remove the left pedal then? or no need for that?
I don't remove anything. And we are talking about a custom ti bike with a one of a kind, ceramic glaze finish. I put a blanket over it and position it so it doesn't move.
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Old 08-01-17, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
You're over thinkings and making this far too complicated. The bike is tougher than you allow, and the risk of it hitting you is slight since it's too big to pass between the seats, or even above the seat backs unless it takes flight while still horizontal which is beyond extremely unlikely.

Just do as thousands do, lay the bike flat, right side up so the chain doesn't stain anything, and push it all the way forward so it doesn't slide when you stop (thought the first stop will achieve this without your help). Then just drive with the same care you should use with anything or anybody else in the van.

The only time you need more than minimal common sense is when carrying multiple bikes which can scratch each other or get tangles with pedals in the spokes or otherwise. Then you need to tie them to the sides or use some kind of separators.
Got it. Thanks.
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Old 08-01-17, 12:03 PM
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Thanks for all your advice. This was very helpful.
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Old 08-01-17, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
So, you remove the front wheel every time. Does this affect the alignment or anything else? Thanks.
Not at all. They are designed to be removed and reattached. Just make sure when you put it back on that the bike's weight is on the wheel when you tighten the skewer, and it should line up just fine.
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Old 08-01-17, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
I don't think that just putting the bike inside the cargo area is safe in case I get into an accident.
I think if you get into an accident you've got bigger things to worry about than Did My Bike Bounce Around A Bit?

I almost always just remove the front wheel and then either fold the seats down & lay the bike on it's side, or leave the seats up and stand the bike up on the floor in between rows.

In either scenario you can usually help secure it with one of the mini van's shoulder harnesses.
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Old 08-01-17, 01:32 PM
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I transport mine in the trunk of my car. I just remove the front wheel and lay it on the left side.



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Old 08-01-17, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
I transport mine in the trunk of my car. I just remove the front wheel and lay it on the left side.



thanks for the pictures. Very useful.
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Old 08-01-17, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
I transport mine in the trunk of my car. I just remove the front wheel and lay it on the left side.



You take the chain off first? lol

In all it's glory.

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Old 08-01-17, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
You take the chain off first? lol
Huh?

Personally, i'd be more worried about a 2 liter bottle of soda hitting me than a 14# bike.

And if I get hit, the other person's insurance will pay for any damage.... including the contents of the car.
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