How To Carry Things On A Bike

How To Carry Things On A Bike

To the uninformed or amateur rider, the prospect of carrying cargo on your bike (such as groceries) is one of the most restrictive aspects when it comes to urban riding.

While bicycles obviously aren’t capable of carrying the loads that a car can, this doesn’t mean they are inherently ineffective. With the right gear and knowledge, you can actually haul around a surprisingly amount of stuff.

Below, we’ll explain to you how to carry everything from small loads, to bigger loads that rival what you could fit in the trunk of a car.


In regards to carrying the smallest of cargo, you have more than a few options. For most, this generally involves some sort of bag or backpack.

Yes, you can definitely cram as much as you can into your backpack before hitting the pavement, but this isn’t advised. It’s tempting, but if you have a lot of weight in your backpack, you can place unnecessary strain on your shoulders and back. Plus, you’ll get an exceptionally sweaty back, which most aren’t going to be too excited about.

Smaller loads can be carried in several different ways.

Front Basket for Light Loads

A front basket is the easiest choice for many. All you need is a basket that is compatible with your bike, and you’re good to go after a quick installation. The basket can range from being a literal wicker-style basket, to a plastic crate.

If you don’t want the beach cruiser look, you can place a basket or crate on the back. This will involves affixing a luggage rack behind your back seat. The rack serves as both its own rack, or as a base for larger cargo holders.

Either way, we recommend using plenty of bungee cords to ensure your stuff is locked down during the ride.


Need to carry a little more? The solution is simple: more cargo holders. Rear panniers are a popular choice for this. These “saddle bags” are installed on each side behind your seat, so you can balance out the weight, while also keeping it lower to the ground, making it easier to maneuver.

Rear Pannier Bags For Medium Loads

If you need to carry a little more, you can combine these rear pannier bags with an additional bag or crate above the rear cargo holder, and also add on a front basket. Do remember that proper balancing is required for a safe ride.


If you really need to haul some big cargo around, whether for a short or longer ride (like you would be on a long bike tour,) you’ll need a trailer. This isn’t recommended for novice riders due to the added strain, and advanced maneuvering skills.

Bike trailers are actually very prevalent, and they make it easy to tow some fairly large loads. Some have flat beds, while others have compartments, complete with a lockable covering that seals everything inside.

Bike Trailers For Heavy Loads

These trailers range in size, and come in many different forms. You may need to check with your bike shop to be sure your bike can handle towing ​a trailer.


In many ways, carrying cargo while on your bike really just requires being cautious and resourceful. Do whatever works best for you, but always remember to make safety a priority, and of course ensuring your cargo won’t fall out too. Good luck!

This post was last updated on September 21st, 2018 at 02:36 pm

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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