How to Carry Almost Anything on a Bike

By Adam Marsal

Fancy carrying some extra load on your bike? There are quite a few options on how to deliver goods on two wheels, ranging from smartphones to a pair of barking dogs. Everyone is encouraged to pick a solution according to his or her needs. 

A regular backpack

Cyclist on a road
Transporting stuff on your back can get exhausting. © Profimedia

A backpack is the most common and undoubtedly the most accessible option to carry your stuff despite its evident disadvantages.

What makes it rather inconvenient?

Transporting weight on your back is exhausting and makes your neck and shoulders suffer after a while. Moreover, a backpack leaves sweat stains on your clothes even on chillier days. To avoid these inconveniences, you can use a messenger bag and strap it across your upper body but the result would probably be uncomfortable as this kind of bag tends to swing from side to side.

A basket

Bicycle basket
Does your dog need a ride? © Profimedia

An all-time classic that looks cool on any type of a city or step-through bike and can really help to carry some of the lighter items like grocery bags, a purse, a notebook or an animal. With the basket right on the handlebars, your items stay under control all the way so you can keep talking to your cat, a Yorkshire Terrier or a lizard throughout the entire ride.

What to take into consideration?

Putting too much weight onto the basket can be dangerous as the load might alter the centre of balance and make steering less responsive. Some forks are also not constructed to absorb shocks from heavy burdens and might crack or break on the bumps. A big pile of stuff can also obscure the front light that is usually designed to be attached to the handlebars too.


Choosing new bike bag can get quite demanding when it comes to aesthetics. © Profimedia

There is a variety of bags of different shape and sizes to strap on all over the bike including the handlebars, the top frame tube or the space beneath the seat. For an affordable price, they come in handy whenever you need to carry items like a wallet, a smartphone, keys, an extra tube or essential tools.

Why we don’t like them

Despite the possibility to distribute the items (and therefore the weight) over various bags, their accommodation volume is limited and regardless individual taste, most of them make the bike look ugly or, at least, aesthetically unacceptable.

Bike racks

Bicycle rear rack
Front or rear racks? © Profimedia

Made of steel or metal alloys, bike racks are versatile and capable of utilising the load-bearing capacity of every bike up to its maximum. Available in versions for both the front and the rear, they are time-tested, easy to attach and heavy-duty. Equipped with additional straps, bungee cords or cargo netting, they can carry almost everything

What to take into account

Everybody willing to transport heavier loads every other day should take advantage of the racks’ sturdy construction but their heavier weight makes them unwieldy if you plan to use them only from time to time. Usually, you’d need to place your stuff into the bags that you strap onto the racks, which should be detached again once you park the bike to avoid theft. That kind of handling might discourage many people who end up carrying a traditional backpack instead. As with any bike carrying an extra load, you may well consider to equip it with a kickstand that would prevent whatever you carry from tipping over and smashing on the ground.


Bike trailer
Bike trailers become more and more popular. © Profimedia

Living in the age of sustainability, more and more people consider using a bike as cargo transporters in modern cities. Little wagons capable of carrying shopping, bags, dogs or other large-sized loads come in two versions: to be attached either to the seat post or the axle of the rear wheel.

Who should avoid them

Installation and detaching take time so trailers are the choice for people who don’t mind to undergo the process. Riding turns into an adventure since turning with a prolonged bike requires a certain dose of foresight and steering experience. Once the wagon is attached, manipulating the bike becomes almost as annoying as dragging a piano from the third floor.

Cargo bikes

Cargo bike
What will be your cargo? © Profimedia

With a custom-made cargo bike, you can transport a wide variety of items that can be put either into the front or rear carrier, which might differ in size and shape ranging from a small basket to a bulky metal box. It takes time to manage safe steering but once you learn it, you can use cargo bikes almost as comfortably as regular ones. Furthermore, they are more and more often build as e-bikes for better user comfort.

Better for heavy stuff only

Weighty and clumsy cargo bikes are intended only for hauling heavy items. A regular bike is much better for commuting and other everyday riding as it turns, brakes and moves at your will compared to the cargo bike, which feels and handles like a small shipping container on wheels.