How To Carry Your Bike Like a Pro

If you are new to biking you may be in the process of finding a place to put your bike. In many apartments or houses there isn’t ground floor storage or a safe place to leave it outside, even locked. For many, that creates the problem of how exactly to get the bike upstairs.

You will need to pick your bike up and carry it, but as many people know from riding their bicycles, your chainring and cassette, which look relatively clean, are actually incredibly dirty and covered in grease.  If you’ve ever bumped your calf against the chainring while standing at a red light you know just how hard it is to get this grease off your skin. It shouldn’t be hard to imagine, then, that  getting the grease off your clothing is an even greater challenge.

To avoid this, many people avoid picking up their bike at all. But if you live upstairs, are taking a shortcut that involves a staircase, or need to get up a few steps off street level and into your office, you’ll need to pick up your bike without letting the chainring touch your favorite pair of pants, hoodie or your nicest blouse. 

Thankfully many of us have had to carry our bicycles up a set of stairs and use the same method to keep clean while we move our bikes. So, here is the trick.

When you get off of your bicycle, hold the handlebars and stand to the left of the bicycle.  This way the bicycle itself and its frame are in between you and the greasy chain, chainring, and cassette.

This next step will work with most bikes, including commuters, but will not work with a step-through frame or some mountain bike frames that have a compressed geometry. From the left side of your bike, slide your right arm through the frame of the bicycle underneath the top tube, which is the appropriately named top tube of the bike that runs perpendicular to the ground.  Squat down so you can push your arm all the way through the frame until your shoulder sits nestled between the top tube and seat tube.

Take your right arm, which is passing through the bike frame, and with your right hand grab the center of the handlebars firmly so they cant turn to either side.

Push up with your legs to stand. Do not overly strain your back. Your bike, which is resting on your shoulder, should rise with you.

Getty Images

Some people, especially those with a shorter reach, may prefer to grab the end of the right handlebar and pull it toward them. This will make it easier to hold but will turn the wheel and make the bike wider as you carry it.

With the bike now secured you will notice that you are not exerting any effort with your upper body to hold the bike up. Instead it rests on your shoulder. If you feel pain in your shoulder, consider putting a backpack strap or sweater on top of your shoulder before resting the bike on it. 

You will notice that the bike does not flop around, and importantly, you are separated from your chain, chainring, and cassette.

With the bike secured you should be able to carry your bike up the stairs or anywhere else you’d like to go with little effort and no grease.