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Is there any reliable way to carry a bike (of non-insignificant weight) without ruining the clothes one's wearing?

I live in a part of the world where millions of people ride in plain clothes every day and also do "mundane" stuff like carry groceries on their bike on a 5-10 minute trip. For this reason, I'd like to know how to carry a bicycle without ruining my clothes in the case that I absolutely need to carry it.

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    Why do you travel without spare tube and tire changing tools? – Daniel R Hicks Jul 11 '16 at 11:38
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    I don't get it. A flat tyres doesn't mean you cannot push it. The rim will not deform easily from a few kg of weight. – mootmoot Jul 11 '16 at 12:28
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    @DanielRHicks: Because preparing for the Bicycle Apocalypse for a 20-minute ride would actually take longer than the ride itself? – errantlinguist Jul 11 '16 at 12:32
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    If you're carrying 10kg of "stuff" you can easily afford the added weight of a pump, tube, and tire irons. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 11 '16 at 13:13
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    @errantlinguist you don't have to prepare for the apocalypse, and you don't have to prepare every time. flats are the most common issue by far, so carrying an extra tube and a few tools (2 levers, a pump, and a wrench or whatever) in a dedicated pocket that you simply keep with your lock, for example. (I say that but I don't do it. For now I assume I can lock the bike, take the bus home, come back later in the worst case scenario). – njzk2 Jul 11 '16 at 14:11
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  1. It might be a facetious answer on the face, but seriously - why are you carrying your bike at all?

    Do carry a working mini-tube, pump, two tyre levers and whatever you need to get the wheel completely off if its not a QR (ring spanner, perhaps allen key, maybe special tool for IGHs etc) Some people like disposable gloves for the hand protection. Replace the tube, clear the cause, and ride on. Remember to patch the tube at home, or replace it if its dead.

  2. If you truely have to walk it is to simply wheel it. Take extra care rolling over kerbs/curbs or any other edges. The sidewalls of your tyre will be okay for a bit as long as you're not riding it. Any road bike under 15 kg with clincher tyres will be okay rolling on the tyre for 5 km.

  3. You've done something where it just won't roll. If its the front, haul the front wheel off the ground in a vertical wheelie and roll it on the rear. Hold the handlebars and use the rear brake if you need to.

    3b. If its the rear that is wedged (and this is much more likely) then slip right hand fingers through the top of the wheel and carry it just off the ground. Use your left hand for steering or put your left hand on the saddle and push it with "no-hands" steering You're on the bike's left away from the chain.

  4. Both wheels are buggered, and it won't roll at all? Cyclocross carry, which is either like this: enter image description here

or with the shoulder further back in the triangle, and the right hand on the fork or wheel rim or through to the bars. These ones needs shoulder padding pretty quick, so whip out something cloth or a newspaper.

enter image description here

Note all carrying should be done from the non-drive side of the bike. If you get sore, swap sides but spin the bike as well so you're still on the non-drive side and now the bike is facing backward.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Gary.Ray Jul 13 '16 at 20:15
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I carry my 29er mountain bike all the time because I go up a few flights of stairs most days.

What works best for me is grabbing by the tube in front of the seat and lifting my hand to my shoulder and holding it in my hand. I can then keep it away from my clothing. The bike usually just hangs from the hand, or the hand and the elbow sometimes if it swings in a bit, the elbow keeps it away from my clothes. But normally it just hangs out to the side. If I'm negotiating a turn I use the handle bars with my other hand to turn the wheel appropriately if it's in front of me. Or to steady the bike if it's swinging a bit.enter image description here

3-4 flights of stairs is about all I do on one hand, then I change hands and the bike faces backwards. My body is always the other side of the chain.

Sorry, couldn't get a prettier model at short notice.

  • Strange: At least from what I can see in the photo, this is pretty much exactly how I hold the bike (at the corner of the top tube and seat tube). Unfortunately, doing this for a +25kg bike meant that it rubbed against my clothes and ended up ruining them. Of course, I should have realized that and unloaded it but instead was angry enough to carry the thing home. – errantlinguist Jul 13 '16 at 21:09
  • @errantlinguist I do it most days, never touches my clothes I hold it slightly away from my body, at most my elbow touches, but the elbow will stop the bike getting in contact with the rest of me, unsure how heavy my bike is but it's a big bike. – Kilisi Jul 14 '16 at 6:42
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What I've been finding works is to stand on the side of the bike opposite the drive train, and reach down over the top tube of the bike to the drive-side chainstay, and use that as a handle when picking it up. With the weight of panniers it might only be good for short distances though.

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    Yeah, I tried something like that but the bike was so heavy I ended up rubbing it over my clothes (hence getting it even more dirty). – errantlinguist Jul 12 '16 at 6:08

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