I want to buy a heavy 20kg bag of rice and bring it home.

The problem is that I only have access to a bike without any rack or formal way to store bags. The bag is too big to fit in my backpack. The distance is about 3km from the shop to my home.

I am using a Bixi (Shared bike in Montreal). There are stations near both my home and the store.

How can I safely carry heavy and bulky items on a bike without a rack?

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    A 20kg bag? I'd say you can't. Cycle home, and come back with a bigger backpack. Or cut the rice bag open, fill your pack, fill your pockets, and your socks. Tie knots in your trouser cuffs, and fill your pants as well. Fill your hat if you have one. If there's any left over, leave it for the birds. – JHCL Aug 23 '16 at 13:44
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    @JHCL I cannot agree. Such a load can be balanced on the head. People have been doing it for millenia. The OP just has to ride with care. It will not harm the rice if it's dropped once or twice. – andy256 Aug 23 '16 at 13:55
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    @andy256 - I'm aware that people have been doing all sorts of dangerous things for millenia. If he drops the bag onto his back wheel, harm to the rice is the least of his problems. – JHCL Aug 23 '16 at 14:00
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    I would probably put the bag in the frame/seat/bars and walk it home. 3km should be around 45 minutes. Not the most funny ride, but hopefully you only do that once is a while and next time you'll have a rack? – njzk2 Aug 23 '16 at 14:01
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    I think i would drape it over the handlebars, it won't be easy and it will probably be a major pain but i don't see many other routes. Except perhaps making some sort of strap configuration to strap it on your back. – Nate W Aug 23 '16 at 14:53

Put it on the handlebars, it should be fairly easy since the bag will settle into place and the weight will hold it there. Drive carefully of course. I've taken a full crate of beer on my handlebars in my youth, much trickier to balance and you have to hold it with one hand, but I made it several times with no problems.

A bag of rice would be easy.

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    Amateurs... : P – Nate W Aug 25 '16 at 15:29
  • (Very) late update: This is what I ended up doing without issue. It did make seering a bit harder because of the inertia, but nothing that couldn't be managed. – JS Lavertu May 22 '20 at 1:24

Depending on your backpack you may be able to lash it to the outside. I've carried bike wheels this way. I've also carried 10-15kg backpacks while riding, so know it takes some care. You might have to ride quite gently but that's OK over 3 km. I'd probably have the sack sideways across the backpack, rather than vertical, as it's less likely to slip between the straps.

Buying a bigger backpack might be a good idea if this is going to become a habit.

The backpack I used has straps on the outside running from bottom to top, so a big load can be held between them and the backpack itself. An additional side-to-side strap/rope is a good idea. If you think it feels like it's started moving, get off and have a look.

Alternatively, don't take the bike, walk with the sack on your shoulder.

  • A 20 kg sack of rice is big. – Batman Aug 23 '16 at 16:05
  • Yes. I'm familiar with 25kg sand and the rice would be bulkier. @Batman. – Chris H Aug 23 '16 at 17:05
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    Could use an old frame pack minus the bag, and a big roll of tape. – BPugh Aug 26 '16 at 12:13

You can set up a hitch and trailer and tow the cargo. This of course requires the equipment and know-how to set it up but it might be a viable option if you can do it.

Here is an example of one:

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    This may not combine well with "have access to a bike" -- that sounds like borrowing it and fitting/storing trailers might not be possible – Chris H Aug 23 '16 at 15:43
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    @ChrisH Exactly, I'm using a Bixi parcjeandrapeau.com/medias/images/header/… – JS Lavertu Aug 23 '16 at 15:54
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    So even if you had a trailer it probably wouldn't fit on the rather unusual chainstay. And if you had somewhere you could keep a trailer you could use it to store a practical bike. – Chris H Aug 23 '16 at 15:56
  • This was my idea, but it would be a seatpost mount instead. However, some trailers are small enough that they break down and fit in the coat closet. – BPugh Aug 26 '16 at 12:10

Get 3 sturdy bags, and few small plastic ones. Divide rice in small plastic bags and tie them securely so they won't spill. Then divide small bags in big sturdy ones.

Put one bag in designated place in front the handlebars (I'd guess it would accept about maybe 7-8kg?) and hook one each side of the handlebars. You can even put some in backpack. Then drive slowly (the bags will make it harder to turn!) or even just push bike to the home (part or all the way) if unsure of yourself (3km is not that much as mentioned bbefore

Another option that may be possible if the store has lockers (or helpfull staff) is to leave half the rice in the store and then do two 10kg trips which should be much easier.

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