How To Use A Rear Bike Rack

Are you wondering how to use a rear bike rack? It’s straightforward.

Once you fit the rack on the back of your bike, you can use it to carry groceries, a pet, a child, or personal items.  

To ensure that this is the case, you may have to add a few extras to it. For example, you’ll need a dog bike basket if you plan to carry your puppy and a rare-mounted kids’ bike seat if you plan to bring your toddler.

Similarly, you need a bike-mounted grocery basket if you intend to carry groceries on the rack.

But does it mean that you’ve to get these add-ons to use a bike’s rear rack? Of course not. You can place some things directly on the bike rack and clamp or strap them.

Now, how about we look at the various ways on how to use a bike rack.

How To Use A Rear Bike Rack As It Is (Placing Things Directly On It)

Most rear bike racks feature a spring clamp that you can use to hold down something light like a jacket or sweater. You need to place the item directly on the bike rack and clamp it down.

But as you might have guessed, you won’t have much room to carry enough supplies, let alone heavy stuff. So, you may have to consider the options below depending on what you plan to carry on the rear bike rack.

How To Use A Rear Bike Rack With A Strap

If you are a commuter, you don’t have to carry your backpack on your back. Just get a bike strap and use it to tie it on the bike rack.

You can also strap your jacket, books, tools, and shopping bag on the rack. Generally, this option is worth considering when the first method (direct placing) doesn’t work for you.

Using It With A Grocery Basket

You can attach a grocery basket to your rear bike rack to enable you to carry as many supplies as you want. That saves you from having to overload your bike’s handlebar with groceries.

Also, putting groceries in a basket means they’ll be well aerated when cycling.  

In case you are looking for a bike-mountable grocery basket, you cannot go wrong with the Topeak Trolley Tote Folding Basket.

 The basket comes with a 25-liter capacity, a size enough to carry all your grocery supplies from the store.

It’s made from high-grade plastic and features an aluminum handle to give it an overall solid build. It’s also easy to mount on the rack and readily collapsible for easy storage.

Using It With A Rear-Mounted Child Seat

You don’t have to leave your kid behind when you go cycling. Provided that they are about a year old or older, you can tag them along.

All you need is a rear-mounted child seat that you can fit on your bike rack.

Generally, these seats are designed with the safety of kids in mind. So, you don’t have to worry about your child falling off in the middle of the road.

In addition to featuring safety straps, a majority of them feature removable headrests and adjustable footwells. That’s what you get from the Schwinn Deluxe Bicycle-Mounted Child Carrier.

Besides the removable headrest and adjustable footwells, this bike seat also features a three-point harness for your child’s safety.

Additionally, it’s well vented and padded to guarantee a comfortable ride for the little one.

How Do You Use A Rear Bike Rack With A Pet Basket?

If you like taking your pet with you, you can do it by attaching a pet bike basket on the rear rack. Pet bike baskets are specifically designed for the pet.

So, they come with soft padding to cushion your animal friend against massive impact. They also come with safety straps to prevent the pet from jumping off the bike.

That is the case with the BiKase Dairyman Rear Basket Pet Kit. The pet bike basket suits small pets, not more than 12 pounds.

It features a zippered top to enable your pet to breathe freely and a padded interior to give it comfort. But still, you can use this basket for groceries.

It comes with a quick-release for mounting and dismounting it with ease and a safety tether for attaching it to the bike rack.

Using it With A Bike Pannier

You might have seen them around. Panniers are bags that are popularly sold in pairs to allow easy slinging over the rear bike rack.

Though pannier bags are typical with picnics and tours, you can use them to carry groceries and commute. You can even bring tools, books, a jacket, or any other small item in a pannier.

Most bike panniers come with multiple pockets to carry most of your stuff, which means you don’t have to take a backpack. One such option is the BV Bike Bag Bicycle Pannier.

The pannier comes with large side pockets to give you more storage.  Plus, it has a reflective trim to allow other road users to spot you at night.

What’s more, this pannier is easily adjustable and easy to sling over the back bike rack.

Top 3 Rear Bike Racks Reviewed

1. Dirza Rear Bike Rack

DIRZA Rear Bike Rack Bicycle Cargo Rack Quick Release Adjustable Alloy Bicycle Carrier 115 lbs Capacity Easy to Install Black
3,524 Reviews
DIRZA Rear Bike Rack Bicycle Cargo Rack Quick Release Adjustable Alloy Bicycle Carrier 115 lbs Capacity Easy to Install Black
  • STURDY:This bike carrier rack is made of durable aluminum alloy,strong and well built bike rack for carrying lots of weight.
  • QUICK RELEASE:Quick release mount at seat post.Easy to install and come with tools and installation instruction.

The Dirza Rear Bike Rack comes in a sturdy aluminum design to allow you to carry as much as 115 pounds. So, it’s perfect for carrying cargo on your bike.

It has a quick-release clamp that lets you place cargo directly on it without the need for strapping. The heavy duty rear bike rack comes with installation tools, and it only takes minutes to mount it on your bike.

This rear bike rack enjoys a W-design that prevents the pannier from reaching the tires. It’s generally an excellent choice for road cycles and mountain bikes.

Highlight Features

  • Sturdy aluminum frame
  • W-design
  • Quick-release
  • Ready-to-install
  • 115-pound carrying capacity

2. West Biking Bike Carrier Rack

West Biking Bike Carrier Rack, 310 LB Capacity Solid Bearings Universal Adjustable Bicycle Luggage Cargo Rack,Cycling Equipment Stand Footstock
1,471 Reviews
West Biking Bike Carrier Rack, 310 LB Capacity Solid Bearings Universal Adjustable Bicycle Luggage Cargo Rack,Cycling Equipment Stand Footstock
  • 🎁 𝗔𝗹𝘂𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝗺 𝗔𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘆 + 𝗦𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗱 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗟𝗼𝗮𝗱 𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 - Aircraft grade aluminum, firm and durable. Solid axle, strong load (140kg-180kg capacity), essential for long rides. NOTE: After you have used it for a period of time, please check whether the screws in various parts are loose
  • 🎁 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗳 (𝗙𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝟮𝟬 𝗧𝗼 𝟳𝟯.𝟲 𝗖𝗠) - Fit for most bikes, such as road bikes, mountain bikes, thick bikes, etc. (The children's bike and the Trek Verve cannot be used.) Comes with installation tools and instructions, easy to install

If you are looking for a greater holding capacity, think no further than the West Biking Bike Carrier Rack. Capable of holding up to 310 pounds, the rack is perfect for bikers who carry huge loads.

The rack is wipe-friendly, scratch-proof, and rustproof.

It comes in a robust aluminum alloy construction, which explains its massive weight capacity. The rack comes with the necessary assembly tools and features an adjustable shelf.

What’s more, it features a reflective tail for your road safety. Generally, it’s perfect for fat bikes, road cycles, kids’ bikes, and mountain bikes.

Highlight Features

  • Reflective tail
  • 310Lb capacity
  • Assembly-ready
  • Adjustable shelf
  • Rust and abrasion-resistant

3. Topeak Explorer Rack

Topeak Explorer Bicycle Rack with Disc Brake Mounts
3,767 Reviews
Topeak Explorer Bicycle Rack with Disc Brake Mounts
  • Used by both professional and amateur riders alike
  • Made using high quality materials and components

Topeak Explorer Rack is for those who are not planning to carry a lot of load on their bike rack. Its holding capacity is only 55 pounds, but that doesn’t make it the wrong choice.

On the contrary, it’s the best rear bike rack for commuting.

The rack is easy to install and fits on most bikes. It’s made of hollow aluminum, which, despite being lightweight, is rust-resistant and solid. All of its components are high-quality.

With this rack, you can mount a backpack, grocery basket, or pannier on it.

Highlight Features

  • 55-pound capacity
  • Hollow aluminum frame
  • High-quality component


1. What Is The Back Rack On A Bike For?

The bike’s back rack is a versatile add-on. You can use it to carry cargo, groceries, a pet, a child, or even your backpack.

You can even place items like tools and books directly on it.

Generally, it depends on what you attach to it. If it’s something light, you can clamp it down or strap it on the rack.

But if it’s a child or pet, then you’ll need a kids’ bike seat and pet basket, respectively.

2. How Do You Attach A Rear Bike Rack?

For starters, you have to have the necessary supplies. They include:

  • Rear bike rack
  • Washers
  • Screws
  • Rubber spacers
  • Side guards (2)
  • Adjustable arms (2)
  • Wrenches

Then you should follow these steps:

  1. Use the washers and screws to attach the side guards. Meanwhile, fit the adjustable arms perfectly on the bike’s central mounting hole.
  2. Remove the screws at the bottom of the rack to fit the fender.
  • Attach the rubber spacers on the cramp inside.

It’s that simple.

3. What Should I Put On My Rear Bike Rack?

Some rear bike racks come with a quick-release clamp, which means you don’t have to add any accessories.

That’s unless you want to carry something big. For example, if you’re going to bring a pet, you’ll need a bike pet basket, and if you’re going to carry your child, you’ll need a bike baby seat.

4. What Is The Holding Capacity Of A Rear Bike Rack?

It depends on the type of bike rack, its size, and overall construction. Some rear bike racks have a 20-50 pound carry capacity, while others carry as much as 300 pounds.

5. Can I Carry A Backpack On A Rear Bike Rack?

Yes, you can if the bike rack has mounting/attachment points that we call eyelets. You can use the eyelets to attach the backpack.

If the eyelets are absent, then place the backpack in the middle of the rack and strap it. Alternatively, you can mount a basket on the bike rack and then put your bag inside it.

In Conclusion

Now you know how to use a rear bike rack. Hopefully, you can put your bike rack to better use. It has so many capabilities to leverage, and the above ideas are just a fraction.