Getting your wheels off

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t always ride out from my house.  Sometimes I’ll drive across town to do a ride or to meet friends to ride with.  When I do that, I have to get my bike into the car.  To do this, I need to get my front wheel off.  Depending on your car, you may need to take your back wheel off as well.  Now, presuming you have quick release wheels (which most bikes have these days), this is not too hard a task.

First, shift into your smallest rear gear and into the small ring on the front.  This will make it easier if you need to take off your back wheel later.

Front wheel

This is the easy one.   If you have V brakes (you’ll know if you do, as you’ll see brakes on the frame near the top of the wheel), you’ll probably have a little lever, to undo.  This moves the brake pads apart, so it’s easier to get your wheel off.   With the bike upright lean over the bike and undo the skewer lever.  This is the lever that comes out of the side of the centre of your front wheel.  Now, on the other side of the skewer (the skewer is the thing that goes through your wheel and holds it onto your bike), you’ll see a little (probably black) knob.  Hold onto this with one hand, and with the other hand, spin the lever anticlockwise.  This helps to loosen the wheel enough to get it out.  Now, lift your bike slightly, and push firmly down on the top of the tyre with the heel of your hand to pop the wheel out.  You will need to use a bit of force (it’s a safety feature in case you forget to do the lever up when you put your wheels on, so that the wheel doesn’t fall off mid ride), but you shouldn’t need a lot of force.  If you can’t get it out, undo the lever a bit more.

Once it’s out, try and put your bike in the car.  If it works, well and good.

However, if you are in a smaller car (or in a sedan as opposed to a hatch), you may need to take your rear wheel off too.  To do this, you need to turn your bike upside down.  If you have a bike computer make sure you don’t scratch it, so grass is often best for this.

Again if you’re using V brakes, undo the little lever on the brakes to widen the brake pads apart. Now undo your skewer lever and loosen the skewer.  Now before you pull out your wheel, you’ll notice that your rear cassette (the circular thing with teeth on your back wheel) and your rear derailleaur (the thing attached to the bike) are getting in the way.  You’ll need to pull your derailleur cage (the long arm thing that your chain goes through) down, and away from the derailleur along the back wheel.  When you do this, you’ll notice that it frees the chain away from your back wheel so you should now be able to pop out your back wheel with your other hand.  Now this can get a bit dirty , as your chain probably has lube on it, not to mention dirt.  If you have a rag or something to do this with, you can stop getting grease everywhere.

Pull the derailleur cage away from the bike

Pop the wheel out

This takes practice.  Don’t worry if it takes you a few goes to do this.

With any luck, your bike should now fit in your car.  If it doesn’t, you probably either need a bike carrier, or a bigger car!


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