Carrying a Guitar on a Bike

I embarked on a new adventure this year by enrolling in a guitar class. I was worried about transporting the guitar for two miles, but turns out it’s easy peasy.

Cycling with a guitar on your back is the kind of simple trick that only looks difficult. The case fits on like a backpack and the guitar is pretty light. The bottom of the guitar stops at the top of my saddle, so there’s no interference. The top of the guitar is slim, so it does not obstruct my view looking back.

I already get looks simply for being a woman, on a Dutch bike, in a dress, in extremely cold temperatures.  Add a guitar on top of that and I feel like a regular circus freak.   Life on two wheels: always an adventure.

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29 thoughts on “Carrying a Guitar on a Bike

  1. How awesome! This means I may be able to carry my skis in the same fashion. Just need to get a case with straps, or a regular case and rig up the straps myself. Hmmm.

    Oh and you don’t look like a circus freak! It looks surprisingly “natural” actually. Good luck with the lessons!

  2. Su Yin says:

    Nicely done! Real circus dudes and dudettes play the guitar while riding ;-) Hope you live up to it and post a video sometime.

    I, on the other hand, have a ukulele …

  3. Amsterdamize says:

    lol, really, circus freak? The drama :). To make you feel a bit more relaxed about it all…Amsterdammers (or Dutchies) wouldn’t stare, ridicule, cry laughing or otherwise…the biggest compliment is that they wouldn’t even blink once…it’s just THAT normal! :-p

    Speaking of dudes and dudettes playing the guitar while riding (sorry, only link to that post on Facebook, as Amsterdamize is down at the moment)

  4. dukiebiddle says:

    I get a hoot out of the bass players from the conservatory in my neighborhood. They have the same type of cases, but are so huge that when you walk behind them they look like animatronic musical instruments walking down the street

  5. anna says:

    Long time back a friend of mine got stopped by the police because he was cycling with a cello on his back. They obviously thought that this can’t be legal. But, well, luckily it is no problem!

    Have fun with your guitar lessons. I never got that far, although I once bought an E-guitar :).

  6. Cherilyn says:

    @Lovely Bicycle! – I live in Bozeman, MT and have seen several people bike commuting with their skis, though I have yet to try it. It can be done!

  7. Cherilyn says:

    Dottie–How are the new boots working? They look great, of course!

  8. Never a circus freak! They’re probably just looking on in envy because you look like you’re having such fun.

    I am wondering though if your legs get cold biking in a skirt in the Chicago winter – though maybe you’re working hard enough to keep yourself warm?

  9. bonified says:

    @Cherilyn – Yes Dottie, tell us more about the shoes! I am on a hunt for good winter shoes that won’t make my feet freeze on the bike.

  10. delores says:

    I have been afraid to bike with my guitar…that I’ll get in that first ever accident. So I walk a mile to my lessons. I might try biking though because it’d be so much faster! I do bike with yoga stuff on my back. Sometimes people give me weird looks for that! Seems that anything that can be strapped on to you or the bike is good for carrying!

  11. Scott says:

    @Lovely Bicycle! – Hey I rode with skis once. They are much heavier than a guitar. I ended up with the strap over my shoulder and holding the skis by my side like a lance.

  12. Christa says:

    Sounds fun!

    I’ve seen it only once in Santa Barbara.

    My most awkward and fun cycling task was transporting delicate plants.

  13. Sox says:

    Those looks are ones of amazement and jealousy.

  14. Dottie says:

    @Cherilyn and bonified – the boots are really good. Not perfect because after my first ride (about 40 minutes in 7 degrees F) my toes were cold by the end, but nothing extreme. All rides since then in the teens F have been toasty warm. Also, good tread when walking. I wanted something inexpensive, knee high, lined with fluffy stuff, at least a little cute, waterproof and warm. Instead of researching it to death, I went to DSW and tried on all the snowboots. The ones I bought are called Bare Traps.

  15. Dottie says:

    @Imaginary Bicycle – My legs usually are not cold because I almost always put on a pair of thin wool leggings under my skirts or sometimes double up with two pairs of tights. On the ride pictured my legs were cold because I forgot to put on my leggings and was wearing non-wool, regular tights. The ride was only 2 miles each way, though, and I find that I don’t mind cold legs so much. As long as my toes, fingers and ears are warm, I’m okay. I could never stop wearing skirts and dresses just to bike commute, because they make up most of my wardrobe.

  16. Melissa Hope S says:

    You looks so hard core!

  17. David says:

    I was riding after a big snow storm this winter in the icy trails. And a guy went zooming past me with a big old horn of some type. Not a tuba, but close. I was surprised at his speed on the ice, and with a big Brass Horn on his back.

    I have one of those backpack type guitar cases as well. But never used it for anything yet. Been playing 25+ years, so I don’t take lessons.

  18. […] Carrying a Guitar on a Bicycle […]

  19. sara says:

    Fun! Good for you for taking guitar lessons. One of my twins take guitar lessons & the other, violin. We have a bunch of snaps of their instruments on/in our bikes & they always make me smile.

  20. Dave says:

    I’ve thought about getting a case like that for my cello as well, though these days I carry it around little enough it doesn’t really matter. If I ever start playing in a group again though, I’ll definitely have to look into it.

  21. I have just begun to tackle the take a guitar on a bike ride issue. I’ve tried strapping it to my back, but it’s a bit uncomfortable. I have bungee’d it to my bike’s rear rack on top of my panniers, but then I’m a bit wide for riding in traffic. My next idea is to screw two hooks into my hardshell guitar case and a bungee with a hook so that I can attach my guitar case directly to my rear rack the same way my panniers hook on. Anyone tried this yet?

  22. caktho says:

    guitar and bike, that’s very cool

  23. browse . says:

    I’ve got a soft guitar case with backpack like straps, but the neck of the guitar sticks straight up behind my head, which makes wearing a helmet impossible. Have you found a solution to this problem?

    • LGRAB says:

      I wear a helmet and just lean my head forward a bit. Not the most comfortable, but not impossible.

      • I’ve found this to be a significant problem — I can’t look straight forward or turn my head easily when I’m wearing my guitar. I’d really like a soft case that lets me wear the guitar at an angle, so the neck sticks up over my shoulder. Haven’t found one yet.

  24. Guest says:

    I play as I ride; I ride as I play. I call it “riding the guitar while playing the bicycle.” Check out my BicyclingGuitarist YouTube channel to see videos of this. I’ve done it tens of thousands of miles since the early 1980s which is why I am known as The Bicycling Guitarist. Peace

  25. Chris Watson says:

    I play as I ride. I call it riding the guitar while playing the bicycle. I’ve done this tens of thousands of miles since the early 1980s on the same bicycle and with the same guitar since the late 1980s. Check out the “BicyclingGuitarist” channel on YouTube to see this for yourself. Peace

  26. richard boatwright says:

    I used to bike to band practice and thos is not as easy with a bass. It ends 4 inches below my seat, is far enough above my head to catch rogue tree limbs, and the bag is wide enough to catch enough air to slow me down quite a bit. Especially on a windy day.
    I lean forward till the bass is parallel to the ground and that seems to be the only way to gaget along quickly and safely.

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