Take-Along Bike Rack

You can build a bike rack to store your bikes from lengths of plastic pipe.

| October/November 2011

  • Bike Rack Construction
    This labeled image correlates with the materials list in the article text.
  • Portable Bike Rack
    This easy-to-build bike rack is light enough to transport in a truck bed. 
  • Truck Bike Rack
    The bike rack fits snugly in the back of a pickup. 

  • Bike Rack Construction
  • Portable Bike Rack
  • Truck Bike Rack

My husband built this lightweight bike rack to fit inside our pickup. Two bikes fit forward and one backward. You could make it larger for storing more bikes at home. You could also use PVC and PVC tees in place of the hot-roll we used for the vertical steel dividers and arches so they wouldn’t rust. We used 30 feet of Schedule 40 1-1/4-inch PVC Pipe. All 1-1/4-inch fittings are PVC. We put this together like Tinker Toys. Click here to see the labeled diagram.

Materials List 

4 1-1/4-inch-by-2-3/8-inch lengths of PVC for spacers between Ts on top and bottom back
4 1-1/4-inch-by-3-1/2-inch lengths of PVC for spacers between T and E on top and bottom back
2 1-1/4-inch-by-6-inch for Bottom Front Right and Bottom Front Left (BFR and BFL)
2 1-1/4-inch-by-10-inch for Top Right Horizontal and Top Left Horizontal (TRH and TLH)
2 1-1/4-inch-by-11-1/4-inch for Bottom Middle Right and Bottom Middle Left (BMR and BML)
4 1-1/4-inch-by-23 3/4-inch for Bottom Right Vertical, Bottom Left Vertical, two Bottom Inside Verticals (BRV, BLV, BIV)
2 1-1/4-inch-by-15-inch for and Front Right Vertical and Front Left Vertical (FRV and FLV)
2 1-1/4-inch-by-27-inch for Bottom Back Horizontal and Top Back Horizontal (BBH and TBH)
1 1-1/4-inch-by-35 5/8-inch for Bottom Front Horizontal (BFH)
10 1-1/4-inch Tees (T)
6 1-1/4-inch Ells (E)
2 1-1/4-inch sweep ells (SWE)
4 1-1/4-inch couplings (C)
20 feet of 1/2-inch round-bar hot roll (it’s cheaper): Cut 6 to 26-1/4-inches long and 6 to 23 inches long.
Lumber: One 2-inch-by12-inch-by12-inch with a 4 1/2-inch arc on one upper corner 


Place a T (tee) on one end of both BBH and TBH. Measure 3 3/4-inches from center of the T for the first hole. The next holes are 3 inches, 6 inches, 3 inches, 6 inches, and then 3 inches apart in both BBH and TBH. Insert the six 26-inch steel bars in the drilled holes. Insert BIV in the Ts on both ends and glue together.

To fit the back right end, take two Ts and dry fit them into the BBH and TBH Ts with two 2 3/8-inch PVC for nipples. Then place two 3 1/2-inch PVC nipples in the Ts, then two Es (ells) on the nipples. Insert the BVR between the Es. Dry fit this all together, then glue.

For the front right end, place TRH into the top T, and BMR into the bottom T. On TRH, put a coupling, then a SWE, then another coupling, then FRV, then an E, then BFR. Next use a T to connect this to BMR. Dry fit pieces together, then glue.

Do the same for the entire left side including back left end, except place BFH between the Ts on the bottom, and glue.

Now it’s time for the hot roll bike dividers. Drill holes opposite the BBH into the top of BFH to accommodate the divider bars. Use the six 23-inch steel bars for your arches. Heat the bars with a torch. Bend them smooth around the 4 1/2-inch arc of the wood 2-inch-by-12-inch-by-12-inch. Place one end of each arch in each hole in BFH and weld the other end to the corresponding vertical steel bar in the back. You may have to trim them to fit.

Joyce McLain

Jonesville, Michigan




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