I've heard phrases like take a taxi/bus. I wonder if it's also common to say take a bike.
For example:

I take a bike to school.

rather than

I ride a bike to school.


When talking about transport, take can have at least two meanings:

1) to travel somewhere by using a particular form of transport or a particular vehicle, route, etc.
2) to move something or someone from one place to another

We normally use 1) about public transport:

I usually take the train to work
It will be easier if you take a taxi

When used about a vehicle that you own, or it is portable, meaning 2) seems to take precedence:

I took my bike on holiday - the bike was attached to the back my car
Can I take my bike on the train?
I need to take my car to the garage tomorrow.

Your first sentence sounds strange, like you randomly pick up a bike and carry it to school. "Take my bike" might be better.

Your second sentence is therefore more appropriate if you are talking about transport.

NGram is not ideal for checking something like this, because it can't tell the difference between the different meanings of take. For what it's worth, this is what I found.


Both are actually fine. You could also state: "I bike to school."

One of the definitions of the word take is:

Use as a route or a means of transportation

However, "take a bike" generally implies that you are carrying it rather than riding it.
Most people would use "I ride a bike" opposed to "I take a bike" in reference to using a bike for transportation.

  • 1
    Since when does "take a bike" mean "carry a bike"? I'm pretty sure that that's not something native speakers would usually infer.
    – Catija
    Jul 27 '16 at 16:12
  • @Catija well, generally, since one of the definitions of the word take is "Carry or bring with one"
    – gattsbr
    Jul 27 '16 at 16:16
  • 1
    I understand that... what I'm saying is that no one would assume that you carry your bike to school if you're already having a conversation about transportation to work/school. If you really meant "carry", you'd say something like "I drive to school but I take my bike with me so that I can use it to get around campus."
    – Catija
    Jul 27 '16 at 16:16
  • People carry bikes all the time -- You have no logical argument here, other than you want to argue.
    – gattsbr
    Jul 27 '16 at 16:17

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