It is that time of year when our thoughts turn to holidays, trips, travel and riding in distance locations. Inevitably, at some point this means packing a bike for air travel. So I thought we’d document the process – it is quite a common question and popped up a few times on our Facebook page last summer.
I’m using a mountain bike here, but the principles remain broadly the same – however, if you are packing a high end carbon road bike, more care is definitely required and I recommend you consider a specialist bike bag. The Evoc bike bag is the best I have seen in use, though comes at a high price. I do not recommend the bike bag shown in these pictures – the wheels fell off after one trip!
Things you need:
> Bike bag (optional, you could get away with just the box, depending on how far you have to carry it either end of your journey)
> Bike box from your local store
> Fork spacer
> Heavy duty tape
> Some extra bits of cardboard
> Zip ties
Step 1. Get a bike box from your local store and place it inside your bag Tip: measure the bag first to make sure the bike box fits inside the bag!
Step 2. Remove pedals and wheels. I’ve wrapped the brake rotors and cassette in bubble wrap.
Step 3. Put some spacers or a bit of card between your brake pads to stop them locking together.
Step 4. Put a fork spacer in the front forks (this fork has a maxle so no need).
Step 5. Remove the rear mech, and tape it to the inside of the rear swingarm. This will stop it getting bent or damaged. Then bubble wrap it against the frame.
Step 6. Remove your pedals. Bubble wrap the drive chain and tape the cranks horizontal.
Step 7. Remove the handle bars from the steerer (and screw the headset cap back on so it doesn’t get lost). Then zip tie the brakelevers inwards so they are out of the way.
Step. 7. Bubblewrap the handlebars well and tape them against the top tube, making sure everything is secure and there is no metal on metal anywhere. Remove the saddle, and then I’ve wrapped the forks and protected the front brake also.
Step 9. Loads more bubble wrap around the whole lot, and I’ve made a little cardboard cover for front and rear, just as a little bit more protection.
Step 10. Now everything is ready to place everything in the box: frame first, then wheels (with rotors facing inwards). Pack everything else around it, and wedge anything that might mover around. If you use pads or body armour, a good tip is to wedge these all around as a bit more protection.
Step 11. All done! Bike arrrived in perfect condition, though I have to say it was slightly less meticulously packed on the return journey. Bon vacances!