Making sure your bike arrives in one piece means breaking it down and placing it into a well padded bike bag or box. It may be time consuming but it is well worth the effort.
Travelling to far away sunny (hopefully) destinations by plane is great apart from only one slight hassle – packing your bike.
Here are a few tips on how to pack your pride and joy.
Find some room
I always lay the bag out open and make sure everything is intact and there’s nothing I’ve forgotten about since my last trip. Get some bubble wrap, cloths and plastic bags together and have them at hand. The Evoc bag also has a frame/headtube protector which should be placed with the other packing materials.
Pedals, post, bars – off!
Remove the pedals and seatpost and because this is a bag you only need to remove the bars from the stem not the entire bar and stem combo. Make sure you know which position the bars should go back in, I use a piece of tape marked with the current position.
Wrap the seatpost in bubble wrap, I always place in a plastic bag as well.
Wrap the chain in a cloth or bubble wrap to protect from damaging the chainstay. Some people put the chain round the outer chainring also.
Unscrew rear mech
Remove the rear mech from the frame, no need to break the chain, and place in bubble wrap.
Frame dropout spacer
Put a spacer in between the rear stays. Your local bike shop will have hundreds of these if you ask nicely you may get one. There are specialist spacers available to buy which also have a cog attached to keep the chain from moving around.
Protect your fork ends
Place the bike in the bag, In this Evoc bike bag model there is a special protective compartment for the forks which protects and keeps them in place by simply tighten the straps.
Strap it down
Strap the frame into the bag using the Velcro straps provided to stop it moving around in transit. It’s also worth padding the areas which the straps come in contact with the frame to avoid potential damage.
Most bags have in internal compartment to carry accessories, put the pedals and wheels skewers in here.
Turn the handlebars and place them alongside the frame and make sure levers are protected and nothing is liable to bash or rub against the frame. Bubble wrap and cloths is best here and make sure the bars are strapped down to avoid movement. Place the wrapped seatpost inside the bag and fasten down so it is well away from the frame.
Last in are the wheels. Bags either have separate padded wheel bags or compartments within the bag/box. Skewers have already been removed and placed inside the bag but check again to make sure at this point as I have known people leave them behind before. Deflating the tyres is a hotly debated subject so we’ll leave that to your personal preference as there’s no rule to say you have to.
Check there are no worrying bulges or rattles and then you are good to go. Make sure you check your airline’s weight policy before you bung a week’s clothing in there as well as there’s usually a 20kg weight limit with most on sports equipment these days.
Recommended bike bags
I’ve packed may bikes into many different types of bags and boxes over the years but my favourite bag is now the Evoc Bike Travel Bag which is suitable for both road and mountain bikes. It’s got plenty of space, lots of internal attachment areas, good wheels, plenty of very useful grab handles on the outside and most importantly plenty of padding without weighing too much.
Have a nice trip!