It’s vacation time and you’re really excited to take that trip abroad. One of the things that you look forward to the most is trying all those new and exciting trails! The only thing that you’re worried about is how you’re going to take your bike on a plane with you.
How do you pack a road bike for a holiday abroad?
No one can deny that flying can be quite stressful as it is. Now add to that the anxiety of having to hand over your precious road bike to the baggage handlers, not to mention those excess baggage fees that no one anticipates.
Bags or Boxes?
When making a decision between getting a bike bag or a bike box, the first consideration you should make is the amount of travelling you do. If you just fly overseas occasionally, then a bag will work perfectly for you. But if you travel constantly, then for your bike’s protection and your peace of mind, a hard case is what we suggest. Another thing that you should consider of course, is the type of bike you have.
If you are on a tight budget, and neither option is a possibility, you can use cardboard boxes. The good thing about boxes is how lightweight they are, which can help lessen those excess baggage charges. Note, however, that boxes are not durable and they can’t offer the same protection that a fabric bag or a box can.
Bike bags are a great investment, especially if you regularly transport your bike, whether it’s by plane, bus, train, or car. It’s also perfect for long-term storage. Hard bike cases offer unparalleled protection, but carrying them around and stashing them in cars can be quite challenging, too.
Packing Your Road Bike
You are going to need some bike breaking-down tools to pack your bike, as well as bubble wrap, zip ties or toe straps, duct tape, a rag, and some spare cardboard. Many bike bags and hard cases include packing accessories, so make sure that you check before you purchase. Once you have all that, follow these steps:
- Remove the pedals, as well as the seat post and saddle.
- Remove the wheels and slightly deflate the ti41res. Remove the quick-release skewers, too, and tape them to the spokes. You can also stash them in a bag pocket.
- Remove the rear hanger and derailleur. Bubble-wrap the derailleur and strap it between the rear stays.
- Position the handlebars. You can either turn the stem sideways and the bars downwards under the top tube. You can also remove the bars and just strap them in that position.
- Position the cranks parallel. Pad the chain ring’s bottom. Add foam padding anywhere that’s likely to get scratched.
- Bag or box it all up. If you are using a bag and it includes padded wheel bags, then use those and position the wheels on either side of the bike. If you are using a box, place the bike, right way up and put in both wheels. Make sure that you pad all contact points. Zip-tie the wheels to the frame.
- Close the bag and zip-tie between the zips. Using a padlock can be inconvenient because the security will probably want to open the bag. If using a box, seal the box using a duct tape. Don’t forget to use a luggage tag for your bag or to write your name, destination, and contact details on the box.
Remember that you should check your bike for any damage or loss before clearing customs. Otherwise, the liability of the airline will be limited. Don’t forget to ask for a written confirmation from baggage handlers if there’s any damage.