Packing a bike

19 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

A fellow member was kind enough to loan me their bike case for my upcoming trip to Mallorca. I am going to the bike shop this weekend to have them pack the bike.

Anything in particular I should make sure they do/don't do to ensure safe transport of the bike and easy assembly on arrival?


Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
Learn to do it yourself?

How do you plan to put the bike back togather after you got there?

Anonymous's picture
Ron Torok (not verified)

"the bike ""camp"" said they would help me out. They have a full repair shop."

Anonymous's picture
Kate (not verified)

"remember marks wear off! and I don't like the sticky residue tape leaves so if you like the way your bike fits you then I would photograph the set up with the measuring tape in the picture including where you've taken the measurements too and from.

also don't throw away the packing material until your bike is FULLY assembled. you think you've claimed all the bits a pieces and stuff until it's too late and you've thrown something out with the packing material. Also you can re-use the material to get your bike back home.

Cover your chain and all lubed parts so it doesn't get all over the interior of the box and get everything ""that no longer fits into your suitcase because you are bringing home more than you took"" all greasy.

finally put identification inside the box and photograph so heaven forbid something happens you have ""proof"".

have fun on your trip!!!

Anonymous's picture
Fendergal (not verified)

You all are making this sound much, much more difficult than it actually is. All you need is a pedal wrench and a good set of allen keys. Fitting the wheels, handlebars and frame into your box will take a bit of figuring out. Use electrical tape for the seatpost and stem; it doesn't leave marks. Take a little tube of grease for the seatpost and pedals.

Anonymous's picture
Leigh Fanner (not verified)
Don't take your bike!!

My good friends Bruce and Lisa who are both ex top class racing cyclists from the UK run a cycle hire operation in Mallorca called Pro Cycle Hire.

You can hire a Giant bike of any size (brand new) TDF standard Dura Ace etc for £125 for 7 days. That's $215. No packing, no transport expense, no risk of damage etc. Bruce will get you set up perfectly. He knows the importance of getting every little detail right for your valuable week on the island. Mention my name (Leigh Fanner).

I'm moving to NY on March 4th by the way. Looking to join you guys on the club runs and chain gangs.


Anonymous's picture
David Schlichting (not verified)

"Fendergal pretty much summarizes it.
Based upon my experiences and observations, I would add:
If the baggage screening area is upfront around the check in area where you have to turn over the bike case for inspection, try to make contact with the TSA inspector person and do some schmoozing: ""here's my bike; I can open the case for you here if you'd like, blah, blah, blah.""
Try to thread bungee cords through everything in the box to make a single unit. If the TSA opens the box in the bowels of the airport and does not close it properly, maybe there will be a chance things will stay together, instead of your wheels ending up in Nigeria."

Anonymous's picture
Ron Torok (not verified)

What about removal of the rear deraeller; someone mentioned that would be prudent so it does not get bent.

Anonymous's picture
Fendergal (not verified)

Rear derailleur? Overkill.

This is what you need to do: remove pedals, pull seatpost out, remove wheels, remove skewers from wheels, hang chain on chain hanger (if you got one), remove stem from headtube.

Secure all loose parts (such as pedals and skewers) so that if the box is opened, you can be assured that they won't go flying. (For example, I bag and tape the pedals into a bottle cage.) If you're worried about larger pieces banging around, tie them together with an old tube or use cardboard to keep metal ends from touching.

Anonymous's picture
Colleen (not verified)
pet trauma?

That's what I want to know about. And what I really want is for you to come pack my bike this summer. Maybe beers on the patio in exchange?

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Two Suggestions

1) If you have a carbon fiber seatpost or downtube, do not lube it.

2) Put your helmet inside the tube triangle. This will reinforce the case against side impact, protecting the frame.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
More incentive to do it yourself

You already went to the trouble (and your friend's trouble) of borrowing the case. If you go to a bike shop and have them pack it, it's hardly any more expensive than having them use one of their own boxes. Being a real wimp myself about packing (and rebuilding) my tri bike, I almost wish I had never purchased the case.

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
bad advice

"""Rear derailleur? Overkill""

Yeah, right!

Until you had a bend/broken one, that is! (or you don't mind riding an expensive single speed for your vacation)

Coming back from San Francisco after New Year, I packed my (very old) mountain bike in a plastic bag with almost no padding. It came through with no demage at all! Would I recommend packing a bike in a $30 bag from Performance? No way! Just because my bike didn't suffer demage this time doesn't mean you won't. By the same token, just because you haven't had a broken derailleur YET doesn't mean it's a good idea to leave it there.

Once you see the frame without the wheels, you'll understand. The derailleur sticks way out, like a big sign ""come hit me""! If I'm PAYING the bike shop to pack my bike, I would INSIST they take the rear derailluer off! (I tape it securely between the chain stay so no need to undo the chain)"

Anonymous's picture
David Schlichting (not verified)

If the bike is able to be secured inside the case, removal of the RD may be irrelevant --or there maybe no choice: my traveling companion on last year's tour in the Alps had a 56cm Raleigh touring bike and that Performance case. With seat, handlebars and rack removed the bike would still not fit; it was hung on up on the RD. We disconnected the cable, removed the RD, wrapped it in bubble wrap and set it in between the dropouts. The chain is still running through it, so it's not like it was going anyplace.

Anonymous's picture
Sonny (not verified)
Remove the RD

"I packed my bike up last night for a trip today. I have a 60 cm frame so to fit it in the box requires some pretty good manuevering and placement.

I initially left the RD on. It was sticking out slightly outside the box. If I pushed it in towards the bike, I would have no trouble getting it into the box to close.

My fear was that if security opens the box at the airport, when the box is closed again, no one will even notice that the RD has to be manuevered and they will simply try and put the lid down. When the hanger bends or the RD cracks off, I guess the response will be ""Oh well, sucks for this guy. Guess he will have to make a claim for damage."" Of little consolation when I will be in Europe to ride for a week with no RD!

Remove the RD. It is really easy to take off and put on. Put it in a little bag and zip tie it to the frame."

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
I ship via UPS

That way I don't have to lug the bike with me and worry less that it may be opened for personal inspection by an airport contract employee. It may cost you a little more $$.


Anonymous's picture
Palo Alto (not verified)

On international flights, bikes fly free of charge, as long as you don't have more than two pieces of luggage.

Anonymous's picture
Ron (not verified)

Not on Continental airlines.
They charged me $80 each way for the bike!

Anonymous's picture
Stéphane (not verified)
Charge for bikes on international flights

"It is worth checking with different airlines for the same destination, or even for the same flight, since you can purchase your ticket through a partner (different rules will apply, different prices for the ticket and for the bike, although it's the same flight). For example, you can fly from JFK to NICE, France, on the non-stop Delta flight but purchase an Air France ticket instead of a Delta ticket.

Check the page about ""Airline Baggage Regulation for Bikes"" on the International Bicycle Fund Website

Call different airlines before buying your ticket because they change their policies quite often.


Anonymous's picture
David Schlichting (not verified)
Charges for International Flights

The partner thing can be a bit tricky. Of code share contracts with which I am familiar, the operating carrier rules. So if you have a Delta ticket, on a flight operated by Air France, chances are, that the Air France rules will apply --after all Air France people are checking you in, and they do not necessarly know from Delta's rules. Here at SWISS, we allow a hard shell bike case as one of your 2 free pieces, but show up with one of those soft side cases or a cardboard bike shop box and you get nailed. So the advice is warranted: check with your airline. There is no consistency, and unfortunately check in staff, who more often than not, work not for the airline, but for a handling company are pushed to go after excess baggage revenue, so they can get a little bloodthirsty.

cycling trips