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Packing a bike

July 9, 2006

This is obvious so obvious I seem to forget one thing every time and take the wheels off to soon. When taking a bike apart to pack in a bike box do it in this order:

  1. Remove Pedals. They are sometimes stiff so get the pedals off when the wheels are still on. Remember the left hand pedal has a left hand thread.

  2. Remove Saddle. Again can be stiff but simple to remove when the bike standing on it’s wheels.

  3. Remove Wheels. Take the skewers out and put them in a bag. Put some spacers in to the frame to protect it from crushing.

  4. Remove Chain. Another reason to use a Wipperman or SRAM chain with a quick link. Much easier to put it in a bag for the journey rather than have to tie it up with the bike

  5. Remove rear gear changer. The gear hanger on the drop out is fragile, by removing this you reduce the potential for damaging the frame. With the chain removed you can then use a cable tie to tie the gear changer out of the way.

  6. Put the pedals back on in reverse. So that they are pointing inwards, then tie one to the frame so it can’t move.

  7. Loosen the handlebars and fold them down. Top tip here is if you have a stem with more than one allen bolt then undo them all by exactly one turn. Then to tighten you do them up by exactly one turn thus avoiding the problems of over tightening one bolt and not being able to tighten another which then results in your handlebars creaking.

Then pack it in the box of your choice. I have a VK cycle box which while not as flash as the Scicon box is cheaper and seems to do the job well. Plus you can squeeze a set of bathroom scales in it if you happen to win a pair in the ride number raffle like I did. Like so many others I use pipe lagging to protect the frame and a short section over the chain wheel as well. Pack the frame upside down. This will help protect the fragile bits which are the chainset and rear gear hanger. Then the wheels go in their wheel bags and into the box. Much foam padding is added.

Tags: topic:[cycling]


From → Cycling

  1. Great advice, Chris … I would have probably tried to wing it, and end up damaging parts of the bike or making it difficult to reassemble upon arrival.

  2. Josh Simons permalink

    I can personally attest to the wisdom of #3–inserting spacers. While waiting to board my vacation flight to Stockholm years ago, I watched with horror as the baggage handler in Boston gave a mightly shove to my bike box which was lying horizontally on top of a large pile of baggage next to the plane. The box slid off and landed solidly on the tarmac before being loaded into the plane.

    When I arrived in Stockholm, I found the axle and spacers I had placed in the fork had limited the damage enough so that I was able to reassemble the bike for my trip.

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