If you're going to transport your bike by air, then twenty minutes of packing will give your bike a flighting chance when at the mercy of the airline baggage handlers. We've put together our guide to packing your bike into a bike box and a bike bag.
What you need:
1. Foam pipe lagging - get different diameters to suit different tube
2. Bubble wrap - always useful and you can never have too much!
3. Packing or masking tape
Step 1 - Pedals and the chain
Take off the pedals and remove the wheels from the frame. Put the chain in the outer chainring. This will prevent the teeth cutting through the bottom of the bike bag or getting bent.
Step 2 - Remove the derailleur
Next, remove the rear derailleur using a 5mm Allen key. There is no need to disconnect the cable. Wrap the derailleur in bubble wrap. We recommend using our frame spacer (£16.99). This sits in place, holds the chain taught, and will help stop the rear seatstays being pushed together if there is pressure on the rear drop out.
Step 3 - Protect the fork
Insert a fork spacer into the front front. For maximum protection use an old pair of worn out hubs.
Step 4 - Remove the handlebars
If you are packing your bike into a box you will need to remove the handlebars from the fork. Read a little further below about what to do if you are packing into a bag.
Loosen the stem cap bolt and then pull the stem upwards so the stem and handlebars a no longer attached to the bike.
Remember to put the stem cap back into the bike, so you don't leave it behind.
If you are packing your bike into a bike bag you need to turn the bars.
Mark the position/angle of the bar with tape. Put a line on the tape next to the clamp bolts to you can easily align your bars instead of messing around with your position later.
Loosen the front clam bolts and stem clamp bolts too. Keep the forks facing forward and rotate the stem 90 degrees. Then rotate the bars and hook under the top tube. Once the bars are in position lightly tighten the bolts.
Step 5 - Mark the seatpost
Mark the position of the seatpost before removing and wrapping in bubble wrap.
Step 6 - Protect the frame
Use lengths of pipe lagging to protect the frame from chips. Wrap the front forks with bubble wrap and secure with tape.
Step 7a - Secure the wheels for a bike box
Place the frame into the base of the bike box, with the handlebars next to the bike. The cables are still connected so be aware of pulling on the cables or kinking them. Cover the frame with the foam.
Undo the smaller bolt from the skewer. Put the wheel in the arch on the inside of the box. Push the quick release skewer through the hole in the box and tighten with the bolt on the other side of the box. This holds the wheels in securely.
Step 7b - Wheel bags
If you are taking a bag - place the wheels into wheel bags and make sure you remove the skewers and place them in the little pockets.
Don't leave loose items floating around in the bag or box that can chip your frame; use internal pockets or secure items with bubble wrap.
Keep an eye on the overall weight of your packed bag. If you are going to put energy drinks, shoes and other bulky items in the bike bag, to save space, be aware airlines are clamping down on oversize baggage weights.
Off to ride a foreign sportive? You probably won't be the only cyclist on your plane, so make sure that your bike bag/box is distinctive so you don't end up with the wrong package.