Bike Packing 101

By | September 3, 2015

Bike Packing 101

I have now participated in three RAGBRAI’s.  That is three times I have had to pack my bike up in a box and hope she is not damaged in the process.  I have learned a lot over the last three years.  I no longer trust the animals at TSA to touch my baby.  I am convinced that they open the box, hit everything with a hammer and close it back up.  Instead I ship my bike.  Sure FedEx abuse their packages, but at least they will not be touching my baby with their grimy hands.  If a bike is packed well, it should survive the journey.  This year I used one of the RAGBRAI recommended services.  I have also had success with http://www.shipbikes.com/.

Packing is something you cannot do in a hurry.  I found out the hard way that if you are a rush, things will not end well.  Weight is also important.  I always weigh my bike box.  Instead of trying to describe the process, I thought it would be easier to show you.

Bike Box waiting for its precious cargo.

Bike Box waiting for its precious cargo.  I purchased it off of Craigslist for $50.  I have written my name and address on it with a silver Sharpie.  

Open case, (2) layers of foam, pipe insulation and a couple old hubs.

Open case, (2) layers of foam, pipe insulation, a couple old hubs and my left foot.

The holes in the plastic divider for the wheels.

The holes in the plastic divider for the wheels.

Plastic divider is removed and wheels are in place.  The skewers have been removed from the wheels.

Plastic divider has been removed and wheels are in place. The skewers have been removed from the wheels.  I also like to reduce the air pressure to about 40 psi.  

Plastic divider in place over the wheels.

Plastic divider in place over the wheels.

First layer of foam in place over the divider!

First layer of foam in place over the divider!

Removing the pedals.

Removing the pedals.  Easier done before Removing the wheels.  

Removing the seat.

Removing the seat.

I use the old hubs and skewers to stabilize the frame and fork for travel.

I use the old hubs and skewers to stabilize the frame and fork for travel.

I always remove the rear derailleur and zip tie it to pipe insulation.  Derailleurs are frequently damaged during shipping.

I always remove the rear derailleur and zip tie it to pipe insulation. Derailleurs are frequently damaged during shipping.  I also remove the chain and store it in a plastic bag inside one of the water bottles.  

Bars removed.  I index the bars with silver sharpie for easy reassembly.

Bars removed. I index the bars with silver sharpie for easy reassembly.

Take your time packing your bike.  Here she is ready to be covered with pipe insulation, water bottles, pedals and whatever else I can fit while keeping under the weight limit.

Take your time packing your bike. Here she is ready to be for the top foam and lid with pipe insulation, water bottles, pedals and whatever else I can fit while keeping under the weight limit.  I got a sleeping bag in there.   

Well that is the process.  As mentioned earlier, every year I pack my bike, I learn something.  The next time I would like to improve the following:

  • More pipe insulation to protect the frame.  Anything that can move in the box can damage your bike!  Everything must be secured!
  • Research a better bike box.  There is nothing wrong with the one I have.  If you pay thousands of dollars for your ride, you should not be afraid to spend $300 for a box to protect it.
  • Zip ties!  You can never have enough!
  • Pack the tools you need to assemble and disassemble the bike in the bike box.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.