How to pack your bike for a flight

2019-02-08 Cycling Tips

It’s not the easiest process and it takes a bit of planning and motivation. Although you can hire a bike in most places, often it’s better to take your own especially if you’re planning on doing lots of miles. Places like Majorca can offer you bike hire at very competitive prices but if you’re looking at places like Switzerland or Greece and Cyprus then it will be cheaper to take your own bike. Having said that, taking your bike on the plane, sometimes can cost more than the flight... especially with the likes of Ryanair. Don’t forget, while in the resort you will need to book a bigger taxi, as well, in order fit the bike case. In some instances taxis charge more, so I recommend you to pre-book your Transfers.

Most airlines require you to put your bike in a bike travel bag or bike box in order to check it in. Even if you don’t have to, on some cases, it is recommended in order to protect your bike. Also consider getting insurance for your bicycle if you’re taking it on a flight. Better be safe than sorry.
In order to pack your bike, first, give it a good clean. To get your bike in the box, you will need a couple of allen keys and pedal spanner (depending on pedals). Keep any tools you use in a bag so that you have them with you to reassemble when you arrive in resort!

It’s not that hard to take the bike apart and put it back together... me talking having dismantled the bike a few time. If you book one of our recommended cycling friendly hotels, it will make things easier, as a lot of them have workshops with bike tools and stands. Just take your time putting the bike in the box as it will make things easier to reassemble it in resort.
Start by removing the pedals. Then measure the saddle height, (I normally put a tape around the seat post to mark the seat height) and remove seat post all together with an allen key.
Remove handlebars and attach them to the frame using ties or straps. You will need to loosen top cap and pinch bolts to free the handlebars.

Now it’s time to remove the wheels. For the back wheel, a chain keeper can be useful to keep chain in place although, a lot of boxes got places for securing the frame and chain. You can use plastic bags to wrap around your messy chain. The wheels normally can then be packed to the side of the frame. Use plenty of extra padding like bubble wrap, especially if you’re using a soft bike bag. I do.
Then make sure to secure everything using ties or straps. It is important as it stops all the loose parts moving around in transit. One of the most delicate parts is the rear derailleur. It could bend with a few knocks, so to be on the safe side, you could just use an allen key and remove it. Don’t forget to secure it. It’s easy when the wheel is off and there is no tension on the chain.

Check with the airline, if you can pack clothes in your bike bag in order to secure the bike and have more space in your hold baggage. Some airlines, like EasyJet, don’t allow this... so be careful.
Putting the bike back together, might be a little bit harder but just follow everything in a reverse order. Rear derailleur, wheels, handlebars, seat post and pedals. Just remember when you attach the handlebars to tighten the top screw with a few turns before tighten the side pinch screws.
All the airlines also asking to reduce the tyre pressure, as the cabin pressure can cause the tyres to over inflate so make sure you do. As mentioned above, a lot of the their cycling friendly hotels , we recommend, provide a proper pump for you can inflate the tyres a lot easier than the mini pumps.

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