6 Steps to Shipping a Bike
After spending the winter getting all our cycle gear together we had to figure out a way to get the bikes to our starting point in London, England.
There are basically two methods of shipping a bike; breaking it down and boxing it up, or sliding it into a bag. After researching both methods, and weighing the pros and the cons of each, we decided to go with the bagging method. Not only does it require less taking apart of the bike but there is a theory that if baggage handlers can see that it’s a bike then they will be more careful with it – plus they can’t be stacked like when they are in a box.
You can use any heavy duty plastic bag – it’s finding one that’s big enough that is the tough part. We found these at Wiggle.com and had them sent to us. They are quite a thick polyurethane and stand up well to baggage handling.
Packing them up turned out to be pretty easy.
Protect the derailleur. This isn’t a necessary step but we know from experience that derailleur hangers are easily bent and a bent derailleur can quickly derail a good day. 🙂 It’s held on with just one bolt so comes off really easily. We then just wrapped it in bubble wrap and taped it to the frame for safe keeping.
Bag it up. The bag is just that – a massive plastic bag open at one end. Simply push the bike into the bag, fold over the end, and tape it all up. We used a LOT of tape – we didn’t want any flappy bits and wanted it to be as secure as possible. Once it was all wrapped we realized that one handle bar end looked a little exposed so we cut down a juice bottle and taped it to the end. For the second bike we placed the juice bottle protection inside the plastic wrap. Don’t forget to add some identification! We printed up labels with our name, destination address, and phone number so that they would be reunited with us if they got lost along the way. (Use a transparent report keeper to protect the paper label.)
The bikes have taken one flight since being packed up and they survived quite well. All we need to do for our upcoming flight to London (tomorrow!!) is check on the taping and switch out the address label to our London destination.