So you're going on holiday and taking your bike. How do you pack it?
I have done this many many times now and thought I'd share an idiot-proof, jargon-free step by step process with you.
Now it will largely depend on the type of box you will be transporting your bike in. You have three main options:
1. hard case
2. soft bag
3. cardboard box from a local bike store
I use the third option alot - its easy, cheap, light and you can get alot ofyour luggage around the bike parts which help with protection. I've never had a bike damaged.
YOU WILL NEED: alan keys of various sizes, rags, plenty of space where a little grease on the floor wont matter, gloves (if you're worried about getting greasy hands), bike stand if you have one but not essential.
Take the pedals off
You will need a big alan key with a long lever (see above) as these pedals get really stuck on tight.
Make sure you turn it the right way too. Nothing worse than tightening the suckers up!
Some pedals can be removed with a wrench at the base of the pedal instead of an alan key, so you'll have to work that one out yourself.
Once removed, keep them in a safe place - i put them in a ziplock plastic bag.
Take off the seat & handlebars
The seat is the easy bit - just find the collar at the base of the seat post and chose the right alan key to loosen it off. You dont need to undo it completely, just enough to lift off the seat.
The handlebars are more tricky but still just a case of undoing the screws around the handlebars completely, removing the bars from the bracket and then re-screwing in the bracket & bolts to keep them secure.
The best tip for both the handlebars and seat is make sure you put a bit of tape or mark with pen exactly where your seat is positioned and also the handlebars - it makes putting it back together how you want it, much much less painful than using your memory!
Here you can see the bracket on my bike that holds the handlebars in place - there are 4 screws on my Specialised:
And now the handlebars have been removed, and the screws put back in place loosely:
And here you can see the handlebars dropped down towards the forks, held on by the cables etc. Everythings fine. In fact when you are getting ready to put the bike into the box, the handbars wrap around the forks - but thats for another day!
Remove the wheels.
Now you'll have to turn the bike upside down, resting on the seat post and the stem (or whatever its called where the handlebars have just been removed) - i find it easier to take wheels off an upside down bike, but you may have other ideas.
First open the breaks using the little lever that forms part of the break mechanism by each tyre. Take each wheel off the bike.
Then undo the quick release skewer for each wheel, take it apart and remove it from the wheel.
Before on the left and after on the right.
You'll also need to remove the air from the tyres, so remove the valve cap, and undo the valve by unscrewing the little nipple thing at the end of the valve. Press it and the air should release from the tyre. Replace the cap .
Your bike is now dismantled and probably in pieces all over the floor.
DO NOT PANIC - it goes back together easily enough, honest!
I havent mentioned cleaning, and its something that you may wish to do prior to dismantling - i usually do it at the end of the trip as its much nicer to clean your bike properly when you are somewhere warm & sunny, with no time-constraints. Then its done and you dont have to worry when you get back home.
Look out for my next blog which will explain how to squeeze all those bits into a cardboard box....