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With the outstanding rise in popularity of cycling in recent years has with it come a boom in bike tourism. In turn, this has seen many companies burst onto the scene that offer a complete riding and accommodation package in locations all over the world.

If you are embarking on a far away cycling adventure this year, and are planning on taking your bike with you, you will want to make sure it is packaged safely when you leave it to the mercy of the baggage handlers. Whether you have a specialist bike bag, or are packaging your prised possession into a good old cardboard box, this handy guide will provide you with some tips and tricks on how to pack correctly.



Bike Boxes- What Are Your Options?

To travel with your bike on an airline, you will most probably be required to box or baggage your bike for travel. This means partially dismantling it into either a bike bag/case (the pricier option) or into a cardboard bike box (the less pricy option). If you intend on travelling a lot with your bike, it is highly recommended that you invest in a bike bag as the added protection and ease of handling far outrivals the cardboard equivalent. Decent bike bags range from £40 to £500 and offer varying degrees of outer and internal protection, however, the principles of dismantling and packing your bike will remain the same regardless of the box/bag you use.


Steve Richards – Kings Cross Manager
“Don’t forget to plan ahead and get some foam tubes to protect the frame, the kind you would you for insulating plumbing. They help stop the frame from getting minor scratches whilst being packed and are a cheap and easy solution. You can get these from hardware stores but if you butter us up with some biscuits we can always have a look and see if we have some spare in store.”



How Far Do You Need To Dismantle Your Bike?

When dismantling your bike, it is important that you consider every point at which something could potentially get bent or cause further damage when impacted. This means that ultimately, you should look to pack your bike as flat as possible to prevent any misfortune.



The first job when dismantling your bike should be taking off your pedals, either with a 15mm pedal spanner or an Allen key (depending on pedal type). The threads of the pedals should be protected and it is a good idea to tape them together and held with other luggage if you do not have a bike bag with pockets. Leaving them loose in the box/bag can cause considerable damage when in transit.


The saddle and seat post should be removed from the frame and wrapped in a dense foam. This can later be attached to the frame when the frame itself has been foam wrapped. It is worth noting that the seat clamp sometimes becomes dislodged and move about the bag/box if not tightened. A good idea is to lightly tighten it or remove it completely and carrying it separately.


Tom Crane – Equipment Buyer
“Use clothing and body armour as padding as to not double up on weight. Be careful about getting oil on your clothing though!”



The wheels should be removed and the skewers taken out. The skewers can be taped to the spokes of the wheels or carried separately. Be careful of grease on the skewers. It is a good idea to try and get your hands on some plastic inserts for the fork/rear triangle as this will add security when in transit.



Take off the rear derailleur, wrap it in bubble wrap and tighten the hanger bolt to make sure it is not lost in transport. The mech does not have to be taken off the chain – just given the extra protection that taking it off the main frame gives it.


Sam Bannister – Bike Buyer

“For extra peace of mind, remove your discs as they can get pushed out of alignment in transit.”



The easiest and most effective way of protecting your bars when putting your bike into a bike bag or box is to simply turn them sideways and turn them downwards and under the top tube to secure them in place. Another way to secure your bars in transit is to remove them completely from the stem and attach them to the frame of the bike. Extra care should be taken here for cables and brake hoses as theses can become bent and distorted if attention is not taken.



It is important to cover your cranks well with extra padding so there is no danger of damage whilst in transit. Make sure you turn the cranks parallel to the bottom of the box and allow for the chainrings to be well covered and padded so no scratching occurs when the bike is being transported.


Clifford Head – Allocator

“Make sure everything is packed securely and not moving. It may seem obvious but it really is an important and the less movement, the safer your bike will be” 



Packing Your BIke

Specific bike bag/case – different manufactures will design their bike bags slightly differently, but all will come with a guide as to the best way of putting the bike into that specific bag. However, most will have separate wheel bags for safe storage in the main bike case and other compartments for various componentry. You should still use padding as extra protection even when using a specific bike case for that added peace of mind when the baggage handlers are let loose on your pride and joy.

A fantastic and highly equipped bike box is the Polaris CycleSurgery Custom Bike Bag. Inclusive with 2 wheel bags and internal accessories pockets, this bike bag is exclusive to CycleSurgery, competitively priced and thanks to two super strong roller wheels, is very easy to transport to and from the airport.


Christian Koch – Workshop Manager
“Don’t allow any metal on metal contact, use zip ties to ensure everything stays in place”


Packing your bike into a cardboard bike box – a cheaper alternative to a specific bike bag or case is a cardboard box. These can be purchased very reasonably and offer a budget conscious substitute that can provide adequate protection when packed correctly. Once you have dismantled and padded up your bike correctly, place the bike into the box with the chainset facing downwards and place one wheel towards the front of the bike and the other towards the rear. Both wheels should be on the drive side of the bike.  Make sure all contact points the bike has with the box are padded with foam and everything is zip-tied in place.



Hire a Bike Bag

We offer a bike bag hire service at our Kings Cross store. The cost is £40 for a long weekend (Friday to Monday) and £50 for a full week (7 days). *Full deposit is required.


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