How to prepare your bike for transport

As the moving day approaches, you are finalizing the packing process of your relocation. Of course, if you have had the help of movers Kingston NH, chances are you are not concerned with any part of the packing. However, if you are handling the move on your own, things will not be as simple. Especially if you have some not-so-simple items to think of, such as your bike. Still, this is by no means an invite to panicking. Rather the opposite. The text in front of you is here to help you prepare your bike for transport in the safest and most optimal way.

While the following instructions are mostly applicable to the people who plan on traveling greater distances without the help of long-distance movers in Maine, feel free to utilize them even if you are moving just down the block. After all, the safety of your bike is at stake, and who would want to gamble with that?

A bike on a trail in a forest
There are a few steps that will help prepare your bike for transport, and ensure its safety.

Familiarize yourself with the companies and luggage allowance

Since it is safe to assume you will be traveling by plane to your next destination, it would be more than advisable that you get to know the company’s policy on the matter of transporting your bike. Namely, different companies handle the process of purchasing bike space on the plane differently. While some have the option to purchase “Sports equipment > Bike” when you are buying your ticket, others have a process you might find a bit less intuitive. Instead of purchasing “Sports” equipment, you will have to purchase another regular suitcase luggage piece. You can then use is as the one counting toward your bike.

Now, depending on the company you are traveling by, as well as the route, the prices can vary from $30 up to $300. So it is best to do your research thoroughly. Keep in mind that a slightly more expensive ticket on one airline may be worthwhile if another charges hefty bike fees.

Learn the proper way to pack and prepare your bike for transport

There are a few very common requirements that most companies share, which are recommendable for the safety of your bike:

  • Remove the front wheel. This process might take a few steps, depending on your bike. If you have a bike with cantilever or rim brakes, you will have to release their cable tension before you get at the wheel. You would then flip over your bike, and press the release lever, spinning it until it loosens. Your front wheel should pop from the fork, and you will be able to slide it off.
  • Remove the bike pedals. This means just the pedals, not the crankset. So, when doing this, first make sure that your chainring moves to your big ring. This will prevent you from cutting yourself. You would then remove your right pedal by turning the wrench anti-clockwise. As for the left, one, turn it clockwise toward the back of your bike. Wrap both pedals in bubble sheets before packing them.
A bike's chainring
Be careful when addressing this step, as you can hurt yourself quite needlessly.
  • Remove the handlebars. These use several bolts and washers to connect to the stem. Remove all of the bolts and washers, but make sure to loosely replace them before packing your bike. Otherwise, they may get lost. While the handlebars will still connect to the bike, they will hang loosely beside the stem, making it easier to pack.
  • Deflate your tires, but do not do it fully. Otherwise, you would be pushing the bike on its rims. So, rather leave them at 20%. This will prevent them from blowing up due to high pressure at high altitudes.
  • Lower the seat-post and make sure that you mark the desired hight beforehand. As this is the most critical adjustment in your bike setup, make sure to mark it reliably.

Safety and protection

Do not be frugal when using protection materials for your bike. This particularly goes for the frame of the bike. Make sure to wrap it thoroughly with bubble sheets and sticky wrap. Use the latter for the seat and tires as well. Depending on the packing option you go for, the pedals might need some protection as well.

Bike packing options

The are several options you can follow when packing your bike. Some of the most popular include:

  • Cardboard boxes

This is by far the cheapest option you can use to prepare your bike for transport. However, as it usually goes, it is also not the best option. These boxes are prone to tearing, do not have the most reliable structure, and if they get wet, all the protection they provide goes away.

  • Hardshell boxes

Although a more expensive option to cardboard boxes, a hardshell box is more durable. The hard exterior of the package will ensure that your bike arrives safely. Still, hardshell boxes also take up more space and weigh more than the usual cardboard or bike boxes. This might put your luggage over the weight limit. However, if you have plenty of free weight to go around, try to find a hardshell box that has foam on the inside to protect your bike frame.

Yellow analog scales
Be mindful of the weight if going for this option.
  • Bike bags

This might be the best option, as it will ensure the safety of your bike during transport, and do so at an affordable price. Being specifically designed for this kind of job, these bags come in all sorts of sizes, allowing you to find just what you need. Lots of compartments are also a huge plus, as you can have plenty of space for all the little bits, without the risk of misplacing them.

Prepare your bike for transport and you’re ready to go

Even though the process does have a few steps, they are well worth the time and effort. After all, when you properly prepare your bike for transport, you can rest assured that it will reach your new home safely and without a scratch.