Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Packing Your Bike For Flight

I started packing my bike with cardboard box since my very first Ironman. Being a student, I had to find the cheapest and the most economical way of doing everything. Cardboard box is easily found in almost all bike shops, they don’t need it anyway. This time around, my 4th Ironman in the making, I’m gonna pack up my bike. Over the years I’ve learned some tricks and now I’m gonna share with all Team2ndskin blog readers how to pack your bike with a cardboard box.

At this super nervous period of time, I’ll try to keep myself occupied so that I won’t feel panic with less than 4 days to Ironman. I guess writing article will help. =) Today I went out to a local bike shop, found a used but decent bike box for my bike, roughly measured the size and I bought the box with RM2. I walked a few blocks down to an electrical shop, bought two InsuFlex tubes at the cost of RM20, happily drove home.

Step 1. Layout everything and start taping the bottom of the box. Keep in mind that the bottom has got to carry the weight of your bike, the heavier it is, the stronger it needs to be.

Step 2. Mark your handle bar position, aero bar and everything else that you intend to dismantle. You don’t wanna be doing a new bike fit at this critical time. Use a brighter coloured marker pen and be sure than the surface is free from grease.

Step 3. Mark your saddle height with an electric tape. This method is better than marker pen because it stops the saddle at the exact position when you assemble it.

Step 4. Blank off the seat tube with a chunk of newspaper, insects might creep in if the bike is kept in the box for a long time. (happened to me before)

Step 5. Wrap up top tubes, down tubes, seat tubes, downstay, chainstay and forks with InsuFlex. It works as an excellent impact absorber protecting the bike frame.

Step 6. Drop the Rear Derailleur and Front Derailleur to the lowest gear position to preserve the spring tension, and prevent gears from jumping when you shift later.

Step 7. Dismantle the handlebar (and aero bar if u have one) using an Allen Key. I keep my aero bar loosely attached to my handle bar for easier installation later. 

Step 8. Step on the pedal with your body weight and pull the Allen Key towards you to unscrew the pedal. The pedal is screwed against the crank arm rotational direction so that it gets tighter as you pedal. 

Step 9. Take off the wheelset and wrap the bottom of the fork. This part will make contact with the bottom of bike box, better to protect it with some cushion in case of impact. 

Step 10. Unscrew the Rear Derailleur with an Allen Key, secured it nicely by taping it to the chainstay. This gives you slightly more space in the box.

Step 11. Take off the quick release, wrap it up with a bubble wrap or a used towel so that it won’t go missing. 
Step 12. I’d like the bottom of my box to have some polystyrene so that my chain ring (sharp teeth) won’t penetrate this recycled bike box =p
Step 13. Once everything is properly secured and taped, the bike is ready to enter the box. 

Step 14. Slowly position the bike into the box, put in some cushion at the side and every contact area. For example, the wheels and the bike. Some bike box is big enough that the rear wheel need not to be removed, so be creative. Put in all other accessories such as bottles, pedals, quick release, pumps and so on as long as it doesn’t exceed your allowed baggage weight.

Step 15. Remember that how much of tape you need to pack this box, that’s the amount of tape you’ll need to repack it later.

I hope these tips will help all of you to pack your bike better for future races. If you have better packing method, do share with us =)

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