How To Pack A Bike Bag — And Which One To Get
Packing a bike bag can seem intimidating. But not as much as unpacking it and putting it all together again on the other side! No need to call for help from the hunk down the hallway (unless you really want to), It’s much easier than you think! Just a bit of confidence, an allen key (or torque wrench) and some bubble wrap and tape and you’re ready to rock!
How did I learn to do this? I took my road bike for it’s very first flight to Durban for my first IRONMAN 70.3. I used the Thule RoundTrip Traveller Bike Case, which — thanks to all it’s cool compartments — made the packing even easier… And my bike got there and back super safely without a scratch! It’s also the perfect size requirement for airlines, so no stress about having to fork out tons of cash for extra length or weight.
STEP 1: Don’t Panic!
I know, taking your bike apart before race day is, well, terrifying. There’s the idea that it won’t be the same on “the other side”, but I promise you, it will be fine!
STEP 2: Get Your Tools
What you will need:
- A bike case
- Your bike
- Allen key set (or wrench)
- Bubble wrap
- Tape (and masking tape)
- A marker
STEP 3: Make Your Marks
Before you start removing anything, get your marker ready. (Use masking tape and a pen if you don’t want to write directly on the bike).
Start with the seat. Draw a circular line around the seat post or whatever markers will allow you to clearly see the positioning of the post. This means that when you put it back together, there’s no height guess work on your part.
The same goes for your handle bars. Create a circular mark around where the handle bars normally sit before loosening anything.
STEP 4: Remove The Parts
Start with the pedals – they’re the easiest to loosen. Once off, carefully pack your pedals into one of the pockets in the bike bag.
Then move onto the wheels. Remove the wheels and place them into the wheel pockets. Remember to let the air out of your tyres – not completely flat, but it is a requirement by airlines to release the pressure. Remove the axle and safely wrap-up.
Remove the bike seat and post (you can even keep your toolkit bag still attached). Wrap this in bubble wrap for protection.
Loosen the handles bars gently and twist them to the side (removing any bike computer handle).
If your bike has discs then either face them inwards or remove them so that they don’t get damaged or bent.
STEP 5: Watch These Videos For Extra Tips
These videos are great to watch for more in-depth instructions. (Sometimes it’s easier if we can just visualise it all):
If you’re still feeling unsure of what you’re doing, you can take the bike bag and bike into your local cycling shop and ask them to pack it for you. When you collect the bike, just ask them to explain anything that they’ve done and ask them to show you where all the parts are and how they’ve been packed.
Take a photo of what everything looks like so you can remember when you need to repack your bike again on the other side for the return trip home. Also double check that the packed bag is within the weight limit.
Why I Love The Thule RoundTrip Traveller Bike Case
1/ It’s light-weight, so you don’t have to stress about the kilograms piling up and forking out extra cash.
2/ It’s really easy to use. In an intuitive way. There are wheel pockets on either side (for up to size 29), so you ca safely store your wheels during transport. Inside the bag there are straps and there’s a fixed fork block to keep your bike in a secure upright position.
3/ The bike bag features internal pockets for all those extra bits and pieces such as: bike lube, allen keys, pedals and whatever other cycling accessories you’d like to add to the bag, such as your gloves, snack bars, CO2 Cannisters (and adapter), bike lock, repair kit, garmin holder and more. You can even fit your water bottles inside the back and your helmet.
4/ The bag is big enough to fit road bikes or mountain bikes and I ride a size medium bike, but you could definitely include a large bike too (there is room).
5/ It’s easy to carry around. Part of travelling is carting the bike bag in an uber, around the airport and to the hotel. The bag is compact and easy to manage because it has integrated wheels and multiple handles to make lifting and carrying easy.