Packing a Bike Box...
Training Camps are fun, as long as you arrive with your bike...
There are many ways to pack a bike box and everyone has their own preferred method, here's mine!
Rather than get all long-winded, it'll be mainly bullet points, but first we need to do the prep work. It starts with printing off this check sheet...
Before You Begin
If you have a turbo (or a stand), place the bike in it, as it makes everything sooooo much easier.
Get all your stuff together before you start, you'll need (apart from the obvious box, bike and tools) some wheel spacers (local bike shop ~ they come with all new bikes and are usually thrown away), a spare (old) pair of wheel skewers, electrical tape, pipe lagging, three freezer bags, and some rubber gloves.
▼ Put the bike in the turbo and get it in top gear, big ring
▼ Put on the rubber gloves (latex, not Marigolds)
Preparing the Strip Down
Never, ever, ever work on the chain set or pedal area without the chain being on the big ring, EVER! One slip of the pedal spanner or allen key and you will quickly understand why.
▼ Pipe lag top tube and right chain stay
▼ Place tape at the base of the seat post to mark height
▼ Remove seat post and lag post
▼ Loosen stem bolts, but do not remove bars
▼ Remove pedals (thread is forward on, backwards off)
▼ Loosen rear mech mounting bolt ~ leave mech on
▼ Deflate tyres ~ don't forget this!
That's part one of the prep done. Now we can concentrate on getting it all packed.
But first, put the pedals in a freezer bag and place them to one side.
From Turbo to Box
Part one should take around four to five minutes. Now it's time for part two, which shouldn't take much longer..
▼ Remove front wheel from the bike
▼ Remove bike from turbo
▼ Remove rear wheel and place bike on floor
▼ Remove rear mech and place in freezer bag
▼ Insert front and rear wheel spacers
▼ Lag all visible parts of the frame
If you have a chain with a quick-link, remove the chain and place it and the link (you should have a spare in your saddle bag) in freezer bag number three. Don't put your chain and rear mech in the same bag, the chain will scratch the mech.
If you can't, or don't want to split the chain, wrap it around the whole circumference of the big ring and secure it closely with electrical tape.
With electrical tape, secure the main length of the chain to the right hand side (protected) chain stay, and tape the top of the freezer bag with the rear mech.
You do not want this lot vibrating around the box in flight and coming in to contact with the lacquer on your pride and joy.
And make sure you lag all the bits of your frame. The bit you miss IS the bit that WILL get scratched.
Place the bike in the bike box, on its side.
Now it's time for the final phase, so make sure this is done correctly. Any lack of attention to detail at this point will come back and bite you, and could prove very costly...
▼ Remove the bars from loosened stem, leave stem attached
▼ Now secure the wheels using spare skewers
▼ Secure the bike using the straps provided
▼ Use extra lagging where required (around bars?)
▼ Remove computer, Garmin, camera, etc.
▼ Place stuff you want to take (see below), around frame
▼ Place wheel skewers in secure pocket within box
▼ Place protective foam panel between frame and wheels
▼ Insert Protection Pole and secure the box lid
Do not put the wheels in the box before you put the frame in, the box just keeps falling over as it's unbalanced. You spend time messing with the box and may miss out a vital step.
Things To Trip You Up...
Do not place your pedals and shoes (possibly helmet) in the bike box; if the box is delayed, you could hire a bike when you get to your destination and still be ready to go.
Do not place your gas canisters in the bike box, and do not take any on the plane with you. They will be confiscated. See locks below...
Ensure you thoroughly secure, and double bag, any drinks powder you place in the bike box. You do not want a kilo of sticky, gritty, corrosive powder covering everything you possess of value.
Keep your best skewers inside the box. It's not unknown for the skewers to work loose in flight and an end get lost. Secure wheels with old skewers or you could get to your destination and unable to ride for a missing fifty pence spare part.
Check your baggage allowance before you secure the lid. Do you really need to take that track pump? Check with others and try to consolidate who takes what, and who has what at the camp HQ.
Finally, there's the biggie...
Ensure you use TSA luggage locks. These can be opened with a master key, which is always worrying. But if Customs see something they don't like (a gas canister?) or your box has come up in the random check, if they can't open it with thir master key, they will break in to the box.
And it matters not how much you rant and rave, they are allowed to by law! And they are not very particullar about how they do it. So please be warned. Do a google search, or visit your local baggage store, and track some down.
A quick four minute vid, from RG Active. We made one ourselves but couldn't agree on the music to use! No point in reinventing the wheel; especially when the wheel is this good.
If you are a UK resident and haven't got a bike box, and would like to hire one, checkout Oxbikebox, and get a 10% discount using the code at the bottom of the link.