I like turtles
Join Date: Dec 2004
Bikes: Pink Nightmare (RIP), Kona Smoke fixed conversion, Surly Steamroller, Schwinn hardtail, Raleigh singlespeed mtb conversion (soon to be RIP), Green Road Biest
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I asked a while ago about travelling with bikes and cheap softsided bags. You all said don't do it, so I did it. I just wanted to ride that bike in Philly. If you work on your own bike but aren't that good at it and so have avoided travelling with it because you think it would be too much of a pain, just do it anyway. I thought: Fixed bike, I built it, so I can take it apart and build it again, and there's nothing to have to carefully adjust etc.
Caveat emptor: my frame was $30 (not that I can replace it, but I don't have a fancy or antique frame, just a converted 10 or 12 speed frame, though according the guy with the hat at Via it's something Italian, so bonus), my parts are nothing special. I also adore my bike, but my bike needs more to be ridden and less to be treated nicely.
If you google like "diasssemble bike" and "travel" you'll find really good touring sites with instructions and photos on how to pack different kinds of bikes. I didn't have any special stuff, so I just worked with what was in the apt.
removed stem and hooked the drops to the top tube, then tied them down with rubberbands.
removed wheels and pedals.
tied driveside crankarm to chainstay (this is probably the most important part)
stuffed chain in a shopping bag and wrapped the handles around the stays then tied them
put the wheels on opposite sides of the frame to minimize spokes banging on stuff, then used stretchy velcro things I usually use to keep my baggier pants in place to tie the wheels to the frame.
I didn't wrap the frame tubes in styrofoam or clothes because this bike wasn't going postal, it was going to be handled twice. I might have if I'd had the stuff around, but probably not.
total time to do this the first time: 30 minutes. The second time: 15
total time to reassemble bike: 30 minutes. The second time: 15
Some other things I thought of that seem like good ideas:
tied an ID tag on my frame in case the outside one got torn off.
packed all my tools, saddlebag, helmet and shoes in a different bag - theoretically if the bike went somewhere else and I could commandeer a loaner, I would still be able to ride.
I got a bag from Nashbar for $30 that is simply heavy nylon in a rectangle big enough to fit a 64cm road fram with the saddle pushed down.
Bike went from Montreal to Philly, changing buses once in NYC. Montreal made me pay extra for "bike handling" once the baggage thrower felt there were bike parts in it even though they'd already approved the size, shape and weight of the bag as within spec, and one other rider had a suitcase much bigger and way heavier, no problem. No one in the states said a damn thing, probably because they're busier, get paid less, and don't need more hassles. I did kind of hang around to make sure a 100 pound suitcase didnd't ever get tossed on top of my bike, but this never happened.
Throwers in Philly onehandedly dragged the bag off the bus to clang on the ground and then tossed a cup of coffee and a bag of trash on top of it. Thanks guys for showing me how Philly loves you back. Thrower on the way back to NYC felt a wheel in the bag, looked at me knowingly, and put the bike carefully upright in a separate compartment with my other bag to hold it up and keep it from rattling around. If he had a blanket or a sugarcube to give to her, he would have I think.
The verdict: No damage (well, the return left me with torn bar tape from dragging on the cable stays, but my fault - the ties loosened en route), wheels true. Fun. Love. Will do it again. Watch for the pink nightmare in your town and bask in her glory.
Thoughts on luck vs. not lucky: Mtl to Phl is 500 miles with one bus change. Detroit to Philly is 600 miles with about 40 bus changes (well, typically one in Cleveland, one in Pittsburg, and then depending on the day one in Silver Spring or sometimes one in Harrisburg), so I might be less inclined to take that route.
Props to Trophy for being nice and extremely helpful to me.
Props to Via for being nice and extremely helpful to me, plus not making me wait for a 2 minute fix even though there were like 60 people standing around with their hoopdies wanting flats fixed and stuff.
Props to the city of Philadelphia for being way more bike friendly than the people I know who ride there say it is: your town is better for urban getting around in than Montreal (based on not that many kms though). You think your drivers suck, but at least in S and W Phila, the streets are so damn short you don't have the problem of drivers being able to get up to like 60 km/h. Center City not included, but if you expect downtown drivers in any city to be reasonable, you are not a reasonable person. Plus, what are you doing hanging in Center City anyway?
Last edited by mascher; 11-13-05 at 11:56 AM.