Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Bike box and packing tips for international flights

Old 05-02-19, 08:33 AM
  #1  
83cannondale
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 147

Bikes: 83 Cannondale, 70s Raleigh INternational, 70s Bob Jackson, 70s, Gitane tandem

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bike box and packing tips for international flights

Hello all - I'm in Wisconsin, USA and I'm hoping to do PBP 1200k in paris this year and will be shipping my bike. It has fenders, lights, back rack, etc. I've read horror stories about TSA opening carefully packed bike boxes, examining contents, then reassembling in a rough and haphazard fashion allowing bike damage.

Any tips on shipping container and packing techniques?

Thanks in advance.
Todd
83cannondale is offline  
Old 05-02-19, 08:45 AM
  #2  
GadgetGirlIL
Senior Member
 
GadgetGirlIL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Lisle, IL
Posts: 269

Bikes: 2003 Litespeed Vortex, 2017 All-City Mr. Pink, ~1997 Trek Multitrack 700

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
@83cannodale - Todd!!! Good to see you posting here! See you out in Oregon on Saturday. Regina
GadgetGirlIL is offline  
Likes For GadgetGirlIL:
Old 05-02-19, 09:19 AM
  #3  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 18,239
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 29 Posts
I think strapping everything together helps, particularly if you are using a case. Some people say they have asked TSA to let them help with the inspection, but I'm not sure if that would always work. I know in CDG I didn't see the TSA people.
unterhausen is offline  
Likes For unterhausen:
Old 05-02-19, 12:15 PM
  #4  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
I met a couple Italians in Reykjavik on a Sunday when all the stores were closed trying to buy front skewers. Both of them left their skewers in the wheels and both were bent in shipping. I had just finished my trip, if it was only one I would have been tempted to give him my skewer, but I only had one and they needed two.

There are lots of you tube videos on how to pack up a bike. Some are good, some are bad. If you look at at least three videos, you will get an idea on what is important and what is not.

On this forum in the touring group there have been lots of threads over the years on packing up bikes for shipping.

Make sure you put the plastic thingy in the fork dropouts so the fork blades do not puncture and stick out of the bottom of the box.

And it is best to remove your rear dérailleur to make it less likely that alignment will be off later. About a year ago I did a van supported ACA bike tour, about 15 riders. Since I had worked in a bike shop, I became the default mechanic that everyone went too. Of that population of bikes, three had bent derailleur hangers and poorly shifting bikes. I suspect in all cases they left their derailleurs on the bikes.

Do not pack any Li Ion batteries in the bike box.

Sometimes TSA will deflate the tires, are your tires tubeless?

Some airports might allow a traveler to observe their inspection, but not at most airports. A year ago in El Paso I told TSA that I would hang around at the inspection until they were done in case they needed my assistance to repack it, they looked at teh X ray and decided that my S&S case did not need to be opened. But that is the only airport where I could observe anything. A friend of mine puts a note in his Bike Friday case asking that he be paged at whatever gate he will be at if there is any difficulty getting it repacked, he has been paged a couple times but he was not allowed to re-pack it, instead he could talk to the people trying to pack it so he could advise them on what to do.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 05-03-19, 07:38 AM
  #5  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 18,239
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 29 Posts
I have also heard of people that make an instruction sheet for repacking. I have never really understood why they mess with bikes, but they do.
unterhausen is offline  
Likes For unterhausen:
Old 05-05-19, 09:29 AM
  #6  
83cannondale
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 147

Bikes: 83 Cannondale, 70s Raleigh INternational, 70s Bob Jackson, 70s, Gitane tandem

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks everyone - some good info here - Tourist in MSN - I'll take your suggestion and look at the touring forum - Unterhausen - Instruction sheet a great idea! I'm thinking with pictures in case of language issues.

GadjetGirlIl -
83cannondale is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 03:09 AM
  #7  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,447

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 70 Times in 49 Posts
Originally Posted by 83cannondale View Post
Hello all - I'm in Wisconsin, USA and I'm hoping to do PBP 1200k in paris this year and will be shipping my bike. It has fenders, lights, back rack, etc. I've read horror stories about TSA opening carefully packed bike boxes, examining contents, then reassembling in a rough and haphazard fashion allowing bike damage.

Any tips on shipping container and packing techniques?

Thanks in advance.
Todd
The first time I went, I rented a hardshell case.

The second time I went, I used a cardboard box.

Both worked.
Machka is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 03:56 AM
  #8  
Trevtassie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Down Under
Posts: 1,126

Bikes: A steel framed 26" off road tourer from a manufacturer who thinks they are cool. Giant Anthem. Trek 720 Multiroad pub bike. 10 kids bikes all under 20". Assorted waifs and unfinished projects.

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 317 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 17 Posts
My tips:

I cut some pieces of plywood to fit inside the bottom corners of the box, screwed into place with screws and fender washers, then drilled to take castor wheels. You can then wheel the box around like a giant suit case. The front forks rest on the plywood and against a piece of plastic in the end of the box, prevents the forks from being squashed. Everything not attached to the bike gets zip tied on or put into a padded post bag (like skewers for example) which is then attached to the frame or rack. Lots of zip ties and tape, they're cheap. Pick a good strong box too, they come in different grades, I picked up one for a Chinese made bike in Japan once, I'd call that cardboard explode on impact... If needed you can make up tubes of cardboard to act as braces in the middle of the frame so the box doesn't get squashed.
You can also reinforce handles and things with waterproof PVA glue and cloth. Paint on some glue with a paint brush, lay on some cloth and then wet it out with more glue. I actually use scrim tape used for waterproofing showers, it's strong, cheap and absorbs glue well. It's flexible enough to be able to be folded, if you need to roll up the box for storage. You can get the glue in big buckets cheap, it's used for concrete additive, something like this Damtite Waterproofing Damtite 05160 Acrylic Bonding Additive, 1 Quart.
Boxes will survive being flattened out and rolled up for storage or shipping empty too, provided you use good fibre reinforced tape to tape them back up, it's the flaps being folded that gives them a lot of their strength.
Oh, and I always deflate the tyres a bit, some airlines get fussy about that, helps if you say "I've already deflated the tyres"
Trevtassie is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 07:44 AM
  #9  
antimonysarah
Senior Member
 
antimonysarah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 570

Bikes: Nishiki Bel-Air, Brompton P6L, Seven Resolute SLX, Co-motion Divide

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The thing that TSA did on my recent trip (domestic) was to take apart the toolkit which I had put in the bike bag as I was only checking one bag. And then left the tools loose in the big box rather than putting them back in the toolkit bag, so they were banging around in there, though everything was fine.

For PBP I had already planned to put all that stuff in a separate checked bag, especially since I was going to bring my full-size wrenches as well as the travel toolkit, but this reinforces that choice. The bike itself didn't seem to have been messed with; it's a bag where the bike attaches to the frame of the bag, and everything is pretty visible on just unzipping (and I used clear bubble wrap and tape to wrap delicate things, so you can see-through to the bike underneath).

I wrapped the fenders around the wheels (tires on but deflated) and put them in the wheel bags, which were sized to handle the option of putting 29er wheels + tires in there, so they had plenty of room for narrow-tire fenders; this seemed to work great, and removing the rear derailleur and getting it back on was in fact a breeze. The only real hassle is that 900k of riding was enough to tighten the pedals enough I had to go to a bike shop to get them off -- without a stand I didn't have a prayer of pulling them off myself. I'll have to figure out where I could go post-PBP, although if I have to I'll just take the crank apart.)
antimonysarah is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 11:27 AM
  #10  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
...
The only real hassle is that 900k of riding was enough to tighten the pedals enough I had to go to a bike shop to get them off -- without a stand I didn't have a prayer of pulling them off myself. I'll have to figure out where I could go post-PBP, although if I have to I'll just take the crank apart.)
You raise a good point on getting pedals off. I used to work at a bike shop and know how tight they can get, so I always try to make sure they are loose enough that they can be removed a few days before I have to pack a bike. Several years ago I loaned a pair of pedals to a friend so he could try them. He got confused by the left hand thread so he had a bike shop put them on. Later when I went to his place to get my pedals back, I was unable to get them off the bike. He had to go back to the bike shop where they had a bigger pedal wrench to get them off the bike.

Another friend of mine reassembled his bike at home after shipping his bike from the end point from a long tour. Hand assembled everything planning to wrench tighten everything later. Forgot to tighten the pedals. One pedal started to un-thead itself about 10 miles from his home on his next ride. Needed a new crank arm and new pedal. Bike shops don't sell one at a time, meaning new crankset and new pair of pedals.

I used to use self extracting crank bolts on the square taper crank on my expedition bike, but one of the self extractors self extracted somewhere in the middle of Iceland. Thus, when I went to take my crank arms off to fit the frame in the S&S case, I needed to move one self-extractor from one crank arm to the other, and did not have the right tools for that sort of thing. Lesson learned, although I try to keep the weight of the tool bag that I carry in a pannier as light as I can, next time bring a real crank remover. I owned a few already and it would have only been a few more grams.

When I did finish my Iceland tour, three different bicyclists had to borrow my pedal wrench to pack their bikes to go home.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 12:00 PM
  #11  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 18,239
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 29 Posts
taking your tools out of the bag is pretty nasty, I 'm sure they don't do that with toiletries. I have heard of people using clear bags. A mesh bag might work better
unterhausen is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 12:38 PM
  #12  
antimonysarah
Senior Member
 
antimonysarah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 570

Bikes: Nishiki Bel-Air, Brompton P6L, Seven Resolute SLX, Co-motion Divide

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
taking your tools out of the bag is pretty nasty, I 'm sure they don't do that with toiletries. I have heard of people using clear bags. A mesh bag might work better
They were in my on-bike bags (which were not attached to the bike) but probably looked weird on x-ray because there were a pile of different tools stacked together, plus some spare tubes.

The pedals went from just barely past finger-tight to needs-a-stand in three rides. I'd had to take it to my local shop before packing up because several years of riding had put it past my strength WITH a stand and full-size tools home -- took two shop guys fussing over it to get them loose.

Oh, also, don't carry powdered drink mix in your carry-on; it looks weird on the machines and they'll have to run the bomb-sniffing on it and ask questions about why there's a hard lump (the measuring scoop) in there, etc.
antimonysarah is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 05:08 PM
  #13  
atwl77
Kamen Rider
 
atwl77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: KL, MY
Posts: 520

Bikes: Fuji Transonic Elite, Marechal Soul Ultimate, Dahon Dash Altena

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 176 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Something clear to store tools sounds like a good idea. I wonder if those clear, compartmentalised plastic cases often used by jewellers, tailors and hobbyists would work...
atwl77 is offline  
Old 05-06-19, 05:37 PM
  #14  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
Something clear to store tools sounds like a good idea. I wonder if those clear, compartmentalised plastic cases often used by jewellers, tailors and hobbyists would work...
If I was going to do something like that, I would put everything in a heavy duty zip lock and then put that in the plastic box. In late summer you sometimes see translucent plastic boxes sold as part of the "back to school" sales, boxes sometimes called a pencil box. Google pencil box, you will see what I mean, cost a USD or two. The zip lock would be to keep down the rattling and if the box opens, then hopefully all the tools stay in the ziplock instead of escaping out of any holes in the cardboard box.

Photos are of an Amtrak box, not from airline travel, but you get the idea. Fortunately, no damage.



Bar end shifter.

Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 05-07-19, 03:57 AM
  #15  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,447

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 70 Times in 49 Posts
A tip ...

Take your helmet, pedals and, if possible, your saddle as carry-on. That way, if your bicycle goes walkabout, you might be able to borrow one, and still have your own contact points.

Oh, and wear your shoes on the flight.
Machka is offline  
Old 05-07-19, 09:19 AM
  #16  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
A tip ...

Take your helmet, pedals and, if possible, your saddle as carry-on. That way, if your bicycle goes walkabout, you might be able to borrow one, and still have your own contact points.

Oh, and wear your shoes on the flight.
Only once has an airline employee commented to me about my helmet when I wore it onto the plane, he said that planes were getting safer these days. I did not want to pack the helmet where it could get damaged and my carry on was already full.

And a luggage scale is the travelers best friend.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 05-08-19, 05:26 AM
  #17  
Tandem Tom
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 1,907

Bikes: 1992 Serotta Colorado II,Co-Motion Speedster, Giant Escape Hybrid, 1977 Schwinn Super Le Tour

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 223 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Just packing up our bikes for our flight to Europe. I had some leftover polyurethane varnish and brushed on a coat to add abit of waterproofing. And as stated lots of zip ties and padding every where.
I like the idea of a piece of plywood underneath the fork. Will add that.
BTW I picked up ebike boxes as they are 10" wide. And since we are flying Iceland Air there box size is very generous.
Tandem Tom is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
NILS14
Introductions
2
03-31-15 07:23 PM
happysadman
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
27
05-07-10 08:22 AM
toorguide
Introductions
7
08-07-09 09:11 PM
spurdy
Folding Bikes
52
07-10-08 04:01 AM
knucklesandwich
Commuting
13
07-09-07 03:39 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.