Having a cycling match to take part in and you are preparing to travel with bikes? Whether you are going to use a train, plane or a tour shipping company to transport your bike, you have to ensure the bike is safe. There is nothing that can be more frustrating than to reach a foreign land ready and psyched up to ride, only to realize your bike got damaged. It’s horrible.
Therefore packing your bike safely for transportation boils down to considering the stress your bike is likely to go through under the hands of someone else or the automatic conveyor systems. In fact, more often, bikes are the conveyor systems at the airport, not baggage handlers. The bike bag will be pushed seesaw along shoots and metal channels by the huge mechanical arms. Any protruding part is in danger of being rubbed or snagged damaging the bike.
How to Travel with Bikes on a Plane
Packing your Bicycle
The safety of your bike majorly lies on how you pack it. If you are planning to travel with bikes, then you need to ensure you do the following to increase the likelihood of reaching your destination with the bike safe.
- On picking bike bags, pick quality. Soft bags like the Scicon or a hard shell box are great choices. These normally have pockets for gear and wheels, and have been particularly designed for the bags. In most cases, they also come with additional accessories for more protection.
- Remove your bike’s rear derailleur. This hangs out on one side, and if it’s not removed, it’s in danger of being snagged or bashed through your bag. Since it can’t go anywhere, there is a possibility of the rear hanger to be bent if not snapped off. Using Allen keys, remove the hanger bolt, use a towel to wrap the rear derailleur and tie the bundle to the chain stay with a cable. It will protect the bike’s frame from scratches. Even after removing the derailleur make sure you store it with enough space for movement, to prevent it from being damaged.
- Anything sticking out? Remove it. The handle bars and the pedals. Don’t leave them protruding out of the zips. An additional cardboard box or bubble wrap is not going to protect them from being snagged or rubbed by the airport conveyor system.
- Tie the bike’s chain to the huge ring with a cable. If you are not careful, the huge chain ring teeth can chew towels, pipe lagging, and the padded bag. Securely hold the chain on the huge ring with cable ties.
- Support the dropout and the forks. Although expensive boxes and bags may have some bracing, majority of them don’t. Several companies manufacture braces, particularly for this reason.
Selecting an Airline
Always when you plan to carry your bike, check with your airline first. Some airlines won’t accept some packaging for your bike, and as obvious you need to check with them how much they’re likely to charge you for the bike. The rate varies with different airlines but the least you can pay is $25, and the highest amount is $200. So be prepared.
Getting your insurance Covered
Do you have travel insurance? Most travel insurance companies rarely include all you need to travel with bikes.
- Look at the small print. There are travel insurers who cover cycling but not racing. If you are not racing, they don’t have a problem. Their definition of racing in most cases is a game that is organized and timed. So that’s the reason they exclude anything to do with racing.
- Check whether there are distance restrictions. Several though not many travel insurers cover triathlon. Most of them have distance restrictions.
- Not sure whether you are covered? Ask. Give your insurance company a call and inquire to know whether your holiday or ride is covered. Don’t just assume. When you inquire, tell them what you are traveling to do.
For you to enjoy your cycling trip, you may need to have your bike instead of renting. Renting is an option when you are going to tour many places because carrying your bike to all the locations with the work of disassembling and assembling all the time is tedious. However, if you are heading to a few places, you need your bike and purchasing one you can check out the best full suspension mountain bike from the list of the list of best mountain bike under 500.
To travel with bikes may not be so easy, and perhaps you are scared by the many stories of damaged or lost bikes while on transit; and you don’t know whether to travel with yours. The truth is that not all bike travels result in a horror story. Thousands of people have traveled with their bikes easily and safely.