wrapping a bike up for a flight in a bag

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 24 Jun 2008.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ...well in a plane actually but anyway...moving on..

    I will wrap my bike in a CTC poly bike bag as that is all Ryan air require in the way of packing and I am happy that way. However my biggest fear is that the de railer set up gets knocked and damaged as I hav eno idea how to re set the indexing yet...i know I should do by now but...

    ..so is there something I should/could do to add some extra protection to the de railer set up? Like taping it or something?? Just thinking out loud here as I dont want to be stuck at the destination airport with all this kit and a buggered bike with no clue how to re set the gears.
  2. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    How about taping some cardboard over the delicate bits?

    Be sure you can take the pedals off!!
  3. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    There is a strong argument to not provide too much wrapping as that fools the handlers into thinking it can be tossed hither and thither. Same applies for using a clear vs an opaque bag - if they can see it is a bike, all the better

    To pack it I use the http://www.bikeadventures.co.uk/shop.html bag - have just binned one after about 5 uses. They weigh 550g and will fit in a pannier or on the rack. I take tons of cables ties (I fix pedals to rack etc,)

    For the rear mech, I unscrew it (leave all cables on) and cable tie it to the frame to prevent the hanger being bent. It has never needed readjusting. When you put it back on, start to screw it in, then twist it backwards, as their is a little tab to hold it in the right position.To tape up the bag I use heavy duty clear tape from B&Q - has a checkered pattern, and tears easily, does not unstick in use, but can be peeled off afterwards.

    I always take a printout of the airline rules in case they quibble, and a printout from the site where I bought my bag proving that it is a bike bag, not just any old bag. For all Ryanair's faults I have never had a problem with them or Easyjet. Do book and pay in advance though, and get there as early as possible to check in. It is also possible that at some airports the bike will need to be taken out of the bag to go through their machine (smaller airports). Also, even if the airline says tyres can be left inflated I have never had an airport worker accept that, so just deflate them.

    Finally, LATEX GLOVES - take tons for the fiddly reassembly bits - makes a huge difference

    Happy cycling
  4. I must say I always unbolt mine and then tape it inside the frame. If it's shimano there should be a tiny screw attached to a plate which comes out of the main bolt assembly (ie where it screws into the frame). When you reattach the derailleur, to ensure it's in the right position, the screw should butt up to a small ridge on the back of the mech hanger. Have a look at it now. Even I can do this so I'm sure you must be able to.
  5. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    Agree with Cathryn. For my first tour, at service time, the bike shop had 'helpfully' tightened up the pedals with a yard long spanner. I actually broke a spanner trying to loosen them. I went back to the shop in the end to get them loosened, then didn't over-tighten them when I put them on in Spain. A little grease on the threads is ideal too
  6. dragon72

    dragon72 Veteran

    Mexico City
  7. dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    Go to your LBS and ask for one of their old carboard bike boxes, they will have stacks of them and you'll be doing them a favour by taking one off their hands. These boxes are surprisingly resilient and will at least ensure you get your bike to the holiday (?) destination with the bike unharmed. If you can't store the cardboard box at your destination (quite likely?) then get one of the clear plastics ones above for the return journey. Any damage on the return leg can be addressed with the airline.

    Have a great trip!

  8. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    I just got back from a flight to and from Marseilles and I did the rear mech as has been suggested. It's dead easy and as it's a vulnerable bit, worth the minor effort.
    On the way out I removed the skewers from both wheels but was too lazy to do so on the way back and I've ended up with a bent rear skewer end. I may be able to strighten it but it's probably worth doing too for the sake of 2 minutes effort.

    Don't forget the spacers between the forks. I use a piece of threaded rod and 4 nuts on each.
  9. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    My "clear bag" method does not require the wheels to be removed..... So far so good, have done 7 return flights with no problems

    I like th idea of boxing up on the way out - a better guarantee of a good trip, and if damaged on the way home, less of a problem
  10. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    I will use a clear bag...from the CTC.

    So...removing the deraliueir (Sp??!)....before I totally bugger it up is this the correct screw to undo?


    and is that all I need do other than tape it to the frame?
  11. jags

    jags Veteran

    thats it just click your gear to smallest sprocket at rear and middle ring on front that will give you a bit to play with unscrew derailer tape it to chain stay if you can get your hands on some pipe foam the stuff plumbers use tape some to gear hanger just tape it up well .no big deal in putting derailer back on basically just screw it on carefully,
  12. derailleur in plastic bottle

    I wrapped a plastic drinks bottle around the derailleur, as here :


    I had to unhook the chain from the front chainrings so it went slack, and the derailleut folded back as far as possible. But it worked twice, on way out and back. I didn't bag or box the bike, as BA don't require it ( whatever their website seems to suggest ), and so far have had no real damage.
  13. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    I like that idea...I will do the same thing.
  14. ColinJ

    ColinJ A big clot!

    Definitely unscrew the derailleur and protect it. On my first ride on my first cycling holiday abroad (Spain), a fellow rider had his rear derailleur break off and go into his wheel. Result: broken gear hanger, damaged derailleur, broken spokes, broken chain. Apparently the bike had come off the plane with a bent gear hanger. The guy bent it back into position but it didn't last long.
  15. dragon72

    dragon72 Veteran

    Mexico City
    Hi robjh, I'm flying BA too this summer and I like your option.
    So, with BA, do you just knock off the pedals, turn the bars 90 degrees, deflate the tyres, strap up the derailler as you showed, and then roll it to the "special needs" baggage people?
    Have you ever been given any grief by check-in staff?
    I flew like this with Ryan 4 years ago (tho I don't think they'd let me today) and found it was fine. Tell me more about your experience with British...
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