Dreaming of a faraway bike adventure? The County Cycles service team helps adventurous cyclists pack their trusty bicycles to be shipped around the world. Here’s a sneak peek inside our packing routine.
Step 1: Disassembly
We start by removing the front skewer and possibly the rear. Pedals are also removed, making the profile of the bicycle narrower helping eliminate high points that can poke through the box. Handlebars are removed from the stem and/or the stem is uninstalled from the bicycle. The saddle and seat post are removed from the bike as well.
Step 2: Packing
We pack the bicycle so any components that could rub against each other have buffer material installed between them. The left crank arm is routed into the spokes of the front wheel. The wheel is then secured to the left side of the bicycle with buffer material between the cranks, frame and wheel. The handlebars, with cables in place, are attached to the right side of the bike, usually in the space between the top and bottom tubes. Road bike handlebars are sometimes routed into the front wheel as well; with buffer and packing material placed between any potential rub points. We use zip ties to attach other components to the frame. Any other accessories are packed / wrapped into the box separately.
Packaging containers can vary from inexpensive cardboard bike boxes to pricey, but robust, shipping cases. The more expensive a case, the more features it will have, including padding, attachment points and dedicated places for spare parts. If you travel regularly, these can be a wise investment. County Cycles has several options to choose from.
Step 3: Delicate Components
Delicate components of the bicycle need extra care. These items include the shift / brake levers, wheels, derailleurs, cables and rear derailleur hanger. We pay particular attention to the rear derailleur hanger. We install a fork spacer to protect the fork blades and dropouts. On some bikes, we may remove the rear derailleur to help ensure that the hanger remains straight and undamaged. We use a spacer in the rear dropouts as well, in place of a rear wheel (if the rear wheel is removed).
Step 4: Include Spare Parts
When shipping your bike, it’s a good idea to pack spare parts. Modern derailleur hangers come in hundreds of shapes and sizes and often need to be ordered if a replacement is required. At $25, they are cheap insurance. A small pump can be packed for tire inflation. A small bottle of chain lube and spare tubes will keep you rolling smoothly.
Step 5: Shipping
Shipping companies do a fine job moving packages around the planet without damaging the items inside. Of course, we can all probably think of times where these companies have fallen short. Are you shipping a feather light $7000 road machine? Did you want insurance with that? Better to be safe than sorry!
Step 6: Re-assembly
At your destination, in an ideal situation, a skilled bicycle mechanic at a local shop should re-assemble and check over / tune as necessary. If shipping has gone smoothly, your bicycle should arrive in ideal condition and ready to ride. If something has happened in transit, they can fix the damage quickly and painlessly. It’s much more convenient than trying to work on your bike in your hotel room!
County Cycles is happy to pack your bike to be shipped from the Twin Cities to anywhere in the world. E-mail us or stop by the shop and talk to our service team for more details.