How to Pack a Bicycle / Bike in a Cardboard Box
Packing for a house move can cause anxiety for bicycle owners. While hobbyists worry about how they can safely disassemble their bicycles, professionals and amateurs alike are concerned about protecting their valuable vehicle from damage.
This article covers both how to disassemble a bicycle and how to prepare it for shipping.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
To begin with, you will need to assemble all of the supplies you will need to transport your bicycle safely and securely and a high quality cardboard bike box to prevent it while transporting.
These supplies include:
- Accessories bag
- Bicycle box for shipping
- Disc brake spacers
- Foam tubing or bubble wrap
- Packing tape
- Spacers (for the forks)
- Wheel bags
- Wrench (and any other small hand tools needed)
- Ziploc bag
- Zip ties
HOW TO DISASSEMBLE YOUR BICYCLE/BIKE PROPERLY
Taking a bicycle apart properly makes it easier to pack, helps to protect its delicate mechanisms from damage and reduces frustration and time at the other end.
Here is an effective process to follow:
First, adjust the bike’s chain so that it rests between the largest front cog and smallest rear cog in preparation for the removal of the bike’s pedals. In most cases, the right-side pedal will be normally threaded and can be removed by unscrewing in an anti-clockwise direction. The left-side pedal will be reverse threaded so will need unscrewing in a clockwise direction.
The pedals should be wrapped in bubble wrap, secured by zip ties and placed inside the accessories bag. Any small pieces of hardware (screws, nuts, bolts, washers, etc.) are best placed in a separate Ziploc bag. This bag can then be added to the accessories bag.
Next, mark the height of the seat by wrapping a piece of packing tape around the seat post before loosening and removing the post.
After this, remove both wheels and place them inside wheel bags. For bikes with disc brakes, spacers should be inserted and rotors removed, wrapped and placed in the accessories bag. Spacers (specialist PVC spacers or even a correctly sized block of wood) should be inserted between the forks to protect them during transit.
Next, the derailleur should be removed, wrapped in foam or bubble wrap, secured and tied to the rear triangle using zip ties.
After this, mark the position of the handlebars before removing them from the stem. The securing bolts can be fastened back into the stem rather than removed. Shift and brake leads should not be removed but they can be loosened if necessary.
Finally, accessories such as GPS units, bottle cages and pump attachments should be removed and any hardware either added to the Ziploc bag or re-secured to the frame.
PREPARING FOR SHIPPING
Before placing your bicycle into the bicycle box, it is necessary to add protection using either foam tubing, bubble wrap or a combination.
Tubing or wrap should be used to cover all tubing including seat posts, handlebars and forks. The front forks should then be turned 180 degrees to face the frame. The wrapped seat post should be secured to the top bar of the bicycle frame with zip ties.
The wrapped bicycle frame, appendages, accessories bag, tools and wheel bags can then all be placed inside the bicycle container with any spaces filled with spare packing material. It should then be given a shake to ensure there are no remaining spaces for undue movement and potential damage.
Finally, you should follow all of the labeling instructions of your chosen shipping provider. Before sealing the box, it is good practice to place additional labels on the contents of the box as well as on the box itself.
Not only is your bicycle now ready to be safely and securely shipped, you should also find it relatively simple to assemble at the other end by following the instructions above in reverse.