Travelling abroad with a road bike can be an exciting and challenging experience for cyclists. Taking your bike abroad isn’t as daunting as you may think. It has become more popular in recent years with the rise of cheap flights and training camps. In this essential guide, I will show you how to travel abroad with your road bike making sure it arrives safely!
Cycling in France and Mallorca is stunning and something we are unable to replicate here in the UK, especially in the winter with limited daylight hours. Travelling with your bike isn’t as complicated as you think as long as you’ve got the basics nailed. In this guide, I will give you some of my personal tips and tricks to make the process as smooth as possible.
My top tips to travel abroad with your road bike
I have listed my top tips below to make sure your bike arrives safely.
Write a list
Being organised is crucial so first thing’s first write a list of everything you and your bike will need while away. Think about what you normally use when at home and whether you need to take it. Or use mine below 👇🏻
Having travelled a great deal with my bike I used to find it quite stressful thinking about what I needed to remember/pack ahead of my trip so have put together this simple guide with everything you need to know ahead of travelling abroad with or without your bike on a cycling trip.
Take a spare of anything unique for your bike
Nowadays bikes are becoming more complicated and unique. If you have a problem while you are away it may be hard or impossible to fix at the local bike shop. Make sure you take a spare of crucial items. This can include a derailleur hanger, seat clamp and wheel spoke or seat clamp. Basically, anything that is unique to your bike brand that may need to be ordered direct. These may only cost around £10 but could prove priceless if needed while away and can also be kept in your toolbox when you are back home. Don’t also forget the usual items such as tubes etc!
Note -You are unable to take gas canisters on the plane whether they are in your bike box or case it is not allowed so leave them at home!
Layout all your items
Before you start to pack your bike box & suitcase, put everything out so you can see it all at a glance. This will make sure that you have everything and also get a visual as to how you are going to pack all the items. This is also a great opportunity to photograph your items for insurance purposes should anything go wrong.
Dismantle the bike
Depending on what bike box you have will dictate how much you must take off the bike. With bikes becoming more complicated then I would recommend the Bikebox Allen Aero Easyfit Bikebox. This is a great option as you do not need to remove the handlebars! However, for most boxes, you will need to remove the pedals, seatpost and handlebars. Don’t forget to mark your seat post for the saddle height and take the tools needed to reassemble the bike with you. You will also need to deflate the tyres so will need a track pump unless you know that there is a shop close to your destination. If you are travelling with a few others, then there is no need to take one each so nominate one rider to take theirs. It is useful to also carry a torque wrench with you for putting the bike back together.
Remove your rear mech! This was a very valuable lesson that cost me 700euros on a trip to Mallorca! Even if it is a hard case I would still recommend it as the items that you pack around the bike can move and press on the item. You can leave the chain attached if you wish and leave it to hang down loose. Or remove the chain and wrap both up.
Protect the bike
To save any damage to your bike it is a good idea to try and wrap parts of your bike that may rub or dent. Pipe lagging and bubble wrapping work well.
Before you close the box
Before you close the box make sure there are no loose items, and everything is fastened down securely. You can also use some of your clothes to pad out the box around the frame. Now everything is packed all that is left is to catch the flight! Make sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check your bike in. When you arrive at the other end lookout for the signs that say ‘special luggage’ and head in that direction. This is likely to be different to the normal baggage belt.
Is your bike insured?
With the cost of bikes being so expensive gone are the days of it being included within your house insurance. You can add it as a named item but this will increase your premium dramatically. without paying a huge amount of money! This cover can also have many exceptions so stand-alone insurance can give you much more cover.
Along with purchasing travel insurance, you will need to make sure your bike is covered. Read about why you might need specialist insurance for cycling and the benefits here with Yellow Jersey.
Want to read more and hear my recommendation? Check out my Bicycle Insurance Blog and save 10% on your quote!
Enjoy your holiday!