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How to travel abroad with your Road Bike

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.

Take a spare of anything unique for your bike

Nowadays bikes are becoming more complicated and unique so if you have a problem while you are away it may be hard or impossible to fix by the local bike shop. Make sure you take a spare of crucial items such as a derailleur hanger, seat clamp and wheel spoke or seat clamp. Basically, anything that is unique to your bike brand and 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 but 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. Some bags such as the Scicon Aerocomfort you only need to remove the wheels.  However, for most boxes, you will need to remove pedals, seat post 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.

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?

Don’t forget your holiday insurance and make sure your bike is covered. You might have to take out extra bike insurance. Money Supermarket has a guide here along with comparisons.

Lastly

Enjoy your holiday!

James Walsgrove

My cycling career started in 2005 when I purchased my first road bike and I was immediately hooked. Since then I have completed numerous cycling challenges including Ironman, Lands’ End to John O Groats, Mt Ventoux (all 3 ascents), London to Paris, the BBAR challenge which included a 12hour TimeTrial and more recently the Mallorca 312.

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