Bike bag

The essential guide to travelling abroad with your bike

Taking your bike abroad isn’t as daunting as you may think and has become more popular in recent years with the rise of cheap flights and training camps.

For me 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.Traveling with your bike isn’t as complicated as most people 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.

Write a list

As with anything in life 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 so take a spare of crucial items such as a derailleur hanger or seat clamp that are 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 tool box when you are back home. Don’t also forget the usual items such at 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! 

Lay out all your items

Before you start to pack your bike box & suitcase, I would recommend you put everything out so you can see at a glance that you have everything and also to 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 traveling with a few others, then there is no need to take one each so nominate on rider to take theirs. 

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.

Lastly

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 and when you arrive at the other end look out for the signs that say ‘special luggage’ and head in that direction which is likely to be different to the normal baggage belt.

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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