To become a master at travelling with your bike, you should be comfortable dis-assembling your ride into pieces. Then carefully fit them into a box or case.
And don't forget the re-build at your destination, with bonus points for not having any parts left over.
Double bonus points while under a nice spell of jetlag.
Oh, and usually you won't have access to the normal tools in your garage. Sounds fun, huh?
These are the devilish details required to launch your bike adventure in far-flung destinations that require air travel.
Like me and Rosalita (my red bike) as we head to Hawaii in just a few days.
But once learned, you can assemble and repair your bike anywhere.
[In Hawaii, I took an afternoon to do major surgery on Rosalita with only my repair-kit tools.]
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There are circumstances when renting a bike, buying a folding bike (called a Bike Friday), or having bike shops do the packing/unpacking/shipping are out of the question.
So, you’re left with the D-Y-I method: A box, a few tools, lots of strong tape, some know-how and perhaps a few of your favorite cuss words.
It's just part of being a fancy jet-setting cyclist.
[Early morning, bleary-eyed bike assembly rail-side at the Flagstaff train station. We got our bikes together and rode into town.]
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Just as a U.S. Marine has an intimate relationship with their weapon, so should rider and their bike. Google says that a Marine can disassemble an M9 pistol in 30 seconds. Or an M16 rifle in 2 minutes.
Ok, perhaps the comparison is a little much. But I like the idea of having some mastery over a bike that needs to be broken down or built up - on demand.
[This took about an hour. 🙁 I need to practice.]
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Bike assembly isn't as complicated as you might think (and let's face it - bike mechanics would call this "minor assembly"), although there’s an extra headache instore to not only pack for a flight but also get your bike packed too.
Yes, you could opt for a bike case. They are smaller. They have wheels and can be towed with one hand. They are more durable.
But if you are cheap like me, then . . . well, you go for the free box – and pay extra in time, and awkward moments in the airport. Totally worth it!
[What’s worse, being behind that guy at the market who wants to pay by check or being stuck in line behind that weird guy with a bike.]
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I am not a master-boxer quite yet. I've done it a few times - not often enough to have an efficient streamlined process.
But the assembly upon arrival at the airport, hotel or train station– is the easiest part.
[This is all you should need for the assembly.]
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[It took about 30 minutes 😉 Not bad!]
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Honestly, I’d rather not have to take a flight – bike or no bike - anywhere these days.
I'd rather ride out my driveway to start a bike tour and head directly for the train station. It's so much easier in every way.
But you can't take the train to Hawaii. Maybe another fantasy project for Elon Musk.
So, I boxed my bike and hoped that it wouldn't accidentally arrive at the wrong destination.
It came back looking shabby, but got Rosalita there and back in perfect pieces ;)
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