How to pack a bicycle for moving

If you’re a proud owner of a mountain bike, a city bike, a racing bicycle or just about any other type of a reliable two-wheeler, then sooner or later you will be forced to move your bicycle to another part of the country. And when that relocation time comes, you should know the best way to pack a bicycle for shipping.

Safely packing a bicycle in a bike box for shipping is not overly complicated but it does have its specifics. The things you need to complete the packing task successfully are:

  • 1 cardboard bike box
  • 1 small sized moving box for the smaller disassembled bike parts (a parts box)
  • Tools: a pedal wrench, a set of hex wrenches, a torque wrench and a pair of pliers
  • Roughly 10 tube protectors
  • 1 fork protector
  • 4 wheel axle protectors
  • A set of cable ties
  • Bubble wrap and/or packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • About 1 hour

Contact your local bike shop, inform them of the size of your bicycle and request a special bike box. Another option is to call your local moving company and see if they are in possession of such a container. Also, if you don’t have the required tools mentioned above, it’s a good idea to purchase them from your favorite bike shop as they will surely prove to be useful in the future.

How to disassemble a bicycle for shipping

Step 1: Clean your bicycle thoroughly with a clean soft rag.

Step 2: Unscrew both pedals with help of the pedal wrench, wrap them in packing paper and place them in the small moving box.

Step 3: Take out the seat with its seat-post as one unit and leave them aside for the time being.

Step 4: Remove any accessorial equipment your bike might have (computers, mirrors, bells, etc.) and keep them safe in the parts box.

Step 5: Remove the front brake, re-attach its nut, wrap the entire braking unit with bubble wrap and tape it to the bike frame. Don’t get carried away and leave the brake cables as they are, as it will be rather difficult to re-adjust the brakes later on.

Step 6: Remove the handlebars carefully together with their stem (for most models) and place them on the floor as one unit.

Step 7: Remove the front wheel by unscrewing the front wheel bolts and place the fork protector immediately to avoid structural damage to the fork. Place the bolts in the parts box and place the front wheel on the floor for now.

Step 8: Deflate both tires halfway to better fit the bicycle in the bike box.

And… you’re halfway there. You should have partially disassembled your wheeled companion in no more than 30 minutes. Now it’s time to learn how to pack your bicycle for travel.

How to pack a bicycle for shipping

Step 1: Protect the rear derailleur by first shifting the bike chain into the smallest chain-ring and the largest rear cog, and then wrapping it in bubble wrap and taping it in place. Be very careful as the rear derailleur is by far the most fragile part of your trusted bike and it should be very well protected at all times.

Step 2: Next, place the foam tube protectors along the metal frame of your bicycle to keep the metal surfaces from scratches while your bike is on the road. Use packing tape or zip ties to secure the soft tubes in place and wrap the seat and its seat-post in packing paper or bubble wrap. Don’t be stingy when it comes to packing materials in order to provide the best protection for your bike. Finally, fit in the 4 wheel axle protectors and wrap the left pedal crank-arm with bubble wrap as a prelude to the next bicycle packing step.

Step 3: Now, this is the trickiest step of packing your bicycle for shipping. The idea is to attach the front wheel to the bicycle frame. Do this slowly to avoid any damage and don’t force a part if it won’t fit in your first attempt. Lay your bike on the ground and place the front wheel next to its left side (the non-chain side). Next, position the wheel above the already wrapped left pedal and bring it down slowly so that the pedal ends up between the wheel spokes without touching them. With the help of a handful of zip ties, secure the wheel to the bicycle frame.

Step 4: Secure the handlebars to the bike frame as well using plenty of packing materials. No cables should be twisted or bent during the process.

Step 5: Finally, you’re ready to place your bicycle inside the bike box. Do it carefully, fill in any remaining spaces with suitable filling materials (towels and pieces of clothing will do just fine), place inside the parts box, close the bike box and tape it securely.

Congratulations on your first attempt to pack your bicycle for moving. It wasn’t that hard, was it?

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