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How To Pack and Ship a Bike

Packing your own bike means you can take it with you on vacation or to cycling and triathlon events around the country.


  • Step 1: Put the rear derailleur in the box so that it's not pressing against the spokes of the rear wheel or being squashed by the box.
  • TIP: Never use a box for more than one roundtrip. They're not made for multiple uses.
  • Step 2: Carefully insert the front wheel to the left of the bike frame, alongside the front of the frame. Then, drop your seat and seat post, and the plastic bag into the box, taking care not to force them in.
  • Step 3: Fill up empty space in the box with wadded up paper or bubble wrap, and tape the box shut. Write your name, address, and phone number in a prominent place on the box, and enjoy your trip, knowing your bike is traveling safely along with you.
  • FACT: Most homeowners insurance policies cover your bicycle if it's damaged in transit.
  • Step 4: Wrap the frame and cranks in foam and tape them in place. With the rear wheel still attached, turn the handlebar stem 180 degrees so it faces the rear of the bike, and gently slide the bike frame into the box.
  • Step 5: Remove the front wheel, and put the plastic inserts in the dropouts. Put any bolts and quick-release screws in the plastic bag. Then, remove the rear derailleur by unbolting it from the frame. Wrap it in bubble wrap and seal it with the packing tape. Leave the chain attached to the derailleur.
  • Step 6: Wipe down all parts of the bike and the bike chain.
  • Step 7: Before disassembling the bike, wrap a 3-inch piece of electrical tape around the seat post, flush with where it comes out of the frame at the seat-post clamp. The mark will ensure that you reinstall the seat at the right height. Then, remove the seat by loosening the seat-post clamp with the appropriate Allen wrench.
  • Step 8: Unbolt and remove the handlebars, and reinstall the bolts for shipping. Remove the pedals with the 15-millimeter wrench or pedal wrench. Place the pedals in the sealable plastic bag.
  • TIP: The left pedal unscrews clockwise. If the pedals aren't marked, mark the left one with a piece of electrical tape so you can tell the difference when you're putting the bike back together.
  • Step 9: Before you pack, call the shipping company or airline to find out exactly what their bike shipping policy is. Most U.S. airlines charge a fee to check your bike as baggage, and have specific requirements for how to pack your bike.

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