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Travelling with your bike TOP TIPS – before you set off

Recently booked a flight to somewhere warm and lovely in Europe and thinking of taking your bicycle with you? We’ve got the tips you need. Welcome to Part One of the series where we discuss all things bike packing. Read on for advice on how to get your cycle travel-ready.

  1. Bike bath time! As obvious as this may sound, clean your bicycle before you pack it to save your frame from scratches and your chain from muck build-up. Also, cover the chain and the cassette with plastic bags to protect the bike and the bike bag from getting greasy.

  2. Mark your measurements! If you do not fancy struggling to get your seat just-right on arrival, either measure the height of the seatpost with a measuring tape or mark the right height with PVC tape.

  3. Pick it apart! The aim here is to reduce the height of the bike to about 1 metre (39in). To do this: remove the front wheel and put the seatpost down or take it out entirely, unscrew the pedals and turn the handlebars so they’re flush with the frame.

  4. Deflate the tyres? Interestingly, Cycling UK have explained in a recent article that it’s unnecessary. The changes in external pressure on a plane cannot possibly be significant enough to burst tyres they say and besides, bike tyres are designed to withstand bigger pressure changes when you’re riding. So even though some airlines will ask you to do this, now you can stop worrying about your tyres exploding.

  1. Protect precious parts! Rotate bells and mobile holders downwards, remove all lights and bubble wrap all delicate bits. Also, although most bike bags come with mechanisms to secure the frame, we recommend that you fasten the wheels and the frame together for extra protection- bubble wrap and PVC tape make a great team.

  2. Take your tools! Do not forget any of the following essentials: allen key, multitool, pedal wrench, chain grease, cable ties and travel bike pump. Quite obviously you need to pick your bike apart again for your return flight, so make sure you also pack some cleaning cloths, bubble wrap and PVC tape.

Voilà! Your bike is travel- ready. Wasn’t so hard, was it? If you’re unsure if your airline thinks the same way and think their policies look very hard indeed to decipher, head to Part Two of the series. There, we break down all rules and regulations for flights within Europe for five largest airlines.

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