This guide aims to remove some of the stress and uncertainty involved in packaging up a bicycle for shipment. With the proper preparation, you can safely ship a bicycle in a standard bicycle box with everyday packaging materials.
How to Pack & Ship a Bicycle, Step One: Materials
You will need:
- A bicycle box in good condition.
- Soft padding (bubble wrap or foam) If these are not available, old rags or clothing can be used… get creative!
- Sturdy tape and zip ties
How to Pack & Ship a Bicycle, Step Two: Disassembly and Protection
- First, you’ll need to break the bicycle down to a compact size that will fit into your box.
- Insure that no metal/carbon parts are able to touch or rub against each other. This is where the padding and zip ties come in handy.
- Remove your pedals and any accessories such as racks, fenders, and computers.
- Shift your gears into the easiest combination possible. This moves the derailleurs ‘in’ and out of harm’s way.
- Use tape and foam to cover as much of your frame, fork, and components as possible.
- Remove the front wheel and protect the dropouts of the fork with foam or a plastic ‘fork spreader.’
- The front wheel can then be attached to the non-drive side of the bicycle frame.
- Carefully feed the non-drive side crank arm into the spokes of the front wheel. It may take some wiggling to get the wheel in a good spot.
- Once the wheel is in position, use three zip ties to attach it to the frame.
- Place padding on either side of the front hub/axle so it cannot contact the box or the frame.
- Remember that you are trying to keep the profile of the bicycle as slim as possible to avoid bulging out the sides of the box.
- Next remove your handlebars and carefully pull all cables around to the drive side of the bicycle. The Handlebars will be secured to the bicycle frame opposite of the front wheel.
- If you are lucky, this can be done without releasing any of your cables so your brakes and derailleurs will remain tuned-up.
How to Pack & Ship a Bicycle, Step Three: Finishing Touches
- It may be necessary to remove your seat and seatpost, these can be packaged along with your quick release skewers, pedals, and any other accessories in a small, well-labeled parts box.
- Lower the bicycle into the box, watching for the points of contact where you may need to place additional protection. If the bike has room to wobble within the box, shove those old rags in there to keep everything in line, paying particular attention to the area around your rear derailleur.
- One last check to make sure everything is in the box and you’re ready to seal your baby in its temporary cardboard home. Now you’re done! Don’t ship a bicycle without first purchasing insurance!