Today many customers are unsure if they should travel with their bike, or rent one once they get to their final destination. Packing up your bike can seem like a hard task if you’ve never done it before.
How To Pack Your Bike
Will you be traveling with your bike? Here’s our best advice we have learned from traveling all over the world with our bikes. With a little preparation you will be able to pack your bike in its own container.
Measure twice: Either with a permanent marker or electrical tape, mark the position of your seat height. Or, use a tape measure and write down the measurements. Also, note the spacer arrangement on your stem so you can replicate it later.
Required Tools: Gather the tools you need to dismantle your bike; most likely 4, 5, and 6 millimeter wrenches along with a pedal wrench. After your bike is packed, wrap your tools in shop rags to prevent your frame from getting scratched and place them in your bike case. Some bike parts may require a unique tool, so make sure that you have the right tools with you to reassemble your bike when you arrive at your destination.
Use a bike box: To prevent damage, we recommend a hard shell case, but there are soft sided cases that can be used as well. If you have a buddy who can lend you a case, try borrowing one first. If not, make a trip to your local bike shop and inquire about renting one. Many bike shops will rent a case for your cycling vacation. Plan ahead and reserve one early. If you need to buy a case check with local bike shops or online retailers. There are many brands to choose from. It’s a good idea to practice fitting your bike in the case to ensure everything fits properly. Also review airline policies for bike case sizes since regulations change frequently and each airline is very different. A few inches too big could mean your bike may be left at the airport.
Packing everything tight: We recommend putting your helmet and cycling shoes in with your regular luggage in case your bike gets lost in flight. This allows you to ride during your cycling vacation, on a rented bike, without interrupting your itinerary. However, we do recommend putting certain items in with your bike; powdered sports drink, extra tubes and tires, tools required to reassemble your bike, etc. Do not pack CO2 cartridges in with your bike. They could explode and damage your bike.
Expect an inspection: The TSA often inspects bike cases. Be prepared for an inspection and make it easy for them to repack the contents of your bike case after an inspection.
Should I rent a bike, or bring my own?
There are several factors that play into this question, but it ultimately comes down to a personal decision. If you would rather not pay airline surcharges and oversize bag fees, you may be a good candidate for renting a bike on your next trip. Traveling with your bike can slow you down in the airport and be a hassle. It is more convenient to rent a bike once you get to your destination.
If you are very short or very tall, have a custom setup, or have special parts you can’t live without, you should consider traveling with your bike for optimal comfort. With bike rentals being about the same as airline fees the decision really depends on your itinerary, terrain, length of trip, etc.
Are you still unsure of your options? Contact us with your current make/model and size you ride, and any useful information you want to provide about your upcoming trip, and we will walk you through possible options.
Be prepared for riding in Belgium. In the spring expect rain, chilly temps and brisk wind, and in the fall expect mild, sunny temps. Since you will be riding every day, weather permitting, much of your luggage will consist of bike clothes/gear. If you need more casual clothes while traveling, this is a great excuse to buy another cycling t-shirt to add to your collection. Check the weather for Brussels before you leave to get a better idea of what to expect the week you will be there.
A complete packing list will be sent to you after you sign up for a trip. Sample items to pack on your cycling trip to Belgium:
- Helmet (mandatory)
- Microfiber base layers
- Long and short sleeve jerseys
- Vest or rain jacket
- Full-fingered cycling gloves
- Padded bike shorts
- Arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers
- Knickers or tights
- Bike shoes and socks
- Jeans, pants, and/or shorts
- Warm jacket or a fleece sweatshirt
- Long and short sleeve shirts
- Warm hat for spring trips
- Light gloves for spring trips
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- PJ’s and comfy hotel clothes
- Passport and/or ID
- Euros and credit cards
- Small daypack for the follow vehicle
- Energy bars or favorite gels
- Powdered energy drink
- Water bottles (minimum of two)
- Chargers for all electronics
- Camera and batteries/memory cards
- Compact umbrella for watching races