Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Solo Woman Cyclist=Taking Your Bike with You

Taking my own bike especially overseas is quite a commitment. I’d packed a bike a couple times for a bus and each time it felt stressful. The first time I forgot my front wheel and had to have it shipped. The second time I nearly forgot my pedals.

Add to all this that my first bike as over 30 years old. Most of the parts had seized and you needed different size wrenches, etc. Once I got the Torker things got easier.

You have to remove your pedals, take off your front wheel, and turn your handlebars. This can mean loosening and turning, but for me to make everything fit I had to totally detach them and strap them to my crossbar. The only thing that held them to the bike were the cables. I also worried about the rear derailleur getting smashed. In addition I have to remove the seat.  

Ask for the biggest bike box the bike shop has. Once I got a smallish one. Usually a mountain bike box will do. I lay the bike down and watching YouTube remove the pedals. Laying it down helps the other pedal not to move while with a pedal wrench you give it a crank. I set these aside. Next I take off the seat. Put aside. Open your brakes and take off the wheel. I go ahead and take out the quick release skewer, keeping track of the little springs and knobby thing on the end. Put by the other stuff.

The handlebars are easy enough. I loosen the bracket and take them out and hook them under my cross bar. You can use zip ties, or what I do is use bread bags and tie them. It adds cushioning, then I use them on my ride for storing stuff in. Also because I’m afraid that when cutting the ties I’ll sever the cables.

Then I slip the bike into the box upside down. A sensitive area is the forks. They seem to get less impact if upside down in the box, thus UP to you when in the box. I’ll also wrap the ends with foam and if possible put a block of wood or something solid in between in case they get knocked around. These are all tricks I’ve picked up watching YouTube.

I put the pedals, skewer, bike lights in a plastic bag and stuff into my handlebar bag. Into the box I put my closed-cell sleeping mat. One end cradles the derailleur. I also put things in various places to act as buffers and padding, plus the seat (I have the post marked so that when reassembling I know exactly where). The pedals, skewer, and bike lights go into my handlebar bag. It all has to be under a certain weight—usually 70 pounds (but check airline baggage, oversize, bicycle requirements), and my bike weighs about 32.

Be aware: no bike oil or glue tube from patch kit can fly. Possibly flammable. And, of course, no camping fuel. Matches can be checked, not in carry-on. Same goes for your camping knife and any other sharps.

Which leads me to my next entry: Solo Woman Cyclist=Packing for a Long-Distance Tour.

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