LEG LUBE: Just getting to the starting line of any race is an accomplishment. You’ve trained, put your social life on hold and rarely stayed awake past 8 p.m. But there’s still one more thing you have to consider: Doing all you can to ensure your bike arrives on time with all its necessary components intact. If your race is just a drive away, no problem. Tuck that beautiful machine safely in your vehicle and head on down the highway. But if you’re taking to the friendly skies, you have a decision to make.
The traditional choice has been to drag the bike box through the airport and check it in as over sized luggage. If this is the option you’re most comfortable with, professional triathlete and IRONMAN contributor Matt Lieto offers these tips for securely packing your bike:
1. Always take the pedals off first. It’s much easier to get leverage on tight pedals when the bike is still built. If you wait until after the bike is mostly dismantled, it can be very hard to take the pedals off.
2. Always take off the rear derailleur. This is a delicate moving part of the bike and can often be harmed when shipping.
3. Write down all your measurements and take them with you in case something happens in transit.
4. Pack your pedals, shoes and helmet separate from your bike so if your box gets lost in transit, you have options.
5. Use any soft goods like towels, sweatshirts and swim pull buoys as extra padding in your bike bag/box. It will save room in your luggage and give you a little extra security.
6. Travel with an extra tubular tire to fix a flat in case of any last-minute mishaps.