Packing for Nationals? Follow this bike packing advice. © Josh Liberles

Packing for Nationals? Follow this bike packing advice. © Josh Liberles

by Chandler Snyder

With less than a week until Cyclocross Nationals, many out there are thinking about prepping and packing for the event. The biggest logistical packing job is usually the bike, especially for those who don’t travel much and/or often with their bike. Unless you’re driving to Madison, or paying a service to ship your bike(s) for you, then it’s likely your bike will be coming with you on the plane.

Here are a few tips to think about to get your bike from the terminal to baggage claim, ideally, in the same shape it was when you packed it.

  • Get a hard case bike box to take your bike. They may be a bit more expensive, but the protection value is well worth it. If you don’t own one, check an LBS near you – they usually rent them for a reasonable fee.
  • When packing the bike, ask a friend or your shop to help you if you’ve never done it before.
  • Take photos of the process, save them in Dropbox or Google Drive so you can access them easily on your phone so you can repeat the steps coming back home, and in case of damage, you have photos for insurance.
  • Have a plan for getting the bike reassembled on the other end. It’ll save you the trouble of rushing at the last minute to find a shop, or person to help. If you plan on doing it yourself, do a couple of practice tries before the week of the race. Murphy and his law will definitely pop up to ruin your mojo if you’re not ready for it.
  • Double check with your airline as to what the weight limit is on your bike. Most won’t charge you more (on top of the fee you already paid for the bike) unless you go above a certain weight. Put as much of your riding equipment in the box with your bike as possible. It’ll leave you some extra space for the swag you’ll bring back from the race.
  • If you want some extra padding for the frame/components, grab some foam pipe insulation from Home Depot, Lowes, etc., and some small bubble wrap. You’ll save yourself lots of headache, and possibly lots of coin as well.
  • Use fork/rear dropout blocks every time. Most people think of their forks only, remember, without a hub in your frame, your rear chain/seat stays will fold in just as easily as your fork when the TSA agent “checks” your box for safety reason, then just shoves it all back together.
  • Write/make signs that say FRAGILE all over the box. It may not do much, but it’s a little piece of mind, and the baggage handler will see it.
  • Have a system for how you pack and unpack. Its a great way to keep track of everything. If you follow a set system, double-checking everything just gets that much easier.

In the end, after all the prep and packing has been done, you can only hope the baggage gods are kind to you. Hope everyone had a great New Year’s and we’ll see you all in Madison!

Are you and your tubulars heading to Worlds or Nationals? Pro Bike Express, a Colorado-based bike transport company, and Snyder Cycling Services, a Colorado-based service company, have teamed up to offer the Pro treatment at Cyclocross Nationals and Worlds. Find out more here.

Tune in regularly right here to Cyclocross Magazine‘s 2013 Nationals Homepage for the most comprehensive source of Nationals 2013 info. We will be updating this page hourly for race reports, results, photos and videos!