How To Pack Bicycle Into Box For Flight + Q&A about how to travel with a bike | Cycling Tip

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* How to pack a bike in a cardboard box?

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1. Remove Pedals

– If you didn’t remove them for a while, it can be hard. So put a bike oil at pedal screw a day before.
– Use 15mm wrench to remove the pedal directly or use an Allen key to remove it at the end of the pedal.
– Right pedals loosen by turning counter-clockwise, left pedals loosen clockwise


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2. Turn Handlebar by 90 degrees

– Unscrew the stem, turn the handlebar by 90 degrees, and screw again to fix it.
– If the box is small, you have to remove the handlebar from the stem and leave it on the side of the frame carefully (parallel to the frame)
– In my experience, if I get the medium size of the box, I didn’t need to remove it.


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3. Remove wheels

– Deflate the tires
– Remove the wheels
– Leave Quick release on wheels to avoid losing it.
– If the box is small, then remove quick release and put them all together in the small bag with tools and screws.


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4. Protect cassette, chain, and other weak parts.


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5. Put the frame first into the box

– If it doesn’t fit, then remove such as kickstand and racks one by one and test it.


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6. Put the wheels next to the frame.


7. Put tools, screws, and others into a small bag and fix it on a bicycle or box with a tie or tape. (Then you can install them easily later)

– Above the picture, you can see them on my white bag at my front rack, which I fixed it.


8. If you have space on the box, you can add a helmet, lock, tripod, and so on.

– When I pack my Surly Long Haul Trucker bike, lock, and tools together, it weighs 22kg (48pounds) included the box.


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9. Use duct tape to seal tightly.


10. Write down Top, Bottom, and Fragile On the box

– Airline can provide you a free sticker of Fragile
(You can write down Fragile everywhere on the box to show them how much you love your bicycle so that they will try not to mess you up. And write down THANK YOU as well )


* How to use Packing service instead of doing it by yourself?

– You can go to a bicycle shop and ask them to do it (It can cost around $60~$100 in Europe, America, and so on)
– Some airport has packing service. So check them before going there.
– Korean Incheon and Gimpo airport has a packing service for $20-$40 and it will take 10 to 30 minutes.


* How long does it take time to pack it?

– If it’s your first time, it can take up to four to six hours. Be patient. You will get there. Trust me. I’ve done it, so you can do it as well.
– If you’ve done it a few times, it would take only one to two hours. (Professional can do it in 10 to 30 minutes. )
– Personally, I’ve spent more time on removing Pedals because I hardly remove them for one to two years that it’s stuck there and it makes me confused with counter-clockwise and clockwise. So let’s put oil there before.
– If the box is small, you have to remove the kickstand, rack, and so on one by one to test it, which will take more time.


* Where to get the box?

– You can ask a bicycle shop.
– Not every bicycle has a box. So check before going.
– In my experience, it was free always, but probably some bicycle shops ask you for money to give it.


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* How to bring a box into your home?

– You can fold the rear seat of your car and put the box.
– Carry a bicycle box on a bike. (You can fold it in half and carry it on the rear rack like on the picture of me. Even I carried it with standing up one time. You can do it if you need to do it.)


* How much does it cost to take a bicycle into an airplane?

– Every airline has different regulations that YOU MUST CHECK THE PRICE OF CARRYING A BIKE BEFORE BUYING FLIGHT TICKET. (Many airlines don’t show it clearly on their website. So you need to be patient to figure it out.)
– Usually, a long-distance flight allows you two 23 kg(50lb) luggage for free. (Usually only one 23kg(50lb) free. If it’s a very cheap flight, then only 7kg carry on baggage)
– Sometimes it’s just better to choose a direct flight than a few different stopovers as you have to pay for your bicycle to different airlines.
– I’ve paid one time $70 for carrying my bike. But it can go up to easily $100 to $200.


* Where do you install after landing?

– You can go to a quiet place at the corner of the airport and install it.
– Some airports provide a bicycle stand outside kindly like New Zealand.


* What to do with a bicycle box after finishing installing it at the airport?

– There are always cleaners walking around at the airport. So ask them what to do.
– In my experience, they always said leave next to the bin at the corner.


* Is it necessary to put it into the box for air travel?

– Every airline has different regulations, but mostly they require a cardboard box or hard bike box.

– Some airlines allow just wrapping or a soft bicycle box. (But it’s better to use a box to protect our lovely bicycle.)

– If you have a very expensive bicycle and round trip ticket, then buy Topeak pakgo for $1,100 (12kg)
(If you don’t have a bicycle costing $10,000 or if you don’t take the flight often, this isn’t necessary, to be honest as the cardboard box is strong enough to protect from the damage.)
– There are other cheaper ones


(The TOPEAK PakGo X video is so beautiful and the instruction is so clear. But it looks more complicated than putting into the box that I won’t buy a $10,000 bike.)

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  1. It’s pretty straight forward, once you think about it. I usually go to a biycle shop, to have it packed/unpacked, because I like supporting local bicycle shops.

    • I’ve done more than a dozen trips.My way is to remove both wheels, take off the handle bars, both carriers. Use the wheels as the bread and sandwich the frame between them, that way you don’t have to remove the pedals, also you can include your tent,and other bags in there,(the weight allowance for the bike is usually about 30 kgs)As for the box, well at home it’s easy but when you’ve done a tour of a couple of weeks you probably end up at an airport where you have no facilities open to you. So before I cycle to the airport I buy a roll of good sticky tape, 10-15 meters of cord and collect a few cardboard boxes that I flatten and tie onto the back carrier.Then at the airport I tape the cardboard together to make a couple of sheets about a meter square ,lay the precious “sandwich”on one piece,put the square on top, tape the whole thing together, making sure to bend the overlaps up and down to ensure there’s nothing poking out and nothing else can poke in. The taping is done by the “overkill” method, if there’s no tape there then tape it, and even if there is you might as well use up the whole roll. Then take your cord and tie up your package from as many directions that allow.Write your name and that it’s bicyle, sit back qnd open a couple of beers and wait for your flight with a self-satisfied grin on your face. From my experience it takes no more then an hour and a half to get to the grinning stage.
      One other point, to tie everything together inside the package, single strand electric wires do an ideal job.

    • That’s good that you support your local shop 🙂 I like to pack my bicycle though. haha

  2. You one of the best

  3. The trick with (un-) installing pedals is actually very simple. You tighten them by turning there axis in the direction you pedal, so forwards. And thus remove them by screwing there axis rearwards. The reason for this was ofcourse to prevent them from falling of. Which might have been a serious risc 100+ years ago. While cycling on a high-bi !

    Here is a nice article about “The 1885 monstertour of supercyclist Pim Kiderlen” on his high bi and tricyles. Enjoy, those were the days !


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