One question that a lot of voices — both inside and outside of my head — have asked me is, "how do you get a mountain bike from rural New Hampshire to even-more-rural, Banff?
Surprisingly, I wasn't too boxed in on this one as it didn't require any outside-of-the-box thinking to get my bike ready to fly (yeah, by now you know what you signed up for with this post). So, in this post, I will walk you through how I put my bike in a box (as well as all my other gear) and as an added bonus, I'll generously include all of the great box-related puns that I came up with along the way.
How to Pack a Bike on a Plane
Once again, I turned to Google for help with this one and I found this really easy-to-follow video that walked me through the basics.
From this video I knew I needed a few things before getting started:
- A bike box
- A lot of bubble wrap and packing tape
- A can-do attitude
Getting the bike box was a bit of an adventure. Let's share more below.
1. Get a bike box.
Finding the box was the easy part. I made one phone call to my local bike shop and they had one ready for me to pick up that same day. In fact, there was even a photographer on site to capture my reaction:
But, that moment of happiness was quickly erased with a feeling of panic when the box wouldn't fit in my car. We tried the trunk, we tried the backseat, we tried using magic spells to turn the box into a halogram, but nothing seemed to be working. So, I finally caved, called my pops, and as dads do, he came to the rescue.
The photographer also managed to capture my dad's reaction as well:
2. Take the front wheel and handlebars off.
With the box secured, the next step was prepping the bike. I started with the front wheel and took out my travel-sized Allen wrench to loosen the axle. No dice. Nearly snapped the tool in half while I simultaneously started stripping the bolt.
Pops to the rescue again. He gave me his heavy-duty, extra-manly Allen wrench that turned the bolt like it was sitting in hot butter. Needless to say, I definitely added that wrench to the tool belt.
With the wheel off, the next step was the handlebars. This one was easy, only four screws held the handlebars in place and once they were out, the bars hung from the brakelines like an underwatered plant that I kill every 3 to 6 weeks.
Here's what the bike looked like at this point:
3. Put bike in box.
The next step is a little card-boring (booo!). We simply lift the bike, put it in the box, and pray to whatever spiritual essence you believe in that it will fit.
This time around, the great giant flying spaghetti monster didn't let us down.
4. Pack gear around the bike.
Now that the bike was in the box, I noticed I had a lot of room to spare. So, I started stuffing all the gear that I could possibly fit. This not only saves some space with carry-ons and checked baggage, but it also helps secure the bike so that it doesn't rattle around inside the box while it's being carefully and meticulously handled by the caring and motivated staff that the airline industry prides itself on.
5. Realize you didn't call the airline. Panic. Then relax because everything is okay.
At this point, I am feeling great! The bike is in the box and I am ready to roll!
Except for one small detail... I found out that I needed to call the airline to reserve a space for my bike. Whoops.
Luck was on my side again as the airline had just enough space on the plane and was able to accommodate me. Next stop, Banff, Alberta!
There are two days left until I hop on my flight to Banff. I still have a few small bits of gear that I need to pick up as well as some leftover items that I need to figure out how to pack. I also need to look through the Canadian National Park system and familiarize myself with its rules and regulations for hiking and camping.
Excited to share more and thank you to everyone who has supported the website thus far! To be clear, I haven't done anything impressive yet, but am still loving all the support!