As you progress on your biking endeavors, and as the tight schedules open up and create allowance for vacationing, you will, from time to time, find it necessary or immensely tempting to carry your mountain bike on your tour. The prospect of tagging along a bike on an adventure is enormously exciting as it is challenging. In addition to readying yourself for the trip, you’ll be preparing your 2-wheeld companion for all phases of your journey. This post will, in addition to providing you with handy tips on how to travel with your bike on an adventure, be a reliable guide into the world of adventure with mountain bikes.
In a bid to present you only the most practical bike adventure travel trips, we not only conducted in-depth research about past bike adventures but also delved deeper and reached out to various participants of past adventures involving bikes. Furthermore, we involved a select group of bike riders from different backgrounds in a practical research adventure whereby they toured several wide-spaced destinations before submitting detailed reports. Additionally, we sought the take and advice of some of the world’s topmost bike experts to present you a run-down of the best guidelines on how to effectively travel with your bike on an adventure.
Preparing to travel with your bike on an adventure
The success of your adventure will, to a great extent, be reliant on the seriousness you’ll attach to your preparation. It’s vital that you take time to figure out everything you’ll need during the adventure to avoid uncalled for disappointments. This includes all your basics as well as those of your bike. Ensure you have the following equipment ready:
- All basic biking clothing including gloves, shorts, shoes and helmet
- Riding bag (and reflector strips or vest)
- Your bike (ensure it’s well serviced)
- Bike maintenance and repair equipment including a spare tube, tube-pump, tire levers, chain lube and a patch kit
- Miscellaneous items like a communication radio, camera, mobile phone and safety matches
Successful adventure preparation also involves planning your tour’s route before setting off. For this, you may require to acquire topographical maps of the areas your bike adventure is set to explore. However, you’ll find an easier solution in smart maps accessible by a wide range of Internet-enabled devices. In addition to route-planning, it’s crucial to plan for accommodation in advance. This may involve booking hotels and restaurants or acquiring camping gear and planning a camping site beforehand. It would also be of great convenience if you looked into the weather, political and security situations of your checkpoints and destinations to steer off avoidable mishaps.
Packing for your adventure
This is arguably the trickiest part of an adventure involving bikes. Packing for a bike adventure is determined by a number of factors that include:
- The duration of time you’ll be travelling
- The geographical location the adventure will take place
- The weather and ride (terrain) conditions
- Where you’ll be spending your nights during the adventure- in hotels or camping
- Personal preferences
When packing for a bike tour, it’s important to go as light as possible as surplus weight will doubtlessly cause you to expend more energy and take longer to reach your destination. However, you shouldn’t leave behind vital components in the name of weight reduction. Instead, focus on packing the most important supplies first.
In case your adventure will involve air, train or bus travel, you’ll be required to pack your bike as well. Below, we have listed guidelines for disassembling and packing your bike.
Detach the bike’s front wheel and re-insert the axle to prevent warping of the forks
Remove the pedals or turn them inwards if they are foldable
Disengage the rear derailleur
Disconnect the bike’s stem.
If the handlebars are foldable, turn them inwards
Unfasten the brakes and put a protective material between the brake pads to prevent them from grinding into each other
Expel most of the air from the tubes (this is an airlines’ requirement)
Carefully pack the bike in a hard bike case or a CTC plastic bag. This will ensure it’s handled carefully like fragile luggage
Ensure the package is carefully labeled with your name and destination address
The choice of packaging for your bike will be determined by your personal tastes, length of trip and mode of cartage. For wrapping the best mountain bike under $500, a hard shell box offers a lot of bike protection but is tremendously heavy and costly unlike cardboard case packaging which is extremely light and cheap but also time-consuming and requires tons of extra protective cushioning. A bike travel bag, though costly, is a swift and safe way to transport you bike from one point to another.
Tips for public bike transport
- The following bits of information will come in handy when you next plan to carry your bike via public transport means like trains, buses and airplanes
- Train companies (most) allow for free transport of foldable bikes at all times
- A majority of train companies provide for transport of fully-assembled bikes during off-peak hours
- Trains have designated areas for storage of bikes to prevent door, seat and aisle obstruction
- Tricycles, tandems and bike trailers are prohibited on most trains
- Reserving a carriage space with trains beforehand is always an added advantage as they have number restrictions and operate on a first-come-first-served basis
- Always check the train operators to ensure they provide bike transport especially if your journey will involve exchange trains
- When carrying your bike in an airplane, make it a habit to pre-check the airline’s luggage transport policy
- Always pack your bike to its minimum weight during air travel
- Make sure your bike is insured for air transit as most airlines don’t cover bike transport insurance
- Most bus companies allow carriage of folding bikes at the drivers’ discretion
- A majority of buses disallow transport of fully-assembled bikes.
- It’s your responsibility to detach all valuables like helmet, reflectors and lights from your bike for safety purposes
Evidently, the way you transport you bike on various adventures generally boils down to pre-set public transport guidelines and select personal preferences. Hopefully this post has presented clear tips on how to travel with your mountain bike on an adventure. Be sure to drop us a note or ask any questions you may have. Have a great time on your next Bike Travel Adventure.