|You can buy an almost indestructible bike box for $500 or more. But, who wants to spend
that much on a bike box? Rather pump that cash into your trusty steed! Here is a cheap solution
to your bike transport problems. For those who travel once, occasionally or fairly often, this
may prove to be the best answer!
|Materials and tools you will need:
· Cardboard bike box (free from your friendly bike store)
· Three 4x8 ft sheets of 4mm Coroplast (corrugated plastic sheet from your friendly hardware store)
· Craft knife
· Cutting board (old piece of plywood)
· Straight edge
· Measuring tape
· Plastic front fork spacer (from your friendly bike store)
· Plastic hub spacer (from your friendly bike store)
· Cable ties
· Packing tape
· Various Bike tools
The cardboard bike box will not last forever. It is not very resistant to crushing or ripping. You will find that a box will last the return trip, but not much more. That's where the Coroplast comes in. Coroplast is light, resistant to penetration by sharp objects and, being corrugated, is rigid in the direction of the corrugations. The Coroplast inserts strengthen the box from being crushed and dramatically reduce the concern over slight rips in the outer cardboard box. After the trip, recycle the box and keep the plastic inserts under your bed for the next time you and your bike travel.
PREPARING THE BOX:
Naturally, choose the box that is in the best condition. Make sure the staples are properly in place in the bottom of the box - fix with packing tape if necessary. Remove the staples from the lid flaps of the box.
|CUTTING THE INSERTS:
This is the most tedious part - luckily, you will only have to do this once! Measure the inside dimensions of your box. Using a craft knife, cutting board and a straight edge, cut two pieces of Coroplast to fit inside the two largest surfaces of the box, so that the corrugations run with the long dimension. Allow about two thicknesses of the Coroplast of play.
|CUTTING THE BRACES:
Cut the side braces so that the corrugations run with the long dimension. Make two braces for each side of the box (i.e. 8 braces). Measure and mark the lines where the side brace will be scored and bent to fit into your box, over-lapping the side inserts. Using the craft knife, cut through only one side wall of the Coroplast. This will allow you to bend it making a neat 90 degree angle. When inserted, this provides substantial resistance to crushing.
|PREPARING THE BIKE:
Reduce the tire pressure to about 20psi. This is not so much to avoid tubes bursting in case the aircraft baggage area is decompressed, but to allow easier fitting into the box. Remove the front wheel from the fork. Remove the skewer from the front wheel. Insert the plastic fork spacer into the axle notches.Remove the handle bar from the stem and turn the stem to the right so that the stem and fork is facing backwards.
|Position the handlebar at an angle, with one end between the fork legs and
the other end up against the top-tube. Make sure that the bar end does not protrude much
forward of the fork end, otherwise it will not fit in the box. This may take some
fiddling - the cables restrict the range of movement. Use cable ties to fix the handle
bar in place against the down-tube and the one fork end. Remove the rear derailleur and tie
it to the chain stay with one cable tie. Using one cable tie will hold it in position
and prevent any damage to it if it gets bumped - it will just move out of the way.
|Remove the saddle and seat post in one unit from the frame. Remove the bottle cage(s). Remove the pedals. Remember, the left pedal comes off in a clockwise rotation, the right pedal in a anti-clockwise rotation. (wrench on top, moving Forward=Fix, Reverse= Remove!). Stand the bike upright next to the box, with the cranks horizontal and the left one forward.|
|Position the front wheel against the left side of the frame, so that the left crank fits in-between the spokes. Loosely tie the wheel to the frame with cable ties. Once inside the box, you can tighten the cable ties snuggly.|
|LINING THE BOX:
Place two brace inserts in the bottom of the box. Position the large side inserts. Position the end inserts. The box is now ready to accept the bike.
|PACKING THE BOX:
Pick the bike up and slip it into the box, forks first. You may need to help the front, as the brake levers might catch on the box or insert. The rear should drop in easily. Adjust the position of the front wheel and tighten the cable ties. Attach the plastic hub protector on the outer hub of the front wheel. This prevents damage to the left side of the box and insert.
|Position the saddle in the back corner of the box, seat tube into one corner
and tie the point of the saddle to the rear wheel with a cable tie. Place bottle
cage(s) over rear tire and fix with cable ties. Attach the front skewer to the front
tire. Use one cable tie only, so that it cannot be bent.
Feel free to pack any soft items along with your bike. However, avoid the temptation to pack tools or other heavy items into the box. They will move around and bash your bike. Don’t leave loose water bottles in the box – Murphy’s Law says that the chain ring will get them.
|Position the remaining two brace inserts, spaced along the opening of the box.
Write your name and contact details on one of the top inserts with a felt tip pen.
Close the box and seal it with packing tape. Wrap the tape at least 4 times around
the height of the box, holding the lid and bottom in place.
Write your name and "ship to" address on the outside of the box.
|Take care not to tape over the box handle cutouts, so that you can still use them
to carry the box. At your destination, open the box carefully, so that you
can re-use it for the return trip. If the box is badly damaged, recycle it and get a
new one from your friendly bike store.