Shipping a Bike

How to Pack a Bike for Shipping

Packing a bicycle for air or sea travel sounds complicated but is actually easy if basic steps are followed. Follow some simple step by step instructions to ensure no damage occurs in transit.

What to ship a bicycle in

Bike manufacturers ship thousands of bikes every week in strong cardboard boxes. Whilst these can also be used for holiday travel, many people now use bike specific boxes made of either soft fabric or hard casing. Whichever box is used, the method of packing a bike is similar with the key priority being to safeguard all components from damage in transit.

Step by Step Instructions

  • Detach the seat and seat post as a unit.
  • Take off both wheels and deflate the tyres to avoid a blowout due to a sudden change in cabin pressure.
  • Place a plastic spacer or wooden block between the fork axles - you can get these from a bike shop.
  • Remove the handlebars by unscrewing the stem from the frame body and, leaving the brake cables attached, turn the handlebars sideways and tape them securely to the bikes' top tube.
  • Unscrew the pedals from the cranks.
  • Protect the bike frame by wrapping in newspaper or better still by enclosing the tubing in foam insulation, available in various sizes from your local hardware store.
  • It is not essential but the rear derailleur can also be removed, bubble wrapped and taped securely to the frame - choose a spot that "shelters" the rear mec from potential damage.
  • Bubble wrap or bag all loose components and tape to the frame.
  • Put the frame into the bike box and ensure its sits neatly inside with no components sticking out at an angle.
  • Place the wheels on either side of the frame, preferably in a wheel bag, otherwise bubble wrap them.
  • Close the bike bag and if using a cardboard box, secure firmly with strong packing tape.
  • Tips for packing a bike

    Cable ties are very useful to attach loose bike components and for securing packaging materials on the frame.

    Pack additional rolls of tape and packs of ties for the return journey.

    The seat post and saddle can be packed alongside the wheels if space in the box is tight - simply ensure that it is securely fixed to some part of the frame.

    Ensure that all tools necessary to reassemble the bike are also placed in the bike box.

    Bike clothing and footwear can also be carried in the box to reduce the amount of hand luggage required.


    Follow some simple steps when packing a bike for shipping and avoid any damage in transit.

    Related Articles

    Also of interest to you may be:

    How to pack a bike for air travel. Gives some tips on how to do it safely and well.

    How to choose the best Bicycle travel bag. The article discusses the types of bike bags and boxes available.

    Best bicycle box for air travel. This article looks specifically at hard boxes; the most secure way to keep your bike safe in transit.