Bike bags are the easiest way to transport your bike especially when flying.
I will start by saying there is no 100% fail-safe way to protect your bike from damage in transit, unless you use an expensive hard case.
However there are some things you can do to reduce the chances of damage to your rear derailleur and, if there is damage, there is one thing you can carry with you to ensure a quick repair.
Packing your bike
Better quality bike bags have some form of structural support and will involve removing both front and rear wheels. The key here is protecting your rear derailleur while the rear wheel is out of the bike. The things to do are:
- Ensure you have you have geared down into the smallest cog (closest to the frame) before you remove the rear wheel. This is done for 2 reasons:
- It makes it easier to remove and re-insert the wheel.
- It unloads the derailleur when not in use, which pulls it closer to the frame and not expose it to possible damage.
- Don’t rest the bike on the rear derailleur. Most bike bags provide a support which the frame can rest.
- Wrap you’re rear derailleur and that section of the frame in a large towel. This provides protection from possible impact.
- Some people suggest removing the rear derailleur. This can help provided you are confident removing, storing and reattaching it.
Unpacking your bike
Re-assemble your bike and give it a quick inspection for noticeable signs of damage.
- Stand at the back of the bike and ensure the rear derailleur and frame tip are parallel to the cassette. The frame tip is a removable part of the frame to which the rear derailleur is attached.
- If they look parallel: gear up and down gently to see if the gears are still working fine. If you derailleur rubs against your spokes when you are moving into your climbing gears – STOP immediately.
If the frame tip looks bent inwards or outwards and/or your derailleur is rubbing on your spokes get to a bike shop, or event support.
Frame tips can usually be straightened, however ALWAYS carry a spare one with you.
Frame tips are bike and brand specific, so you might not be able to find a new one at your new location.
Hope these basic tips to keep you going when you are travelling.
How the frame tip/ rear derailleur should align with the rear cassette
A good look at the frame tip and rear derailler.
Article contributed by Darius Salkunas