Author Topic: Bike boxes  (Read 2427 times)

Bike boxes
« on: April 04, 2008, 08:17:54 am »
Whilst looking up trains, buses, etc for my Australia trip, I have discovered that lots of these charge for bikes, but the charge is significantly less if you box it.

(Some of them insist on you taking off the pedals & front wheel anyway, which is irritating as it means I'll need to carry a pedal spanner.  This is prob a good idea anyway, I guess, but still.)

Anyway: I'm guessing that a bike box isn't a very sensible thing to take touring with you (unless you get v light collapsible ones?).  Is there any other way of acquiring a disposable bike box when at a random town?  Is it worth accosting bike shops (if there are any in the given town) to see if they have anything out back?  Or should I just budget for the extra AU$10-25 per journey?

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008, 08:33:00 am »
I got a box before my first flight to NY from a LBS, left it at the airport. The from LA to Honolulu, Honolulu to Auckland, Auckland to Sydney I bought a plastic bag from the airline as part of the charge they levied for bikes. Sometimes though I managed to not have to pay. Melbourne to Launceston and back I rode up to the check in and simply removed pedals and turned bars, that's all they needed. Melbourne to Auckland, Auckland to LA, LA to London, London to Teesside, Teesside to London I had a soft bike back that I bought in Sydney but I then had places to leave stuff in those cities after meeting folk on the way out.

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
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Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008, 09:50:42 am »
The CTC shop sells a cheap disposable plastic bike bag for such purposes.

With most pedals, you can get them off with an allen key.  Take them off at home first with the big spanner and put some copperslip on the the threads.  Then they'll come off no problem.
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2008, 10:10:22 am »
Does "box" = "bag", then?  I guess I could get the plastic whatsit & bundle it on the outside of one of my panniers.  I'm going to need it half-a-dozen times...

Pedals: OK, I'll give that a go.  Although one of my pedal spanners has a crank bolt socket thingy as well, which might be a good thing to have with anyway?  I am aware that I'm going to be 50-100k from anything resembling civilisation for significant patches of time...

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2008, 10:18:34 am »
(Some of them insist on you taking off the pedals & front wheel anyway, which is irritating as it means I'll need to carry a pedal spanner.  This is prob a good idea anyway, I guess, but still.)

Pedal spanner = 15mm, which is possibly the same size as the cone spanner needed for your front wheel - so there might not be too much doubling-up of tools if you're taking a full(-ish) tool kit.

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2008, 10:19:17 am »
Does "box" = "bag", then? 

Not sure.  For some train companies, yes.  But best to check individually.

Quote
Although one of my pedal spanners has a crank bolt socket thingy as well, which might be a good thing to have with anyway?

An 8mm crank bolt hex key is always a useful thing to have.  It's all about usefulness-to-weight ratios, innit?
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2008, 10:23:37 am »
When I did my grand tour I didn't take a crank puller, my crank bolts were the type that use a 15mm (or whatever) socket too. These can always be borrowed. I couldn't envisage anytime I would want to remove my cranks in the middle of nowhere (even some parts of the USA are remote)  and I didn't need to either.  FWIW I didn't take any means of removing a cassette either nor any spare spokes. I did take a 6" adjustable spanner and allen keys though.

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2008, 12:09:41 pm »
My concern isn't removing cranks, it's them coming loose (this has happened to me, but only once.  Well, twice, but not again after I replaced the crank.)

I'm going to have to do Serious Thought about the usefulness-to-weight ratio!

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2008, 12:24:24 pm »
Keep your pedal threads well lubed and you should have no problem getting them off with an allen key.

I've never had to remove cranks but you can get self extracting crank bolts. I've got them on my blue tourer and they work well.

Train/coach/plane operators are concerned about volume and also about you bike transferring oil & road crap to other passengers luggage.

Volume can be addressed by turning handlebars sideways, removing pedals & wheels, dropping saddle etc.

keeping crap off other people luggage requires a box or bag. Boxes are impractical to carry so the clear poly bag is what I use.

These will take a fully assembled bike with handlebars turned sideways.  The offer no impact protection, so hit diy stores for pipe lagging or supermarkets for old cardboard boxes to cut up & protect your frame.  If you go for the pipe lagging option it's easiest to leave it in place when you ride.

I think Bike+ do a big poly bag as well which they say is tougher than the CTC one.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2008, 12:49:32 pm »
Andrew - thanks!  I've emailed the train company that I'm doing the most journeys with to ask if they count bag as box.  I was expecting to have to do a little dismantling for any long-ish journey on public transport.  I'll think about pipe lagging, but I might be best off just finding a grocery store near the bus/train station whenever I need to pack up. 

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2008, 08:18:24 am »
Cleaning out the crank eye with a pedal tap before you leave home will make removing and reinstalling the pedals that much easier later on. So will wiping the pedal threads clean and oiling or greasing the pedal threads prior to each installation.

I found that using a 6 mm Allen wrench to remove pedals was not nearly as easy as using a pedal wrench, assuming the pedals have a 6 mm Allen wrench fitting. Crank Bros. Eggbeater pedals are removed/installed with an 8 mm Allen wrench, which works much better. They're also very nice pedals, IMHO.

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2008, 08:43:05 am »
Make sure you cranks are fitted properly in the first place. Do you have a square taper BB or splined one ? I haven't tried self extracting bolts on a square taper, I doubt I could get enough torque with an allen key, rather than a socket driver, to pull a crank with self extracting bolts.  If you have a square taper, allen key bolts will allow you to tighten the cranks if they come loose. They shouldn't come loose though, something is wrong if they do or they haven't been tightened enough, which is also wrong.

I never carry cone spanners either, nor any means of removing a cassette (though to be fair in my half way round world ride I had a uniglide cassette which could be removed with a hammer and screwdriver).

I was cycling in relatively civilised countries, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, roads were generally good and the worse mechanicals we had were punctures.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2008, 09:47:06 am »
I think most crank bolts are 14mm and pedals need a 15mm spanner.

Check before you go! big thick chunky sockets aren't the same as slim, open-ended cone spanners, even if they are the same size.

I was fortunate to have my loose crank moment close to a car mechanic's van in Newquay when I did my solo LE-JoG in 1986. I didn't have a socket wrench, they did. I smiled and asked...

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2008, 10:44:12 am »
My BB is square taper and I've never had a problem with the cranks coming loose or been unable to get them off or back on with sufficient torque.  I use the Sugino self extracting bolts which use a 6mm allen key http://www.sandsmachine.com/ac_bolt.htm I don't think you can get these anymore, but TA & Middleburn do similar ones. 

Taking a cassette off on the road will require something like this http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m2b0s71p595 , I'd practice using it before you leave. 

Spare spokes in the correct sizes are a good idea. I carry several of each and also a Fibrefix http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fiberfix.htm so I can do a quick roadside fix and a proper replacement at leisure.

Details of the kit I took for a 4 week tour of Iceland are here http://www.andrewclark.dsl.pipex.com/bike_&_kit.htm
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

bobajobrob

Re: Bike boxes
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2008, 10:59:16 am »
The CTC shop sells a cheap disposable plastic bike bag for such purposes.

I use one of these. It doubles as a groundsheet when camping :thumbsup: