Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to pack a bike in 16 hours

I'm flying to Milwaukee and my bike is too. That means I had to partially disassemble the bike and pack it in its box then fork over an extra $100 for it to fly each way (that's cheap compared to some airlines).

I had the folks at Just the Right Gear pack it last year for Worlds and then my roommate Donna helped me pack it up to return home. So this was my first time packing solo and thank goodness I was told not to wait until the last minute. (As I write this I am wondering why did I not reference my own instructions in my own blog post from how the professionals did this??) This was my process:
  1. Wash, wax, and admire bike.
  2. Remove rear wheel, remembering to shift into small cog to make it easier to take off.
  3. Remove front wheel, remembering I forgot to open the brake on the back one. Whatever. It still came off.
  4. Remove the rear derailleur and cable-tie it to the frame. Tie up the chain too and realize there is no tidy way to do it as it falls off the front chain ring. Whatever. Put bubble wrap around it and tape it up. Feeling fairly confident so far.
  5. Remove basebar/handlebars so they can tuck behind the frame. Remove two front clamps to do so, then realize they each have a dot on one end probably to indicate top or bottom. Realize I have no idea which "end is up" and hope upon reassembly it becomes obvious.
  6. Put stays in the forks - they add extra bracing between the dropouts. Lose a washer. Go to the basement and find another. 
  7. Remove seat. Think, "I've got this."
  8. Realize bike does not fit in box because pedals are still attached. ARGHHH. Find Allen wrench. Wonder if it needs crescent wrench. Look for crescent wrench with hubby. We seem to have every size BUT the one that is needed. Settle on Allen wrench. Find article online about which way to turn wrench. Make first attempt to remove pedals which do not budge. Remember now that pedals should have come off first when one could stand on a pedal and have leverage. ARGHH! Whatever. Try, try again. Try other direction. Post lament on Facebook. Have friends try valiantly to help. Use rubber mallet on wrench per Mike Morris of "a triathlon in every state" fame. Begin to fume. I HATE TO LOSE to a pedal!!! It's 9 pm, I'm tired, this is a recipe for disaster. Throw in the towel and seek professional help in the morning.
  9. Next morning, load bike for shameful drive to bike shop. Meet friend Bryan at shop as he is intrigued why this is so hard for me. Mistakenly arrive half-hour before bike shop opens. Oops. Friend gets Allen wrench and proceeds to remove pedals in ten seconds. What the?!?!
  10. Return home to complete packing. Skewers, pedals, Allen wrenches, extra cable ties, extra derailleur hanger, all go in a bag. Pipe insulation goes on forks and tubes. Add in the tire pump. Lay down the first foam layer, put in the wheels (slightly am I in my defeat), add the next foam layer, assemble the box.
Elapsed time: 16 hours.
I'm feeling confident that I can set a new bike-packing PR for the trip home. (I kept thinking about pro Lauren Goss who did a double last month - raced Lifetime Fitness Minneapolis on a Saturday, packed her bike and flew to Colorado, put it back together, then raced Boulder Peak the next day!)

I should have known better than to take on a job of this magnitude given my toast-making skills (and fire-extinguishing) earlier in the week:

Yes, I do have three degrees in engineering. Put me in front of a computer and I'll figure out anything. Give me a project and I'll manage the heck out of it. Just please don't ask me to adjust my derailleur, or limit stops, or barrel adjusters. I am happy to leave such things to the experts.

Pack a bike? I think I've got that now.

T-minus three hours till I'm on a plane!! Looking forward to seeing many friends in Milwaukee including Patti and Lana, Endurance Films Racing Team-mates, Speedy Edie, and lots more.