Traveling is always about discovering the unknown, however, basic bike maintenance shouldn’t be part of the unknown. If you’re using Transfer Case for the first time, it’s helpful to practice the packing/assembly process at least once before your trip. It might seem daunting if you’re new to bicycle maintenance, but after a few tries, you will get so familiar with it that you won't think twice. Personally, I've packed a road bike into Transfer Case in under 20 minutes and assembled it at my destination even quicker than that.
What to bring
- Disposable gloves and sealable bags - It’s nice to stay clean. Any loose parts like pedals, bolts or the chain are better to keep in a sealed bag (Ziploc bag) and then stored inside Transfer Case.
- Packing instructions (supplied with Transfer Case) - As a reminder on how to pack your bike while you’re on the go. Instructions are also available on the website.
- Don't forget your shoes, kit, and helmet! - Your cycling shoes and kit(s) are a great way to fill any empty space and add cushioning inside Transfer Case after the bike is packed. We recommend to keep your helmet with your carry-on luggage, if traveling by plane.
- A travel-specific floor pump - Of course, if you’re traveling by plane, airlines won’t allow you to bring CO2 cartridges and will ask that you remove the air from the tires. If you don’t have a team or bike shop available at your destination, a travel floor pump is a definite nice-to-have. Although you can get away with with using a pocket-sized pump, it’s much quicker to reach your intended tire pressure with something a little bigger. When you’re off and riding, the travel pump can stay inside Transfer Case, in your hotel or place of stay, and the mini pump with you on your rides. A pump that I prefer is the Blackburn Wayside Hybrid Pump, which has a fold-out foot and handle that acts like a floor pump. Other similar pumps are the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive or the Topeak Road Morph G Mini.
The portable, travel pumps come at a size that lets me secure it inside the Transfer Case. I can easily reach 90psi in under a minute with the Blackburn.
Your bike setup
- Chain master link - Your bike’s chain should be ideally be setup with a master link, such as KMC's Missing Link, that can easily be removed by hand or with master link pliers. It might be an extra step, but having the chain disconnected and stored in a bag makes packing and assembly much less fussy (and cleaner).
- Mark all rider geometry positions - This helps when you reassemble your bike. With a silver Sharpie, mark the position of your seat post height, handlebar angle and alignment (in case you have to adjust the stem). It’s useful to have photos of your bike setup before you take apart the bike.
Alight marking with a silver Sharpie pen to quickly set your saddle or bar position when you reassemble the bike. For my bike setup, I only have to pay attention to the saddle height as I'm able to leave the stem attached in position when packed in Transfer Case.
Some nice-to-haves… for the unknown.
If you’re traveling somewhere without immediate access to bike shops, finding the right tools to if something goes awry may be an unwanted challenge. The following items are good to carry in your saddle bag, on any ride, no matter the location.
- Shraeder > Presta valve adapter - On a trip to the countryside provinces of the Philippines to visit my relatives, I forgot my pump and a bike shop was nowhere to be found, let alone a presta-compatible floor pump. The best solution was to walk into a local gas station and ask the attendant to fill up my tires using the valve adapter. There was no way for me to gauge my desired 90psi, but I got it close by feel. The adapter made by Slime is the adapter I use.
- A back-up derailleur hanger - Discovering the unknown may also involved riding in rural, unpaved, under-maintained roads. You never know when if you’ll catch debris in your drivetrain and rip the derailleur hanger off the frame. It’s personally never happened to me but I've heard stories from others who have been left stranded or having to resort to re-linking their chain to ride as a single-speed.
- Extra chain master links - In case you have the unfortunate situation of snapping a chain link under power on a steep climb like Mont Ventoux. It can also act as a spare in case you lose the master link while packing or assembling the bike. KMC's Missing Link are compatible with most brand's chains.
- Tile location finder - When you're flying, it helps to know that your bicycle made its way on board the plane or when your Transfer Case is nearby at the baggage claim. Using Tile's key finder, for instance, stuffed in a saddle bag or inside the Case is a way to keep track of your bike's location if you're within the tracking range of the finder.
If you are unfamiliar with items mentioned here, or you need a second eye to look over your bike after your first pass at assembling the bike, please take your bike into a shop. At Post, we intend to enhance your travel experience by allowing you to take your bike on your trip. Mechanical mishaps are part of cycling, so we hope these precautions help you prevent any unwanted challenges.
- Marc, Founder @ Post Carry Co.