Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Packing the bike

As you've probably deduced by now, I'm not a mountain bike rider but rather a road cyclist, so this whole trek through South America takes / stretches my comfort zones a bit, but what the heck, life is short, you've got to enjoy / take advantage of it when you can!

In saying that I didn't realise how easy I'd had it last time with my trip to Italy. Then it had just been a case of popping the wheels off, taking the handlebar stem out of the front forks, then putting velcro tape as per the Evoc Bike Bag's instructions.

This time, it was to be just a bit more fiddly and I think proved a great deal of entertainment to my mate - Rod - when it came time to pull the Surly apart and pop him in a Ground Effect's Tardis. By the same time, I have to admit that I was in the rather fortuitous position of finding a couple of photos on how other people had met the challenge.

Essentially, let's just put it this way. Buying a number of cable ties and several lengths of pipe lagging proved to be a very worthwhile proposition, as was the utilization of a great deal of duct and electrical tape to stop things moving around too much whilst in transit.

Now having packed the Troll into the Tardis, the big question was, and here's where I made a big mistake, how would it go once I'd zipped the bag together then popped it into the QANTAS Bike Box? 

Yeah, plenty of room for a bag full of camping gear and some assorted bike bits & pieces!

Worked out what my mistake was????

That's right I relied on the old bathroom scales, to measure the weight. It ended being out by several kilograms, something that I wasn't to discover till the sealed box had been plastic wrapped (inadvertently) by a company at the airport. 

Supposedly they should have picked up on it being overweight. They didn't and as a result when I went to check it in at the check in desk, I had to take a few items out.... Here's where I made my second mistake - In the rush to get things right in terms of weight, I took out my spare parts and tool kits.

Did that cost me or what. The folks at every airport I subsequently went through decided that there was something in my bag of goodies that they didn't like - Some cable ties and the repair kit were the first to go, then there was a set of Allen Keys, the Pedal Wrench and you've no idea how many times they tossed and turned as to whether I could retain my rear cluster or not!

I just wish now, in the benefit of hindsight, that I'd had more accurate scales and had taken out some of my camping gear or what have you as opposed to plumping for the bike bits & pieces! Ah well, I should be able to restock here in Quito or if all else fails, get the assistance of some of my fellow Bike Dream colleagues....


  1. I wonder what they thought you were going to do with them? You should have given the repair kit to Qantas so they can keep up to date on plane repair. At least once you get the bike back together it should make the tent an easy challenge we hope,

    1. Ah, you've hit the nail on the head. The bits &:pieces they'd confiscated were needed to put the plane together again!

      I'm hoping that neither the reassembly of my bike or putting up of my tent prove too challenging and that the later doesn't appear on Funniest Home Videos cause one of my fellow riders gets such a giggle at my attempt at putting the tent up....

  2. If it all went swimmingly, you'd have no news to tells us or memories to carry with you.... Good to see you are keeping the customs folk entertained :). I have always been suspecting of my bathroom scales and my weight - now I have definitive proof that it is not me, it's the scales!!!

    But you are there and so goes the rebuild and seeing how the Troll all goes back together and enjoys another continent. I'm looking forward to hearing how your Spanish goes in the local bike shop, as well as the stories about getting out and about with Ecuadorian road rules, or lack of rules?

    I got out this morning (finally) and boy, what a difference being back on a 'real' bike was compared to what we road in Brittany. The 6 days / 300km on the hire bike certainly rewired the brain regarding riding. Really interesting with significantly different geometry. Jen hasn't ventured out yet so I'll be interested to see how she finds it. All good, just very different I will just have to get out again. Life's tough.

    As preparation for who knows what (life is short), we booked in to the Great Vic this week, but 500km in 7 days is less than 5% of your ride so really doesn't rate does it. But it is another step in a direction.

    Great to hear you are there safely and in good spirits. Thanks for the post. Rod

  3. Good job on packing the surly! Its always a challenge to get everything tied down securely when you are packing for air travel. I always throw in an extra roll of tape and a few spare spokes (sometimes its hard to replace them overseas)