This post will show you how I went from this:


To this:


But first: the most important part of traveling with your road bike?  Decide if you’re going to check it on as luggage or ship it via FedEx or UPS.  Check-in fees vary WIDELY according to the airline you’re flying with.  Based on this article, I decided to go with Southwest for my upcoming flight to California.  Southwest charges $50 to fly a bike; Delta and United charge $175.


Step 1:  Purchase or borrow a bike box, or stop by your local bike shop and snag a free cardboard box.  I got mine on loan from a member of a local bike club.


Step 2: Remove your pedals.  This gave me some difficulty because I thought I needed a wrench when I really needed an allen key.  Tie your pedals together so you can’t lose one.



Step 3:  Remove your seat post, screwing the bolts back when you’re done so you don’t lose them.


Step 4:  Try to remove the handlebars from the stem.  Skype your father and hold up the bike because you have no idea what the heck you’re doing.  Figure out you don’t need to detach the gears, you can just let the handlebars dangle.



Step 5:  Remove the front wheel and the back wheel.  Looking good!  Deflate the tires and place the wheels side-by-side in the box OVER a layer of foam (I changed it after taking that picture).



Step 6:  Cover the tires with a layer of plastic and settle the bike into the box.  Remove your aerobars if you have them (duh, Caitlin) and then position the handlebars among the frame so it’s as tight as possible.


Step 7:  Wrap your chain and derailleur in old washclothes to protect them and the rest of your bike. 


Step 8:  Put all your gear + tools + pedals in a bag so you can put the darn thing back together when you get to your destination.


Step 9:  Position your bag, seat, aerobars, and other odds and ends around the bike (but away from the chain), add another layer of foam, and close the box!


Step 10:  Double check your workspace to make sure you didn’t leave behind any important screws or tools!


An article on said it would take 15 minutes to pack a bike, but it took me more than 56 minutes (yes, I timed the process).  You can also take your bike to a shop and pay a fee to get it packed, but I really wanted to know how it worked for my own benefit…. plus, I’ll have to repack it in California to get it back to Florida!


Pre-bike packing Chocolate Cherry Bomb Green Monster:


My smoothie contained:


  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 15 frozen cherries
  • 2 cups spinach
  • Drop of Stevia
  • Cocoa powder


And lunch was Israeli cous cous (a pre-made kind) on a spinach bed with crackers.




So, I am pretty proud of myself for packing my bike!  I don’t consider myself very handy.  I can’t change a tire or fix a toilet to save my life.  I feel like I learned a new skill today, which always makes me feel confident and self-sufficient.


Are you handy?



  • Heather (Heather's Dish) May 18, 2010, 1:12 pm

    wow, you did a great job! i would say i’m pretty handy…i like putting stuff together (for the most part)! one thing i suck at though? hanging stuff on the wall. i’m so thankful my hubby is good at that one!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet May 18, 2010, 1:12 pm

    Ha! I am not handy whatsoever. Neither is my husband. Neither is my dad! We are screwed when something breaks.

    Great job packing it up! 🙂

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin May 18, 2010, 1:13 pm

    Wow Caitlin. I am impressed!! That seems so complicated. I had trouble just transporting my bike across town with my car, so I can’t even imagine taking the whole thing apart!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday May 18, 2010, 1:13 pm

    I think disassembly is the easy part. Putting it back together might be a bitch.

  • Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks May 18, 2010, 1:13 pm

    Nicely done! I am pretty handy — boys are often surprised when I can actually lift things, working my stage managing job at school. However, this kind of project requires some spatial intelligence that I’m not sure I possess ;-). Seriously impressive.

  • giordin May 18, 2010, 1:14 pm

    nice work! are you planning to take it to a bike shop to get it put back together once you get there? i would highly highly recommend that. they can refit you and make sure everything is tight and safe. gooood luck! hope you feel better soon.

    • Caitlin May 18, 2010, 1:15 pm

      probably not because my dad will be there… he’s pretty much my own personal bike shop. LOL 🙂

  • Samantha May 18, 2010, 1:14 pm

    No, I am not even remotely related to Handy Smurf!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs May 18, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Impressive packing skills! Are you that good at packing everything? If you are, your house move will be a breeeeze :p
    I’m totally UNhandy – the bulb in my bedside lamp blew about 3 weeks ago..I still can’t change it 😛

  • Ashley May 18, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Wow looks complicated but I think 56 minutes is pretty fast for your first time. Plus you were on your computer, phone and taking photos along the way!

    If I shipped it FedEx I would have anxiety all week about it getting there. I would choose the checking it on my flight option also.

    Can’t wait to read your recap. GOOOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love May 18, 2010, 1:17 pm

    Wow, I am so impressed! I learned a lot from this post 🙂

  • Ashley L May 18, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Nope, not handy with anything in the house, but out at the barn? I can fix anything with baling twine, duct tape, a little creativity!

    Anyways, that cous cous is my new Costco fave. I eat it nearly every day for lunch on spinach with the mini peppers from Costco as well!

  • Jo May 18, 2010, 1:21 pm

    Well done! I’m not in the least bit handy. My mum puts me to shame as she can do ANYTHING! She is the most resourceful person I know and can much more in the way of DIY than my Dad. When something needs fixing in my flat I always call her 🙂

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething May 18, 2010, 1:22 pm

    you are amazing….i would NEVER do that myself and i have been riding for 20 years! you go girl…..!

  • Laine @ Beets, Butter & Moutaintops May 18, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Ha, I love “skype your father.”

    When I moved to California after high school I shipped my bike. But, the bike shop in my home town took it apart, and the bike shop at my destination put it together.

    I still have that bad boy – 20 years later!

  • Tammy May 18, 2010, 1:23 pm

    WOW! I have trouble even airing up my tires! You would be pretty handy to have around!

    PS I was reading back through some of your earliest posts and I saw that you had a recipie for beer pancakes. Just to let you know…Food Network Magazine is having a contest right now for submitted recipies including the “secret ingredient”..BEER! You should enter your pancakes!

  • Kelly May 18, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Man that looks like a giant pain in the ass. I probably would have thrown something and quit 5 minutes in.

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble May 18, 2010, 1:24 pm

    That’s pretty bad ass you took apart and packed your own bike! I changed my own tire tube last week and thought that was an amazing accomplishment!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman May 18, 2010, 1:26 pm

    Wow, talk about handy! But can you put it back together? 😉

  • Lauren S May 18, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Oh my gosh! I would have NO IDEA how to even get that started haha I really try to be handy but I just end up breaking things on accident instead. Good Luck on your race!

  • Lo-Jo May 18, 2010, 1:28 pm

    Holy moly! I’d probably just buy a new bike when I got there! LOL.

    I can’t wait to see how this ride goes. I mentioned it to my friend (we’re all the way up in Minnesota) as a possible future adventure. Although we really don’t like hills too much, and I’m guessing Napa is pretty hilly!

    • D May 18, 2010, 3:45 pm

      LOL at the bike comment

  • Joyce May 18, 2010, 1:28 pm

    Impressive, give yourself a pat on the back! Doesn’t It feel great to do things that seem so daunting at first?

  • Sarah for Real May 18, 2010, 1:29 pm

    Way to go! That looks very intimidating. You definitely should be proud of yourself!

  • Therese May 18, 2010, 1:29 pm

    Wow! Way to go, Caitlin! That’s quite the job!

    I consider myself fairly handy. I can figure most things out on my own, however I normally end up doing it the hard way and not realizing it until later!

  • Becca May 18, 2010, 1:29 pm

    Seriously impressed at your bike disembling skills.

  • L May 18, 2010, 1:31 pm

    I am seriously so impressed with you. I have been a triathlete since I was 15 (Im 20 🙂 and I STILL can not take my bike apart. I have spent hours trying and have come to the conclusion that I am mechanically challenged. And the price at airlines is so ridiculous! Ive gotten lucky once and the woman (I think she was newly employed) only charged me the price of 1 checked bag!

  • Linzi @ Destination 26.2 May 18, 2010, 1:31 pm

    I am so impressed! That looks like a TON of work to pack that bike. Good job Caitlin for doing the work. I know it will come in handy. I just learned how to fix a flat on my bike this past weekend. I felt kind of dumb that I was just taking it to the bike shop everytime and paying for them to fix it. Then my bf sat me down and showed me how easy it was. It was a great feeling to be able to do know I could now do it all on my own! 🙂

  • Alison May 18, 2010, 1:32 pm

    Congrats, on getting your bike packed up. That looked like one big hassle.
    I’m pretty handy. I’ve fixed the toilet a few times, but I haven’t figured out the broken garbage disposal yet. My husband is deployed and I changed the dead battery in his car which is my biggest accomplishment to date. No, I take that back, changing windshield wipers was MUCH harder than the battery!
    I hope you feel better SOON. Being sick is the last thing you need right now. Rest up! And good luck with your race!

  • Shannon May 18, 2010, 1:33 pm

    that is awesome. i’ve been trying to learn more about my bike, trying to do my own adjustments, but i guess it takes time… GOOD LUCK this weekend 🙂

  • Ali @ Redhead Reports May 18, 2010, 1:45 pm

    I try to be handy and do things on my own because I realized how hard life would be if I did’t know how to do things on my own and depend edon someone else to take care of me.

  • Ashley (whole-ier) May 18, 2010, 1:49 pm

    My checklist would need:

    Step 3.5 – Teach your dad how to Skype

    Good luck with your race!

  • Camille May 18, 2010, 1:56 pm

    Woah! What a task!

    My handiness is limited, but that’s why I keep the boyfriend around 🙂

  • Bethany (@ NotUnlessI'mBeingChased) May 18, 2010, 2:15 pm

    I’ve learned that handy people aren’t really handy either — they just do what you did — seek out instruction and do it! Way to go! 🙂
    I’ve learned to be handy through a slew of renovations on our house. We basically bought it for the four walls and the roof. Everything else had to go. 🙂

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle May 18, 2010, 2:15 pm

    I’m impressed! Both times I moved, I paid (too much :X) for a bike shop to take apart, pack, and ship my bike. My road bike has a carbon fork and back stays so I’m very paranoid that I would pack it wrong and things would knock together and break! Good luck, have a safe trip!!

  • Bria May 18, 2010, 2:18 pm

    Nice job Caitlin! I bought a hardcover bike box this past Feb- I think they are definitely a good investment. But yea, 15 minutes is a really ambitious time estimate. I have helped my boyfriend pack his a million times and it still takes us at least a half hour to get it apart, wrapped up, and stuff misc. bags in with it. Aren’t the airline prices insane??? United is brutal. Air Canada is also $50; we try to fly with them as much as possible. Have a great trip!! You will rock the race!

  • Mary May 18, 2010, 2:19 pm

    you go girl! I’m glad you finally got those darn pedals figured out! GOOD LUCK on sunday! You’re a machine you’ll kill that race.

  • Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt May 18, 2010, 2:22 pm

    Ha! I love that you were able to Skype your Dad. I do similar things to my parents. Usually it is “how do I clean this?” or “is this how it should look?”

    Good luck this weekend!!!

  • Trish May 18, 2010, 2:35 pm

    Hi Catilin,

    I have been biking for a long time now and don’t know how to change a tire (I know). Can you (or your dad) give a basic tutorial on this…especially the back tire because you have to deal with the gears? I have tried to get people to teach me but usually they are just very impatient. Best of luck on your ride!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) May 18, 2010, 2:39 pm

    I’m the handy woman in this family so I would probably read an article on it and do it. I’m fixing stuff around our house this summer 🙂

  • Erin May 18, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Wow, I would definitely be the girl who takes the bike to the shop. 😉 I am so NOT handy, although I’d like to learn more skills like that. I can’t even change a tire. 😕

  • Grapeful May 18, 2010, 2:55 pm

    Good luck on your race! I myself wouldn’t attempt to do this for fear that I might put back together wrong before the race. Very brave of you for doing it!

  • Amy May 18, 2010, 2:57 pm

    Wow, you just convinced me to never take a bike along when traveling by air! I am so intimidated by the cycling lifestyle. I’ll stick to running for now. 🙂

  • ashleigh May 18, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Good job packing that bike up! I hope it’s easy to put together for the big race.

  • Lisa May 18, 2010, 3:04 pm

    I was thinking about how to travel with a bike this weekend. But seeing you have to take the whole thing apart just looks awful. 🙁

  • caronae May 18, 2010, 3:05 pm

    That’s awesome that you packed it on your own! Girl power 🙂

  • Heather May 18, 2010, 3:16 pm

    oh my gosh that all seems so complicated! no way! I think I would stick to local races lol! you are brave.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) May 18, 2010, 3:18 pm

    I am very proud of you Caitlin! That would have overwhelmed me a bit. Way to tackle it and get it done 🙂

  • Olivia @ Blissful Runner May 18, 2010, 3:20 pm

    After many years of calling myself a DIYer, I have finally conceeded that I am So. Not. Handy. Being frugal does make one handy, however much you may want it to. I have finally admitted defeat and am learning to fork over the cash to have it done right. And while the money thing is still an issue, I can say my stress levels are way down. And that’s definitely a good thing. 🙂

  • Olivia @ Blissful Runner May 18, 2010, 3:22 pm

    Whoops! Meant to say being frugal does NOT make one handy.

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please May 18, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Were the dogs an integral part of getting the box to shut? 😉 Good luck with reassembling it in California!!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write May 18, 2010, 3:26 pm

    I am SO not handy. In fact, it stressed me out just to READ about taking apart a bike. 🙂

  • Nicole May 18, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Did your Dad cut his hair?

    • Caitlin May 19, 2010, 9:37 am

      yes!! lol he had an important meeting and didnt think the hippie hair would make a good impression.

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg May 18, 2010, 3:35 pm

    Yay!! Success! Good job!

    I love Israeli couscous!! For some reason, it’s so much yummier to me than regualr couscous (which I also really like).

  • Angharad May 18, 2010, 3:39 pm

    I’m completely useless. I wonder what on earth would become of me sometimes if I actually had to rely on myself for some of the things I convince my husband to do…anything DIY-ish gets designated not-an-Angharad job! Ha. I will happily do a bunch of really awesome stuff but if it involves being handy forget it.

  • Jenny May 18, 2010, 3:41 pm

    I fixed my fan the other day, and was pretty proud of myself for that! So maybe I do have a little handiness hidden away:)

  • kirsten May 18, 2010, 3:42 pm

    way to go! I would not have been able to pack all of that up myself!!

  • runnerforever May 18, 2010, 4:14 pm

    Wow, I did not know that the bikes came apart like that. I already loved it and that just makes it even cooler!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers May 18, 2010, 4:30 pm

    Very impressive- good luck getting it all back together when you get there! (That part would make me nervous!)

  • Amanda (modernation) May 18, 2010, 4:41 pm

    Oh my gosh – you are such a stud for doing this yourself. Reading this made me so glad I am only an hour away from Napa. Great job! See you in a few days!

  • Karen w May 18, 2010, 4:50 pm

    Impressive! Have a great ride 🙂

  • Brandy May 18, 2010, 5:01 pm

    I told my boss about your blog today. She just returned from her first half marathon in her mid-fifites….and came in under 3 hours! It’s a thing to be proud of, and it inspires me. You also inspire me! So, I thought it would be a good fit. You actualy make me feel like running (which I’ve never done and never liked plus I have joint problems) and biking (which I’m wretched at). So, just the fact that I feel like I could do it after reading this make me think that maybe I can start by pushing myself a little farther on the elliptical or in that Zumba class. 🙂

    As far as handy, I believe that I’m fairly self-sufficient. My father and uncle are carpenters, and they thought me how to use almost all hand tools. So, when I got divorced and needed a place to live, I fixed up an old cabin way back in the woods (literally in a field, no roads) by hand in order to make it livable. That included retexturing walls, sealing, painting, laying flooring, and the like. I lived in that one room cabin for three years. I don’t know if those qualify as impressive skills, but I felt like my dad would have been proud.

    • Caitlin May 19, 2010, 9:38 am

      yay thanks for this sweet comment 🙂

      • Brandy May 19, 2010, 10:57 am

        It’s just the truth.

        Of course, then I went home and other than cooking dinner and watching Biggest Loser, I had a VERY unproductive night. I felt a little twinge of guilt because of this post (being inspired to move then not actually doing it when given the opportunity to free myself from my desk).

  • Glamorous Newlywed May 18, 2010, 5:02 pm

    Wow! I’m tired just watching all that work! Good luck at the race 🙂

  • Heather May 18, 2010, 5:14 pm

    So, not only did I already think you were amazing for starting Operation Beautiful, writing a book, running a million races, training for bike races, doing a marathon, etc., now I think you are ultra awesome for doing this! I wouldn’t call myself handy, but I’m pretty self-sufficient and don’t like people doing things for me when I can learn to do them myself. However, I tend to get frustrated when things aren’t easy to appear and have been known to pout and/or beg my father (who is the ultra handy man in our family!) to fix things for me. He always obliges, and rarely forces me to learn myself (which sometimes irritates me, but he’s not much of a teacher). This post, however, inspired me to start taking on more challenges. Anything is possible once you put your mind to it. Caitlin, you’re awesome 🙂

    • Caitlin May 19, 2010, 9:39 am

      thank you 🙂

  • Helen May 18, 2010, 5:32 pm

    Wow I’m definitely impressed by your handywork! There is no way i could have done that at all! I hope the flight goes well and you are able to pit it back together at the other end!

  • Sonja {ActiveFoodie} May 18, 2010, 5:32 pm

    Taking apart your bike really is a talent! I got stressed out just reading about it! Good luck on your century ride and I hope you feel 100% by race day! Can’t wait for the recap!

  • kate May 18, 2010, 5:48 pm

    So interesting! Ive been wondering how you were going to do bring your bike.

  • Christy May 18, 2010, 5:50 pm

    I love that you skyped your dad for help, I do this all the time with house/plumbing/elec projects! 🙂 Good job on the bike packing!

  • ida May 18, 2010, 5:58 pm

    great job! taking a bike apart isn’t easy. So annoying that airlines charge though. there is nothing cheap about cycling!

  • Lisa @ bakebikeblog May 18, 2010, 6:17 pm

    Thankyou so much for sharing this post!!! I am super impressed!!!! I am HOPELESS when it comes to things like that….but am tempted to take my bike with me when we fly interstate in a few months so I am sure I will be looking back at this post for advice 🙂

  • Wei-Wei May 18, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Woooooooaah! That is SO COOL! I would never be able to take apart my bike in 15 minutes, let alone 56! I’d probably need lots of help from my dad. That said, I fold up my bike in about 5 minutes… because it’s a foldable bike! XD Obviously not for racing, but it’s convenient.

    Have a safe trip! Good luck! 🙂


  • Mindy May 18, 2010, 7:47 pm

    I am ridiculously impressed. I’ve done lots of stuff like roofing and building a house, but I don’t know that I could do that! Well…taking it apart, probably. Putting it back together? That’s a whole other story!

  • LindsayH May 18, 2010, 7:48 pm

    im impressed! i am NOT handy at all. and i think ive gotten even less handy because my husband is very handy – he fixes stuff – cars, cameras, electronics, bikes, motorcycles, computers, etc. but i hate being dependent on a man! when i got my new car i was determined to learn how to do the maintenance stuff like check the oil (ill take it to a shop for changes) and put on the spare tire.

  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health May 18, 2010, 7:48 pm

    excellent job! I don’t know if I have the patience for that!
    amazing looking lunch!

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) May 18, 2010, 8:24 pm

    if I was packing up my bike it would take 1 step: call the bf.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 18, 2010, 9:06 pm

    WOW, you go girl! That’s INTENSE! Thank goodness for Dad’s..

  • Megan@maintainingthathealthybalance May 18, 2010, 9:42 pm

    I tried that Israeli cous cous a couple weeks back and I really liked it! Loved the texture

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter May 18, 2010, 10:13 pm

    I’m glad that you were able to figure it out. I’m awful with assembling and dissembling this

  • Rachael May 18, 2010, 10:19 pm

    Using tools to assemble or disassemble something is strangely empowering and satisfying. My first few forays into power tools, and the resulting piece of somewhat-unbalanced furniture made me very proud indeed. It was a personal caveman-make-fire moment.
    Good luck, and keeping resting!

  • Jolene ( May 18, 2010, 10:23 pm

    I am not handy … but my husband is!!

  • Ellen Collis May 18, 2010, 10:42 pm

    Whoa, you are HARDCORE! Such dedication! And no, I am not handy AT ALL…I just don’t have the patience to try to put things together…or to even read instructions!

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople May 19, 2010, 12:06 am

    I don’t consider myself handy at all. Thank God for Blackle!

  • Susan May 19, 2010, 12:15 pm

    Bookmarked! I have to pack up my road bike next week to get it shipped to my new place. You just made my life a whole lot easier 🙂

  • KellyB May 19, 2010, 3:22 pm

    Tell your dad the new hair looks good!

  • Lindsey May 19, 2010, 10:04 pm

    I’ve been following your blog (I’m so tired, I just typed glob, LOL) for a month or two now, and you’re so inspiring. Today I planned to do a 20 mile bike ride (I’ve been off my bike for a long time, my husband was deployed and then we moved, so I’m getting back into a routine) and I needed a little inspiration. I knew where I’d find it. I came to your blog and read about some of your rides, and was pumped and ready to go when my husband got home and I could leave. I ended up doing 25 miles, and felt great. You’re going to do great at the century. Thank you for being my inspiration today.

    • caitlin May 19, 2010, 10:09 pm

      what a sweet comment! thank you so much!

      25 miles is impressive! you inspire me!

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