Monday is the day and time has flown by this short month back home. The past week has been busy with making the rounds of family and friends, packing, plus gathering a few little goodies for Papua New Guinea. On this subject of packing, a few of you have inquired into just how I manage to take my mountain bike overseas with me as I travel, plus avoid all those crazy airline fees for overweight/oversize baggage. Believe it or not, it is easier than you might imagine and for me it is a necessity to have a bike for transportation in the countries I am working. For example, in Bolivia, I rode to and from work everyday and there were even days when public transportation would shut down in protest over this or that, or by government mandate. Actually, those days were quite the sight to see with no vehicles allowed and families on bicycles riding all over the middle of the road, even on the highways!
Well, with a few tools and a little bike know-how, it is really quite simple to fit a full size mountain bike into 2 suitcases, plus clothes, shoes, and my bike tools!. Here is how I do it:
1. Remove the pedals on bike.
2. Remove the wheels, seatpost, handlebars and fork:
3. Now, here comes one of the most important parts. I have a folding-frame Montague Paratrooper mountain bike, which allows the rear triangle to swivel around, basically cutting the frame dimensions in half. It looks something like this:
4. Next, I remove the right crank arm and drop the frame into my suitcase like so:
5. The tires are then removed from the wheels, but I keep the wheels inside of the removed tires and place each one in my second suitcase, pancake style- clothes and shoes, rear wheel, clothes and shoes, front wheel, followed lastly more clothes. The knobby mountain tires protect the rims and clothes help to provide soft padding around the spokes and fragile bits. I also use clothes to pad the other suitcase with my Montague frame. Here is what the wheels look like:
6. Lastly, I stuff in any extras and zip it all up. Both suitcases are under the required 62 inches (L x W x H) and under the 50lb weight limit before the airlines start charging oversize and overweight fees.
Well, there you go. Actually, the hardest part is not taking my bike, but learning to live with and travel with less stuff. Many times people bring way too many clothes and toiletries, not to mention shoes…ladies! Packing for Papua has been different though. Not only am I gone for a year, but I will be living in a very rural area with access to stores not carrying much more than the basic food necessities. So, a few more extras for this trip.
As I said, the flight is Monday, and my next post should be from the other side of the world. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. Till then….
P.S. For more info on Montague bikes and a cool folding demo, check out their site: http://www.montagueco.com/