Two things I never learn?
Number 1. When you’re given a time estimate for doing something, never believe it. Double it, add the largest number you can think of, then multiply it a by a thousand.
Number 2. Never, ever, if you can help it, go on holiday carrying a bike
And so that learning curve continues as I prepare to put my bike in a suitcase and fly to Europe.
The video I’ve found on YouTube tube is optimistically entitled “21 easy steps to packing your bike for flying”. Having discounted various other idiots’ guides as overly complex, I ‘d settled on the above for the sole (possibly misguided) reason they offered the shortest time estimate for packing, 20 minutes. Easy right???
The clock begins ticking
Step 1….and those first 20 minutes are spent assembling all the packaging needed. Not an auspicious start, we’re in to overtime already. But, armed with yards of bubble wrap, sticky tape and my lifetime collection of padded envelopes (knew I was saving them for a good reason) I’m finally ready to begin.
Step 1 (second attempt), remove pedals……. Which helpfully seem to have become welded to the frame. No amount of grimacing and cursing with the spanner is going to shift them. The man on the YouTube video is way ahead now, having smugly removed his pedals with ease.
Step 2, ignore step 1 and return to it later….
Step 3 remove wheels and brake discs. Check. Realise that you have lost all the fiddly screws somewhere in the giant mound of packaging. Spend 10 minutes trying to round up and bag them.
Step 4. Detach chain and take off rear derailleur, smearing you, the bike and the carpet in oil. Curse more and belatedly put a cloth on the floor to spare furnishings. Wrap both, smearing more greasy muck in the process.
Step 5. Have another go at the pedals. Bash spanner with a hammer and bend it. Pedals not budging. You Tube guy has now packed his bike and gone home for a cup of tea. I’m on my own.
Steps 6-50. Wrap everything possible in bubble wrap, pipe lagging and padded envelopes, apply liberal swathes of sticky tape to secure. The bike now looks like a giant Xmas present badly wrapped by an impatient 3 year old.
Step 51. Take a break to pratt around, zipping self into bike bag and taking photos.
Step 52. Return to pedals with entire armoury of hardware and finally get them undone bending more tools and fingers in the process.
Steps 53-8..0. finally try and wedge, cajole and stuff the oily, badly wrapped frame into bag and pad with cardboard. Close bag, seal and lock.
Steps 81- 101. Re-open bag at least a dozen more times in next half hour to pack all the things you have forgotten including chain, brake discs and wheels.
Step 102. Re-seal bag and try to lift. Give up and just guess the weight. You know you’ll progressively add more useless, panic items over next 12 hours anyway.
Look at clock, a mere 120 minutes after you started. Feel a combination of smug and relief. Pour a stiff drink and wonder just why on earth it ever seemed a good idea to fly anywhere with a bike!
103. Final step. Drive to airport, put bike on a plane and go on an adventure!! That’s why. Here we go…..