When you pack your bike in a bike box or bag ready to jet off on an exciting riding holiday, you place a lot of trust in that vessel.
That plastic/fabric construction is going to carry your pride any joy over land and ocean, and it's likely that the holiday at the other end depends upon it arriving safely. And, of course, you do want your beloved to have a safe trip.
There are many different bike bags and boxes available - but the Evoc Bike Travel bag is a little different to most - because it offers the sturdy protection of a box, but is lightweight and packable, like a bag - making it easy to transport and store year round.
We had a go at packing one, to see how easy it was. The builder, we can promise, possesses little to no mechanical skills, so you can assume most people with little knowledge of the system could figure this out.
If you are using a different bike box or bag, the basic steps will remain the same, though you may have some slightly different features.
Out of the box
The Evoc Travel Bag pro comes ready folded - in the manner you will store it year round.
It remains for the user to build it - this is trial number one. Everything required is packed away inside the bag - this includes:
4 x wheelcase tubes
2 x front sticks (that's the technical term!)
2 rear sticks
1 x bike block
2 x webbing loops
1 x framw oaf
1 x fork padding
1 x road bike adaptor
1 x clip on wheel
The user removes the wheel case tubes and assorted sticks from the packaging, and checks they are all there - which they were.
The instructions are also included - most technophobes such as the user will need to refer to these throughout. The diagrams are very clear and easy to interprit, which is a bonus.
Insert the front and rear sticks
This brings the bag to life - turning it from a crumpled little shell to a full on hard case.
Flaps for the sticks to be inserted into are located at the front and back, under velro straps - just open the straps, and pull on the red tab to create room for insertion (it took the user a little time to figure this 0ut).
Insert wheel case tubes
There are two separate wheel cases, one on the front and one on the rear of the case. These are supported by the tubes, which simply thread through inserts, as the front and rear sticks. This gives the wheels extra protection.
Insert the bike block and fork padding
Your trusty steed is going to have a little block to sit on, to keep him or her happy on the journey. This attaches via velcro. You'll need to wiggle it around once you have the bike ready so don't pay too much attention to positioning at this stage.
The fork padding also attaches via velcro, at the front of the box - and there is a road bike adapter for us forthose skinny little critters.
At this point you should also check the red webbing loops are attached to the black straps where the seatpost and stem will be held - they should be there, or in your pack.
Remove your pedals
This should be easy.
Place frame pad over frame
Evoc have helpfully labelled 'Top Tube, Front' and 'Downtube' to make this easy. Again, fixes with Velcro - this is almost child's play!
Y0u'll also lower your saddle at this point - make sure you mark the correct position with some electrical tape, your knees will thank you when you get to the other end.
Remove wheels and place in wheel bags
The instructions have you do it in this order. Personally, the user would suggest you refer to the handlebar twisting section, and do this first - but each to their own.
There is a handy plastic pouch on the inside of the case for pedals and wheel skewers - which is pretty useful, especially for those of us who are prone to making things messy.
Twist handlebars and secure to frame pad
As explained in the 'wheels' piece, this is easier done with the bike still rubber side down, but it can be done once they're in the bags already.
Handlebard can be twisted in a few different ways, just be careful not to put too much tension on the cables, as you don't want to have to find your shifting is sub par when you arrive at your destination.
Place the bike into the bag, tighten straps
This was the only stage where the builder suffered momentary confusion. The bottom bracket needs to rest on the bike block, with the chainrings sitting in the grooves provided.
It's best to thread the forks into their padding, and attach them, and then position the bike block underneath in the right place.
Once forks and bottom bracket are sitting comfortably, you can tighten the other straps to keep the bike in place.
Optional: Remove rear mech and add padding
This stage is not in the instructions, and is optional, but would certainly set our mind at ease as the bike disappears into the hold.
Remove the rear mech by taking off the mech hanger - make sure you do not lose the bolt! Put it all into a plastic bag, and secure near the frame - we opted to place it all on the bike block.
You can then use foam, bubblewrap, or any clothing you can't fit in your case (!) to give the bike some extra protection.
Zip up - voilà!
And done! All that remains is to clip the front wheel onto the case, and of course probably open it up and pack all our kit and essentials in there, too.
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