Here is my Long Haul Trucker complete with Frost River soft bags that I used for touring about Nova Scotia this past weekend. There are many ways to go about packing a bike. Here is one way.
(disclaimer: It was late and I had a lot of free wine so the images are a bit woozy.)
Secure handlebars to frame. I used a Surly Junk Strap. Some people use zip ties. Junk straps do not require a cutting device, nor do they create unnecessary waste and they are dang useful when on the road.
Remove front wheel pulling the entire skewer and setting it aside to be packed in a separate plastic bag. Using a plastic bag ensures all your pieces are easy to find and clean.
Remove seat post with seat still mounted.
Remove rear derailleur.
Remove rear wheel pulling the entire skewer and placing into the plastic bag with the front skewer.
Secure rear derailluer to the chain stay using another Surly Junk Strap.
Remove pedals and place them in the plastic bag with the skewers.Now your bike is disassembled enough to be packed into a Pika Bag.
Place front wheel in wheel pocket.
Place rear wheel in other wheel pocket. Make sure the cassette is facing outward so it doesn't shred your bag and frame in transit.
Place your bike into the bag with the chain ring resting on the foam padding provided.
Secure the frame with the strap provided.
Turn your fork around 180 degrees to create a little extra room for zipping.
Place seat and seat post in one pocket.
Place plastic bag of pedals and skewers in the other pocket.
Now you can pack in your soft bags or whatever you want in the free space. Keep in mind your bag will be thrown and bashed about because airlines hate bikes. Yes that's a blanket accusation. Make sure to protect whatever you pack and secure it if it could cause damage to your frame or components.
As you are closing up the bag be sure to pull the padding up and over the steer tube and seat tube.
Finish zipping and clipping the bag together and you are ready to roll.
My entire set up weighed in at 52.8 lbs and cost $150 each way to fly Delta Airlines.
Pricing for flying with a bike will vary. Check with your chosen airline on how much it costs to fly with a bike. With Delta it won’t matter if your bike weighs less than the oversize limit. If it is a bike, they will charge you for a bike. Be sure to check weight restrictions on the bike as well. Delta has an additional charge for bikes weighing more than 70 lbs at the time this blog was written.
Assembling your bike at your destination should be a cinch. You should only need a multi tool set of hex wrenches and a pocket knife or toe nail clippers if you chose to use zip ties. Boom. Done.