Tomorrow morning bright and early at 5:00am I'm leaving my tiny apartment to attend Nuts!Fes 2010. I'm very excited, and to kick off this weekend of firsts (camping in japan, biking with other Japanese, attending a music bike festival, etc) I got to pack up my bike in a bag for the first time ever! One of the things that would make Japan a much more bike-friendly country is if bikes and trains got along better. I often run into the problem biking to my destination takes about as long as walking to the station, taking the train and walking again. If I could bring my bike easily on the train, I could really cut travel time down by biking instead of walking. Anyway, I have several hours on a train followed by 35 Kilometers on bike tomorrow, so I set to taking off the wheels and securing everything in one chunk.
I went shopping for a bike carrier bag last week, and everything I found was either super flimsy feeling, very expensive, or rather clunky. (I need something I can roll or fold up and stick in my messenger bag after reassembling the bike) It struck me sometime during the fruitless (although enjoyable) search for the perfect bag, that I had 2 large plastic bags that my futons came in! (free) and as I would be carrying the bike myself the whole trip (not putting it on an airplane or in the mail or anything) that they might just do!
Last week my friend Mika at the Osso bike shop sent me a bike box in the mail to I could box it up and ship it to Tokyo when I move next weekend, and the box had been folded and secured with 2 long plastic straps that are adjustable. I removed those and they worked wonderfully to secure the wheels to the frame and also the rear derailleur, which I took off and strapped to the inside of the frame to avoid damage.
I wanted to remove one pedal to reduce width, but the small multi-wrench that Osso supplies with the bike is very inadequate in the leverage department (it looks so cool tho.....) so I left it on, picked the whole mess up and slipped it into the first bag, which fit perfectly! The second bag is just for strength, and I put a small whole in the top so i can just reach down and grab hold of the frame itself to carry it around.
I'm rather pleased with how it turned out, and I'll be sure to let you know how the weekend goes!
and remember: Futon bags.