Packing two recumbents into one long box

The main boom of a recumbent is the longest component. To transport it internationally you’ll need a long box. What if you’re shipping two recumbents? Will you need two long boxes? Not necessarily. You might be able to get both booms into one box, and put the rest of the components in one or more smaller boxes. The airline will appreciate your efforts.

However, two recumbent booms will get you right up against the oversize weight limit for one container, if not beyond it. Better check with your airline. (Air New Zealand’s limit is 70 pounds for example. Two recumbent booms at 25 pounds each, plus a 19 pound box, will just barely make it.)

Step one: Make sure there isn’t anything else in the box before you start!

Mira wants to help load up the bicycles!

Mira would love to visit New Zealand and kill a thousand birds, I’m sure. Nice try, little cat!

Step two: Strip everything you can from the bicycles. Tires, racks, fenders, pedals, seats, reflectors, lights, bags, kickstands, etc. Take photos as you go, so you have a handy reference when you reassemble the bikes. (Gone are the days of drawing diagrams on paper. Can’t say I miss those days…)

Step three: Arrange the booms side-by-side in opposite directions, with the forks facing inward. If any of the straps inside the box line up, use them to strap the booms in place. Use zipties, threaded through the dropouts in the forks, to anchor each fork to the boom of its neighbor. This will keep the booms from colliding during transit.

Ziptie the handlebars in place as well, and unscrew the rear shifting mechanisms, leaving them hanging freely from their cables. This way they won’t get mangled if the booms detach from their straps and hit a corner.

Since you’re so close to the weight limit, you’ll probably need to fill out the rest of the box with extremely light packing material, rather than additional luggage. The recycled plastic airbags that Amazon and other companies use for shipping will do quite well. Then, you’ll need an additional box to carry all the parts you removed earlier. The wheels will be the bulkiest and most sensitive items, so pack those first.

When you pack up the rest of the pieces, make sure to include a handful of additional zipties. When you’re on the return trip you’ll need them to redo your work.

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