How to Pack a Brompton Folding Bicycle for Air Travel Without the Travel Case

You need to pack my Brompton so that it's safe as checked luggage on the airplane because the Brompton is just a little too big to make it as checked luggage.


  1. 1
    Fold the Brompton up completely, as you normally do.
  2. 2
    Let the tyres down. There is a risk of exploding tyres otherwise.
  3. 3
    Remove the C-clamps that hold the top-bar and the handlebar together when the bike is in assembled mode. You just need to keep unscrewing them until they fall out. This is important because the screws that hold the clamps on can be easily bent while the bike is being shipped. If that happens, the clamps won't go on straight or won't go on at all. Keep them somewhere safe in your carry on.
  4. 4
    Cover sharp points with your pipe insulation. I find that the sharp points are (1) the two places where you just took the c-clamps off and (2) the pedals, on either side. You can use the cables or the bike to hold them on briefly. They don't need to be on there super tight, but the tighter the better. I often skip the pedals
  5. 5
    Take the sheet and wrap the whole bike. I tend to put the "front" (where the clamps came off) first so I can use the sheet to hold on the pipe fittings. Wrap the whole bike up so it's completely covered by the sheet. Fold and double-up on the pointy areas.
  6. 6
    Place the whole bike inside the large laundry bag.
  7. 7
    Use your luggage straps to tie around the bag. Tie one horizontally across the bag and tie to tight. Next, time another one at a 90 degree angle. When I put the second strap one, I usually tie knot to the first strap so it won't shift around. The strap will hold the whole package together and will keep the bike from unfolding if it's bumped or dropped. Once the straps are tight, tie the ends of the straps to the part that is taught around the bike to keep them from being caught in a luggage machine.


  • You'll note that you bike will not look very much like a bike and that's an advantage as well. Many airlines have a policy of charging some extra fee -- often a large extra fee of well over $100 or even $200 -- for shipping bicycles as checked luggage. On the very rare circumstance that someone asks what's in the bag, I reply "bicycle parts." This is completely true but also means you will not be charged the extra bike fee.


  • Following these instructions is no guarantee that the bike will not be damaged.
  • If you use socks instead of pipe fittings, you'll probably need to buy new socks soon.

Things You'll Need

  • Large woven plastic laundry or storage bag. They've got all kind of names but the one I bought was labeled as a "tartan check bag." These are are very cheap woven plastic bags. You can often find them in most discount stores, "dollar stores" (or your local equivalent). We bought ours in a little Indian corner store in London when we bought our bikes but they are everywhere. Buy the biggest size. The medium tends to a bit of a tight squeeze. They should be cheap. I did not pay more than £1-3.
  • Luggage straps or package twine, or similar. They should be of an appropriate length to wrap around the whole bike when it's folded up.
  • 2-4 15-centimeter (6 inch) pieces of pipe insulation. Socks will work just as well but, upon repeated use, you'll find you have hole in your socks.
  • A large sheet that you can use to wrap up the whole bike. You will ruin the sheet so make it one with holes or that you do not need. You can use a fitted sheet because it allows you to wrap around the pointy bits of the bike to sort of hold itself on.

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Categories: Travel Packing | Travel Tips