The Essential Guide to Traveling with Your Mountain Bike 

 Planning your next overseas adventure on two wheels? 

While planning your next cycling holiday might feel incredibly exciting, it’s important to remember that there are certain logistical challenges involved. From flying with your bike to getting to grips with foreign roads, there’s a lot to think about.

Whether it’s your first overseas cycling adventure or you’re no stranger to the trails across the channel, we’ve outlined everything you should know about travelling with your MTB in this guide.

Flying with bikes: The basics

Booking a flight and adding your bike might feel daunting when you’re doing it for the first time. However, as with so many of the best bits about cycling, you’ll find that you feel more confident and comfortable once you’ve broken the ice. 

Follow our essential tips for a smooth and successful journey from your very first trip:

  • Remove the front wheels, pedals, and rear derailleur
  • Wrap removed components in bubble wrap or similar protective packaging
  • Secure hydraulic brakes with foam pads and tape to prevent damage
  • Buy one of the best bike boxes to ensure security and full impact protection
  • Mark your bike and box clearly with your name and address
  • Use extra cushioning in your bike box, within weight limits

We’d also suggest arriving at the airport at least a few hours before your flight is due to board. Things take a little bit longer with a bike box, and for your peace of mind, it’s always worth ensuring a ‘buffer’ window to allow for those unexpected delays or queries in the terminal. 

Packing a MTB for travel

We always recommend using a hard-shell bike box as a first-choice. However, where budget is limited or weight is a priority, there are a few more viable options to consider.

Soft bike bags are a lightweight and portable alternative to hard bike boxes. Many models come with wheels, and they’re still generously sized, so you won’t have any issues when it comes to fitting your bike in the bag. This makes it easy to get unpacked quickly and explore new trails on a mountain bike.

The only compromise is the protection: where a hard-shell case will deflect impact and keep your precious bike stable and secure, a soft carry bag might leave your bike at risk of damage from drops or heavy handling.

However, you can counteract this risk with effective and thoroughly protective packaging. Remember that convenience is key, especially on shorter trips. It’s always worth thinking about the effort and steps involved in unpacking – try to make the process as simple as possible. 

How much does it cost to fly with a bike?

The cost of flying with a mountain bike varies according to the specific airline and route you choose. 

While many airlines offer a flat fee, per journey, in addition to the price of your seat, others will include sports equipment with the price of your ticket. It’s worth doing your research to choose the flight option that suits you and your plans the best.

Plus, we always recommend getting mountain bike insurance with haggle-free European cover before you set off. Sports equipment, including mountain bikes, can be an incredibly nuanced area when it comes to insurance. Double-check your policy wording and don’t hesitate to get more quotes if you think you could find a better deal. 


Travelling with your mountain bike is within reach. 

By following these tips and taking a careful approach to packing, you can ensure that your bike arrives safely at your destination, ready to be tweaked and tuned up for your next adventure. Share your own packing tips in the comments below and join the community of riders exploring Europe and beyond by MTB!