RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Boxing bikes for shuttle

We plan to use Pork Belly Ventures for our charter. They recommend boxing your bike to transport. I assume front wheel and pedals off. What happens with handlebars? Off or just turned? Any experience with using pipe insulation as padding if you don’t box? I’m not much of a mechanic and realize that there are plenty around the start town but it seems like a hassle to break down a perfectly functioning machine to move 300 miles.

5 Replies

KenH, March 31, 2018 at 3:31 pm

PBV is very good about answering questions if you email them but they will probably put information like this in one of their upcoming broadcast emails too. The one time I used a shuttle it was with the much smaller Riverbend club/charter. They had a small moving truck and they had us remove the pedals and turn the handlebars. Nothing that most cyclists could not do or learn to do or find someone at RAGBRAI to help them with. Riverbend parked the bikes side by side in the truck with moving blankets between them. Our bags were put on the bus we rode to the start and the truck with our bikes carried our bags during the week. It worked pretty well and might be typical of the smaller charters but PBV is different if they want you to use bike boxes. A local bike shop may be able to give you some help with getting boxes and with getting your bike inside the box.


Dizzy, April 1, 2018 at 10:30 am

Hello Rob,

I’m surely not speaking for PBV here; only relaying my experience w/their service. Yes, they recommend boxing your bike if using their shuttle and I did exactly that. First let me say that w/PBV, we’re not talking “savage baggage handlers”. It was friendly TLC all the way; loading and unloading. Secondly, about half the bikes on the truck were unboxed and about half of those did not have any tubing protection. Risky, in my opinion, but every bike looked unfazed as it came off the truck.

Regarding boxing, I have used bike boxes acquired from LBS’s several times. It always concerned me and I did get some tube damage once despite my efforts at secure packing. Then I discovered the bike boxes from shipbikes.com. I bought the eBike Shipper box. It is awesome and I feel completely confident when I use that box. I wrap all my tubes in pipe insulation and wrap everything in bubble wrap. Then secure it to the box as directed by shipbikes and it arrives perfectly.

Best of luck, D


John, April 7, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Rob, it depends whether you are shipping your bike (using SendMyBike.com or similar) to the start town or bringing it with you already assembled to the PBV shuttle busses. More information here:


Anonymous, April 9, 2018 at 10:10 pm

As mentioned, PBV’s newsletters detail how they handle bikes (and trikes). They recommend they be boxed. They don’t require it. Unboxed bikes are hung in their semi, floor-to-ceiling, using bungee cords.

Here’s what they look like.



SFC JKL 2, April 9, 2018 at 10:22 pm

It’s your bike so do what you want. They hang it by one tire then bungee it to the floor. Then they run a line thru the center to make sure nothing sways. Take your bags off and hand it to them. No adjustments needed, and in my opinion, any wrapping you do is a waste of time and money. I’ve taken the shuttle 5 times without an issue.


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