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Pros In Phuket: Bike Boxes & Gear Ratios

Learn how pros traveled to Thailand with their bikes and what type of gearing they’ll use on the hilly course.

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Here in Laguna Phuket, Thailand we enjoyed a Friday evening beachfront cocktail party where several of triathlon’s top professionals were honored guests. We caught up with a number of the athletes racing in Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship to learn how they traveled to Thailand with their precious bikes and what type of gearing they’ll use on the notoriously hilly course. Their answers may surprise you!

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Melissa Rollison (AUS)

Bike transport: I use a soft bike bag. I think it’s just called Bike Bag.
Gearing: I’ll ride a 26. I just changed it from a 25!

Belinda Granger & Justin Granger (AUS)

Bike transport: We used to travel with hard cases, but since the airlines around the world have started really cracking down on their luggage charges, Justin and I bought ourselves soft bags from Europe. We got them in Belgium, quite a few years ago after we’d done Antwerp 70.3, and that’s what we’ve been using since. It’s a soft case where the fork actually attaches into the bottom of the box. It’s brilliant! Rarely does my bike ever get over 23 kilos.

Gearing:
(Belinda)
I actually have a 26. So 11-26. Last year I rode a 25, but I decided to get another gear just in case!
(Justin)
I’ve got a 53-39 front and on the back I’ve got 11-25. I thought about using a 26, but the only cassette stack that I had was a 12-26 and I didn’t want to forgo the 11. So I thought I’d man up and go the 25! I figured the only spot I’d need the 26 would be the very last climb, when my legs will be tired.

Radka Vodickova (CZE)

Bike transport: I prefer to have the lightest bike box ever, so I just travel with a paper [cardboard] box. It’s very light and you can put almost everything inside. If they destroy the box I can just go to the bike shop and get a new one!

Gearing:
I have compact, so I have 53 and 12.

Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR)

Bike transport: I have a DHB [hard case] bike box from Wiggle’s.

Gearing:
I’m riding 12-25.

Chris Lieto (USA)

Bike transport: I use a Trek cardboard box – the box that it came in. It’s lightweight, it’s easier to pack. It lasts maybe four trips usually. I can also ship it if I want to – for some of the U.S. races I’ll ship my bike home so I don’t have to deal with it on the plane. Only one time my bike broke – I didn’t put one of the fork protectors in and it just jammed and cracked the fork. But Trek sent me a new fork the next day!

Gearing: I’ll use what I brought – by accident! 11-23. I rode the course the other day, so I know I can do it, but I’d prefer to spin a little bit easier up some of the climbs instead of having to muscle them. If I had a 26 that would be nice.

Michael Raelert (GER)

Bike transport: I use a soft case. You always have to carry it – it has no wheels underneath.

Gearing:
Just in case, 11-25. Normally I ride a 21.

Viktor Zyemstev (UKR)

Bike transport: I use just a box. A cardboard box from the bike shop.

Gearing:
I’m going to use 11-23. But I didn’t know how hilly it would be. 25 would be better!

Faris Al-Sultan (GER)

Bike transport: I use a cardboard box.

Gearing: I think I actually I have a 23. But it won’t affect me – the bike’s important, but usually everybody among the pros is fit enough to get up those hills.