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Traveling with Bikes
 BRKIII member offline
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posted 11/13/2009
at 6:23:56 AM
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It is getting the time of year when we are all traveling. How about we share our tips for transporting our bikes.
Tips for flying?
Tips for packing up your bike?
Gear Reviews?
Tips for traveling by car (security etc)

Costs for all the above?

Happy Holidays!!!

 SteveWilson member offline
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posted 11/13/2009
at 8:39:26 AM
post #1 viewed 1502 times
BRK - We've had good luck transporting bikes just about every way you can for flying trips. There are positives and negatives to every method.

Best protection is partial disassembly and use a hard case. 2 options, mail ahead or take on the plane -

Mail ahead - around $150 round trip, you have to have a place to mail it to and you have to send it a week or so ahead depending on how far it's going.
Take on the plane - varies by airline, but could be $300 round trip (oversize and overweight) - ouch!

Use an airline box or provide your own, just take of the pedals and turn the handle bars - this way you don't have to buy or borrow the hard case, but less protection for bike and still have the $300 round trip.

Send the bike on the plane semi-naked. Take off the pedals and turn the handle bars. Can add pipe insulation zip tied on the frame for protection. We did this to Costa Rica on AA and it actually worked just fine. Less protection but I think they are less likely to abuse it when it's obvious that it's a bike. Depending on the airline this may be less than the cost of a bike box or case.

If you have a bike with couplers you can usually pack them in airline std size bags (62" or less) and keep the weight under 50 lbs so may still be able to fly for just the cost of a normal bag

In the car? Definitely more attractive with the high airline costs. We keep them inside with a blanket over them. We always take them inside at night just to reduce the risk of a break in. Inside is always preferrable to me just to keep them out of the elements while driving (depends on your vehicle size of course)


 maschwab member offline
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posted 11/13/2009
at 9:26:45 AM
post #2 viewed 1491 times
US Amtrak:
Roll-on: Some locations have roll on service. You have to make reservations and pay $10 every time you bring it on board.

Boxed: Any route, must have luggage service where getting on and off. No extra cost.

 Fredwina member online
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posted 11/13/2009
at 9:54:33 AM
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You might want to verify that if you're taking the bike on a plane, that will be able to fit. I'm taking a trip in couple of week that involves flying commerically on a 9 seat Cessna 402 - not enough luggage for a bike box. I also wonder if you can get a boxed bike on a Regional jet

 MLC40 member offline
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posted 11/13/2009
at 10:38:45 AM
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Do not pack chain oil in the box (for that matter, probably best not to pack any liquid). I did that flying out of Tokyo once on a trip to Australia. All checked luggage is X-rayed before check-in at Tokyo and my bottle of oil looked suspicious. I had to open the box, dig through my stuff and hand it to security for inspection. They took it away and brought it back about 10 minutes later to tell me it was okay. Then I had to repack everything. I could have avoided the hassle by buying some on arrival.

If you are going to Australia, make sure your bike is clean. Customs is *very* strict about quarantine rules and bikes with dirt on them could be bringing in insects, seeds or other pests. They've had too many problems with invasive species (e.g., rabbits ) to take any chances.

 SteveWilson member offline
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posted 11/13/2009
at 11:05:19 AM
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maschwab - good points on the train. Might be a good alternative depending on the distance.

Good idea from Fredwina also - if your plane is something smaller than a 737 or MD-80 it would be a very good idea to verify your particular bike package will fit.

Leave the CO2 cartridges at home. Very annoying I know. They might make it through in checked baggage but it's a gamble.

Be sure to put all the tools you will need in checked baggage. The TSA people are likely to confiscate all but the smallest tools.

Lastly, it looks like Southwest is currently taking bikes for $50 each way, not a bad deal in the current environment.

 k6esmead member offline
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posted 11/13/2009
at 12:07:44 PM
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US Amtrak doesn't encourage bicycles in their railcars, especially if they're recumbents. Sometimes they will allow a SWB recumbent because its about the same size as an upright.
post edited on 11/13/2009 at 11:52:44 AM

 Howard member not displaying online status
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posted 11/13/2009
at 12:13:32 PM
post #7 viewed 1451 times
Frontier is the other airline I know of that charges "only" $50 each way for a bike case. I've flown round-trip with my/our bikes three times and have not had any problems with TSA or damage to the bike(s). I also throw in all my bike gear (helmets, tire pumps, bike clothes, shoes, tools) in the hardcase. BTW, I bought my hardcase from Performance, sellers of adequate and inexpensive bike stuff. When you pack up your bike, wrap everything up since stuff will jostle around and scratch that nice finish, and be sure to put spacers between the front forks and also between the rear drop-ins. Most hardcases should provide these when you buy them.
post edited on 11/13/2009 at 11:58:48 AM

 llamarider member offline
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posted 11/13/2009
at 10:59:27 PM
post #8 viewed 1396 times
I pulled off a few parts and folded my bike this evening in about 10 min and zipped it into a soft case for riding behind the car seat tomorrow. I can take it on the train in the same manner. I've got a hard case for air travel which may still work without extra cost for some airlines but haven't done that yet. I did pull that case as my trailer for a two week tour in Oregon last month and was very satisfied. That would be a kick to/from do from an airport.

 kirkej member online
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posted 11/14/2009
at 12:43:02 AM
post #9 viewed 1393 times
I shipped my V-Rex to Philadelphia last year, where they sawed it in half and put in S&S couplers (the SloJoe treatment). They returned it in a hard case, which has been sitting full of packing material ever since. Of course I have not been on an airplane or train since then either. Guess that is waiting until I get retired, hopefully in a better economy.

A couple of things that still need improvement:

- The seat is large and clunky. I would like to replace it with something like the Bachetta Euromesh seat, converting from the old square mounting rail to the new system and using the new two-pin quick release. The seat is too large to fit the case and must be carried separately.

- I need to add pannier mounts. The carrying capacity is inadequate at present even for normal commuting.

My current use for the bike is keeping it in the back of the Prius. So far I have been able to pop it out on the way home on those rainy days and get in my 10K ride somewhere almost flat before coming on up the mountain to home. It also traveled well to Colorado last year for RU 08 without needing to pack it in the case.

 Mozam member offline
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posted 11/14/2009
at 7:18:26 AM
post #10 viewed 1385 times
Hey all,

Here is my 2 cents on traveling with bikes. I've done about 3 trips since this was posted, but this article has all the pictures in it that still apply. I will say this about the airlines, make sure you tell them that your case is "bike parts" and make sure it is not over 50lbs. I've been asked every time about what's in the case. When I told them a "bike" they charged me a fee even though the case is "airline compatible." So, now I tell them it is "bike parts." So far, 100% success rate. Here is the link. Just go down to "Packing the bikes."

Cheers, Mozam
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