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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-04-11, 06:00 AM   #1
adlai
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Taking Yer Bike on the Plane

So how does it work out, usually? I'd love to be able to disassemble my commuting bike and fly it to far-off locales.
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Old 06-04-11, 07:22 AM   #2
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Each Airline is different. I'm familiar with EVA Air, if you happen to be going somewhere in Asia. IMO they rarely charge extra for a bike, it helps greatly if you approach the counter with a large smile. For other Asian airlines, I can't offer an opinion.
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Old 06-04-11, 08:11 AM   #3
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So you commute by plane? Talk about multimodal commute! Joking aside, you should post this in the Touring forum instead, not Commuting.
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Old 06-04-11, 09:25 AM   #4
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Get or rent a bike box. Check with airline of choice for bike shipping fee -- Delta and United gouge cyclists. Consider a folding or travel bike if you have mad funds.
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Old 06-04-11, 11:45 AM   #5
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Those that travel by plane usually have bikes the split apart and will fit in a case the size of a suit case not much bigger then the diameter of the wheels. When assembled it is a full size bike not a folder.
Surly had the Travlers Check. Vid of it being broke down.
http://www.ccnbikes.com/news/surly-s-traveler-s-check
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Old 06-04-11, 02:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
... you should post this in the Touring forum instead, not Commuting.
Yeah, do a search for "airlines" in the Touring forum... Flying with a bike is a quagmire... Lots of research and homework is necessary until you really understand the different airlines' policies... and the pitfalls
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Old 06-04-11, 02:50 PM   #7
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+1 on a folding bike, if you plan on traveling frequently by plane. They make for an easy and very quick set up after landing at your destination.
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Old 06-04-11, 03:08 PM   #8
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it gets really expensive if you don't have a bike that fits in the 26x26x10" limit for suitcases
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Old 06-04-11, 04:01 PM   #9
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Some people find a bike shop at their destination and ship the bike to them. It costs between $50 and $75 to ship a bike via UPS or FedEx within USA. The bike shop will assemble the bike for you so it'll be waiting there for you. In NYC it costs $50 to assemble/disassemble and package a bike for shipping. I imagine it's cheaper elsewhere. So alltogether still cheaper than taking the bike on the airliner.

For international flights it's probably cheaper to take the bike on the plane.

Last edited by AdamDZ; 06-04-11 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 06-04-11, 04:44 PM   #10
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FWIW, I brought a project bike along as luggage on a flight from Canada to the US last year. The bike was completely dismantled and packed in a rectangular box, about the smallest it could fit into with padding. I flew United. The agent at the counter wanted to know what was in the box. I said a bike. She said we charge $100 for bikes. I said, what if it were bike parts? She said, then it would be $100 because of the weight (~40lb/20kg). I grew a little suspicious at that point, but getting up in arms on an international flight into the US didn't seem like a good idea, so I just paid the price & let it go.
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Old 06-04-11, 04:46 PM   #11
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$100 is nothing. The price is generally much higher than that. It has gotten pretty bad
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Old 06-04-11, 05:02 PM   #12
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I've heard that some airlines let you pack the bike in a clear plastic bag and just walk it on the plane. That sounds like the easiest thing.

If I could afford it, I would use a bike with S/S couplers which would allow me to break the bike down and fit it into basically a normal size case. The problem is that bikes with these couplers are generally fairly expensive. The Travelissimo (sold by former Giro d'Italia winner Andy Hampsten) is one example of a bike with S/S couplers: http://www.hampsten.com/bikes/travelissimo

Co-motion also makes an S/S bike called the Americano, and it's an option on various other bikes. The main problem is that these bikes are usually pretty close to $2,000 as a starting point, with many being even costlier.

More info on the couplers here, including a testimonial by Greg Lemond: http://www.sandsmachine.com/
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Old 06-04-11, 05:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imi View Post
Yeah, do a search for "airlines" in the Touring forum... Flying with a bike is a quagmire... Lots of research and homework is necessary until you really understand the different airlines' policies... and the pitfalls
This. US carriers are a joke when it comes to traveling with bikes because they are charging up to $200 one way for a bike and/or oversized. When I flew with mine, I completely dissasembled it and called it "multi-sport" equipment and was not charged. On the return the charge was $30. Had it been in a bike box, the charge would have been $150 each way. For some, it may be better to buy a bike at the destination.
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Old 06-04-11, 08:20 PM   #14
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The last time I was in my local bike shop, they did a custom modification on a ladies steel frame where it was couple within the main triangle, that way she could fit her whole bike in a large suitcase and not have to pay extra. Shes had that bike for 16 years and said it works great.
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Old 06-04-11, 10:05 PM   #15
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Read the airline's baggage policies carefully - very carefully... then read them again Make sure you understand EXACTLY what they mean with:

Code Sharing
Sporting Goods
Oversized and Excess baggage
Piece and Weight concept

For international travel with a bicycle check out British Airways, Air France and Emirates... BUT "Beware Code sharing!!!"

Trying to circumnavigate airline's policies with arguments such as "it's only bike parts not a bicycle" or just having a charming smile used to work - past tense!!
Airlines even have the trump cards "At our discretion..." "For security and safety reasons... etc etc
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Old 06-05-11, 12:11 AM   #16
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When you arrive: rent.
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Old 06-05-11, 09:33 AM   #17
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My LBS boxes and ships for $40 +postage. When I visit family in California, it is well worth the cost. I just re-pack for the trip back.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:42 AM   #18
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if you're flying international, book your flight with virgin atlantic. they allow each passenger 1 piece of sporting equipment to fly free, provided it's properly packed in a case.

that's why i booked with them for my upcoming tour across britain in a couple weeks. they're more expensive up front, but the free bike policy offset those costs for me.
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Old 06-06-11, 12:26 PM   #19
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My husband just flew from WashDC to Dublin. Bike in a bike box cost $200! Ouch! On the return leg, he plans to take it apart and put in regular suitcase, and call it bike parts, if asked.
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Old 06-06-11, 06:15 PM   #20
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Thanks for the tip on Virgin!!!

BTW I shipped a folder -- not even wrapped in a bag -- on United from Beijing to San Francisco. They huffed and puffed about it, then charged me only $5 extra for a tarp and some packing tape that they wrapped around it. Bike was fine on arrival save for a wee scrape on the seat.
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