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  1. #1
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    Taking a Dahon to France from California

    We are taking our folders to London in a couple of days and are planning on checking them in somehow.. we are just not sure how. Is there a special trick to it, like putting it in a certain box? We got tickets for a Northwest flight. Does anyone know if they will automaticaly check it as a bike (more money) even though it passes the requirements for free luggage item?

    I was hoping some of you might have some tips for those of us travelling with these bikes abroad. Any ideas? Caveats? Restaurant suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    I'd look around and see about getting a large, hard suitcase. Maybe some old, beat-up one from ebay, a thrift shop, or something. Maybe some minor disassembly will be necessary. Find some good packing material, so the baggage handlers don't bend up the bikes by tossing the suitcases around.

    It would have to be a pretty thick suitcase though...

    I'd be tempted to leave the folders at home, and just buy a cheap used bike when you get there. Buying a cheap used bike would probably cost very little, and you wouldn't have to worry about having your Dahons busted up.

    As much fun as it would be to bring your own, it is a lot of hassle & worry to take a bike on the airline.

    Also, if you're going to Paris, I read a linked article from this forum a week or so ago that said Paris has bike rental stations all over the city. You swipe your credit card, and you can rent a bike for the first hour for either free or $3? Someone will clear me up on the details.

    I was thinking about bringing my Dahon to Krakow, Poland, next time I'm there, but the more I think about it, the less it makes sense. I'd be better off buying a "disposable" used bike. Some ugly piece of crap that I could afford to just leave on the street or re-sell before leaving.

    If you really want to go Big Willy Style, buy a Strida or A-Bike when you're over there, and bring it home. Those are airline-sized bikes, but will not be that fast.

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    My godson is a bmx rider. He takes his bike everywhere. He has hockey type duffle bag. He does not tell them its a bike or they charge more. The bikes have held up fine. If you can fit them in a suitcase you might try that. They will charge more for a bike. it is another airline ripoff.

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    t, the less it makes sense. I'd be better off buying a "disposable" used bike. Some ugly piece of crap that I could afford to just leave on the street or re-sell before leaving.
    This always seems like it will be easy, but never has been for me. Plus if someone is over maybe 5'10" , ,it's hard to find a bike that will give proper seatpost extension.

    I'd go used if someone was planning on paying a surcharge for luggage, but otherwise, it's much more versatile to take a bike. But more maintenance on having an extra piece of luggage that will at least be 40lbs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasong
    This always seems like it will be easy, but never has been for me. Plus if someone is over maybe 5'10" , ,it's hard to find a bike that will give proper seatpost extension.
    I wasn't talking about a folder though. Just a cheap, used, stiffy and a good lock.

    My wife did this when she was interning in Holland. She bought one off a druggie for 60 euros, and sold it for 60 when she left. I just asked her about the lock, she says she still has it in Poland. She said it cost 45 euros and weighs so much that it isn't worth it to ship it here. She says it is one of those huge chains with a huge padlock and it weighs probably 25 lbs. Yikes.

  6. #6
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    Depending on which model you have, you can pick up some tips here:
    http://www.gaerlan.com/dahon/pack.htm

    Andy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    She bought one off a druggie for 60 euros, and sold it for 60 when she left.
    Good for her, sustaining the stolen bike trade...

  8. #8
    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWaB
    Good for her, sustaining the stolen bike trade...
    That's almost exactly what I told her. We were only dating at the time, and I had already given her crap for supporting the stolen music trade, so she didn't tell me she got it from a druggie until years later. (when I gave her static again) She said she couldn't afford a bike there from any honest source. She said they don't have cheapo Huffies in Wal*Mart, they only have good bikes and they are not cheap.

    Another story - One of her friends bought a bike in a similar manner in Amsterdam, and managed to not have it stolen for several months while doing an internship there, and was quite proud & happy about that fact. He liked the bike so much, (a vintage one) that he brought it back to Krakow with him, where someone stole it the first week. Poetic justice? He supported the stolen bike trade by buying it, and in turn, it was stolen from HIM. So it is more like bike rental sometimes.

    I asked her why don't people have folders over there? It is the perfect solution, IMO. However, it just dawned on me that Dutch people are HUGE, and they either don't want to look like clowns on these tiny bikes or they can't get proper leg extension. (although Dahon's website claims that the Ciao got rave reviews in Holland...)

  9. #9
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    ...I'd be tempted to leave the folders at home, and just buy a cheap used bike when you get there. Buying a cheap used bike would probably cost very little, and you wouldn't have to worry about having your Dahons busted up... As much fun as it would be to bring your own, it is a lot of hassle & worry to take a bike on the airline....I was thinking about bringing my Dahon to Krakow, Poland, next time I'm there, but the more I think about it, the less it makes sense. I'd be better off buying a "disposable" used bike. Some ugly piece of crap that I could afford to just leave on the street or re-sell before leaving.
    I don't mean to single you out Jeremy, but you seem to always bring up topics I like to cover here. For one, Europe is somewhat different in relating to bikes than it is here in the USA. In Europe, generally bicycles are held in high regard. They are kept like prized useful keepsakes sometimes spanning generations. I never seen a bike from Europe being cheap or disposable. My past and present European made bikes are very durable and well constructed. And very expensive to buy.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    ...I wasn't talking about a folder though. Just a cheap, used, stiffy and a good lock.
    My wife did this when she was interning in Holland. She bought one off a druggie for 60 euros, and sold it for 60 when she left. I just asked her about the lock, she says she still has it in Poland. She said it cost 45 euros and weighs so much that it isn't worth it to ship it here. She says it is one of those huge chains with a huge padlock and it weighs probably 25 lbs. Yikes.
    That might be more of a breakdown in their culture, just as ours is going through. Bike theft is usually not in a high regard like car theft is (cars are more expensive and traceable). For more information see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6238090.stm

    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    ...She said she couldn't afford a bike there from any honest source. She said they don't have cheapo Huffies in Wal*Mart, they only have good bikes and they are not cheap.
    Another story - One of her friends bought a bike in a similar manner in Amsterdam, and managed to not have it stolen for several months while doing an internship there, and was quite proud & happy about that fact. He liked the bike so much, (a vintage one) that he brought it back to Krakow with him, where someone stole it the first week. Poetic justice? He supported the stolen bike trade by buying it, and in turn, it was stolen from HIM. So it is more like bike rental sometimes.
    I asked her why don't people have folders over there? It is the perfect solution, IMO. However, it just dawned on me that Dutch people are HUGE, and they either don't want to look like clowns on these tiny bikes or they can't get proper leg extension. (although Dahon's website claims that the Ciao got rave reviews in Holland...)
    Actually, the Dutch really like folding bikes. If you don't believe me, see these links: http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/ and http://www.foldabikes.com/Talk/Docs/art2.html
    I even saw my first folding bike in a bike shop runned by a Dutch family back in the 1970s in Southern California. They have taken to them for the same reason some of us here do: theft reduction. They stay with you so they are not as likely to permanently "disappear" like regular bikes. And I think it is easy to say the Dutch might be rather big, but there are telescoping seat posts, adjustable saddles, properly sized frames-even on well made folding bikes like Brompton, and other means of getting the proper fit-no matter your size. And it is mainly the proper geometric shape of the bike-the distance between the seat post, handlebars, and pedals-that make or break the fit of the bike-not wheel size. See my comparison photo of my Brompton and a Schwinn Manta-ray bike sized for a 6'5" young man I onced knew: http://www.flickr.com/photos/world-o...7594325178229/ Note: I am 5'2" and I think we could fit on each other's bikes still.
    And I think the Dutch is way beyond us since they really don't care what other people think about how their bikes look with or on them (they are not ego-enhancing accessories to the Dutch, just transportation).

    As for you, Sarita, Welcome to these forums. And I hope you choose to rent (or hire as they say over there) a bike of your choice. I would not buy one unless it is from a good serious bike shop in any country in Europe. Leave your bikes at home where they won't get lost, mixed up, or permamently "disappear" somewhere.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 07-17-07 at 12:04 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    A couple of comments, folder fanatic.

    Nice link to the Amsterdam bicycling photos. My wife says that the bikes are painted crazy colors because they have been stolen, numbers ground off, & repainted. (probably multiple times) She said one of her acquaintances there paid a lot of money for paint that wouldn't come off easily. This is well & fine, until someone just paints over it.

    That person also confirmed that most of the bike are junkers & utility bikes. The bikes are appliances, not an accessory to a sport or hobby; not a source of pride.

    One thing that shocked me is that none of them seem to have particularly well-developed leg muscles, even though many of them routinely pedal huge loads around.

    The author of that page doesn't truly understand the theft problem in Amsterdam. He was having a good laugh at the $100 locks on $20 bikes. But it is truly necessary, even on junkers.

    Kate also told me that it is a source of national pride that bicycles are so popular there. She said that it is tradition that every Dutch child receives a bicycle for his/her 3rd birthday. She says that cars almost NEVER hit bicyclists, as it is considered the car's fault 99% of the time. In Holland, the cyclists disregard the cars in the same manner that cars disregard us in the USA.

    I was glad to see the folders there. (the author of the page didn't know what the hell they were) But still surprised to see that they are outnumbered at least 10:1 by old school three speed type bikes.

    In Krakow, Poland, there aren't many bikes. Their public transit is very good. A lot of people just walk. Bicycles are stolen too easily, my wife says, even well-locked ones.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic
    I don't mean to single you out Jeremy, but you seem to always bring up topics I like to cover here. For one, Europe is somewhat different in relating to bikes than it is here in the USA. In Europe, generally bicycles are held in high regard. They are kept like prized useful keepsakes sometimes
    Europe is certainly an importer of cheap things. Carrefour in France/Spain have cheap mountain bikes, same as Decathlon. You can find the "wal mart" bikes in europe for roughly the same (1:1 euro:dollar) prices.

    Also, used bike market isn't that different than the states. I picked up a randoneur bike for E35 in south france last time, same that would have been charged in the US.

    In an environment where there's much more cycling penetration, costs are generally much lower for basic needs. Same with maintenance items. The supermarkets carry a lot more decent quality stuff than some bicycle shops here in the states.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Jeffbeerman2's Avatar
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    I've been lurking in the folding forum trying to learn how people travel with the bikes

    Has anyone tried using the above packing method in a cheap suitcase then using something like this to create reusable molds to protect the bike?

    Those packing bags are a commercial/industrial product, but I bet it wouldn't be that hard to acquire them. Even if they are expensive, it would be a good investment considering you could reuse them.

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