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  1. #1
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Travelling with Brompton - Need Experienced Advice!

    Ladies and Gents,

    I recently picked up a Bike Friday expedition off of craigslist but quickly realized it didn't do the transit thing as easily as I was hoping. (goal for this folder is about 90 percent transit use in Denver and 10 percent work travel via airplane)

    Luckily I was able to trade it for a Brompton (plus some cash) with a local gent so now I have a 3 speed, british green Brompton. It folds quick and easily and rolls for transit but now I'm wondering about some of the easiest ways to take one through the airport and ride away from the destination airport. I've seen Brompton's travelling bag on their website, are there other great ideas you fellow Bromptonian's have for travelling with Brompton?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    -davidmcowan

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    At least, if you have to gate check it as baggage, the box wont have to be large.

    hard cases need a Hotel (etc.) to store it while traveling on the bike

  3. #3
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    My brommie is relatively new so can't comment on traveling with it yet, but I travel with a bunch of other folders.

    If you want to go completely self-contained, check out Bike Friday's trailers & trailer kits that turn a suitcase that holds the bike into a trailer which then attaches to the back of the bike after you've put the bike back together.

    Now on riding out of airports. This is much more problematic than it sounds. Much depends on the local infrastructure surrounding the airports, which is usually geared toward motor vehicles and public transport, but rarely for bikes. You might find a suitable road, and you might not. You might have to deal with an extremely convoluted route if you do. Security issues abound at airports as well, further complicating things. There are ways to go self-contained, but airports do not make it any easier in my experience!

  4. #4
    jur
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    I have used a variety of ways:

    1. Hard suitcase: You need a fairly big one to accommodate the bike, and the seatpost or at least the saddle requires removal. I use this method when traveling overseas with lots of luggage space avaliability and somewhere to store the suitcase. Especially when traveling to places where luggage security is questionable, this gives some degree of peace of mind.
    Advantage: excellent bike protection. Extra stuff can be added into the suitcase but watch the weight.
    Disadvantage: You have to store the empty case once you unpack.

    2. Sturdy canvas bag: There are cases that are specifically for the Brommie and do not cost that much.
    Advantage: After you unpack, the canvas bag case can be rolled up and attached to the bike allowing you to ride away.
    Disadvantage: Bike can be damaged. Mine had a weird twist on the handlebars which I thought was that the fork had rotated on the quill but it wasn't that - it was some permanent deformation that I have been unable to trace or explain. Extra padding is a good idea around the bits that stick out the most, to protect these and prevent the bag from rubbing through. I have used this method and at times combined it with a wrapping service.

    3. Strapped and wrapped: This method takes a long strap and puts it around the bike to keep it tightly together. It is then wrapped at the airport using the luggage wrapping service. The saddle is removed and tucked/taped somewhere between the wheels. The seatpost top bit gets a rubber crutch foot to protect it.
    Advantage: Cheap and easy. Bike is well protected. I think this is superior to the canvas bag method.
    Disadvantage: Bike can similarly get damaged by rough handling.

    4. Nude: The bike just gets a strap to keep everything well together. The saddle can be either left in place with a protective cover (a Brooks rain cover works) or can be removed and taped between the wheels. Extra foam strip between the mudguard and rear wheel will afford some protection. I have stuck helicopter tape to the rear of the steering post and the top tube for paint protection.
    Advantage: Simplest of all methods. I have used this several times with no problem. Luggage handlers see what it is and this means slightly improved handling. It may be handled along with strollers which are not usually thrown around roughly.
    Disadvantage: Most susceptible to damage.
    Last edited by jur; 09-17-13 at 07:07 PM.

  5. #5
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    Hello David - As for riding away from the airport, I have done this a couple of ways. I don't want to transport a rigid suitcase on the bike or pull a trailer, so I use soft case that can be folded or rolled to a size easily transported on the bike.

    1) I have placed the bike in a translucent Ikea bag (I think it is called a Dimpa bag or something similar) and gate checked it. After retrieving the bike at the destination, the Dimpa bag is easily folded and stashed in the Brompton t-bag or secured on top by the adjustable strap.

    2) I have used the Brompton B-bag, gate checked or checked at ticketing, to which I add a protective layer comprising a thermo-rest z-lite sol folding sleeping pad for extra protection. The pad is cut to provide a layer beneath the bike and the remainder wrapped around the bike and the B-bag zipped around it. The pad folds accordion style to fit in the bottom of the bag and when the bag is folded over it takes up no more or very little more room than without the pad (I open it to double wide / half height before placing it in the bottom of the bag). The B-bag is then placed on top of the T-bag and secured with the single adjustable strap. I just got back from 2-1/2 weeks in Spain and during one stretch travelled this way for a few days on a portion of the Camino de Santiago and through Rioja and the arrangement worked great.

    As some have said, when it comes to riding out of airports, some are easier than others. I had read of people riding out of the Barcelona airport but realized too late that they must have landed at the other terminal. We gave it a go and realized after about 1/2 hour of false starts that we couldn't avoid getting on a highway for a good stretch with little or no shoulder. So back to where we came from to hop on the aerobus for a 1/2 ride to the heart of town and a 5 minute ride from our hotel. The joke was on me as after landing I was pointing out the aerobus - about 50 feet away - to my wife as we were unpacking the bikes and getting ready to ride, only to return to it later. But it is nice to have the option and in 30 seconds were off the bikes and ready to board the bus.

    FWIW, the Spain trip was a great success. We travelled by international airlines, regional airlines, buses (great system in Spain), train, light rail, taxi and our own leg power to get from city to city. Even took the Bromptons to the top of hills via funicular in Barcelona and San Sebastian and cruised down (amazing in Barca coming down from Montjuic Castle to see the Olympic site, radio tower and an otherworldy cemetery). Barcelona is an incredible place to bring the Bromptons and must be one of the great travel destinations for Brompton owners - they just greatly enhance the travel experience in such a bike friendly city. Don't know if it's true but I heard that 10% of Bromptons sold are sold in Barcelona.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan View Post
    Ladies and Gents,

    I recently picked up a Bike Friday expedition off of craigslist but quickly realized it didn't do the transit thing as easily as I was hoping. (goal for this folder is about 90 percent transit use in Denver and 10 percent work travel via airplane)

    Luckily I was able to trade it for a Brompton (plus some cash) with a local gent so now I have a 3 speed, british green Brompton. It folds quick and easily and rolls for transit but now I'm wondering about some of the easiest ways to take one through the airport and ride away from the destination airport. I've seen Brompton's travelling bag on their website, are there other great ideas you fellow Bromptonian's have for travelling with Brompton?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    -davidmcowan
    Here's what some have done with their Brommie on a plane of all things. Take a look at some of the photos, and you will see where they have been stowed in the overhead compartments of a plane. Not bad!

    http://www.bromptonmafia.com/
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    love it.

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