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Old 03-31-12, 10:09 PM   #1
msr13 
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Traveling with a Bike

As the resident newbie, please excuse my dumb questions. I searched, but missed anything out there.

I travel quite a bit. It would be nice to take a bike with me when I go for more than a week at time. Is this doable? Do any of you do it? How safe is the bike? I assume it needs to be checked. Are there carrying cases for them?

Thanks for the answers in advance.
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Old 04-01-12, 12:11 AM   #2
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I bought a Bike Friday for precisely this reason
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Old 04-01-12, 12:18 AM   #3
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+1 folding bikes or you deal with a bigger bike box.. got a lot of $
S&S connectors subdivide
regular Diamond frames to fit in a carton about 28x28 xA foot.

Bike Friday makes great bikes , nearly Custom,
type and component user selected from menu and phone dialog.

they fit in a suitcase.. you can buy the trailer kit for the suitcase
and with gear packed in a duffle, repack the suitcase
with your stuff, and go..

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Old 04-01-12, 12:33 AM   #4
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+1 folding bikes or you deal with a bigger bike box.. got a lot of $
S&S connectors subdivide
regular Diamond frames to fit in a carton about 28x28 xA foot.
Which would still be oversize luggage by the usual airline standard of L + W + H <= 62" since 28 + 28 + 12 = 68". Deflating tires or using 26" wheels can get the case down to about 26" x 26" x 10" and qualify as regular luggage size.

I also went the folding Bike Friday route when I was going on a lot of business trips and wanted to have a bike along. Mine fits in a regular Carlton suitcase so it doesn't get a second look when checking it in at the airline counter. It's also helpful that many mass transit systems allow folding bikes to be carried aboard when regular bikes are prohibited.
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Old 04-01-12, 12:48 AM   #5
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Traveling by train I take my folding bike. It's a 20" single speed and I use it only for getting around my destination. Folding bikes get on free on the Deutsche Bahn, no additional fees.

Traveling by plane I take one of my mountain bikes in an EVOC travel bag. It's a softcase bag that can hold my 29er full suspension bike comfortably and more importantly, safely. I've used it for local flights here in Europe and back to the US (I live in Germany) and the bike has survived unscathed by gorilla baggage handlers. I've only been charged an additional baggage fee and not the bike fee by any airlines. When the airline check in attendant asks what I have in the bag I respond with , "it's exercise equipment" NOT a "bike" else they'd charge me the absurd $150 or more bike fee.
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Old 04-01-12, 01:52 AM   #6
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Take the Surly Long Haul Trucker Deluxe. It's completely encased when traveling and can be quickly assembled using S&S couplers, once you've arrived at your destination.

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/trucker_deluxe

This frameset costs about $1000. The other components and accessories are of course, separate.

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Old 04-01-12, 04:55 AM   #7
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I've flown frequently with my full-sized bicycle.

Yes, there are several types of cases you can use:
-- hardshell plastic cases of various sorts
-- soft-sided cases
-- cardboard boxes

If you're going to travel a lot, and if you have a place to store a case at your destination, I'd recommend a hardshell case. If you don't have a place to store your case, I'd recommend a cardboard box from an LBS.

That's the easy part.

Have a read through this site ... it'll give you some insight about cost of transporting a bicycle by airplane:
http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

If your travels take you to other countries, you might be able to get away with no or low costs. If your flights are domestic, however, you could be charged very high rates.

With that in mind, you may indeed want to go with a folding bicycle.

But read the article, and make your decision.
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Old 04-01-12, 08:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the input. Extremely helpful. I have to confirm, but it looks like United won't charge extra for the off size given my flier status. Are their hard cases anyone recommends?
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Old 04-01-12, 08:43 AM   #9
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I was just talking to a guy yesterday who made the mistake of taking a bike on an airline. It was in a hardcase, and all he put all the small loose parts from disassembly into a bag. It was a high-end CF bike.

When he arrived at his destination, he found the TSA had opened the case, dumped out the contents of the bag, (half the parts were missing), and they broke off one dropout when they clumsily forced the frame back into the case. The frame was trashed.

When he complained about it, their attitude was: "So sue us."
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Old 04-01-12, 03:49 PM   #10
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My wife, friends, and I fly with our bike fairly frequently. I last flew just a couple of weeks ago. The bikes do get inspected by the TSA but none of us have had issues. That's certainly no guarantee that we won't run into problems in the future, but it's a risk we're willing to take. My wife and I use the Aerus soft case as described in the following article.

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/02/h...h-my-bike.html

Here's a pic of my back packed up ready to go.
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Old 04-01-12, 07:26 PM   #11
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This is great information and experiences. Thanks.

Boy, I am definitely not the quality rider to merit the effort and risk to my bike. It's just hard to stay in shape when you live on the road. I know it sounds naive, but I guess I was hoping for a simple method.
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Old 04-02-12, 05:38 AM   #12
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This is great information and experiences. Thanks.

Boy, I am definitely not the quality rider to merit the effort and risk to my bike. It's just hard to stay in shape when you live on the road. I know it sounds naive, but I guess I was hoping for a simple method.
I went the folder route, most of my travel is by ground (company is too cheap to pay for airline fares). If I had to fly regularly I would probably go with a Brompton Folder for the compact size and easy set up.

If you travel to the same location regularly you might be able to stage a bike at that location. I have purchased a used bike from a thrift store and left it at the hotel I was staying at. When the project was over I donated the bike back to the local charity that I bought it from. I have also purchased fairly inexpensive single speed bikes from Big Box Stores and left them at the hotel for the next person when I left.

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Old 04-02-12, 06:01 AM   #13
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You might also check into bicycle rentals and hotel gyms.
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Old 04-03-12, 06:47 AM   #14
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Another folder fan here. It's so much easier to pull a suitcase with a bike inside, than drag a box with a full size bike, I've done both. And it costs less as well.
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Old 04-03-12, 10:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Are their hard cases anyone recommends?
that only works for Loops, because you have to store the thing somewhere..
Hotel where you stay on 1st night, is 1 possibility.
SandS sells a case .
Bike Friday makes their bikes to go in A standard Samsonite.
they make a kit to tow the suitcase as a trailer, so you can book a different departure place,
than the Airport that you started from..
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Old 04-03-12, 10:54 AM   #16
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last time I traveled the kids wanted to take thier bikes... now, this was YEARS ago, but even then, it turned out to be cheaper for them to take thier shoes, pedals & helmets & rent bikes for them for a week.... so my advice would be to check out the LBS's where you're going & call them!
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Old 04-03-12, 01:58 PM   #17
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If you're only talking about a few trips a year, I think it's easier to have your LBS take the bike apart, box it up, and ship to a LBS at your destination and have them put it together. Then reverse the process coming home.
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Old 04-03-12, 05:50 PM   #18
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Which would still be oversize luggage by the usual airline standard of L + W + H <= 62" since 28 + 28 + 12 = 68". Deflating tires or using 26" wheels can get the case down to about 26" x 26" x 10" and qualify as regular luggage size.
The hard case for an S&S coupled bike is 26" x 26" x 10", and yes, you have to deflate the tires.
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Old 04-04-12, 08:35 AM   #19
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If you're only talking about a few trips a year, I think it's easier to have your LBS take the bike apart, box it up, and ship to a LBS at your destination and have them put it together. Then reverse the process coming home.
That is a very viable option with it's own pros/cons. One significant advantage is if your ride/tour is such that you'll be flying out of a different city than the one at which you arrived, you don't need to transport a bike case between those two. Of course you'll have to make arrangements for an LBS at the endpoint of your tour to provide a box and pack up the bike. You will be without the bike during the time it's being disassembled/assembled/shipped, and you need to transport the bike to and from an LBS at both ends of the trip and get there during their business hours. You are relying on the various LBSs taking due care and doing a good job, as you are on the carriers as well. Fees for assembly and shipping can add up. There are specialty bike shipping services that can save you a fair amount on shipping. Here are two. I haven't used them myself:

http://www.bikeflights.com/
http://www.shipbikes.com/home2.html


As for flying with the bikes, it takes me ~1 hr to disassemble and pack up a bike and under 1/2 hr to assembled it at the destination. Of course we have to lug them around too, to/from and in the airport, which we actually we don't find to be too bad with the soft case and weighing under 40 lb. Being soft and lightweight they take up much less room than a hard case which make them much easier to put in the trunk or back seat of a car. When empty, they'll fold up and are very light so are easier to deal with at the destination, though you still need to get them to the endpoint of the ride/tour. The baggage fee varies a lot by airline. Domestically in the US, SouthWest and Jetblue charge $50 each way and I usually take whichever offers a non-stop to my destination. Of course we're relying on the TSA and baggage handlers to exercise due care (Har!) but so far we've had no issues. I'll add that I've flown many times with other types of sporting gear (scuba, hunting/guns/bows/camping, on/off-road motorcycling, radio equipment...) and also had no problems
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Old 04-06-12, 12:27 AM   #20
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Has anyone on the forum ever put their bike in a cardboard bike box from an LBS and shipped the bike by UPS or FedEx? I wonder if it's chaeaper than airline fees. UPS and FedEx handlers are probably a bit more gentle than airline handlers too.
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Old 04-06-12, 06:02 PM   #21
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Has anyone on the forum ever put their bike in a cardboard bike box from an LBS and shipped the bike by UPS or FedEx? I wonder if it's chaeaper than airline fees. UPS and FedEx handlers are probably a bit more gentle than airline handlers too.
I wouldn't bet on that...My company just settled an insurance claim with FedEx for trashing a case with a $15,000 piece of equipment inside, and it was a hard shell pelican case. I swear they had to have run over it with a D-9 Caterpillar!

I have shipped several bikes via FedEx...IF you can get the bike as compact as possible AND the bike doesn't get damaged it is about half the price of airline fees, but you still have to tear the bike down and build it back up when it gets there, which is time consuming. And that is assuming it gets there when it is supposed to. I have an overnight package that was SUPPOSED to deliver Thursday morning that is still wandering about the UPS system somewhere...

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Old 04-07-12, 06:33 AM   #22
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Traveling by train I take my folding bike. It's a 20" single speed and I use it only for getting around my destination. Folding bikes get on free on the Deutsche Bahn, no additional fees.

Traveling by plane I take one of my mountain bikes in an EVOC travel bag. It's a softcase bag that can hold my 29er full suspension bike comfortably and more importantly, safely. I've used it for local flights here in Europe and back to the US (I live in Germany) and the bike has survived unscathed by gorilla baggage handlers. I've only been charged an additional baggage fee and not the bike fee by any airlines. When the airline check in attendant asks what I have in the bag I respond with , "it's exercise equipment" NOT a "bike" else they'd charge me the absurd $150 or more bike fee.
I like the EVOC travel bag too.
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Old 04-07-12, 07:20 AM   #23
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I wouldn't bet on that...My company just settled an insurance claim with FedEx for trashing a case with a $15,000 piece of equipment inside, and it was a hard shell pelican case. I swear they had to have run over it with a D-9 Caterpillar!
Same here, except in our case it looked like is was first run through with the fork of a forklift then run over...

I figure the less handling the better; the less opportunity for damage or for it getting misrouted, so I'll sometimes spend a bit extra for a direct flight than having to change planes.

As for cost: It's easy to go to the FEDEX and UPS websites, put in the numbers and see what it will cost. I'll just say it aint cheap, but the bike shipping services (two of which I posted links to in an earlier post) can do it a bit cheaper. Same thing, go to their sites, put in the numbers and see what it will cost.

Airlines post the baggage fees on their sites. I haven't found one that doesn't, though it can sometimes take a bit of searching and reading to figure out what a bike will cost you. Jetblue and Southwest are $50 each way...much much less than what it would cost you to ship it (domestic USA). American was $150 last I checked, so shipping would probably a bit cheaper.
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Old 04-07-12, 08:58 PM   #24
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A soft shell case and a steel fixie.
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Old 04-08-12, 01:39 PM   #25
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I used to do a lot of traveling and for me, folding bikes are the way to go. Just note that not all folding bikes are the same, particularly when it comes to their compact shape, or size when folded. Some bikes are made to be folded and carried in a bag, others fold to be stored in a closet. The latter takes up considerably more space when compact, the trade-offs are that they often have larger wheels for a more traditional feel when riding, and they usually, although not necessarily, have more gears.

The advantage to a small folder that can be carried with you is that you never have to lock it up, you just carry it/wear it (in the case of bags that function as backpacks or bags with shoulder straps) into the restaurant, movies, etc. I take mine grocery shopping all the time.

I still have my original folder, a KHS F20-A. I put it in the trunk anytime I drive out of town. For local rides and remote destinations I use the Brompton M6L and a B-bag, it's proprietary carrying case.
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