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  1. #1
    Loving LD kk27's Avatar
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    Surly Traveler's Check

    Hey Guys,

    I wanted to know if any of you have been riding the Traveler's check. I'm looking out for a Rando bike & this seems a good option... but I want to know if this Bike will evade Air Line baggage when split & put in a case within the baggage limits??? No point in investing if it doesn't.

    Kaushik-KK
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    there was some traffic on the rando mailing list about certain airlines wanting to charge their outrageous bike fees even if a bike fit in a suitcase. Delta being the specific airline that had said they would. I assume that the traveler's check will fit in a standard sized case below the luggage size limit.

  3. #3
    Loving LD kk27's Avatar
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    well the problem is exactly that.... there are no clear rules about them. In India itself I've traveled with bike in 2 different Airlines in which I was charged by one while the other took it free.

    I've read the Air France site & they are pretty clear about the charges but one of the cyclist has returned from France with a new Fuji Cross in Air France without any charges...he even got lucky & the customs didn't bother him.
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education

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    Randomhead
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    Forgot you were in India. In general, if you fit a bike in a suitcase that meets the size requirements, you will not be charged for a bike.

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I can't verify it, but I've heard some rumour about avoiding the bicycle handling fees by declaring a packed split-frame bike as bicycle parts, rather than as a bicycle. A "big box of parts" ships for less than the bicycle handling fee charged by many airlines.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    Forgot you were in India. In general, if you fit a bike in a suitcase that meets the size requirements, you will not be charged for a bike.
    This. The airlines don't open luggage up to see what is inside.

    They care about size and weight (basically). Note that you may not able to make a claim for damage if you don't disclose it's a bicycle when they have bicycle-specific rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by kk27 View Post
    I've read the Air France site & they are pretty clear about the charges but one of the cyclist has returned from France with a new Fuji Cross in Air France without any charges...he even got lucky & the customs didn't bother him.
    The airlines are quite free not to charge you. It would be imprudent to expect that especially if their policy indicates they do charge.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 06-01-10 at 10:08 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wickedcold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    This. The airlines don't open luggage up to see what is inside.
    They sure as hell do. Maybe not often, and its very likely that they won't open your luggage, but that's the reason you have to use a TSA approved lock if you plan to lock your luggage (TSA approved means they have a master key that will open it). I don't know what implications this could have, but it is worth knowing none the less.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wickedcold View Post
    They sure as hell do. Maybe not often, and its very likely that they won't open your luggage, but that's the reason you have to use a TSA approved lock if you plan to lock your luggage (TSA approved means they have a master key that will open it). I don't know what implications this could have, but it is worth knowing none the less.
    No, the TSA isn't the airline. Don't confuse the two organizations!

    The TSA cares about things that can be used to blow up airplanes. They don't care if it's a bicycle. They have no idea whether or not you were charged extra for your luggage. They have no idea what the particular, peculiar rules about luggage each airline has.

    (By the way, the TSA does not like zip ties. They will destroy the zippers rather than cutting the zip ties!!)

    (Do not do anything to make the TSA or customs unhappy!)

    While it's possible that the airlines are also looking inside your luggage, it's highly unlikely that it would be worth the extra labor cost for them to do so (once the check-in staff has processed your luggage).

    Put another way, once your luggage has been accepted at check-in by the airline staff, the airline staff has no real interest in it beyond moving it.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 06-06-10 at 03:57 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wickedcold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    No, the TSA isn't the airline. Don't confuse the two organizations!

    The TSA cares about things that can be used to blow up airplanes. They don't care if it's a bicycle.

    By the way, the TSA does not like zip ties. They will destroy the zippers rather than cutting the zip ties!!

    (Do not do anything to make the TSA or customs unhappy!)
    I'm aware of that. I just wanted to point out that there is a chance that your luggage will be opened, and rummaged through.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wickedcold View Post
    I'm aware of that. I just wanted to point out that there is a chance that your luggage will be opened, and rummaged through.
    But TSA inspections aren't what this thread is about.

    Quote Originally Posted by wickedcold View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    This. The airlines don't open luggage up to see what is inside.
    They sure as hell do. Maybe not often, and its very likely that they won't open your luggage, but that's the reason you have to use a TSA approved lock if you plan to lock your luggage (TSA approved means they have a master key that will open it). I don't know what implications this could have, but it is worth knowing none the less.
    "They" is referring to "airlines" (what else?). You failed to indicate that it's the TSA that is doing the opening.

    People keep confusing the two (the airlines and the TSA). It seem to happens in every one of these kinds of threads. It's important to be very clear about who the heck is doing the luggage inspections.

    It was OK to mention the TSA inspections (though, it's really not relevant). It just wasn't clear that you were talking about the TSA inspections.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 06-07-10 at 01:49 PM.

  11. #11
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I've used a Cross Check (which is the same bike) for long distance and so far it's worked out pretty well.

    It's a versatile frame, so you can use it for a wide array of terrain. Keep in mind it's not sold as a complete bike, so you will have to kit it out. But with the right type of rims, you can use quite a few types of tires on it. Keep in mind it won't work for serious MTB, but it's fine for dirt and gravel roads.

    As to saving the fees, unfortunately it is no longer 2002. Many airlines are charging fees for bringing any luggage on the plane. In a lot of cases, they will not care as much about size as they will about weight; after all, the heavier an item is, the more fuel gets used. You'll have to frequently check airline policies for weight requirements.

    By the way, I found packing and unpacking bikes to be a PITA; getting the bike to and from the airport is also a drag; and there is always the risk of damage in transit. And of course getting the couplers is adding around $1,000 to the price tag.

    IMO it isn't really worth it unless you are going on tour for at least a week, and doing those tours more than once a year.

  12. #12
    Loving LD kk27's Avatar
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    Well, I'm yet to do any international travel...but I do travel a lot within India & a few times when I've carried a bike with me in a soft bag they've just had a look inside at the chekin. Once I had it in a box but that was an MTB which they charged me nominally since it was oversize.
    Frankly I don't mind them checking it... safety for all is definitely more important.... till the time nothing is stolen.

    Well all this finally leads me to one conclusion that it's really not as much worth in investing so much for these couplers... Also I'd rather get a better bike or some other stuff for that price.

    I think the CorssCheck is now also available as complete bike.. though I don't mind building on it. I'm also looking at the Volpe.
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    As to saving the fees, unfortunately it is no longer 2002. Many airlines are charging fees for bringing any luggage on the plane. In a lot of cases, they will not care as much about size as they will about weight; after all, the heavier an item is, the more fuel gets used. You'll have to frequently check airline policies for weight requirements.
    But they charge less for normal luggage (eg, $25-50), if they charge,and they charge more (eg, $100-150) for a bicycle.

    Quote Originally Posted by kk27 View Post
    Frankly I don't mind them checking it... safety for all is definitely more important.... till the time nothing is stolen.
    The airline staff isn't checking for safety. (That's mostly the TSA's job.) If they are looking inside, it's because they don't want to be on the hook for damaging the contents.

    If you travel with a bicycle frequently and you can pack it in allowable luggage dimensions and under the excess weight and you won't require the airline to pay for damage to a bicycle, then you'll recover the extra cost of the couplers fairly quickly (if the airlines would otherwise charge you extra for a bicycle).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 06-08-10 at 09:44 AM.

  14. #14
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    I haven't ridden the S&S version, but I have a CrossCheck that I commute on. It's a decent, sturdy bike and I have no complaints with it, but it feels like riding a cinder block compared to my brevet bike. Not exactly the "lively" feel one thinks of from a lighter steel frame. But mine is relatively small, and I weigh 150 lbs. In a larger size and/or with a heavier rider, it might be just right. You might also consider the Ritchey Breakaway; there's a road version and a cyclocross version. My partner just bought one and is flying to Germany with it in a few weeks, so we'll find out how he likes it. Unfortunately, the case it comes with is like two inches over the airlines' max size. D'oh! (he bought a new case for it)

    However, more and more airlines are starting to charge for any luggage at all, or the second piece of luggage on transatlantic flights. Lufthansa allows you one checked bag for free, up to 23kg/50 lbs; anything over that, whether in the form of excess weight OR excess baggage costs €100 per 23kg/50 lbs (I'm not sure what the charge is for oversize if it isn't also overweight, or if it's a bike). Aer Lingus charges only €40 for excess, and as far as I can tell, a bike in a bike case is also €40. So it costs the same whether it's oversize or not, but you have the same weight limit. It can be hard enough to pack a bike in a bike case and keep it under the weight limit, so even if you have room, you can't pack the rest of your stuff in with it. So unless you can bring everything else as carry-on (and they've started to enforce weight limits for that, too) you're paying for the bike regardless.

    The one thing you should keep in mind about flying with a bike is that the TSA will open it up and inspect it. It should ideally be packed in a way that's simple and easy and quick, and requires minimal disassembly to make everything visible; because while you might spend the time carefully putting everything in the case just right, the TSA goons won't. They don't care if something can rattle against your frame in transit or if something gets scratched while they shove it back in the box. Make it easy for them to put it back the way it should go after they make sure it's not a pipe bomb.

    Incidentally, if you don't get a coupled bike, I can recommend this case: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._400007_400019
    I have one, and have been happy with it. It's kind of chintzy, but on the other hand it weighs only 22 lbs or so empty. It's quite roomy and very easy to pack; the wheels strap to one side and the frame straps to the other, so when the TSA goes to inspect it, they can see everything they need to without taking anything apart.

  15. #15
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    We have an S&S coupled tandem. We've taken it on close to a dozen fights in Europe and North America in the past few years and never paid any extra fees on the two regulation-size suitcases that it fits into. I've also take several non-collapsible bikes on planes packed in cardboard boxes, and have paid the extra fees each time (which have ranged from reasonable to excessive). It makes me very satisfied to have the freedom to take our tandem anywhere we want to go without paying extra for it.

    I have heard of instances of an airline trying to charge for a bike even when in a regulation-size suitcase. I therefore do not discuss what is inside the cases with the check-in agent, and if they ask then I simply say that it is sports equipment. If they were to decide that it is a bicycle and tried to charge me then I would first go with the argument that it is bicycle parts and not a bicycle, and if they still tried to charge me then I would protest as much as possible, ask to talk to someone more senior, and if I still failed then I would eventually take the matter up with the management of the airline after my flight was complete, and would avoid that airline again in the future. Fortunately, as I said, if your luggage is within regulation size and weight then you shouldn't have any problems, and exceptions to this are very rare.

    I love the S & S couplers and would love to have a single bike with them in, so I've been considering getting them retrofitted to my Trek 520. Another option you may want to consider is the Ritchey Breakaway frame.

  16. #16
    Senior Member PartyPack's Avatar
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    I saw this at the LBS the other day, beautifully finished and well specced but about $1k more than the Cross Check complete over here.

  17. #17
    One legged rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    No, the TSA isn't the airline. Don't confuse the two organizations!

    The TSA cares about things that can be used to blow up airplanes. They don't care if it's a bicycle. They have no idea whether or not you were charged extra for your luggage. They have no idea what the particular, peculiar rules about luggage each airline has.

    (By the way, the TSA does not like zip ties. They will destroy the zippers rather than cutting the zip ties!!)

    (Do not do anything to make the TSA or customs unhappy!)

    While it's possible that the airlines are also looking inside your luggage, it's highly unlikely that it would be worth the extra labor cost for them to do so (once the check-in staff has processed your luggage).

    Put another way, once your luggage has been accepted at check-in by the airline staff, the airline staff has no real interest in it beyond moving it.
    yeah, never do anything to upset TSA or Customs. I was coming back from the UK with a several of my Indian relatives, one of whom was on a visa and others with green cards, and ICE still made me go through the "agricultural imports" line at SFO (about another hour wait), all because the ICE guy was being a smart ass with my mother in law cause her accent is really strong and I started interpreting for her. Guess it rubbed him the wrong way.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    yeah, never do anything to upset TSA or Customs. I was coming back from the UK with a several of my Indian relatives, one of whom was on a visa and others with green cards, and ICE still made me go through the "agricultural imports" line at SFO (about another hour wait), all because the ICE guy was being a smart ass with my mother in law cause her accent is really strong and I started interpreting for her. Guess it rubbed him the wrong way.
    Customs is a third agency which has an odd interest in your personal stuff. The TSA gets you departing, and customs gets you arriving!

    (Coming back from Egypt, I got a customs agent who had a sense of humor.)

  19. #19
    Loving LD kk27's Avatar
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    well actually My interest in the Traveler's check was only because I will need to carry a bike to France for the PBP & that the Traveler's check looks it can be a good Rando bike. But considering that it cost's well over many great bikes just for the couplers is insane. But then it may still end up saving me a lot of dough just for the France return trip.

    I can still rather just get my self the Frame & built it up on my own. Anyway anybody here know a ball park cost of the frame-fork set for the Traveler's Check???
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kk27 View Post
    Anyway anybody here know a ball park cost of the frame-fork set for the Traveler's Check???
    Google is easy to use. "surly travelers check".

    http://www.glorycycles.com/sutrchfr.html

  21. #21
    Loving LD kk27's Avatar
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    hey thanks... I tried but that didnt lead to this link.

    1k is bloody too much
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kk27 View Post
    hey thanks... I tried but that didnt lead to this link.
    It wasn't the first result. (If you tried searching, saying so is helpful.)

    Quote Originally Posted by kk27 View Post
    1k is bloody too much
    I think the S&S couplers add about $400 or so to the cost of the frame.

  23. #23
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    I have rented bikes when traveling in France. My companion took his bike over when we went to the L'Etape.
    Delta charged him $800 because the bike in the case was over 50 lbs. He had other things in the case.
    Someone doing L'Etape or PBP will want to take their own bike. I will continue to rent.
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