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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 09-13-05, 03:53 PM   #1
chimblysweep
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report back: flying the bike

so, i did it, and have this pertinent info for folks considering it.
fyi, i used a black plastic serfas box, with wheels. it did not say bicycle on it.

on the way there, i checked it at DCA on delta, no questions asked, no problems. the security guys recognized it and asked. i said "shhh.... i don't want to be charged."
"oh, don't worry about delta. they usually don't charge. It's American and United over there that always charges people."
FYI - not recommended that you walk 9 blocks through a city with wheeled bike box. big pain.

returning, i had a hassle.
"is this a bike?"
"no."
"what is it?"
"trade show equipment."
"well, it's oversized, so we'll have to charge"
"no, it's under 50 lbs" (Actually, the case was so heavy, it weighed in at 48.5)
"but it's oversize."
(guy walks into office. talks to his boss. returns)
"What did you say this was again?"
"trade show equipment."
"and it's not a bicycle?"
"no."
"what does trade show equipment mean?"
"it's a display for at an expo."
"ok." (leans over desk looking at my other bag. presumably looking for a helmet.)

notes:
- if they do open the box, i'm told that you should point out that it's not a bike beacuse a whole bike would have brakes and gears. thus it's bike parts for sale at a trade show.
- $75 is the one-way charge for a bike usually.
- why the hell is "trade show equipment" cheaper for them to transport than a bike of same size, weight, and packaging? this is such BS!
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Old 09-13-05, 04:22 PM   #2
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corporate america, always getting the breaks! or is it brakes? damn theifs, give me my brakes back!
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Old 09-13-05, 05:01 PM   #3
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I'm thinking of taking mine on a plane next week, but in a cardboard bike box... should I cover up the bike logos on it?
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Old 09-13-05, 05:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwarre20
I'm thinking of taking mine on a plane next week, but in a cardboard bike box... should I cover up the bike logos on it?
probably a good idea.
all i've learned, really, is it depends whether the person checking you in is a hardass.
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Old 09-13-05, 05:36 PM   #5
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probably also a good idea to remove any "this bike is a pipebomb" stickers, should you have any...
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Old 09-13-05, 05:45 PM   #6
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That's kind of discouraging, as a case was next on my list of stuff to get. It's truly baffling why airlines (and amtrak between DC-NY-Boston) are so bike-unfriendly. On the other hand, taking my bike, unboxed and fully assembled, on the greyhound to NY over the weekend was a piece of cake.
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Old 09-13-05, 05:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimblysweep
probably a good idea.
all i've learned, really, is it depends whether the person checking you in is a hardass.
--Yup!

There should be no charge on international flights, or the US legs of a flight oversees. Even then the counter folks sometimes try charging anyways. We get charged interstate simply because they can.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pwarre20
I'm thinking of taking mine on a plane next week, but in a cardboard bike box... should I cover up the bike logos on it?
Another option would be to turn the box "inside out". Considering that you should re-enforce a cardboard bike box anyways, this isn't as crazy as I make it sound. Duct tape is your friend.

Ideas to help re-enforce a regular cardboard bike box include using coroplast to line the inside and make structural "cross beams" out of. Coroplast should be available at an arts-n-crafts store (it's also the same stuff that political posters that folks stick in there lawns are made of).

Your box should be "strong enough" to lay flat under everyone elses luggage-chances are that's where it will end up.

Make the box relatively easy to be opened by TSA folks by labelling spots "CUT HERE TO OPEN" with arrows. Tape an extra roll of duct tape to the inside, on that side.

Don't forget to make handles, either re-enforce the original ones, or fasion using that fabric type tape.

Label with your name/address on all sides (flight#'s couldn't hurt).
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Old 09-13-05, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrowedc
That's kind of discouraging, as a case was next on my list of stuff to get. It's truly baffling why airlines (and amtrak between DC-NY-Boston) are so bike-unfriendly. On the other hand, taking my bike, unboxed and fully assembled, on the greyhound to NY over the weekend was a piece of cake.
if you're going to get one, make sure it has wheels, and shell out for something lighter weight if possible. i can't tell you what a pain in the ass it was lugging that box to the metro, and it was too big for cabs.
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Old 09-13-05, 06:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimblysweep
if you're going to get one, make sure it has wheels, and shell out for something lighter weight if possible. i can't tell you what a pain in the ass it was lugging that box to the metro, and it was too big for cabs.

I feel your pain. I dragged a big serfas box with a bike and gear through a bunch of european cities, not fun at all dragging that thing over coblestones.

I did okay flying though, caught a bunch of different flights/trains around scandinavia & europe on some iceland air special. When they asked, I told them it was bike parts, but I never got charged extra. Oh, and two dollar tuborgs on the flight, can't beat that.
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Old 09-13-05, 07:59 PM   #10
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I was hoping to get a light case. The ones I've seen have weighed more than my bike.

Someone PM'd to ask how I took my bike on Greyhound. I just threw it in the cargo bay. I crawled in and pushed it all the way to the back. From Boston to NY I had a whole bay to myself. From NY to Boston I shared it with a bunch of stuff that was thrown in after my bike. There wasn't anything to worry about: stuff doesn't move around a lot down there, and nobody's luggage was going to hurt the bike.
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Old 09-13-05, 08:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhnmrk
probably also a good idea to remove any "this bike is a pipebomb" stickers, should you have any...
I may actually have stickers like that made....bwahahahahaha
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Old 09-14-05, 12:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhnmrk
probably also a good idea to remove any "this bike is a pipebomb" stickers, should you have any...
As a corollary, might it not be a good idea to fly with a bomber pro frame?
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Old 09-14-05, 07:06 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fugazi Dave
I may actually have stickers like that made....bwahahahahaha
Microcosm publishing had a few, but they were pretty bland...
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Old 09-14-05, 07:33 AM   #14
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there is a band of that name (this bike is a pipe bomb)--- they make up tons of those stickers, almost always free at their shows. just an fyi if you weren't aware.
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Old 09-14-05, 08:01 AM   #15
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That Bike is a Pipe Bomb! or in IT world speak TBIAPB! RiotFolk in effect.
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Old 09-14-05, 08:02 AM   #16
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Dave don't make your own stickers just mail order their EP and ask for some free ones.
That band rules and should be rewarded not only for coming up with a great name,
but also for "Jack Johnson"

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Old 09-14-05, 09:42 AM   #17
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" i'm told that you should point out that it's not a bike beacuse a whole bike would have brakes and gears. thus it's bike parts for sale at a trade show."

you'd lose that argument. A dog without a tail is still a dog.

"why the hell is "trade show equipment" cheaper for them to transport than a bike of same size, weight, and packaging? this is such BS!"

its not, but they do set their ticket prices based upon personal and business luggage. Bicycles are considered 'sporting equipment', which they kinda view as 'unnecessary' for travel.

havent travled with my bike much, but have traveled extensively with my surfboards and have heard/seen it all. Beware - sporting equipment is typically not reimbursable for damages.
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Old 09-14-05, 09:53 AM   #18
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I've always shipped my bike for free but thats usually going overseas, so I'm not sure how it is in domestic flights. I've actually had more trouble on the train, where they somehow scratched the absolute hell out of my frame and (carbon) fork and gave me a flat.
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Old 09-14-05, 10:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrowedc
I was hoping to get a light case. The ones I've seen have weighed more than my bike.
Yeah. Sadly, my bike in the case weighed 48.5 lb, 1.5lb short of being charged for "overweight." and the bike itself does weigh less than half that.
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Old 10-05-05, 11:29 AM   #20
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i've taken my bike in a cardboard box overseas (la-->denmark) twice. the first time over, no problems except the box was huge and weighed a ton. coming back, i cut the box down a bit and ran out of tape. let's just say it was a horror fest when my bike came out of the oversized baggage area in a complete mess. the whole box was decapitated and falling apart. this was all due to my poor boxing but the shock aside, everything was totally fine. the woman even picked up a pedal off the ground that slid out. that was such a scary moment since i thought my bike was totally fubarred.

so aside from being ghetto and potentially hazardous, cardboard boxes are fine/free if you pack your bike properly. i didn't get charged on british airways, it was counted towards my luggage allowance and swiss air said they'd charge. but the woman at the check in counter didn't charge me. i think it was because i had a "reservation" which consisted of me calling in to say i needed to reserve room on the flight for my bike. as for domestic, i haven't had to do it yet. maybe you could call them and try to get it for free if you aren't checking in any other luggage? be polite and insistent and you might be able to squeeze a deal.
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Old 10-05-05, 11:36 AM   #21
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. maybe you could call them and try to get it for free if you aren't checking in any other luggage? be polite and insistent and you might be able to squeeze a deal.
yeah, but this falls into the category of "it's better to do it and ask forgiveness than ask permission and be denied." you could be flagging for them to remind their people to charge you.
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Old 10-05-05, 11:38 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevo

"why the hell is "trade show equipment" cheaper for them to transport than a bike of same size, weight, and packaging? this is such BS!"

its not, but they do set their ticket prices based upon personal and business luggage. Bicycles are considered 'sporting equipment', which they kinda view as 'unnecessary' for travel.

havent travled with my bike much, but have traveled extensively with my surfboards and have heard/seen it all. Beware - sporting equipment is typically not reimbursable for damages.
I travel extensively each winter/spring with my ski equipment and not only do they not charge extra but they allow an extra bag for boots (so thats a ski bag, bootbag, and 1 piece of luggage). Skis and skiboots are sporting equipment too so why the different treatment?
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Old 10-05-05, 12:04 PM   #23
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The last two times I flew with a bike, I put it in a bike box with any references to anything cycling-related masked off, and with "ART WORK" written on it several times. Both airlines (one international, one domestic) charged $50 to fly a bike, but nothing for artwork. It was an SLX tubed Ciocc, with those wonderful chromed long point lugs...certainly a work of art to me!
I tossed in about 12 lbs worth of tools and spares....nobody said anything about the weight.
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Old 10-05-05, 12:44 PM   #24
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Don't know how up to date this info is but it seems fairly informative on flying with your bike.
http://www.bikeleague.org/flyfree.htm
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Old 10-05-05, 12:52 PM   #25
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the real question is... where did you get the box with wheels eh?
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