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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 09-16-05, 07:27 AM   #1
ElRey
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travelling w/tandem

I've done a lot of race travelling, but wondered how much hassle travelling with a tandem is. I was considering getting a tandem case for my bike (no S&S couplers) but they're 72" long. I'm used to teh added costs, but do airlines just simply say no to a box that big?
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Old 09-19-05, 05:18 AM   #2
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nobody???? hard to believe...
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Old 09-19-05, 05:55 AM   #3
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I was actualy talking to a couple Saturday about this issue. They claim to have met a couple that packs thier standard tandem in a soft case and have traveled all over the world. They take the wheels and bars off and thread the pedals in backwards. I wish I knew what brand of soft case it was.
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Old 09-19-05, 06:42 AM   #4
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Thanks. So they have had no troubles with the airlines? Bike Pro makes a softshell case (with "hard" inserts) for about $650.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:08 AM   #5
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If you search the Tandem @ Hobbes archives, there are tons and tons of discussions on this: http://search.bikelist.org/

Good luck!

-Greg
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Old 09-19-05, 08:46 AM   #6
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thanks... mostly several years old, but I suppose the data is still valid.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:54 AM   #7
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My advice is don't do it. We went to Europe with a tandem without couplers. The case is huge. The airlines weren't much of a problem. (but you need to check for each plane whether it can take the dimensions of the case). Taxicabs were a big problem. Had to get one for the bike, and one for us. (follow that bike!). Trains were also a problem. No way you can take it on the TGV. If you're going to travel with a tandem I would recommend the SS couplers.
If I haven't dissuaded you, I have a great Bike Pro USA Tandem, I'll make you a deal on. Only used once.
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Old 09-19-05, 09:01 AM   #8
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I would be interested! (732-901-0995) I have abundant experience with Euro travel and bikes cases. Got to rent a van!!!!!
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Old 09-19-05, 06:21 PM   #9
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El Rey:
BikePro is the 'gold standard' for soft sided non-S&S tandem cases.
However, you can use a tandem box, or splice 2 single bike boxes together.
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Old 09-20-05, 04:38 AM   #10
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Thanks Zona. I like the look of teh BikePro but may not be able to utilize it as It would ned to fit on a car-top carrier on teh eay to the airport (BMW 3 series... not a big trunk)
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Old 09-20-05, 12:40 PM   #11
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We've travelled with our tandem twice now. I'll tell you my specific experience: from Denver to Nice and back by plane. No problem. We rode out of the airport and rode the bike the whole trip and ended up back in Nice. Our friends in Nice drove us to the airport while the tandem in a bike on the top of their car. The airline (Delta) charged extra for the bike, but we knew that ahead of time. Other airline options (BA, I think) didn't charge extra, but the tickets were more expensive. We used a cardboard box that Delta provided and had to remove both wheels, racks, rear derailleur and the usual stuff.

2nd time: Denver to Vitória (ES, Brazil) and back from Rio to Denver both by plane. No problem. We used the same cardboard box mentioned above and folded it and mailed it from Vitória to Rio. We took taxis to and from the airports in Brazil. A small station wagon taxi fit everything. Our rear hub broke along the way (about halfway along our planned route from Vitória to Rio) and we had to take a bus to Rio. No problem. No extra charge. Actually the only time we ended up paying extra was the taxi ride from Rio's bus station to our friend's house.

From Boulder to Denver the buses take the tandem. No problem. No extra charge.

I must say that we've managed, the tandem is loads of fun when it's assembled and we're riding it, but when we're not riding, it's certainly more of a hassle than two separate bikes.
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Old 09-20-05, 09:07 PM   #12
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I can only imagine what a pain in the butt it would be to be lugging a tandem around. I flew with my half bike to Hawaii recently and I have to say that every minute I wasn't actually ON my bike, it was just a pain to deal with it. From the airport to the vehicles, to the hotel, to the interisland hops, it was all a big bummer. But ahhhhhh when I was on my bike, at 5:30 a.m. circling that island, it made it all worthwhiile.
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Old 09-22-05, 01:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
... but do airlines just simply say no to a box that big?
Not usually, unless the aircraft is just too small. Some will require that you drop it off at the air freight terminal, whereas others will check it in at the counter. It's best to call ahead with the dimensions and weight to each carrier at each airport to confirm your arrangements. Also, during your call get the name of the person you are speaking with an a supervisor who you can call if there are any problems when you arrive.

Interesting observations: A lot of the folks who travel with a full size tandem have more problems and incur more losses from damaged cases than damaged tandems. The big "coffins" like the PedalPak tend to get thrown around and dropped. The BikePro Tandem cases seem to fair better but are still a major PIA to move around. Boxed tandems and even tandems that have been simply wrapped in clear plastic with pedals removed, etc. seem to come out relatively unscathed as baggage handlers presumably know what they are dealing with and exercise a bit more care, or at least that's the theory. As for the S&S bikes back in hard and soft cases, they are great for travel but still subject to the problems associated with all checked bags: one or both cases can get misrouted or lost and 1/2 a tandem is usually no better than no tandem. The soft cases get mixed reviews: some have had no problems where others have seen them come down the baggage chute in rough shape and with damaged contents. That said, we've been lucky and have only had great success and easy transits with our S&S tandem.

With respect to car topping boxed tandems, the easiest method is to remove or reposition the bike mounts so you can just lay the case on its side on the cross bars and strap it down. This also works on rental cars but you need to pack some non-skid dunnage material in your case to put between the case and the roof of the vehicle as well as two very long tie-down straps that you wrap around the case and car roof and route through the interior of the car's ceiling via the door openings: basic tactics for hauling home lightweight but oversized boxes and mattresses.
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