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Old 03-14-01, 09:51 AM   #1
mbryan
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I desperately need suggestions for finding bike boxes and dealing with airlines. We're flying to Italy in April to tour for a few weeks. Ending the trip and flying out of Rome. How the heck do I get a bike box, get packed up, then get 2 huge bike boxes to the Rome airport??? To make matters worse, I have a big bike because I'm 6'4" and afraid all the Italian shops will be limited to 54cm frame boxes...

I know people must deal with this all the time, but I need advice!
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Old 03-14-01, 02:32 PM   #2
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http://www.spokebusters.org/airportsandtravel.htm

If you can afford it, i would get a hardshell / foam encased bike box, they run $250 - $350. I think there are a few makers of them, i'll try to post a list of people who sell them later today.
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Old 03-14-01, 02:36 PM   #3
Marcy S
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Also, check out this website:

http://www.bikeaccess.net/default.cfm
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Old 03-14-01, 02:42 PM   #4
Joe Gardner
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http://www.crateworks.com/ makes a few bike boxes, starting at $89, they also have a nice little bike travel forum.

Trico Sports dosent have a website, but you can call them at 800-473-7705 , they advertise a hardshell case that is lockable, UPSable and indestructable,they dont list a price, but i would guess around $300..

http://www.performancebike.com/ has a hardshell bike case also, onsell for $217 (reg $289, 24% off)... just search for "case" on there website.

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Old 03-14-01, 08:13 PM   #5
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mbryan,
have a nice trip, hope you find the bike case your looking for.
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Old 03-15-01, 07:36 AM   #6
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There are bike boxes out there on the market (I have one for my recumbent, "Crateworks"), expensive to buy but easy to make yourself. Purchase 1/4" chloroplast (building supply shops carry them) a 4'x8' sheet goes for about $20.00 Canadian each. Using a good sharp knife and basic geometry a friend and me constructed two more bike boxes that measured approximately 38" high x 12" thick x 6' long plus 2 seperate BOB trailer boxes. We used them when we travelled to Europe last year and stored all of them at Amsterdam airport for 3 weeks for about $30.00. To construct all 4 boxes cost us about $60.00 as compared to buying one box at $400.00. They are sturdy and protected our gear better than the airport bike boxes. If the empty boxes can not be stored safely the monetary loss is not too bad to take. I could provide a design specs. of our boxes and pictures if you want.
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Old 03-15-01, 07:46 AM   #7
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Oh I forgot to comment on how to get these said bike boxes to airport. Find someone with a 1/4 ton open bed truck to haul your gear or rent a truck to transport the gear to store at airport for say the day before you depart.

PS: You should check to see if there is a "left luggage" policy at Rome airport to store the boxes, that way you assemble & dis-assemble the bike at the airport (lots of fun!!). If unable to do this see if there is a local bike shop or fellow cyclist in area that would pick you up at airport and store the boxes say for a few $$, and maybe that way you could assemble the bikes in their bike shop (possibly buy some stuff?).

Hope this helps....
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Old 04-05-01, 09:12 PM   #8
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MBrian:

Joe Gardner's suggestion to use a hardshell bike case is a good one. I have been to Italy and saw some Americans bringing their bikes this way. I think they came right on the luggage belt or got put in the overized luggage. Anyway, it looked pretty natural. Thus, the Italian airports are accustomed to handling them.

If you can't afford the hardshell, you can get a used cardboard bike box from your local bike shop. Go to WWW.oldroads.com and look for postings by a guy named MNSmith. Ask him how to pack a bike for shipment. I think he has a webpage with instructions.

I have heard of some guys that just put a clear plastic bag over their bikes and wheel them right to the airlines that way. The logic is that the baggage handlers can see what it is and will treat it kindly. I don't recomment this method though.

The one thing I can tell you about Italy is that many or maybe even most of the roads are terrifying for the average American bicyclist. The traffic is God-awful; high density, high speed, zero-tolerance. Be sure you have a good bicycle route planned so you can survive to tell us you had a great trip.
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Old 04-10-01, 06:57 AM   #9
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HI together!
we used two large cardboard boxes as we went from Germany to Teneriffa (ES) - we additionally wrapped both Mountainbikes with foil and everything went all right.
Our dealer just gave us both boxes (he gets his new bikes with these boxes).
Our Bikes (Specialize&RockyMountain Fullsuspension) did not suffer any scratches...
:-)
Tom

Last edited by DonTom; 04-10-01 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 04-10-01, 08:45 AM   #10
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Hi, I saw a cheap alternative to bike boxes might be worth considering: Tape up your bike with several pieces of cardboard, than mummify it in three or four rolls of cellaphane food wrap from a grocery store.
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Old 06-23-01, 10:07 PM   #11
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I have flown from Milwaukee to Calgary and back a few times.

Best box: I found a mattress box that I reinforced with extra cardboard and cut to shape.

OK boxes: The airlines will sell you a box for about $15.00US. They aren't anything special, but they work.

Worst box: I shipped my bike UPS and they did more damage than the airlines ever did.

I don' t put the bike in the box before I get to the airport. If I don't have a box before, I just buy a box at the airline counter and take the bike apart in the airport.

The box you get at the counter is larger than the boxes that you get at a bike shop. All you have to do is take off the pedals, turn the handbars, and you are all set. You leave the wheels on the bike. I usually pad it with panniers or other stuff that I have taken along. I take along plenty of strapping tape, a magic marker, etc., and just do it there. Sounds weird, but there isn't anything you are going to do differently in the airport than you would do at home.

Be sure to use some tape to reinforce the "handles," which are really just holes in the box. Also, if you can cut a couple of holes in the box on opposite sides and pull some tape across, it can reinforce the box.

If you are staying at the same hotel at the start and end of the trip, they may be willing to hold onto the box, or you can just buy another box at the end of the trip.

Oh, yeah, they do treat your bike like crap. Don't leave anything valuable or small in the box. If they leave your bike out in the rain and the box is ruined, complain about it and they will get you a new box for the return trip (voice of experience).

The most insulting part is that they charge extra (sometimes a lot) for a bike, but they will take other equipment that is almost as big for no extra charge. If you can figure out a way around this, let us all know.

Enjoy your trip!

Carl
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Old 06-26-01, 01:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Gardner
http://www.crateworks.com/ makes a few bike boxes, starting at $89, they also have a nice little bike travel forum.
I have the crateworks box and it works pretty good. The one I have is collapsable, meaning it's easier to store. If you contact a bike shop over there ahead of time, you could probably arrange to store your boxes while you are touring

Also, check this website for lots of info on traveling w/ you bike, dealing w/ airlines, etc.
http://www.bikeaccess.net/Default.cfm
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