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  1. #1
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Where do you store your travel gear?

    Say you fly in to say Amsterdam or Copenhagen to start a tour. What would you typically do with your bike box and other miscellaneous stash of clothes, tools & gear? Have it held in a hotel, bike shop, storage facility of some sort?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    My bicycle would be in a cardboard box, which I would most likely discard when I set up my bicycle at the airport.

    As for anything else I bring with me ... that would all come with me on my tour.

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    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    My bicycle would be in a cardboard box, which I would most likely discard when I set up my bicycle at the airport.

    As for anything else I bring with me ... that would all come with me on my tour.
    So you just head to a LBS to pack up your bike when you finish your tour? I already own a great bike box that I'd prefer to use, since it's quite sturdy.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenstork
    So you just head to a LBS to pack up your bike when you finish your tour? I already own a great bike box that I'd prefer to use, since it's quite sturdy.
    No, I head to the airport where I buy a cardboard box from the airline I'm travelling with. Or ... if it happens that the airline is one of the few which does not sell bicycle boxes, then I might track down some sort of shop which might have a box for me. (And I do the packing myself).

    Bike boxes are great if you do have a place to store them, like a friend or relative's place, but if you don't know someone who would be willing to do that for you, bike boxes become more of a hinderance. You could try contacting the hotel. I have heard that some will store things if you plan to spend 2 or 3 days at the start and again at the finish of your tour there. You could try contacting a LBS ... I haven't heard of any that will store stuff, but you never know. Don't count on there being any storage units at the airport. Most airports have had them removed now. If you contact the airport to ask if there are any storage facilities in the area around the airport, you'll likely be told something along the lines of, "Yes, and you are welcome to find them yourself" (from my experience at Heathrow). It was after that experience that I switched to cardboard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    No, I head to the airport where I buy a cardboard box from the airline I'm travelling with. Or ... if it happens that the airline is one of the few which does not sell bicycle boxes, then I might track down some sort of shop which might have a box for me. (And I do the packing myself).

    Bike boxes are great if you do have a place to store them, like a friend or relative's place, but if you don't know someone who would be willing to do that for you, bike boxes become more of a hinderance. You could try contacting the hotel. I have heard that some will store things if you plan to spend 2 or 3 days at the start and again at the finish of your tour there. You could try contacting a LBS ... I haven't heard of any that will store stuff, but you never know. Don't count on there being any storage units at the airport. Most airports have had them removed now. If you contact the airport to ask if there are any storage facilities in the area around the airport, you'll likely be told something along the lines of, "Yes, and you are welcome to find them yourself" (from my experience at Heathrow). It was after that experience that I switched to cardboard.
    machka,are you quite comfortable shipping this way?ever had any bad experiences?

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    I do the same thing as M. One time, I stayed in a hostel near the airport on the first and last day of my tour, and they stored my (cardboard) bike box and a duffel bag for me for the duration of the tour. They had a garage full of people's stored bike boxes.
    ...

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphatrider
    machka,are you quite comfortable shipping this way?ever had any bad experiences?
    So far I have flown to Australia and back, within Australia twice, to San Francisco, to Iowa, and home from Los Angeles with my bicycle in a cardboard box. I've also had it on Amtrak and Greyhound in a cardboard box.

    The only bad experience I've had was on my way home from Australia ... when I was boxing my bicycle up in the Sydney airport, I thought about removing my E6 lamp but for some reason I either forgot, or thought it would be all right, or something. It was broken when I opened the box at home. My mistake. Never leave your lights on your bicycle when you pack it. Take them off and pack them in another bag.

    When I pack my bicycles in the boxes, I remove the handlebars and ziptie them to the frame. I remove the pedals and pack them in my carry-on. I usually remove both wheels and tuck them beside the frame, then put a plastic block into the dropouts of the front fork. I remove the saddle and put it into a plastic grocery bag which I usually tie to some part of the frame so it doesn't rattle around. The fenders often have to come off as well, and they go around the wheels. Any bolts or screws I have to remove to take something off get screwed back into the places they go so I don't lose them. Anything like skewers, which I remove completely, get put into a ziplock baggie and are taped to the frame.

    Then I put a few things into the box with the bicycle for extra padding like my sleeping bags, some clothes, etc. Those are also all in plastic grocery bags or ziplock bags as much as possible. In fact, do not leave anything floating around loose in the box ... be sure to put it in bags and, if possible, fix it to the frame. Those boxes often get holes ripped in them ... not enough for anything large to fall out or to cause any damage to the bicycle, but if you had a few small things floating around in your box, they might fall out. Also do not over-fill the box. The heavier it is, the more likely it is to come apart or have holes ripped in it.

    I'm planning a trip to Europe this coming summer, and my bicycle will once again be in a cardboard box.

  8. #8
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    Thelast two times I flew anywhere with my bike, I brought the bike unboxed, just wheeled it up to the check-in counter with the pedals off and the handlebars sideways. When I went to Scotland in 2004, I found a cardboard box that was exactly the maximum dimensions allowed by British Airways and stuffed 3 panniers and most of my gear in it. The fourth pannier was my carry-on bag. When I got to Heathrow I loaded up the bike, threw away the cardboard box, and cycled out of the airport to the train station. For the return trip, I cycled back to the airport, bought a cheap duffel bag, and used it for checked baggage on the way home.

    When I went to Tuscany last May I used a cheap duffel bag to hold 3 panniers and gear for the checked baggage, carried the duffel folded up in my pannnier for the duration of the tour, and used it again for the trip home. Once again the fourth pannier was my carry on bag. Just like the Scotland trip, I cycled in and out of the airport in Florence.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I use a large canvas laundry bag, with a shoulder strap (which a person can purchase for about $12 from Walmart) like markf uses a duffel bag. Air Canada charges $175 if you have more than 2 pieces of checked luggage. They don't seem to care how big the pieces are, just as long as there are only two of them. My bicycle in its box is one piece, and then I stuff everything I have not put into my bicycle box into the laundry bag.

    Later, I can fold the laundry bag up and carry it in my pannier, and I can use the laundry bag for things like an extra layer under my mattress or whatever.

  10. #10
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    You might also refer to a thread over on General Discussion that is along similar lines.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  11. #11
    Numbler Cornchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenstork
    So you just head to a LBS to pack up your bike when you finish your tour?
    We did this on our Europe tour this summer. We were flying in and out of different places, so storing bike boxes was not an option. We also found that the boxes were ready to retire after a cross-Atlantic plane ride.

    We had to find two bike boxes in Genova, Italy, which turned out to be more of a pain than we planned on. It wasn't hard, exactly. Just took longer than anticipated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenstork
    Say you fly in to say Amsterdam or Copenhagen to start a tour. What would you typically do with your bike box and other miscellaneous stash of clothes, tools & gear? Have it held in a hotel, bike shop, storage facility of some sort?
    The stash of clothes, tools and gear is a bit more difficult. A left-field thought might be to find participants in the Warm Showers or other hosting lists... if they are willing to put a person or two up for a night, leaving gear with them might also be possible. I would offer to keep gear if I was in a position to do so.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  13. #13
    Life is short Ride hard
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    maybe there could be a market for things like this hmmmmm.... oh sorry to hijack
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  14. #14
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Of course an option is to get a hotel near the airport, the first and last night of your stay. This is going to cost but considering how much you are paying for the tour already, another $200 or so is really not that big of a deal. And there is something to be said for all of the hassle it saves. You have a place to assemble the bike on arrival and a place to tear it down the last day.

    If you happen to be flying into Malepensa, Italy (Milan). The Tre Leone is a very nice hotel with tons of storage space. It is about a 10 minute shuttle from the airport.

  15. #15
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    maybe there could be a market for things like this hmmmmm.... oh sorry to hijack
    Yes it is called luggage storage. You can find them at many train stations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    My bicycle would be in a cardboard box, which I would most likely discard when I set up my bicycle at the airport.

    As for anything else I bring with me ... that would all come with me on my tour.
    +1

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    Yes it is called luggage storage. You can find them at many train stations.
    Ummmm.... not much in the bus, train and plane stations I have been to. You will get less than 24 hours of locker storage, then the lockers are opened and the contents removed. You can store at some airports with commercial luggage storage, but it costs a lot, and I am not so sure it's available much in the USA anymore. Lockers are being removed more and more through the security paranoia.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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