I need a couple of bike bags for a short tour I'm doing in April, but I'm unsure on a few points.
I can get what looks to me like a pretty god bike from Decathlon. It's big and seems quite sturdy. I've seen a pfew online, and they are more money, but advetise themselves as "padded".
My trouble is that I don;t know what "padded" is.
How thick should a padded bike bag be? I've seen some on the internet advertised as non padded, and I'm assuming they are just made of nylon.
The decathlon bag looks like it's made of neoprane, maybe 4 or 5mm thick.
Would that be classed as padded.
Anyone know what else I should be looking for in a bike bag,
Thanks for the link. The Decathlon bag looks similar to that (has tightening straps as with the one show). It's £43, which I think makes it about £20 cheaper than the one you link.
Machka, the bag folds down nice and small so you can either carry it with you, or leave it in an airport/station locker. If your destination is the same as your deparure, it means your not scrabbling round trying to find another box for the return.
It also works for taking the bike into hotel rooms, should you need to. Oe option for my next tour is to fly to Stuttgart, but plane gets in at 11.pm. We'd need a hotel that night at the airport. I doubt there's anywhere safe to leave the bikes other than in the hotel room, and after seeing a few posts on here, it seems hotels can;t really stop you taking your bike into a room if it's bagged as luggage. It is, after all, just luggage.
I have a bag similar to that, but have never used it. To me, it just looks a little insecure. I'd be afraid that the baggage handlers would just dump a plane-full of baggage on top of it. At least with a cardboard box, it is distinguishable.
I've also never had a problem with bringing my bicycle into a hotel. I just wheel it right in. I've had trouble with hostels, but that's understandable because there are so many people sharing a room, and those rooms are quite small. But most hostels will provide an alternate place to store the bicycle.
And you don't have to ditch the cardboard box when you get there, you can just fold it up and take it with you.
Oh ... one tip ... if you can find an airport locker, consider yourself very fortunate. They've been ripped out of most airports. Customer service at Heathrow told me that they will not store things for passengers. They told me there were storage places in London, but would not provide me with any information beyond that. I believe the same situation has happened in most European airports.
i used a cardboard box with the bike in a bag inside(from performance bike, cordura nylon, padded on the bottom but not so much on the sides, removed the flat plastic strip at the bottom). at the airport in paris i ditched the box (not sure how i could have folded it up and brought it with-it was huge). i rolled up as tightly as possible the bag and strapped it to my rack and rode it along with me the whole trip. an extra four or five pounds. so...heavy.
but i was able to use the bag for my return flight to the states. it was just basically impossible to get another box and still get through all the trains and tubes it took to get back to CDG for the return flight. the bike got pretty scratched up with basically no other padding than just the corduran nylon. there didn't seem to be any bike boxes for sale at the airport, and the struggle to go from terminal to terminal to find out was just not option with the bike in tow etc.
i think the targis bag you were looking at is considerably lighter than the one i used and it packs down a lot smaller, which would have been really nice. also there doesn't seem to be much extra space whcih is good.
alternatively, i think for travel within europe you can just wheel your bike to the counter. i did this from greece to london some years ago and there was no hassle at all.
oddly enough the two things i was most stressed out about on my trip were a)how to get the bike home, hence the dreaded heavy nylon bag, and b) what trains/train cars do or do not carry bikes within france. nagging details.
also...i did have one hotel in Sarlat that would not let me bring my bike anywhere into the hotel and i had to basically lock it up to a rickety fence outside. so...that may also be a consideration for a bike bag.
It's a difficult one.
I can see where Mchka is coming from. It would be easier, and cheaper, just to pack it in carboard. It would probably be sturdier, as well.
I've read of other people who just take their bikes without padding at all, the thinking being, like Machka said, that they are difficult to handle and as such don;t just get thrown onto a pile of luggage. I suspect there's perhaps a bit more respect (or more chance of being seen purposely damaging the bike, as I'm sure is sometimes the way).
I can see the benefits of all systems really. The hard case is the best option if you've got somewhere to leave it, and so long as the case doesn;t take the weight over the limit. The bag is good for storage when there (even if there's no storage at the airport - if there's a nearby station), and taking into hotels.
Boxes are good in that they are cheap, but where to get a new one? You could ride to the nearest bike shop, but then you have to get boxed bike back to the airport.
I can tell I'm going to have to think about this.
The only deciding factors so far are that if my friend and I fly to Stuttgart, the airline stipulates some covering (bag or box), as does the hotel on our first night. So just bare bike is out of the question.