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How do people pack bikes for travel?

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How do people pack bikes for travel?

Old 10-16-22, 01:15 PM
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How do people pack bikes for travel?

Interested to see how people pack their bikes for plane/train type travel.

especially if the frame is not breakdown type

softside, hardcase, yakima, thule, ???
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Old 10-16-22, 02:15 PM
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[MENTION=381793]gugie[/MENTION] has a wonderful hardshell case for his

IIRC everything comes apart and goes back together in a few minutes with an allen key

(yes, this involves some special fittings)

perhaps he can share some detailed images...


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Old 10-16-22, 02:24 PM
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This is how I fly: Vitus 979 x Serfas iron case.

The frame is a 60cm C-T I think.
Brakes, right crank, front rack, and saddle are in the various bubble wrap envelopes. I had to take the front brake and minirack off because it was impossible to get it to fit otherwise.

Wheels go above the bike, separated by a layer of foam. Mostly they go to the left in the photo, where the bike is less thick.

All together it weighs 49lb. So it will fly as a normal checked bag on delta who do that sort of thing, but not on jetblue because of the size. The case is around 27 or 28lb and the bike is around 19lb. Then I guess I have 1-2lb of packing material in there. Cuts it pretty close.

TSA normally makes a mess of my packing job, but nothing's been lost so far. And I save a lot of money on ubers when traveling for work.

The Vitus is sort of an Audax type build, a racing bike with a mini rack on the front.
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Old 10-16-22, 02:25 PM
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I ship ahead. I will make a box out of corrugated plastic from the Home Depot.

Marking the foam sleeves.





Frame in box.






Inserts in box. Also made from plastic corrugate.






Components wrapped in bubble wrap.






Separate wheel box. Cheap wheel covers from the Madison swap.

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Old 10-16-22, 03:41 PM
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I’ve used a variety of methods.
—Ship disassembled bike in a standard cardboard bike box to a FedEx near destination, have [MENTION=381793]gugie[/MENTION] pick up said box, and meet me for handoff. Pros: Minimal amount of disassembly, didn’t used to cost that much, or at least a lot less than bike specific charges some airlines were leveling (e.g., US (sc)Air), boxes are free. Cons: Depends upon vagaries of the shipper to get there on time. You need to stash the box somewhere. Cardboard boxes can sustain damage.
—Ship or fly with a Tricor case. Pros: indestructible case. Cons: Most of the ones above plus you gotta buy the case. [MENTION=481394]SquireBlack[/MENTION] and [MENTION=381793]gugie[/MENTION] went this route for Eroica CA, I believe.
—Fly with bike disassembled in a bag dedicated for this purpose. I have an Orucase Airport Ninja bag for this purpose and will be using it for the upcoming trip to a Seattle. Pros: easier to carry and store than the two options above. Cons: Not cheap, potential for oversized baggage charge though that hasn’t happened to me since the pandemic started and the airlines got more relaxed about such things. That could certainly change.
—Fly with dedicated travel bike in its dedicated bag: I had Peter Mooney install S&S couplers on one of my bikes, and that one when broken down fits in a bag that’s not oversized. Pros: The most convenient of all my travel options. Cons: $$$!

And a con for any of the airline options is that if I don’t have a direct flight, about 50% of the time my bike doesn’t make the connecting flight I’m on. Going home that’s not a big deal, but getting to your destination it certainly is (and I lost a day of riding on our March trip to Tucson as a result).
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Old 10-16-22, 05:24 PM
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Correct answer: The Zero bike.
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Old 10-16-22, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Correct answer: The Zero bike.
Renting a bike works too.
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Old 10-16-22, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by iab
Renting a bike works too.
Borrowing one from a friend works as well.


@nlerner riding [MENTION=111144]Andy_K[/MENTION]'s restored Motobecane Grand Record at the Last Winter Tour of the Willamette Valley in 2019.
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Old 10-16-22, 05:50 PM
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Airlines should offer a service for that !
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Old 10-16-22, 06:23 PM
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One has to know how to use tools...


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Old 10-16-22, 07:17 PM
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Here are Thor's Olmo and my Ron Cooper being packed into a single bike transport box prior to Eroica Gaiole 2015. Note that the third wheel shown (and the missing fourth wheel) didn't make it into the box so were packed separately. We somehow did manage to get the lid closed with the two frames (with one fork removed), all components, two wheels, and a number of tools. I used some lengths of allthread, washers and nuts to keep the dropouts from being squished together. The downside of this is that the box adds a lot of weight and so the total two bike package was very heavy. I don't think I'd do that again...would probably do the allthread, the pipe insulation, and bike bags.


That said, most of the plane travel I have done for tours has involved getting a cardboard box from the LBC and cutting it down to the smallest size possible that could take my bike. Again, pipe insulation and allthread axle spacers are critical items.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:28 PM
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EVOC bike bag.Not cheap, around $475, but mine still works after dozens of flights/shipments without any damage. These days I take it on the plane with me because it’s way cheaper than shipping it back and forth. Only issues are 1) It’s heavy. To take it on a plane it needs to be under 50 pounds, with a heavy touring bike with racks and fenders that means a second rollie bag. 2) It’s big. If traveling alone, any large sedan or small SUV is fine, but with friends you have to quickly escalate to a larger SUV or Minivan. On the pther hand then you have company.

Oh, yeah: ALWAYS do direct to your starting destination, that way you and your bike arrive at the same time. Going home, a delay is much less of an issue.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:51 PM
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This got put into a cut down bike box and was taken from Cambodia to Penang for a 100k with a friend who lives there. I also added another brooks Flyer saddle and a few other bits and bobs.




It arrived undamaged and was able to reassemble it in 15minutes at his home.
The box barely made it back to Cambodia but there was no other damage. Copious straps and padding.
Very much like a Rinko pack job.
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Old 10-16-22, 08:14 PM
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fyi, shipping into Italy is a bad idea. Your package will sit in customs for weeks. Either fly directly in, or ship to Amsterdam first, they take anything. Once it is in the EU, then ship to Italy, no customs issues once you are "in".
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Old 10-16-22, 08:21 PM
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I did not realize until I looked it up just now that the oldest Bromptons are old enough to be considered classic/vintage by most here. Patent filed in 1976, custom bikes starting around 1979 or 80, mass production in 1988.
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Old 10-16-22, 08:26 PM
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[MENTION=381793]gugie[/MENTION] left out an option that he has used a couple of times: Find some sucker who is driving the the same place you're going and convince them to schlep your bike along.

Here's my SUV packed for the trip to Eroica California in 2019.





I drove down alone. Even though it's a two day trip from the Portland area, I prefer driving and the hassle of packing a bike for travel is one of the reasons. It's also a pleasant trip.
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Old 10-17-22, 03:49 AM
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We flew with these three all packed into these bags. The red is a Bike Friday, it went in the black plastic case that they come with. The dark blue one is a Next aluminium folder, 20" wheels and some upgraded parts - it went in the grey fabric bag. The pale blue one is a Moulton Mini with quite a lot of upgraded parts and a bit of frame surgery, it has 305x47 tyres and a Nexus 8-speed hub, SA drum front. It went in the smallest bag, the floral print fabric one.

All three fit normal airline checked baggage limits - no extra charge.

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Old 10-17-22, 06:40 AM
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Unless you're a really odd size, I've found that renting can be a lot less of a headache.

I do a ride in the UK every year, and a bunch of us shipped our bikes the first time we went. After that, other than one guy who needed his bike (he had a bad car accident, and need his bike specifically, due to how it was fitted to him), we all rented. The options ranged from basic Trek aluminum road bikes with Tiagra, up to higher end carbon bikes with Ultegra, which was more than enough for short term use.

I also do triathlons, and if I can't drive to it, I just rent a bike (and wheels) at the destination. Up to 12 hours and I'll drive with the bike on a carrier...more than that, and renting is one less thing to worry about.
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Old 10-17-22, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by albrt
I did not realize until I looked it up just now that the oldest Bromptons are old enough to be considered classic/vintage by most here. Patent filed in 1976, custom bikes starting around 1979 or 80, mass production in 1988.
The Brompton Book sez four were built before 1982: two were destroyed and the other two are museum pieces. There were 400 Bromptons built between 1982 and 1985~6. The frames failed on most of these; some were repaired. Survivors are considered collectors these days.

Even though they are too large, some airlines will let Bromptonauts carry on and stow in overhead bins.




Beginning in 1982 Dr. Hon was building 1000+ Classic IIIs a month, including the legendary stainless steel model. Fold it, drop it in a suitcase:



Modern Dahons small enough to drop into a suitcase (or I suppose carry on, like the Bromptons above) include the Curl, K3, EEZZ, Jifo and Dove.




A classic Strida folder flying stealth as "golf clubs":


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Old 10-17-22, 07:17 AM
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This past summer I packed mine in an electric bike box (free from electric bike rental store) - much bigger and sturdier than regular bike boxes. Checked it with connecting flight on way out, shipped home in another electric bike box. Front wheel, handlebars, seat, pedals, rear derailleur all removed and bike slipped into box quite nicely with front and rear racks and fenders installed so minimal disassembly and reassembly required. Both boxes held up very well. I've saved the return box for the next time.


Note that even TSA couldn't muck things up.
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Old 10-17-22, 08:00 AM
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I'm so envious of all you short/average sized people.

I don't even know if my fully-rinko'd Trek randonneur would fit in my Iron Case, let alone not taken apart, in a cardboard bike box!
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Old 10-17-22, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by iab
I ship ahead. I will make a box out of corrugated plastic from the Home Depot.

Marking the foam sleeves.





Frame in box.






Inserts in box. Also made from plastic corrugate.






Components wrapped in bubble wrap.






Separate wheel box. Cheap wheel covers from the Madison swap.

I assume that you are showing just the bottom part of the box(es) and there is a corresponding top sentino some they come together like a bakery box?
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Old 10-17-22, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by oneclick
One has to know how to use tools...


Any idea of the total weight of bike and box? 50 lbs max is what some airline will take before excess charges.

Last edited by Mr. Spadoni; 10-17-22 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 10-17-22, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
[MENTION=381793]gugie[/MENTION] left out an option that he has used a couple of times: Find some sucker who is driving the the same place you're going and convince them to schlep your bike along.
My half of the gas and hotel to schlep gugie's bike back and forth to Eroica Cali: Coupla hundies.
Lifetime reserved parking at the Atelier: Priceless

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Old 10-17-22, 10:08 AM
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Me and [MENTION=481394]SquireBlack[/MENTION] with three bikes in boxes waiting for [MENTION=528204]VRJAKE[/MENTION] to swing by with a rented pickup in Tucson:



Two Trico Ironcases for mine and [MENTION=481394]SquireBlack[/MENTION], [MENTION=528204]VRJAKE[/MENTION]'s S&S coupled Bilenky is in the smaller case just behind Andrew in the pic. The Ironcases are oversized, when I fly Alaska they go on free, the "size legal" case from John is under size and weight limits, so it goes in as a checked piece of luggage.
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