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Going to London! Want to bring my bike...

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Going to London! Want to bring my bike...

Old 02-20-09, 06:11 PM
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Going to London! Want to bring my bike...

On May 17th I will be leaving for a 7 week internship in London. Thats a long time to be off the bike so I would like to bring it with me somehow. What would be the best way to do this? Should I have it shipped there or should I get a carrier for it? I have family there so it would be possible to ship it to them, but then I would have to ship it back again. Not sure if it's worth the hassle.

I'm going to be located in either the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea or King's Cross. It would be great if I could meet up with a couple BF members while I'm there. Anyone here from London?
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Old 02-20-09, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by arterture
On May 17th I will be leaving for a 7 week internship in London. Thats a long time to be off the bike so I would like to bring it with me somehow. What would be the best way to do this? Should I have it shipped there or should I get a carrier for it? I have family there so it would be possible to ship it to them, but then I would have to ship it back again. Not sure if it's worth the hassle.

I'm going to be located in either the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea or King's Cross. It would be great if I could meet up with a couple BF members while I'm there. Anyone here from London?
Enjoy your time there. I used to live near St. James' Park. London is my favorite city in the world. You will need to take a train to get outside the city if you want to get in any good riding though. (Sorry, no advice on shipping)
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Old 02-20-09, 07:28 PM
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If your considering taking the bike with you, you'll need something like this to carry it.

https://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...6835-1,00.html

Last edited by kleng; 02-21-09 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 02-20-09, 07:40 PM
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I'm actually looking at cases right now. That one you linked to is pretty interesting. I just wish it was a little cheaper. I will probably still consider it though. Thanks for the link.
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Old 02-20-09, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by arterture
On May 17th I will be leaving for a 7 week internship in London. Thats a long time to be off the bike so I would like to bring it with me somehow. What would be the best way to do this? Should I have it shipped there or should I get a carrier for it? I have family there so it would be possible to ship it to them, but then I would have to ship it back again. Not sure if it's worth the hassle.

I'm going to be located in either the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea or King's Cross. It would be great if I could meet up with a couple BF members while I'm there. Anyone here from London?
Call around to your local bike shops and ask if they have a flight/travel case that you can rent. My local shop rented me one for about $2/day (for a three week trip). Also, I flew American Airlines and they took the bike/case as my second piece of checked baggage without any additional charges. Be aware, though, that there is a (I believe) 50lb limit for the bike/case, and the case weighed about 32lbs. I don't recall anyone weighing my case, but if they do weigh it and you're over the 50lb limit, I think there's a $50 overweight charge.

Enjoy London!

cheers!
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Old 02-20-09, 08:39 PM
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If you fly with a civilised airline, bringing a bike is not that expensive. Otherwise, take advantage of the weak pound to buy a nice English steel bike to ride. Remember to bring a good lock though :O

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Old 02-20-09, 09:13 PM
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Assume you'll be busier than a busy thing but:

Richmond park circuits - a little boring but popular - google maps

Getting around by bike - https://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/8966.aspx - a lot of this is in bike lanes so take the direction finder with a pinch of salt.

London Cycling Campaign - advocacy group, organised rides, social nights - https://www.lcc.org.uk/

https://www.condorcycles.com/ - quite possibly the best bike shop in London - google maps

https://www.brixtoncycles.co.uk/ - good reputation - google maps

Cylists' Touring Club (CTC) - advocacy group - https://www.ctc.org.uk/

Avoid Evans Cycles like the plague.
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Old 02-20-09, 09:16 PM
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This topic of cases is well worth a search.

I am from the UK and I go back at least a couple of times a year. Big problem with rigid bike cases is ground transport. Black cabs can't take them so it can be a mission. Depending on your frame material I would think hard about getting something like this:



Although people use this for their carbon bikes I don't

London isn't a bad city for cycling but cycling down to the south coast (somewhere like Brighton) or getting a train north to places like Cambridge is always fun.

Ride safe and ride on the left!
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Old 02-20-09, 09:16 PM
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Wow thanks for all that info. I'm hoping to get some good riding in, and this should really help.
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Old 02-21-09, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by arterture
I'm actually looking at cases right now. That one you linked to is pretty interesting. I just wish it was a little cheaper. I will probably still consider it though. Thanks for the link.
I actually like this case for it's size and lack of bulk, I've got the serfas bike armor case and they would'nt fit in the boot of a small car only in the back seat, even then it's a super tight fit.

Last edited by kleng; 02-21-09 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 02-21-09, 01:25 AM
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Twice British Air beat the hell out of my bikes.. Pack it well. We were in the UK last Spring.. Out in the Cotswolds, we sure did not see many bike lanes. Impatient drivers, too. London did seem to have a decent number of bike lanes. Maybe we did not get an adequate sampling of British roads to assess cycling infrastructure. I had thought the Cotswolds was the UK at it's best. I do understand the UK is building a cycling superhighway. Paths solely for cycling. However, we did not encounter them.
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Old 02-21-09, 01:40 AM
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agreed go with United. I came over to France in Sept. and they take a bike as a piece of checked luggage. you can get away with a well packed and padded cardboard box, but it's probably worth it to pick up a cheap case. I've been using the Performance Pro case for a couple years with no problems at all. just pack it well and use lots of padding (foam pipe insulation is great). I fit all my bike stuff-clothes, shoes, helmet, etc. and can often get by with just a carry on by the time i'm done.
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Old 02-21-09, 02:00 AM
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Yeah you should take the bike, 7 weeks is a Long time and hopefully this May will be sunny. You're gonna hate being without a bike. Chelsea is a pretty afluent place but it's also pretty congested with traffic and the roads are bumpy. Kings cross has a large train station and a few other stations in close vicinity, also congested. But it's quite central to londons shopping centre though I recommend you take the subway rather than the bike.

Chelsea is close to Knightsbridge, home of harrods.

Good luck with your trip, I have to apologize though as I won't have time to meet up (wish I could but I'm just being realistic due to family and various other old-age stuff)

Edit2 bloody iPhone and it's spelling mistakes

Edit sorry I might have given the impression that biking isn't fun in London diego cngestion and boy roads. It is a lot of fun however, Hyde park is just down the road from where you'll be and that's a real nice place but you have to ride slow. Like the others mentioned, you could grab a train and get out of London. I've never done that, all m riding is within London and on the outskirts. So bring your bike you'll have a blast!

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Old 02-21-09, 03:23 AM
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I had a nice response written, and then my computer locked up. Here it is again:

I spent a semester in Eastbourne, on the south coast, in 1991. I took my bike in a cardboard bike box that I had gotten for free from a local bike shop. I didn't have too many problems, aside from it arriving with a small hole in the box and part of my brake laying beside it on the airport floor.

I have purchased a Trico Iron Case box for subsequent trips. It too was damaged by the airlines on my very first flight with it. Fortunately Colorado Cyclist was fantastic about replacing it. I have used it without any problems on several trips since then.

* Different airlines have different policies on bikes and over-sized luggage, so there's no harm in asking around about their pricing and policies. If you're lucky, they may decide not to charge you at check in. Attendants at the check in counters deal with many grumpy and obnoxious passengers, so smiling and being nice can work wonders!

* Even before 9/11, airport security had issues with me bringing a U-lock in my carry-on bag. It never occurred to me that the lock could have been used as a weapon. These days, I'd be sure to put anything like a multi-tool, tire levers, chain lube, grease, etc. in a checked bag just to avoid any confusion.

* I've heard debates about whether or not to let air out of the tires. To make a long story short, I deflate them just to be on the safe side. I would also recommend taking a frame pump (in checked luggage!) instead of CO2 cartridges.

* You could pay a shop to pack the bike for you, but I recommend learning to do it yourself. The bike will have to be reassembled in England, broken down for the trip back to the US, and then built up again. That's a lot of shop labor fees that could be put towards pints, err, souvenirs.

* Pack the bike in a clean, open area. When you're done, look around carefully for anything left over. During the weeks before your departure, think about the things you typically use that would be a pain to replace in England, such as shoes that match your clipless pedals.

* Remember that your left pedal and crank arm are typically reverse threaded! Don't forget to pack a pedal wrench and some grease for reassembling the bike.

* If you remove the wheels, put a spacer between the dropouts. This will help to prevent them from being damaged by a lateral hit.

* Shift your rear derailleur inboard towards the spokes, or unbolt it from the frame, for the same reason as above.

* One of the surprises for me with riding in England is that when I would drink from my bottle, my right elbow was sticking out in traffic. It wasn't a problem, but it took me a little while to get used to it.

* If you miss a turn on a roundabout, just pretend it's your own private velodrome and do another lap. "Look, there's Big Ben!... Look, there's Big Ben!... Look, there's Big Ben!" (National Lampoon's European Vacation, anyone?)

* After riding in England for three months, it took me a little while to readjust when driving in the US. Every once in a while, I would have a split second of disorientation regarding which lane to pick when exiting a turn. Fortunately that went away before any injuries or property damage occurred!

* Even though the roads in England were narrower than I was used to, I didn't have any problems with rude or aggressive drivers. Perhaps I was lucky due to my location.

* You may want to ask around about local clubs. That will be a great way to discover the best riding areas, meet other riders, and reducing the trial and error.

* I was lucky enough to visit friends in London in 2004. The area was much more densely developed than I am used to, and therefore many more roads and intersections in a given area. Since the roads aren't always straight and perpendicular, it can be easy to get twisted around. A map and/or GPS will be a very valuable asset! At the very least, when you're exploring new areas, try to pick out a distinct visual landmark at each turn.

* If you decide to take the train and get out of London, Eastbourne is a beautiful seaside resort area with decent local riding.

Good luck! Have fun, and be sure to post a thread with pictures when you get back!
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Old 02-21-09, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by arterture
On May 17th I will be leaving for a 7 week internship in London. Thats a long time to be off the bike so I would like to bring it with me somehow. What would be the best way to do this? Should I have it shipped there or should I get a carrier for it? I have family there so it would be possible to ship it to them, but then I would have to ship it back again. Not sure if it's worth the hassle.

I'm going to be located in either the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea or King's Cross. It would be great if I could meet up with a couple BF members while I'm there. Anyone here from London?
Take the bike - you'll have to use the tube if you don't. Which will set you back around $300US for 2 months. Both Chelsea and King's Cross are pretty close to the centre of town - so you can cycle pretty much anywhere. King's Cross is pretty rough but being poshed-up thanks to the new Eurostar terminal. Chelsea has some very posh parts, but it's not all Georgian terraces.

BA take bikes for free, although they're more expensive than other airlines.

If your bike box is huge, it won't fit into a black cab. Addison Lee is an excellent minicab (car service) firm. It will probably cost you about £60-70 to get to Chelsea from Heathrow. Another tenner to King's Cross. On the other hand, if you fly to Gatwick, the train will take you to Victoria - which is just round the corner from Chelsea - or King's Cross station itself.

Bike theft is really bad here. Take the biggest lock you can, and buy insurance. Don't leave your bike out overnight. Thieves are smart, carry power tools and know the brands. Remove all your quick-releases and replace with bolts.

There are plenty of bike clubs in London: London Dynamo, VCL, Dulwich Paragon, Rollapaluza, Finsbury Park CC et al. The London FGSS forum is very active and friendly: https://londonfgss.com. They're not religious about fixed/single-speeds.

The LCC has a good site that you might find useful.

London is awesome - it's dirty, expensive, unfriendly and mostly pretty ugly. I love it.
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Old 02-21-09, 08:59 AM
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why not just buy a bike once you get there?

sell it before you leave.

shouldnt lose too much money that way.
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Old 02-21-09, 10:09 AM
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I 2nd that idea, buy a used bike. London can be really hard on bikes, the potholes can damage lightweight wheels and the lockups can scratch nice paintwork. Some of the best bike routes are canal tow paths which are not well surfaced. London is pretty flat, esp west to east but some of the best cycing to the south and west of London can be very steep, short hills, you may find lower gears an advantage.
I used a bike with 28mm tyres and compact chainset for pretty much everything, on and off road. It doesnt rain much in London but the roads can be wet so fenders can help and if you are forgoing the tube you will need to haul stuff around so a rear luggage rack comes in useful.
Take your own saddle and pedals.
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Old 02-21-09, 10:12 AM
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Investigating going to America with a bike. Have been told that A bike can go as Oversize baggage and as sports equipment with some airlines. My LBS do it around Europe and they have a Rigid case that is recognised as safe for shipping by the Airlaines- It is Classed as Oversize- obvious and as Sports equipment - obvious. Cost- They Say £15 each way but you have to get the Airline to agree to it at the time of booking your ticket.

And bring a VERY good lock and get it insured.
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Old 02-21-09, 11:13 AM
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Ive been looking into bike suitcases lately and this one look I really like....there is video too

https://www.probikekit.com/pages/aero_Evo.html

Many others here.....

https://www.probikekit.com/display.ph...%20%26%20Boxes

Scicon Aerotech Evolution Suitcase




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Old 02-21-09, 12:00 PM
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I don't really want to have to worry about shopping around for a bike while I'm there. My bike is just a Fuji Newest 3.0. Not too worried about it getting banged up a little bit. Once I get home from london I will be looking for a job and hopefully soon after that, a new bike.
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Old 02-21-09, 12:10 PM
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Oh yes. Should you pack your bike in a cardboard bike box, be aware TSA can be pretty ruthless in ripping apart bike boxes.. One time, the box had so many holes, it was not a wonder the accessories didn't fall out.. I suggest pack loose parts in a way that they will be secure. One time I wrapped a sleeping bag about my wheels. Still, several spokes were some how crushed.. Both times by B.A. PS. Don't forget to put your pedal wrench in checked luggage. Disassembling my bike at the airport entrance, being rushed I put it in my take on bag.. It was confiscated. It was a deluxe wrench. A hassle , when you get on the other end and can't re-assemble your bike.
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Old 02-21-09, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by acorn_user
If you fly with a civilised airline, bringing a bike is not that expensive. Otherwise, take advantage of the weak pound to buy a nice English steel bike to ride. Remember to bring a good lock though :O
+1

England has a long and proud cycling history. Not only is this a good time to buy in the UK, but you only have to pay for shipping on the return flight.
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Old 02-21-09, 12:17 PM
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I've traveled a lot with my bike. I find that it even gets a little banged up in a hard trico case, and I try and pack very carefully. I don't understand how people travel with the soft cases.

I finally broke down and bought a folding bike for air travel.
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Old 02-21-09, 12:36 PM
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I saw this post before i went out for my ride this morning so I took a couple of pictures for it.

London is not that big by american cities' standards (endless sprawling suburbs) and it is easy to ride out to the countryside. From King's Cross or Kensington you can be out the northern or western end of london in half an hour on your bike, being a young whipper snapper.

The countryside is a patchwork of country lanes so you can ride loads of different routes and never really get lost because you'll never be far from a village or a main road. Main roads do not have shoulders, so I prefer getting off them as soon as possible and the little roads are so much more scenic and fun to ride with hardly any cars. The pictures are typical of these. London is flat, but the countryside surrounding is rolling hills; nothing major but you do get the occassional short sharp climbs. Out west the Chiltern Hills is beautiful and good riding and a bit more hilly.

For planning longer rides around the country check out https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ for routes. Its role is to promote cycling in the uk so has loads of other information and you can find clubs etc too. Enjoy your stay here.



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Old 02-21-09, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Nachoman
I've traveled a lot with my bike. I find that it even gets a little banged up in a hard trico case, and I try and pack very carefully. I don't understand how people travel with the soft cases.

I finally broke down and bought a folding bike for air travel.
Maybe soft cases are better suited for domestic flights? I don't know, since I haven't flown with my bike before.

However, I studied abroad in London from Oct. 2007-Jun. 2008 at LSE. I lived in the West End between the Covent Garden and Holborn tubes. Let me tell you--cycling looks like it would be fun in the city, but you have to be on your game because of traffic and all the winding streets. Just from walking around that entire year I got a sense of how beat up people's bikes get... theft is ubiquitous and it's not uncommon for your bike to get damaged in the process even if it's not stolen. I was going to take my bike with me, but I backed out at the last minute because my dorm was a high-rise building, so taking care of the bike, getting it in and out of the residence hall, etc. would have been a huge pain. I do regret that decision now, since I didn't ride a bike at all during that time except when I came home to the US on vacations. I think you need to figure out if you plan on riding for pleasure/training or to get from one place to another, carrying stuff with you. That way you'll know what you need to take with you from here, since prices are absolutely ridiculous in the UK. If I were going through the trouble of flying with a bike, I would spend the money on a really nice hard case. (I originally packed my bike in a cardboard box from my LBS, but I imagine that would not have ended well if I actually flew with it.)

In any case, good luck and have a great time. You'll see tons of people biking in the city, but virtually everyone does it for transportation (you don't really see roadies around). Join a club, meet people, and stay safe. You'll see so much and appreciate London even more on a bike!
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