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Getting to the airport, hotel, LBS after a tour

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Getting to the airport, hotel, LBS after a tour

Old 06-24-19, 03:53 PM
  #1  
ktk90w
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Getting to the airport, hotel, LBS after a tour

I have my first long bike trip planned, and the bike's ready to go, I'm ready, but there's one puzzle I haven't figured out yet.

At the end of the trip, I am flying out of a regional airport in Helena, Montana to get home again. It's a long, complicated story as to why I'm flying from Helena, in particular, but it works with my other obligations. I can't ship my bike because I don't live in the US and the price is outrageous. So my plan is (assuming my bike and I are still speaking to each other at that point) to contact a bike store in town and get a box and check the bike on the plane. I think I can make that work. But how in the world will I move around town and get to the airport with a bike box? I picture myself stuck in my hotel room with a giant box, with no way to travel the 4 or 5 miles to the airport.

Do taxi companies have a pickup truck for these occasions?

Do I balance the box on the bike, wheel it to the airport, and pack it at the airport?

Stand on the side of the road and look pathetic, hoping someone with a big vehicle offers me a ride?

I feel like someone will have solved this before, and I'm just missing something. Any advice?
Thanks!
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Old 06-24-19, 04:02 PM
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Uber.
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Old 06-24-19, 04:37 PM
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Uber XL would be your safe bet. Or try UberX (regulr side or larger cars) and see if you get suv or track as your ride - you can cancel for free within 5 min. It seems to be an option in HLN https://www.uber.com/global/en/airports/hln/
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Old 06-24-19, 04:57 PM
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In the past I would ride my loaded bike right to the airport, wheel it to the baggage check in and buy the big airline supplied box for $10 or so. That said, it's been 10 years since I've flown with the bike so perhaps times have changed and fewer airlines provide that service?

Last time I bought a box at baggage check was in 2009 at Alaska Airlines in Eugene OR. Previous to that the now defunct NW Airlines always had boxes at small airports including Missoula and Bozeman MT. The boxes are huge...pedals off and turn the bars and you're good to go in 10 minutes. I'd sometimes ride to the airport before day of flight to confirm availability.

It's worth a call or visit to your airline desk at Helena airport to inquire. If a box is available at terminal it would solve all the problems you mentioned in your OP. Plus your bike will double as a baggage cart to carry all your other gear through the terminal.

Heh! Once I carried my boxed bike with four panniers strapped over my shoulders over 1.5 miles through downtown Montreal to get from train station to bus station to airport!
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Old 06-24-19, 05:27 PM
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taxi that is big enough to take a box. Any suv type car is fine generally.

re getting a box at airport--I have done this once, but I had called ahead and was reassured that they had many boxes to sell at the airport, and had confidence in the phone call that they really did.

that said, I wouldnt trust that they really do, so getting a bike box beforehand , packing bike in and arranging some sort of taxi that can take it is really the best solution.
A bike box often can fit into lots of cars, and suv types are fine generally. You just talk voice to voice and confirm that a cardboard bike box will need to be transported.
I have in the past put my bike box on the roof of a car and strapped it on.

personally, I prefer this way to arriving at an airport with time constraints and finding out that Marsha or Tom on the phone didnt know what the heck they were talking about when they said, sure we have boxes.
Or Frank who will actually be there, and not Marsha or Tom, doesnt know where the boxes are kept, and says, nope we dont have them, never seen them in mylife here at work......

etc etc
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Old 06-24-19, 08:42 PM
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Thanks to everyone who responded. This helps a lot.

This may also help push me into the 21st century and force me to start using Uber. It doesn't exist where we live and I wasn't aware that it's possible to get larger vehicles through Uber.

Thanks again,
ktk
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Old 06-25-19, 02:58 AM
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Maxi Taxi
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Old 06-25-19, 04:01 AM
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Another option... Choose one of the many hotels with a free shuttle service to airport. You could check into a hotel with your gear and just carry the boxed bike from bike shop to a nearby hotel (like I did in Montreal to bus station). Best Western is only .2 mile from Big Sky Cycling, Great Divide Cyclery is another .5 mile, close to Budget Inn but they may not have a shuttle...

https://www.tripadvisor.com/HotelsLi...zfp368835.html

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Old 06-25-19, 04:06 AM
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@Trevtassie added temporary coasters to his bike box for moving it around airports, etc.

However, I wonder what it would take to make a temporary trailer frame just for pulling the bike box around.

Bike Friday makes a pretty skeletal trailer frame for use with Samsonite suitcases. Basically an axle, two 12 1/2" tires, and a tongue.

You could make something similar. Carrying it might be a hassle for a longer tour, but not bad for a short tour. Ship your trailer components to the destination?

It woudn't have to be too strong. Just enough to get you reliably to and from the airport with a mostly empty box.
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Old 06-25-19, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I wonder what it would take to make a temporary trailer frame just for pulling the bike box around.
Once the OP has arrived at Helena airport by taxi, Uber, shuttle or whatever he/she can use a free luggage cart that's already there. Simpler than adding coasters to a bike box...

https://helenaairport.com/terminal-amenities/

@Doug64- I've borrowed one of your photos from another thread...


photo by Doug64 ^

Last edited by BobG; 06-25-19 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 06-25-19, 07:50 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ktk90w View Post
Thanks to everyone who responded. This helps a lot.

This may also help push me into the 21st century and force me to start using Uber. It doesn't exist where we live and I wasn't aware that it's possible to get larger vehicles through Uber.

Thanks again,
ktk
If you're going to try Uber, download the app ahead of time and set up your payment methods and all that jazz. I hate when I go to use it after a long absence and find that I have deleted the app or my info isn't current.
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Old 06-25-19, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Once the OP has arrived at Helena airport by taxi, Uber, shuttle or whatever he/she can use a free luggage cart that's already there. Simpler than adding coasters to a bike box...
every airport except one has had luggage carts available, and I can put my bike sideways on the cart, along with the duffel bag or whatever bag that has my panniers in it.
the one time there were not carts, the airport was small and I could just push the box along on the smooth floor, push it a bit, go get my bags, return, push a bit more.--and the distance was not long so not a problem.

that whole box wheel setup seemed to me to be over doing it, but I gather they had trains or buses or something to do, but honestly, getting by with what is available generally works, but then again, that depends on the age and whatnot of the people involved.

even with a bike box horizontal on a luggage cart, one can fairly easily "crab" the cart through narrower doorways and such, although some people have difficulties doing this and it becomes a drama.

worst case scenario, you just take the bike box off the cart, take it through doorway, put it back on.

re cars and boxes.
I have put a boxed bike into the rear seat area of my joe blow 4 door sedan, going across.
also have put two boxed bikes , one on top of the other, in the back of a suv with rear seats folded down, with ample space.

bike boxes from stores do have different dimensions. ie a XS or S frame box is smaller than an XL bike.
I have kept my box dimensions noted for future remembering, as I always forget them. My med bike can fit into smaller boxes, but slightler larger ones are just eassier--but too large and the fork is too far from end of box, so the bike can move back and forth too much.

You want to eliminate any movement, plain and simple.
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Old 06-27-19, 08:15 AM
  #13  
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This is one reason I have started traveling (when possible) on airlines that allow bikes in plastic bags. Big mattress bag from the UHaul, ride in, spend 15 min at the airport packing it up, and you are done and over with.

Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Another option... Choose one of the many hotels with a free shuttle service to airport. You could check into a hotel with your gear and just carry the boxed bike from bike shop to a nearby hotel (like I did in Montreal to bus station). Best Western is only .2 mile from Big Sky Cycling, Great Divide Cyclery is another .5 mile, close to Budget Inn but they may not have a shuttle...
That would be my choice. Call a few, figure which have the 15 passenger vans that will fit a bike box, and go with them.
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Old 06-27-19, 03:06 PM
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Rode Right up to the Schiphol , AMS airport, bought a box @ the KLM desk,

fit my bike in it (big, I could leave front wheel on) and Flew home..







....
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Old 06-27-19, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
However, I wonder what it would take to make a temporary trailer frame just for pulling the bike box around.
I'd use a pair of rollerblade wheels, possibly the large ones but even the small would do in most urban settings. Or at the outside folding grocery cart wheels.

Just as long as they have bearings. Bought a rolling suitcase for a trip to the UK, discovered halfway to the bus stop outbound that the soft plastic wheels were running directly on a riveted pin, when one seized. It ended up abrading in half, as I alternately carried and dragged it.
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Old 06-28-19, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Rode Right up to the Schiphol , AMS airport, bought a box @ the KLM desk,
That is a great option, when flying out of AMS. Those boxes are huge.

That said, it is the only airport I have encountered that does that, although to hedge my words I'm sure there are a handful of others out there. Even ones that used to have bags are increasingly not providing them anymore.

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Old 06-28-19, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
@Trevtassie added temporary coasters to his bike box for moving it around airports, etc.

However, I wonder what it would take to make a temporary trailer frame just for pulling the bike box around.

Bike Friday makes a pretty skeletal trailer frame for use with Samsonite suitcases. Basically an axle, two 12 1/2" tires, and a tongue.

You could make something similar. Carrying it might be a hassle for a longer tour, but not bad for a short tour. Ship your trailer components to the destination?

It woudn't have to be too strong. Just enough to get you reliably to and from the airport with a mostly empty box.
Are you suggesting the OP build a trailer frame just to pull a bike box around? Carrying such a contraption for a long tour or short tour sounds about as fun as pink eye. If someone doesnt want to lug such a contraption around, because why would they, then the 'easier' suggesion is to...
- pay for parts and build temporary trailer.
- break it down and pay to ship to destination for them to hopefully hold.
- use trailer to walk around the streets of Montana with a giant box to the airport(along with baggage).
- throw away the trailer you paid to build and ship.



Or just take a shuttle/taxi/uber from hotel to airport.
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Old 06-28-19, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Are you suggesting the OP build a trailer frame just to pull a bike box around? Carrying such a contraption for a long tour or short tour sounds about as fun as pink eye. If someone doesnt want to lug such a contraption around, because why would they, then the 'easier' suggesion is to...
- pay for parts and build temporary trailer.
- break it down and pay to ship to destination for them to hopefully hold.
- use trailer to walk around the streets of Montana with a giant box to the airport(along with baggage).
- throw away the trailer you paid to build and ship.



Or just take a shuttle/taxi/uber from hotel to airport.
It is an option. Like you say, shipping it around would not necessarily be good economics, unless there are additional items that one might wish to ship with it.

I'm not a fan of towing a trailer for touring, but it may make sense in some cases. So, one might make a trailer that could carry one's gear, the bike box, and be disassembled and packed with the bike.

My Bike Friday carrying case doubles as a trailer which I've both traveled with and towed.

I have a S&S case that I was wanting to trailerize someday.
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Old 06-28-19, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It is an option. Like you say, shipping it around would not necessarily be good economics, unless there are additional items that one might wish to ship with it.
Rube Goldberg called and wants his idea back.
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Old 06-30-19, 04:42 AM
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I love the idea of building a trailer for this purpose. Which is to say, I'm sure it's a great idea for someone else, because I could spend weeks trying to make that work, and it'd still look like a 3rd grader did his science project at the last minute. I would like to see what other kind of things CliffordK builds, because if he immediately thought of building a trailer, I suspect there are some cool projects in his garage, or some interesting frankenbikes...

Once in the airport, I don't anticipate any trouble. I've wrestled bike boxes through the airport before, including the bike box/duffle bag shuttle run when I couldn't find a cart. You can always look over at the people with surfboards, and be glad at least your hobby has smaller equipment than theirs.
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Old 06-30-19, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Rube Goldberg called and wants his idea back.
Thanks, I just read stuff and learned about him, the name rang a bell but couldn't remember much of anything.

And yes, astute comment.
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Old 06-30-19, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ktk90w View Post
I love the idea of building a trailer for this purpose. Which is to say, I'm sure it's a great idea for someone else, because I could spend weeks trying to make that work, and it'd still look like a 3rd grader did his science project at the last minute. I would like to see what other kind of things CliffordK builds, because if he immediately thought of building a trailer, I suspect there are some cool projects in his garage, or some interesting frankenbikes...
Depending on how you define Frankenbike, there is the one that is in my avatar.



But, not necessarily something you'd want to take on a plane, or tour with.

Here is the Bike Friday with trailer. I was experimenting with different gearing at the time.



The bike and all the trailer components fits into the suitcase. Although, if I'm pulling cargo, I've had to tie stuff on top.

Samsonite changed their bags, so I think the newer ones are a bit more square shaped. It is possible to stack two suitcases together onto one trailer (tandems, or two people).
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Old 06-30-19, 05:34 AM
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Those bikes are magnificent!
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Old 07-01-19, 08:49 AM
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I think the whole idea works better with a folding bike because the case can be smaller, but it can likely be adapted to a full-sized case. I used the base of the Bike Friday suitcase trailer attached to my own suitcase. Same could likely be done a bike case, although I don't know if the dimensions would work with the BF trailer base, but if they did, it'd be easier than creating a solution from scratch.

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Old 07-01-19, 08:57 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post



Or just take a shuttle/taxi/uber from hotel to airport.
IKR. Just finished a tour in Missoula on Saturday. Had a 5:30 a.m. flight Sunday morning. There is a KOA campground 3.5 miles from the airport. I could have stayed there but chose a hotel near the airport with a shuttle. Why? Because getting a taxi in Missoula is not easy. It's very difficult at 4 a.m. When I ended a tour there in 2016 I ended up having to walk from the KOA to the airport with all my gear. Fortunately, I shipped the bike, so I didn't have to lug that as well. Stayed at the same hotel after my 2017 tour. While I didn't need to transport the bike that time either, the hotel shuttle could have accommodated it.
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