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Getting bike to the TransAm on the west coast (couple of questions)

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Getting bike to the TransAm on the west coast (couple of questions)

Old 07-19-21, 07:08 AM
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Hi Tourist in MSN - thank you!! definitely conscious that a few things have to go right on timing and everything else There are a number of backup options since I'm cutting it close, including doing the trip on an older bike if necessary that I've toured with (or buying a used one from a friend, and shipping it to Astoria). But appreciate the words of caution!!

Probably not going to go with a handlebar bag, have 2 big Ortlieb panniers ...
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Old 07-19-21, 07:10 AM
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Great advice!! Definitely anticipate having to give some time to break in.
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Old 07-19-21, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
The long haul trucker is no longer made, and all bikes a re scarce right now. If you want a Disc Trucker you might be able to find one, but you better start looking soon. As bike friendly as Portland is, I would not count on finding one when you arrive in PDX.

Good luck!
Very true and good advice.
I recently purchased a Surly Stragler and there were only a few shops in the US that had them available.
You maybe able to find a nice touring bike on the used market but would need to checkout / tuneup more carefully then a new bike. Getting your bike and having it ready near your starting location is your top priority now.
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Old 07-19-21, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
another very important point is that a brand new loaded up touring bike is going to loosen up spokes etc etc after a week or two etc of riding, so it's entirely in your and your bikes best interest to get spoke tensions checked after doing a bunch of pre trip loaded riding.
this is pretty basic and will help reduce the chance of mechanical problems into your trip.
If the person putting your bike together knows what he's doing (and that's never guaranteed), tell him what you're doing and he can go over the wheels and make sure they're built correctly (tension and stress-relief). The REI on the other side of the country did that with my replacement bike after day one (cracked frame), and the wheels needed only two light touch-ups crossing the country.

FWIW, if you can make it to Missoula, MT, Hellgate Cyclery was a block and a half away from Adventure Cycling's HQ and did a great job touching up my wheels at minimal cost. Recommended.
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Old 07-19-21, 09:18 AM
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What size bike do you need?

Here is 54 for sale: crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: Classifieds: For Sale: surly long haul trucker 54
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Old 07-19-21, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
The ride from PDX Airport to the Amtrak station is pretty easy. We have done that ride at least 5 times. We just assemble our bikes at the airport and ride to the station. We had to ship our youngest daughter home from a tour in Europe. She could only ride with us for a month, because she had to be back at work. We packed up her bike and sent her off at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. She put her bike together at the Portland Airport and rode it home.

Buying a bike at the arrival point, and setting it up with racks, etc is generally not a good idea, even when parts and bikes were available. If you go that route, I believe you would be more successful finding a bike in Portland than Astoria.

If you think Portland is the "most disgusting place on the planet", you have not got around very much
I think you assume too much.

OP is on a short timeline and should make phone calls to shops. Wherever the bike is purchased, shipping it to Astoria is much cheaper than airplane baggage charges.

And, I have been to many of the hellholes of the world, Pdx is disgusting.
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Old 07-19-21, 03:44 PM
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I'm going to chime in with the advice that you get the bike now, ride it as much as you can before the tour, and ship it ahead.

You want to make all your mistakes before the tour. By which I mean, shake out your equipment choices, your position, all that stuff. You'll be making adjustments on the tour too, but some fixes will be much harder to make while on tour, so go into it knowing your setup is as right as it can be. Consider this: there are two stretches of more than 600 miles each where there are no bike shops on the route. And a lot of the bike shops that you will see don't really cater to touring bikes. Dismantling your bike for shipping and then reassembling it at the other end is a good exercise to get to know your bike better, too. You may need to rely on your wrenching skills while on the road.
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Old 07-19-21, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by apkramer2021
...
Probably not going to go with a handlebar bag, have 2 big Ortlieb panniers ...
Ok, you have two Ortlieb panniers, I assume they are from some past touring and not from commuting. And you likely have some form of rack top bag, could be a cycling specific one or maybe just a 20 liter dry bag. But we are unclear how much touring you have done. Do you have a good tool kit and appropriate spares? Do you know how to use the tools? It is difficult to give good advice if we do not know the skills and background of the advisee.
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Old 07-19-21, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Wherever the bike is purchased, shipping it to Astoria is much cheaper than airplane baggage charges.
Depending on the airline, baggage fees may well be zero. Otherwise the bike may be the cost of a regular bag. Several of the airlines have dropped their bike fees. With a little care everything should fit in the bike box and one bag, maybe with a little in a personal item sized bag. With very careful packing I have fit everything for a long tour in a bike soft case. I even made the 50# limit, but that was with pretty minimalist camping gear.

I have not generally found it cheaper to ship the bike than to fly with it in recent years. There are reasons that you may want to do so, but in most cases cost won't be the reason in my most recent experience.
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Old 07-19-21, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Depending on the airline, baggage fees may well be zero. Otherwise the bike may be the cost of a regular bag. Several of the airlines have dropped their bike fees. With a little care everything should fit in the bike box and one bag, maybe with a little in a personal item sized bag. With very careful packing I have fit everything for a long tour in a bike soft case. I even made the 50# limit, but that was with pretty minimalist camping gear.

I have not generally found it cheaper to ship the bike than to fly with it in recent years. There are reasons that you may want to do so, but in most cases cost won't be the reason in my most recent experience.
I generally fly United but sometimes Delta or American. $150 domestic or 200 International. I can ship a bike for 60 bucks domestic. I did not fly last year or this year, so, I am probably not up to date. Nonetheless, arriving to your start with the bike built by the shop is a value.

Transport logistics are trivial compared to getting a bike in such short order with today's supply chain. I would focus on getting the bike foremost
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Old 07-19-21, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
I generally fly United but sometimes Delta or American. $150 domestic or 200 International. I can ship a bike for 60 bucks domestic. I did not fly last year or this year, so, I am probably not up to date.
I think things have changed for the better since you have been flying. I believe both delta and america dropped their domestic bicycle fees to zero. United is one of the few that still had a big fee last time I checked. I personally try to boycott airlines with bike hostile policies if at all possible whether flying with a bike or not.
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Old 07-20-21, 05:21 AM
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I have never flown with a bike on United, I think they still charge an oversize fee.

Last time I flew Southwest, two checked bags were free but they had an oversize fee but the oversize fee was more affordable than the other airlines. I avoided the oversize fee with my folding bike in an S&S case so I do not recall what the fee was. This was the only time that my bike flew for zero cost.

My last flight with a bike was on Air Canada, I do not recall the oversize fee but I remember thinking it was quite reasonable as fees go. I paid for two regular checked bags, one was my S&S case so I avoided the oversize fee.

My only flights with Delta and a bike were international, their fee schedule is quite different than domestic travel. And I have not flown with them since they canceled their oversize fees for bikes.


Originally Posted by BobG
Perhaps times and prices have changed but in 2009 I flew from Eugene > Portland > Atlanta > Newport News VA with my bike in a big airline provided box along with a BOB trailer (parts inside the bag) for a $50 baggage fee + $20 for the box. I boarded Alaska Airlines in Eugene OR and checked the items at their rate and flew the short hop to Portland. There I transferred to Delta for flights to GA and VA. The initial $50 covered all connecting flights!
Yeah, times have changed.


Originally Posted by staehpj1
I think things have changed for the better since you have been flying. I believe both delta and america dropped their domestic bicycle fees to zero. United is one of the few that still had a big fee last time I checked. I personally try to boycott airlines with bike hostile policies if at all possible whether flying with a bike or not.
To clarify what you are saying and to avoid confusion, Delta and American canceled their oversize fees for bikes (and as far as I know have not re-instated the fees), but still charge for the bike box at a standard piece of luggage rate. Some people could read what you said and think that the bike flies for free.
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Old 07-20-21, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN


To clarify what you are saying and to avoid confusion, Delta and American canceled their oversize fees for bikes (and as far as I know have not re-instated the fees), but still charge for the bike box at a standard piece of luggage rate. Some people could read what you said and think that the bike flies for free.
But on AA there is an overweight fee from 51 to 70 lbs.

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...and-sports.jsp
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Old 07-20-21, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
To clarify what you are saying and to avoid confusion, Delta and American canceled their oversize fees for bikes (and as far as I know have not re-instated the fees), but still charge for the bike box at a standard piece of luggage rate. Some people could read what you said and think that the bike flies for free.
Yeah it flies as a checked bag so typically not completely free, but pretty cheap. Generally it flies for the coast of a checked bag. I can think of a couple instances where you wouldn't pay more for the bike though.

Depending on the ticket type you may get two checked bags included, but those tickets are too rich for my blood. But, if you have a pricey ticket with checked bags included the bike flies for no additional charge. Some folks may also have "elite status" with the airline they are flying with and get free baggage based on that. Then there are credit cards that grant you free baggage (one or two bags depending of the airline and the card). Most airlines have perks for holding their credit cards. Since those perks often include free baggage. remember to show their rewards card (like Delta Sky Miles Gold or whatever). Basically a lot of folks qualify for free baggage if they know to ask and show the card. They'd be able to have their bikes fly free if they qualify. There are a lot of perks to the airline cards and it is likely to be worth getting one for an airline that flies from your local terminal. It would be worth it to me if only for the free checked bags. Just don't get one with fees and pay it off every month to avoid paying interest.

On the other hand I may pack in ways that I'd have the same number of checked bags whether I have the bike or not. When I pack the whole load (bike and gear) in my soft case it is one checked bag. I'd probably still check a bag if I was shipping the bike ahead of time so in that instance the bike flies free.

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Old 07-20-21, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
But on AA there is an overweight fee from 51 to 70 lbs.

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...and-sports.jsp
Yeah, I think every airline has an overweight fee schedule.

Outside of USA, some airlines instead of using 23 kg (roughly comparable to 50 pounds) use a 20 kg limit instead. You need to read the details when you get your ticket.

I probably have said a dozen times on this forum that a luggage scale is the travelers best friend. I have a few scales, and they all read about a half pound lower than the airline scales so I aim for 49 pound limit when I pack. Several in my family were jealous when they saw my luggage scale, thus I knew what to get them for christmas presents later. Cost of a luggage scale will pay for itself it if saves you from paying the overweight fee once.
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Old 07-20-21, 07:33 AM
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I am taking a trip in early September, and am flying Delta. As staephj said below, for a standard ticket, the bike flys in a bag, box or case at the standard bag fee with a 50 lb. limit.

What worked for me on this trip was to go first class (first time ever, BTW). The reason I did this is first two checked bags are free, and limit is increased to 70 lbs. It was an extra 6500 sky miles to do so - not sure what the $ cost would have been. And.. I am able to cancel the flight due to COVID or fires if need be.

Originally Posted by staehpj1
Yeah it flies as a checked bag so typically not completely free, but pretty cheap. Generally it flies for the coast of a checked bag. I can think of a couple instances where you wouldn't pay more for the bike though.

Depending on the ticket type you may get two checked bags included, but those tickets are too rich for my blood. But, if you have a pricey ticket with checked bags included the bike flies for no additional charge. Some folks may also have "elite status" with the airline they are flying with and get free baggage based on that. Then there are credit cards that grant you free baggage (one or two bags depending of the airline and the card). Most airlines have perks for holding their credit cards. Since those perks often include free baggage. remember to show their rewards card (like Delta Sky Miles Gold or whatever). Basically a lot of folks qualify for free baggage if they know to ask and show the card. They'd be able to have their bikes fly free if they qualify. There are a lot of perks to the airline cards and it is likely to be worth getting one for an airline that flies from your local terminal. It would be worth it to me if only for the free checked bags. Just don't get one with fees and pay it off every month to avoid paying interest.

On the other hand I may pack in ways that I'd have the same number of checked bags whether I have the bike or not. When I pack the whole load (bike and gear) in my soft case it is one checked bag. I'd probably still check a bag if I was shipping the bike ahead of time so in that instance the bike flies free.
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Old 07-20-21, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Yeah, I think every airline has an overweight fee schedule.

Outside of USA, some airlines instead of using 23 kg (roughly comparable to 50 pounds) use a 20 kg limit instead. You need to read the details when you get your ticket.

I probably have said a dozen times on this forum that a luggage scale is the travelers best friend. I have a few scales, and they all read about a half pound lower than the airline scales so I aim for 49 pound limit when I pack. Several in my family were jealous when they saw my luggage scale, thus I knew what to get them for christmas presents later. Cost of a luggage scale will pay for itself it if saves you from paying the overweight fee once.
Yeah, absolutely avoid overweight charges. They can be heinous. I have never paid one though. I too always make sure to be a pound or two under, but agents will let you shuffle things between bags if necessary. Also remember that as a last resort you can wear heavy clothing helmets and so on. Also things can go in a personal item sized backpack if you don't already have a personal item. I typically use a little backpack anyway and use it as a personal item. An 18 or 22 liter backpack can pass as a personal item and the REI flash 18 or 22 are light and pack small when not in use. If they are too much the Sea2Summit Ultra-sil backpack is 2.5 ounces, packs to keychain sized, and holds 20 liters. If you aren't taking any other backpack having one of those along is a must even for a weight weenie like me. It comes in handy for those places on tour where you might need to carry extra stuff (food, water?) for a day or more due to spotty resupply options.

I have managed to use my Flash 18 as my only luggage on a 2 week trip to visit family. I was on the jet way chatting with a guy who was complaining about paying for an extra bag for a two week trip when his wife had filled 4 checked bags and he needed to pay for another for himself because she had allowed him no space in their allotted bags. I couldn't resist holding up my little 18 liter backpack to her and saying "2 weeks". For some reason she didn't appreciate it.
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Old 07-20-21, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by timdow
I am taking a trip in early September, and am flying Delta. As staephj said below, for a standard ticket, the bike flys in a bag, box or case at the standard bag fee with a 50 lb. limit.

What worked for me on this trip was to go first class (first time ever, BTW). The reason I did this is first two checked bags are free, and limit is increased to 70 lbs. It was an extra 6500 sky miles to do so - not sure what the $ cost would have been. And.. I am able to cancel the flight due to COVID or fires if need be.
I wasn't aware of the bump in the weight limit for first class.

When I have priced tickets from one coast to the other an upgrade to first class has typically been 300-400 more than the very cheapest ticket with no cancellation, no boarding priority, lousy seats, and so on.

BTW... Usually the no cancellation isn't as bad as it sounds for two reasons IME. First the ticket is cheap enough that you aren't out so much if you do get burned and second, depending on the airline they may let you take a credit for another flight. You probably will have to use it within a year, at least that is what I found when I cancelled a no cancel ticket (I forget which airline). Some airlines may not do that so check before assuming that is the case. Also if you do cancel ask for a credit even if it is not the policy, it never hurts to ask. Ask nicely. Tell them a sad story. Heck call more than once and ask again. Ask in person at the counter too if the opportunity presents sometimes they don't know or are willing to break the rules.
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Old 07-20-21, 08:46 AM
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I went first class for the free bags. The cancellation is a bonus. The 6500 sky miles I used were worth about $85. The bag fee I would have had to pay is $80 ($35 first bag, $45 second bag). Maybe I could get by with just the bike box, but really want the bike box to be as light as possible.

Delta does not currently offer changing the flight on their low priced tickets, but sure, everything is negotiable - they may be able to make a change if persuaded.

Originally Posted by staehpj1
I wasn't aware of the bump in the weight limit for first class.

When I have priced tickets from one coast to the other an upgrade to first class has typically been 300-400 more than the very cheapest ticket with no cancellation, no boarding priority, lousy seats, and so on.

BTW... Usually the no cancellation isn't as bad as it sounds for two reasons IME. First the ticket is cheap enough that you aren't out so much if you do get burned and second, depending on the airline they may let you take a credit for another flight. You probably will have to use it within a year, at least that is what I found when I cancelled a no cancel ticket (I forget which airline). Some airlines may not do that so check before assuming that is the case. Also if you do cancel ask for a credit even if it is not the policy, it never hurts to ask. Ask nicely. Tell them a sad story. Heck call more than once and ask again. Ask in person at the counter too if the opportunity presents sometimes they don't know or are willing to break the rules.
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Old 07-20-21, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by timdow
I went first class for the free bags. The cancellation is a bonus. The 6500 sky miles I used were worth about $85. The bag fee I would have had to pay is $80 ($35 first bag, $45 second bag). Maybe I could get by with just the bike box, but really want the bike box to be as light as possible.
They may state that only the bike goes in the box on some airlines in the policy somewhere. Not sure which ones, but I recall seeing that somewhere. I have put everything in my soft case, but tend to avoid putting stuff in the bike box when using a cardboard box. They tend to open those and unpack them pretty often and if the policy says bike only I'd be concerned.

Delta does not currently offer changing the flight on their low priced tickets, but sure, everything is negotiable - they may be able to make a change if persuaded.
The wording was weird, they didn't allow "changing a flight", but once I cancelled, they gave me a voucher toward another flight within a year.

By the way I did a little checking on this and if they change the flight in pretty much any way you are entitled to a refund if you cancel. A change in departure or arrival time, an equipment swap, a change in the duration of a layover, a switch from a nonstop to a connecting flight (or vice versa) all would constitute a change that would be grounds for a refund. So if you need to cancel wait until the very last minute.

Southwest allows no penalty changes, but it never worked well for me since a last minute ticket was crazy expensive. So don't count on changing return dates painlessly. You pay the current ticket price so, your $200 ticket may suddenly become a $1200 ticket just so you can return home a day or two earlier or later.
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Old 07-20-21, 09:27 AM
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By the way there is a ton of info on getting refunds on non refundable tickets if you google "getting refunds on non refundable tickets". I wouldn't' plan on getting a refund on the cheapest ticket unless it was with Southwest or other airline with a policy that allowed for it, but I'd sure try if I had to cancel a non refundable ticket.
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Old 07-20-21, 09:48 AM
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I am using Amtrak for the return, partly because I want flexibility with the return date.

Originally Posted by staehpj1
By the way there is a ton of info on getting refunds on non refundable tickets if you google "getting refunds on non refundable tickets". I wouldn't' plan on getting a refund on the cheapest ticket unless it was with Southwest or other airline with a policy that allowed for it, but I'd sure try if I had to cancel a non refundable ticket.
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Old 07-20-21, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by timdow
I am taking a trip in early September, and am flying Delta. As staephj said below, for a standard ticket, the bike flys in a bag, box or case at the standard bag fee with a 50 lb. limit.

What worked for me on this trip was to go first class (first time ever, BTW). The reason I did this is first two checked bags are free, and limit is increased to 70 lbs. It was an extra 6500 sky miles to do so - not sure what the $ cost would have been. And.. I am able to cancel the flight due to COVID or fires if need be.
That is a pretty good deal. My sister used to fly for work a lot and flew Delta, she had a 70 pound limit because of her miles per year status. But she could not lift 50 pounds so it did not do much for her.

I had a Delta credit card for a while, first checked bag was free, but I did not fly enough to make the the credit card annual fee cost less than the luggage cost, canceled the card. I have other rewards credit cards, did not try to accumulate miles by using the Delta credit card.


Originally Posted by staehpj1
Yeah, absolutely avoid overweight charges. They can be heinous. I have never paid one though. I too always make sure to be a pound or two under, but agents will let you shuffle things between bags if necessary. Also remember that as a last resort you can wear heavy clothing helmets and so on. Also things can go in a personal item sized backpack if you don't already have a personal item. I typically use a little backpack anyway and use it as a personal item. An 18 or 22 liter backpack can pass as a personal item and the REI flash 18 or 22 are light and pack small when not in use. If they are too much the Sea2Summit Ultra-sil backpack is 2.5 ounces, packs to keychain sized, and holds 20 liters. If you aren't taking any other backpack having one of those along is a must even for a weight weenie like me. It comes in handy for those places on tour where you might need to carry extra stuff (food, water?) for a day or more due to spotty resupply options.

I have managed to use my Flash 18 as my only luggage on a 2 week trip to visit family. I was on the jet way chatting with a guy who was complaining about paying for an extra bag for a two week trip when his wife had filled 4 checked bags and he needed to pay for another for himself because she had allowed him no space in their allotted bags. I couldn't resist holding up my little 18 liter backpack to her and saying "2 weeks". For some reason she didn't appreciate it.
I have usually worn my helmet onto the plane, I did not want baggage handlers to break it in the luggage. Usually use a handlebar bag or a front pannier as my personal item and either a rear pannier or an Ortlieb 31 liter Rack Pac as my carry on.

To make a really long story really short, I have both a set of Ortlieb panniers and a set of Carradry panniers. First photo, my luggage on a trip with the Ortliebs, the second photo was a trip with my Carradry and front Axiom panniers. It is obvious which two bags were checked and which were not.





Both photos above have the same black S&S Backpack case.

That orange bag above is a backpack I got on a clearance price. 115 liter rating, waterproof and air tight so I put a towel or something in the roll top so pressure changes in the airplane hold do not pop it like a balloon. Weighs only 1,135 grams, great piece of luggage.
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Old 07-20-21, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by timdow
I am using Amtrak for the return, partly because I want flexibility with the return date.
I have usually managed to ride toward home on real long tours like coast to coast. When riding some that were on the opposite coast I managed to score "friends and family" tickets and flew stand by. That became more expensive and more trouble for the airline employee (now retired employee) who helped me out so I don't like to do it any longer.
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Old 07-20-21, 10:19 AM
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On my checked bags I always use two luggage tags. One trip I was on, a gal had to wait days for her lost bag to arrive, the airline claimed it was because she did not put a tag on the bag. I suspect that the airline luggage handling equipment tore the tag off, she had put a tag on it.

The only part of my luggage tag that was left on the bag was the strap that held it on.



Side note: When you have to explain to an airline employee what your lost bag looks like, it is easier to do that if you took a photo of it and can show the photo to them.
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