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Disposing Bike Boxes and luggage at Amsterdams Schiphol Airport

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Disposing Bike Boxes and luggage at Amsterdams Schiphol Airport

Old 06-04-22, 02:49 PM
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Disposing Bike Boxes and Luggage at Amsterdams Schiphol Airport

On June 15 my wife and I will be arriving in Amsterdam with our bikes in bike boxes and our panniers in crappy luggage. We wish to get off the plane, remove the bikes from their boxes, remove our panniers from the luggage and then throw the cardboard bike boxes and crappy luggage away. We will then start our tour from the airport. I would think this is done quite frequently. Any problems with this?

Thanks,

Perry
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Old 06-04-22, 06:17 PM
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There is a repacking area in the lower level of Schiphol Airport. I have not used it to unload, but we packed our bikes in the area at the end of 3 tours there. I don't know for sure, but it probably would work for unpacking your bikes as well.

We have unpacked our bikes at 4 different airports; Lisbon, Copenhagen, CDG, PDX, and asked at the airport information desks where to leave the boxes. We were told what to do with the boxes. Be sure to ask someone, they don't like unattended luggage sitting around.

We use ultalight duffel bags to carry our gear, which are checked, and the empty panniers go in the bike boxes. The duffel bag is used on the return flight home.

It looks like a garage sale, but everything fits in the rackpacks and duffel bags. This is on the lower floor at Schiphol.


This is at a train station, but the operation is still the same. The bike box and duffel are checked, the rackpacks and bar bag are carry on. The empty panniers go on the bikes in the box.


Also be careful with your bikes if you are actually riding through Amsterdam. There is a bike path from the airport to some motels close by. We get a room, secure our bikes, and then take the motel's shuttle back to the airport. The train station is on the bottom floor of the terminal, and goes right into Amsterdam. It is a lot more fun to wonder around town without the bikes. The figure I heard was 185,000 bike a year stolen in the Netherlands a year. Boy was I wrong!

Their report cites figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), showing that in 2019 466.560 people in the Netherlands fell victim to bike theft. In 2016, there were 645.240 victims. The researchers estimate the financial cost of bike thefts is around 600 million euros per year
Bike theft in Amsterdam

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Old 06-05-22, 01:43 PM
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Schiphol has been a bit of a mess lately, I believe it affects boarding passengers more but I wouldn't schedual too tight.

Bike theft in Amsterdam is mostly a problem at night and mostly affects ordinary Dutch bikes. Addicts breaking the locks so to sell them for 10 euro in an alley to someone who is frustrated he got his bike stolen again recently. But if you want to cycle around Amsterdam renting an ordinary upright bike is better anyway.
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Old 06-05-22, 01:54 PM
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I can't speak to that particular airport, but I have done it in others. I ask where I can leave the empty bags and cases, I leave them open so it is obvious they are empty, and I remove labels with my name or address on them. Never had any problem
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Old 06-05-22, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
There is a repacking area in the lower level of Schiphol Airport. I have not used it to unload, but we packed our bikes in the area at the end of 3 tours there. I don't know for sure, but it probably would work for unpacking your bikes as well.

We have unpacked our bikes at 4 different airports; Lisbon, Copenhagen, CDG, PDX, and asked at the airport information desks where to leave the boxes. We were told what to do with the boxes. Be sure to ask someone, they don't like unattended luggage sitting around.

We use ultalight duffel bags to carry our gear, which are checked, and the empty panniers go in the bike boxes. The duffel bag is used on the return flight home.

It looks like a garage sale, but everything fits in the rackpacks and duffel bags. This is on the lower floor at Schiphol.


This is at a train station, but the operation is still the same. The bike box and duffel are checked, the rackpacks and bar bag are carry on. The empty panniers go on the bikes in the box.


Also be careful with your bikes if you are actually riding through Amsterdam. There is a bike path from the airport to some motels close by. We get a room, secure our bikes, and then take the motel's shuttle back to the airport. The train station is on the bottom floor of the terminal, and goes right into Amsterdam. It is a lot more fun to wonder around town without the bikes. The figure I heard was 185,000 bike a year stolen in the Netherlands a year. Boy was I wrong!



Bike theft in Amsterdam
Thanks for the great answer and it's timely as we are leaving in August. Two follow-up questions if you don't mind. 1) Where have you gotten new boxes for the return trip? 2). It appears one of your bikes have the S&S couplers-any reason why you used a cardboard box instead of one of the luggage-like carriers? Thanks again for your thoughts.
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Old 06-06-22, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 2ering
Thanks for the great answer and it's timely as we are leaving in August. Two follow-up questions if you don't mind. 1) Where have you gotten new boxes for the return trip? 2). It appears one of your bikes have the S&S couplers-any reason why you used a cardboard box instead of one of the luggage-like carriers? Thanks again for your thoughts.
I've found out at many larger airports you can buy bike boxes, bubble wrap and tape at the terminal.

In the past we've traveled with bikes/trikes with S&S couplers in suitcases. We found the TSA will tear our luggage apart and not put the bike pieces back in place. One trip a rear derailleur and derailleur holder were destroyed, and every trip our bikes were scratched after they did not replace our bubble wrap properly. Then there's the issue of finding a place to store our expensive bike boxes. We now realize it will be so much easier biking to the airport, buying a box, and minimally break down the bikes, than spending money on taxi fare both arriving and departing and then walking our bike boxes through the airport.

Enjoy,

Perry

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Old 06-06-22, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 2ering
Thanks for the great answer and it's timely as we are leaving in August. Two follow-up questions if you don't mind. 1) Where have you gotten new boxes for the return trip? 2). It appears one of your bikes have the S&S couplers-any reason why you used a cardboard box instead of one of the luggage-like carriers? Thanks again for your thoughts.
You can't always count on bike boxes at the airports. That is the reason we try to plan our tours to end in the Netherlands; they have been reliable about having boxes available. However, we still try to arrive near Schiphol a day or two early and ride into the airport, and check on box availability. Our tours have been relatively long, 2-3 months, which gives us a some flexibility. Frankfurt's airport also has boxes, but it is not as bike friendly. We also buy our tape when we get near the airport.

My wife's bike does have S&S couplers. Packing a touring bike with racks, fenders and 700c wheels into a hard case, 26 x 26 x 10, is impossible. Our air travels are always open-jaw flights. Hard-case use would be an issue unless the route is a loop.

Bikes are not that difficult to get through an airport.

Bike path into Schiphol. The most bike friendly airport I've ever been in.


The path goes right to a main entrance.




Schiphol- big airport boxes


Lisbon- My wife wheeling both of our bikes and gear packed in smaller boxes.

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Old 01-06-24, 10:45 PM
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Pannier racks on or off for boxing

A quick question - Do you leave your pannier racks on when boxing or take them off and pack in luggage?

Thanks in andvance.
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Old 01-06-24, 11:51 PM
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We leave our racks on the bikes when packing them. The contents of our panniers are divided between our Ortlieb Rackpacks and our ultra-light duffel bags, The bags are checked, the rackpack and bar bags are carry on, and the empty panniers stay with the bike. We have never been questioned about the panniers. Empty water bottles are in their cages.
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Old 01-07-24, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyAussies
A quick question - Do you leave your pannier racks on when boxing or take them off and pack in luggage?

Thanks in andvance.
That will depend on airline regulations, cargo capacity of the particular aircraft, size of the cargo bay doors.....

I always fly Jetstar or Scoot or whichever budget airline in Asia is going where I want to go. Select flights for larger aircraft on airlines that have a 2-meter length luggage limit. Also go with airlines that charge by weight, not volume, nor number of pieces. Pay for 50kg, can take two 25-kg boxes, or 50 1-kg boxes. Often tape and twine together my own bike box large enough to fit a full size touring bike with wheels on.

When space is limited, remove front rack and front wheel. Rear wheel and rear rack and derailleur stay on. Ziptie front wheel to the frame. Saddlebags with gear and shoes and helmet fit in available space in the box.

I make a cargo net from twine to hold the box together, keep objects from falling out. Add a couple 5" long PVC pipes at each end as carry handles, make it convenient for the luggage handlers to keep the up side up.

If I'm leaving from the same airport, I'll book a hotel at each end of the trip, have them store the bike box. Try to find one with free shuttle from the airport, call to confirm it's a van or bus large enough to carry the box. If disposing of the box, random airport cleaner will tell you where to leave the packaging materials.
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Old 01-07-24, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyAussies
A quick question - Do you leave your pannier racks on when boxing or take them off and pack in luggage?

Thanks in andvance.
Front rack, depends on size of box. I would be prepared to remove it. And that could also include a front fender or mudguard.

A luggage scale is not easy to use on a full size bike box, you might need an extra strap to make it work. But a small inexpensive luggage scale can prevent an expensive surprise later.
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Old 01-07-24, 08:15 PM
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Not a big fan of cardboad boxes. We use Orucase Airport Ninjas which have been flawless with the airlines and are easy to move around on their own. About half the time we have open jaw trips and we just make arrangements for our bags to be shipped from our arrival location to our destination location. We put airtags in the cases so we can always see where they are in transit and when they get to our destination. That way, if there is a problem, we know well in advance and can steps to correct the problem. We have many flights under our belt with this method and it works just fine.
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Old 01-08-24, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
Not a big fan of cardboad boxes. We use Orucase Airport Ninjas which have been flawless with the airlines and are easy to move around on their own. About half the time we have open jaw trips and we just make arrangements for our bags to be shipped from our arrival location to our destination location. We put airtags in the cases so we can always see where they are in transit and when they get to our destination. That way, if there is a problem, we know well in advance and can steps to correct the problem. We have many flights under our belt with this method and it works just fine.
What do you do with the case after you land?
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Old 01-08-24, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
Not a big fan of cardboad boxes. We use Orucase Airport Ninjas which have been flawless with the airlines and are easy to move around on their own. About half the time we have open jaw trips and we just make arrangements for our bags to be shipped from our arrival location to our destination location. We put airtags in the cases so we can always see where they are in transit and when they get to our destination. That way, if there is a problem, we know well in advance and can steps to correct the problem. We have many flights under our belt with this method and it works just fine.
I have had good luck with a soft case as well. I kind of like using a very inexpensive one that offers no padding though rather than an expensive one. I add protection by adding corrugated cardboard amd sometimes use some gear or clothing to pad it out more. My TransIt case seems to perpetually be on sale for $39.99 at Performance. Without the cardboard it rolls up and packs very small for mailing ahead or home. I have managed to get my bike and full UL camping gear and clothing in and steay under the 50# limit for my flight. The bag seems a little flimsy, but is holding up well so far and at $39.99 it is almost disposable in that if it lasts a few trips I'd feel like I got my money's worth. In my case I have notten past that point some time ago and it is still in good shape.
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Old 01-08-24, 09:54 AM
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IF one is flying in and planning to break down the cardboard boxes for recycling, always check the local knife laws. There are length restrictions, edge restrictions, locking restrictions, single-hand opening restrictions, etc. These laws can vary nation to nation, state to state, city to city and even zone to zone.

NOT legal advice: a Swiss Army knife with a blade length under 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) seems to be cool pretty much everywhere. Obviously this flies with checked luggage.
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Old 01-08-24, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
What do you do with the case after you land?
If itís a loop, I make arrangements at my first/last night hotel before I depart on my trip. Every hotel Iíve stayed at has been very helpful and done this for me. I call them and then confirm via email. They enter that in the hotel booking record so everybody is in the loop.

if itís an open jaw trip I make arrangements to send it from my hotel upon arrival to my destination hotel and arrange it in advance as with a loop trip.

Thatís always worked fine. I used to do similar things while traveling internationally for business. Hotels deal with this all the time with shipments for guests who havenít arrived yet.

Slickest arrangement of all was my last trip to Norway. They have a ship freight/ferry/cruise ship line called Hurtigruten that stops all along the coast. itís a uniquely Norwegian institution and itís how they move a lot of stuff along their coast.

We started in TromsÝ, ended in Bodo and we shipped our cases from their office in Tromso next door to our hotel to the one in Bodo next door to our hotel and adjacent to the airport. It cost something like $50 to ship it and hold it for two and a half weeks. We have AirTags in them so we knew where they were every step of the way.

if you have AirTags in them, on the off chance there is a problem, you can also scrounge up enough cardboard and tape to make a box if you had to. You also know days in advance if thereís a problem and you can make alternative arrangements or track the case. Weíve done this a number of times and itís worked like clockwork.

In this age of smartphones there a very few problems you canít solve online or on the phone. Iíve travelled a lot for business, most of it internationally, am a million miler, and the number of problems Iíve solved on the fly like this are many. Something always needs to change and thatís part of the process of having an adventure.

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Old 01-08-24, 07:09 PM
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I'm sure that works for 2.5 weeks but as an example I'm cycling from Hanoi to Bali right now, and I doubt a hotel would agree to hold luggage for 2.5 months. Nor would I want my stuff sitting for that long.
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Old 01-08-24, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
I'm sure that works for 2.5 weeks but as an example I'm cycling from Hanoi to Bali right now, and I doubt a hotel would agree to hold luggage for 2.5 months. Nor would I want my stuff sitting for that long.
And those are all assumptions on your part. Have you ever asked?

There are other ways to store stuff and a lot of people do it. there are other ways to solve this problem other than cardboard boxes. I havenít researched storing my gear for for 2.5 months but Iím sure I could easily find a solution for that.

Having spent an entire career in international travel, Iíve seen a lot of what airlines can do to your stuff. There is no way that I would trust my gear to a cardboard box for a YOLO kind of trip. Iíd rather be investigating ways to store my case than ways to replace my bike. Iíve seen baggage handlers bend skis into 90 degree angles. Iíve seen entire baggage carts tip and empty on the ramp. Iíve seen luggage run over by ramp vehicles. When a fragile bike meets high power and automated equipment, very easy for bad things to happen.

Yes, itís true that bike manufacturers ship bikes in cardboard boxes. But itís also true that if one gets damaged, they can just ship another since they make them. Thatís not me, I have one bike to take on a trip and the highest risk to ruining my trip is damage to my bike. My bike is largely irreplaceable in a time frame to accomplish my trip. So thatís where Iím going to put my effort and money into finding solutions. And that would be my recommendation.
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Old 01-08-24, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
I havenít researched storing my gear for for 2.5 months but Iím sure I could easily find a solution for that.
I'll save you the trouble, what's going to happen is that:

A) if you call an Indonesian speaking small local guesthouse, after you ask your question, you'll hear five seconds of silence, and then they'll hang up on you.

B) if you call a high end resort with English speaking staff, that means it's a large hotel. At some point during the 2.5 months, one of their numerous shift managers who has no idea why your bag is there, having seen it sitting there for months on end, will mark it abandoned and throw it in the trash.

Yeah, those are assumptions. Feel free to test them. Be the guinea pig because it ain't going to be me. Good luck.
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Old 01-09-24, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
B) if you call a high end resort with English speaking staff, that means it's a large hotel. At some point during the 2.5 months, one of their numerous shift managers who has no idea why your bag is there, having seen it sitting there for months on end, will mark it abandoned and throw it in the trash.
Not sure how likely that is, but I'd feel a lot better about it if it happened with my $40 Transit case than with a $500-700 case. At that point with either you'd be looking for a cardboard box. If you really think that is the likely outcome, finding a warmshowers or couchsurfing host or a bike shop willing to hold it for you might be safer. Another option might be having a case mailed to you via general delivery. The cheap Transit case or similar packs small and light enough to be cheap and easy to mail.

Of course a cardboard box avoids that worry, but the soft case is pretty nice in a number of ways. I know that having all my stuff in one bag that had a shoulder strap was pretty nice. That required packing pretty light, but it was easy getting to/from/around in the airport compared to a box and bags.
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Old 01-09-24, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
I'm sure that works for 2.5 weeks but as an example I'm cycling from Hanoi to Bali right now, and I doubt a hotel would agree to hold luggage for 2.5 months. Nor would I want my stuff sitting for that long.
Just my two anecdotes.

Hotel/resort in Yangon held my crappy taped-together-from-a-dozen-postal-boxes cardboard box for four weeks.
Hotel/resort in Bangkok held my spiffy bike shop cardboard box for six weeks.
Both had free shuttle vehicles large enough to carry bikes inside.

The clerk wrote a big note in local language with my name and date of return, and taped it right on the box!
How clever!

Of course, I contacted the managers before booking to confirm shuttle and storage.

YKMV
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Old 01-09-24, 07:32 AM
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This discussion of long term storage of expensive cases is reminding me of why I like my S&S couplers and the S&S Backpack Case.

I was trying to make sure that I could store the case for a month and a half for my tour in a foreign country. Asked the hostel I planned to stay at by e-mail, I gave detailed dimensions, they said absolutely not, did not have room for it in the luggage room.

I e-mailed a bike shop in the city and asked if they could suggest a hotel that could store it. The bike shop said they had plenty of room in the basement, would be happy to store it at the bike shop for free.

A couple months later, I arrived at the hostel, built up my bike. Was getting ready to take my case to the bike shop a few miles away and one of the hostel staff asked if I wanted to store it in the luggage room. I said that would be great but I did not want her to get in trouble, described my e-mail exchange to her. She said that the manager always says no if the word bike is used because too many people want to store huge cases there and they do not have room for the big cases.

But my case was no trouble at all. I already had taken the side pieces out of it so it was much thinner than the 10 inches when the side pieces are in it.



With my extra travel stuff stored in it (other empty checked bag, etc.), it was probably only 2 inches thick. At 26 X 26 inches by maybe 2 inches she said it was no trouble at all. I was happy to store it at the hostel for a month and a half, saved me from taking it to the bike shop a few miles away.

I stopped at the bike shop, asked for the person that offered to store it, I thanked him for saving my trip even though they did not have to store my case after all. And I bought a new helmet and jersey at the shop to express my gratitude.

We were all winners in the end.

The rest of my luggage on that trip, below:





And on my Iceland trip, stored my backpack case in the luggage room there for free for over a month too. At that Iceland hostel (in 2016) they allowed people to store cardboard boxes in the luggage room if they were flattened, but they had to be flattened. On that trip, I also took the side pieces out of my case to flatten it.

Some airlines have canceled their oversize fees for bikes, but the couplers and a collapsible case still have other advantages too.
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Old 01-09-24, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
I'll save you the trouble, what's going to happen is that:

A) if you call an Indonesian speaking small local guesthouse, after you ask your question, you'll hear five seconds of silence, and then they'll hang up on you.

B) if you call a high end resort with English speaking staff, that means it's a large hotel. At some point during the 2.5 months, one of their numerous shift managers who has no idea why your bag is there, having seen it sitting there for months on end, will mark it abandoned and throw it in the trash.

Yeah, those are assumptions. Feel free to test them. Be the guinea pig because it ain't going to be me. Good luck.
Iíve been to Asia many times (I quit counting at 60). I shipped stuff all over ahead of my destinations while doing so - all of it more complex that my own stuff (import duties etcÖ). So I know I can do it and I know it can be done without much work.

And notice how I didnít reply with some sort of snarky response either. But you do you. I donít care what you do or how you do it. Itís just an alternative by no means would I assume thereís one way to do this as you seem to.
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Old 01-09-24, 09:08 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
Iíve been to Asia many times (I quit counting at 60). I shipped stuff all over ahead of my destinations while doing so - all of it more complex that my own stuff (import duties etcÖ). So I know I can do it and I know it can be done without much work.

And notice how I didnít reply with some sort of snarky response either. But you do you. I donít care what you do or how you do it. Itís just an alternative by no means would I assume thereís one way to do this as you seem to.
What is this a competition now? Yeah bud I lived in Asia as an expat for 8 years. I used to fly to SE Asia not just for winter vacation but even for long weekends. I've biked across every country in SE Asia including Myanmar. I've also done Xinjiang and Tibet. (Tibet by driving).

2.5 month storage at a hotel? This isn't some fancy Norwegian cruise line that will go above and beyond for customer service. These are developing countries where people work hard dawn to dusk just to have a basic standard of living. They're busy with their own lives and don't want to take care of your crap for a freaking almost QUARTER YEAR.

Oh, you want to store your stuff here for a quarter year and promise to stay here for three nights when you arrive? The hotel only costs $12 a night. What a deal for you. If I was a hotel owner down here and some clueless foreigner with absolutely zero sense of self shame tried to pull that on me, I'd pretend not to speak English just to get rid of you.

Oh, you want to pay extra for the storage? How much are you willing to pay? You'll never agree to pay more than a few hundred dollars because then you could just ship it home and then have it shipped back to you anywhere in the world. EMS international air shipping out of Hanoi is only $78 USD per 10 kg. The UPS Store across the street from where I live in the New York charges $50 PER DAY for oversized box storage. JFK airport charges $35 per day. How about in Asia? I just finished riding Taiwan. Taipei airport charges $20.6 per day. That would be $1,545 for 2.5 months. Are you willing to pay that? No? Get lost.

For extended duration, ship your case home. Don't try to pull that shameless crap on a hotel. I've never had a damaged bike inside a cardboard box. I did have a damaged bike once in a bike case, in Ulaanbaatar.

Last edited by Yan; 01-09-24 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 01-09-24, 09:43 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Yan
What is this a competition now? Yeah bud I lived in Asia as an expat for 8 years. I used to fly to SE Asia not just for winter vacation but even for long weekends. I've biked across every country in SE Asia including Myanmar. I've also done Xinjiang and Tibet. (Tibet by driving).

2.5 month storage at a hotel? This isn't some fancy Norwegian cruise line that will go above and beyond for customer service. These are developing countries where people work hard dawn to dusk just to have a basic standard of living. They're busy with their own lives and don't want to take care of your crap for a freaking almost QUARTER YEAR.

Oh, you want to store your stuff here for a quarter year and promise to stay here for three nights when you arrive? The hotel only costs $12 a night. What a deal for you. If I was a hotel owner down here and some clueless foreigner with absolutely zero sense of self shame tried to pull that on me, I'd pretend not to speak English just to get rid of you.

Oh, you want to pay extra for the storage? How much are you willing to pay? You'll never agree to pay more than a few hundred dollars because then you could just ship it home and then have it shipped back to you anywhere in the world. EMS international air shipping out of Hanoi is only $78 USD per 10 kg. The UPS Store across the street from where I live in the New York charges $50 PER DAY for oversized box storage. JFK airport charges $35 per day. How about in Asia? I just finished riding Taiwan. Taipei airport charges $20.6 per day. That would be $1,545 for 2.5 months. Are you willing to pay that? No? Get lost.

For extended duration, ship your case home. Don't try to pull that shameless crap on a hotel. I've never had a damaged bike inside a cardboard box. I did have a damaged bike once in a bike case, in Ulaanbaatar.
No, itís not a competition - that was my entire point.

Again:

And notice how I didnít reply with some sort of snarky response either. But you do you. I donít care what you do or how you do it. Itís just an alternative by no means would I assume thereís one way to do this as you seem to.


Last edited by JohnJ80; 01-09-24 at 09:47 PM.
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