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What to do with the bike box, crate, carton when on extended tour?

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What to do with the bike box, crate, carton when on extended tour?

Old 12-15-09, 07:12 PM
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What to do with the bike box, crate, carton when on extended tour?

First off, I have tried the [Search] function for this question with no luck. Say you go on an extended journey on some other continent. You box your bike up, or put it into it's S&S luggage, whatever. You build up your bike at destination and take off. What do you do with the box, carton, luggage, etc. assuming that it does not convert into a trailer AND that you intend to ship the bike home in upon return? Say your tour lasts for months? Thanks.
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Old 12-15-09, 07:30 PM
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The first time I flew to Europe with my bike, I used a cardboard box, and left it propped against a dumpster at Gatwick Airport and pedalled away. Luckily nobody thought it was a bomb. I bought a new bike box at Gatwick Airport for the return journey, but that's getting harder to do.

since then I have just put the bike on the plane unboxed and unbagged, just took the pedals off, turned the handlebars sideways and lowered the saddle. This works best if the bike is obviously a tourer with front and rear racks and fenders, most people realize that a bike like that would be more difficult to box up. One time British Airways gave me a big transparent bag to put the bike in, but that's the most I've had to do.I've used this approach with Aer Lingus, Lufthansa and British Airways with no problem.

The longer your tour, the greater your chances that the cost of storing any bike container is going to be greater than the cost of tossing it and buying a new one for the trip home, unless you have friends/relatives who can store it for you. If you book a room at the same hotel for your arrival and departure They might be willing to store a bike box (or other luggage) for the duration of your tour, but again the odds of doing this will go down with the length of your tour. Some airports, hotels and hostels have luggage storage facilities, but again there will come a point where the cost of storage exceeds the cost of the bike box.
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Old 12-15-09, 07:34 PM
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Give your daughter's homeless Barbies a Dream Home.

Unless it's an original box for a vintage receiver I use boxes for parts and documents etc. If you've got a 5000 dollar bike then make it a family member.
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Old 12-15-09, 07:59 PM
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I have an S&S coupled bike and a hard case to put it in.

I've traveled with it many times.

In France, I rode one way and then in a rented car drove back (sightseeing slowly with my non-biking wife) I left the bike box at the hotel near the airport (CDG) where I spent the first and last night in France.

In Switzerland, this year, I rode a loop, leaving the box in a friend's garage.

When I rode from Portland to Jackson, Wyoming, I left it at home (my wife and I drove to Portland) and my wife flew out with it to Jackson.

I have never had to ship the bike box to my ending destination. But, I would if that was the only option.

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Old 12-15-09, 11:22 PM
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I typically left the box at the airport and got a new one on return. When I've reused it is the return from one trip and start of the next. Sometimes the box is damaged enough that I didn't reuse. One exception to this was when I traveled to India for six weeks and wasn't certain I'd get a box at the airport for the return. In that case, I stayed at a small hotel and made arrangements for them to keep the box and in return I also made my last night reservations at their place as well.
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Old 12-15-09, 11:33 PM
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like everyone else, i just ditched the box at the airport. and later when the bike shat out on me, i ditched the bike behind a gas station, and just thumbed it for the rest of my travels. a lot of my friends have sold their bikes after they were done with their tours.
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Old 12-15-09, 11:52 PM
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I use the Tardis bag by Ground Effect as it packs down to the size of a phone book and only weighs 2kg so I can strap it onto the bike easily. However, I don't travel with it, I either leave it at a hotel, left luggage, or the best option just post it to yourself at whatever post office is convenient. In the US it's General Delivery in Europe its Poste Restante
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Old 12-16-09, 12:19 AM
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My first tour I left the (cardboard) box in a hostel, where I booked my first and last nights. It was a 7 week tour. Other times I ditched the box at the airport and got a new one later, or came home some way that didn't require a box (got a ride, rented a car).
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Old 12-16-09, 02:36 AM
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Some options which I've used:

A) store the box with a friend or family member in the start/finish area of your trip.

B) throw the cardboard box away at the airport and find a new one when you need it.

C) fold up the cardboard box and take it with you ... works for short journeys.

D) hide the box and hope it will still be there when you return.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:47 AM
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I am grateful for all of the well-considered responses. I can now close that gap of tour misunderstanding. Thanks to all.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:00 PM
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I sewed up a canvas bag when I took my bike on a trip to Europe. I wanted something that I could fold up and carry with me because I wasn't sure what kind of transportation I would be using when or where and I didn't want to have to bother with finding new boxes all the time. It actually turned out remarkably well and worked exactly as planned. It came in very handy on the trains - I avoided large surcharges for a bicycle several times just by pulling my seat, stem/handlebars and front wheel off and throwing everything in the bag. It also was a nice extra shell over my sleeping bag while camping. I'm not sure how some of the hotels I stayed at would have felt about bringing a bike up to the room - but with the bag I never had any trouble with anyone. I'd be happy to send out a pattern if anybody wants to give it a try.

bikebag.jpgrolledup.jpgScreen shot 2009-12-14 at [12-14-09] 8.08.52 PM.jpg
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Old 12-18-09, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by eerriicc View Post
I sewed up a canvas bag when I took my bike on a trip to Europe. I wanted something that I could fold up and carry with me because I wasn't sure what kind of transportation I would be using when or where and I didn't want to have to bother with finding new boxes all the time. It actually turned out remarkably well and worked exactly as planned. It came in very handy on the trains - I avoided large surcharges for a bicycle several times just by pulling my seat, stem/handlebars and front wheel off and throwing everything in the bag. It also was a nice extra shell over my sleeping bag while camping. I'm not sure how some of the hotels I stayed at would have felt about bringing a bike up to the room - but with the bag I never had any trouble with anyone. I'd be happy to send out a pattern if anybody wants to give it a try.

Attachment 129312Attachment 129314Attachment 129315
Nice idea and bag. It's like the japanese rinko bukuro. These are bags that you have to put your bag in when you get on public transportation etc. They are mostly to keep things clean and tend to be light weight nylon. The Ground Effect Tardis is a heavy weight Rinko suitable for shipping the bike too. It gives just enough protection and you can post it very easily.

http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/produc...il-TAR-BAG.htm
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Old 12-19-09, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
Nice idea and bag. It's like the japanese rinko bukuro. These are bags that you have to put your bag in when you get on public transportation etc. They are mostly to keep things clean and tend to be light weight nylon. The Ground Effect Tardis is a heavy weight Rinko suitable for shipping the bike too. It gives just enough protection and you can post it very easily.

http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/produc...il-TAR-BAG.htm
Ha! That looks exactly like what I was going for. I wish I'd known about that before I made mine. I was pretty happy with the aesthetics of my double round ends, but that one looks like a VERY nice design. It's funny, their description with the 'smuggling onto planes and trains' is exactly what I was doing with mine. I highly recommend the concept - and the price of that thing is incredibly reasonable. Just do not skimp on padding when you use a bag like this - cardboard, towels, your sleeping bag, anything you can throw in there to give it some extra help.

Thanks for the link!
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Old 12-19-09, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by eerriicc View Post
Ha! That looks exactly like what I was going for. I wish I'd known about that before I made mine. I was pretty happy with the aesthetics of my double round ends, but that one looks like a VERY nice design. It's funny, their description with the 'smuggling onto planes and trains' is exactly what I was doing with mine. I highly recommend the concept - and the price of that thing is incredibly reasonable. Just do not skimp on padding when you use a bag like this - cardboard, towels, your sleeping bag, anything you can throw in there to give it some extra help.

Thanks for the link!
The thing about your canvas bag that I like is that it rolled up quite small. The Tardis folds up into a phone book sized package. I can strap it onto my bike, but I'd rather not carry it through an entire tour, but it's easy to leave at a hotel, left luggage or just post to myself. I used it when I flew from the US to the UK in early 2009. I put in cardboard padding, but it was a pain to dispose of at Heathrow so on the return flight I just used my gear to pad the delicate bits and it worked very well. Scroll down in the ink below to see how I packed my bike up.

http://wheelsofchance.org/england-2009/
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Old 12-19-09, 09:59 AM
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That Tardis looks neat... I'm still struggling with the 62" (158 cm) airline limits, whether to go for an S&S frame (but where to put tools, fenders and racks if theres a "one checked bag limit" (normal if not flying to/from N.America)?

Rest of my stuff I can wear and get down to hand baggage size/weight, but having to check in an extra bag gets as expensive as sending a non S&S bike...

Do you think the horrible airline orks sat down and worked this out in order to take ALL my money?
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Old 12-19-09, 10:46 AM
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yes, yes I am quite sure that is exactly what they did. In the most recent issue of Cycling there was a little rating of all the airlines and how they handle bikes. None of them got rated very well, but at least you can see who to REALLY avoid. of course, Delta was top of the worst list and that's who I was flying. 2 years ago I flew to Europe with a bike and was charged NOTHING to check it. Last year, I was all packed up and late for the flight and dropped off at the airport (ie not turning around) and Delta politely asked for $350!!! that was fun. I cut my rims off and hid my frame in a lumpy oversized duffel to get it home... I guess southwest is pretty ok for domestic. $50 and no fuss. -- I made sure to keep my back under the 62" limit (though Delta wasn't impressed), that Tardis looks shorter, so I am sure it is well under.
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Old 12-19-09, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by eerriicc View Post
I made sure to keep my back under the 62" limit (though Delta wasn't impressed), that Tardis looks shorter, so I am sure it is well under.
Nah.. the sizes on the Tardis are 115cm + 70cm, which is 73"... plus whatever depth...
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Old 12-19-09, 11:54 AM
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I've also been toying with the idea of getting S&S couplers, but I just don't think it's worth it, as I only fly w/ bike once a year. $50 on southwest, or a bit more for fedex, free boxes. I have a large bike (60cm), so I always call ahead to bike stores and ask them to hold onto one for me.
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Old 12-19-09, 02:04 PM
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woa really? weird. my bag is a few inches shy of 62 (without even taking the rear wheel off), I made sure of it thinking that I would avoid over sized charges, though it didn't work out. I don't know if there are any other reasons to stay under 62, but it seems like all the airlines have a standard charge for bicycles regardless of their size now. one good option might be to ship your wheels in the mail and then hide the rest of your bike in an awkward looking bag to check. without the wheels it is pretty hard to tell that it's a bike.
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Old 12-19-09, 03:07 PM
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airports seem to routinely x-ray bikes nowadays (aswell as everything else), and, as you say. may even charge for a bike even if it fits in a 26x26x10 box/bag so "hiding" your bike is getting harder 'n harder...

I've run into the same conundrum with my travelling guitar. It's either seen as an extra bag, or "special baggage" which makes it cheaper to buy a new $100 one once I get to my destination :/ Is it going to be like that with touring bikes in the future?

Maybe a market niche for a really really cheap (and horrible) FULLY spec'd touring bike maker?

sorry ranting a bit here... but this is making my life harder ;/

Last edited by imi; 12-19-09 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 12-19-09, 04:48 PM
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I got away with it coming home from Paris. I sort of went half way with the disposable concept you hinted at by cutting my rims off and buying new ones to avoid the bike shipping charge on the airlines. I guess I was lucky that they didn't x-ray or ask too many questions, though I can definitely see that this tactic would be sort of a roulette game. It really is a shame - after my first trip with a bike I swore I would never travel without one again, but that plan has come to a screeching halt. Whatcha think? Letter writing campaign to an airline???
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Old 12-19-09, 05:30 PM
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hmmm... interesting eerriicc... how about this, an S&S frame and components but no wheels... All fits in one regulation 62" box with the rest of your gear... then buy cheapo "disposable" wheels for the tour? Great huh? the most important part all cheap and nasty... but is it a "bike" for the airlines??

to be honest I don't think letter writing would help...
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Old 12-19-09, 06:24 PM
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You could also go onto Warmshowers.org and see if there might be someone in the vicinity of wherever you're going that might be able to hold it for you.
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Old 12-21-09, 07:04 AM
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Getting back to this airline "penalty". Would they also apply this charge to a folder that easily meets their measurement restrictions? I hope that your collective answer is "yes" because I really don't want a reason to consider a folder.
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Old 12-21-09, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Houston View Post
Getting back to this airline "penalty". Would they also apply this charge to a folder that easily meets their measurement restrictions? I hope that your collective answer is "yes" because I really don't want a reason to consider a folder.

My answer is "no". You can pack a folder into a traditional suitcase. I would suspect they wouldn't ask (they don't ask everyone checking in what's in their suitcase). Of course, if you do get a folder, you still have to figure out to do with that traditional suitcase. In bike friday's case, you can use it as a trailer.
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