Bike Travel Advice

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by milwaukeehaze, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. milwaukeehaze

    milwaukeehaze New Member

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    Hey Fellow Bikers,

    Here I am in Wisconsin liking the 30+ inches of snow we have had for skiing, but I am looking more forward to an upcoming trip to AZ in February. I traveled there last year (Sedona) and rented a bike, but it just didn't feel anything like my own steed. So, I am going to get my bike there one way or another. Here is what I would like advice on...

    1) Should I ship the bike from my LBS to a shop where I am traveling to?

    2) Should I just take with me and check as baggage? If so, what bike box or travel case would you recommend to keep the total weight under 50 lbs (my bike weighs 24.5)? I am flying Midwest and supposedly if under 63" and 50lbs, it can be checked as a regular bag. However, their website also states that bicycles cost $80 to ship one way. I am not sure if that is only if it doesn't fit within the aforementioned dimensions?!?!

    Thanks for any tips or advice!!

    Milwaukeehaze
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    If you fly with your bike, break it down, ie handlebars, wheels, and pedals removed. Pack it well, and check it as "exercise equipment". I don't know what the airlines have against bicycles, but exercise equipment of the same size and weight flies less expensively than bicycles.

    Shipping the bike to your destination will usually run $50.00 or less one way in the continetal US. The best thing about this is that you have a better chance of seeing it again than if it is checked as luggage at the airport. The shipping companies have a system of tracking packages, but the airlines don't have the same system for tracking luggage. Also, have you ever seen the way airlines employees handle luggage:eek:?
     
  3. milwaukeehaze

    milwaukeehaze New Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I would like to bring the bike with me on the plane and invest in a nice travel bag that I can use for many years. I just want to make sure the airlines don't charge me for the baggage as long as I stay within their guidelines. I also fear, with our airline security issues, that the baggage restrictions in the future will tighten and force me to pay extra at some point anyway.

    I checked on the shipping costs today and I can get the bike there for $42 one way and, yes, it's guaranteed, insured and tracked as you mentioned. I think that is my best bet from a financial and security standpoint.

    By the time I spend $200 - $300 on a travel bag, I could have shipped the bike roundtrip for 3 separate vacations. And, that is assuming I don't get socked with those extra airline baggage fees, which would cost me even more and they don't guarantee that the bike doesn't get damaged, lost, etc...

    Thanks again for the advice!

    Live Life. Ride.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I don't like to be far from my bike, so it goes on the plane with me. And SciCon protects my steed, thank you.
     
  5. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    shipbike.com is worth a look.
    You buy the special shipping caton and innards. It is very easy to pack and have picked up and to put back together again at your destination. It works OK if you have a place to store the shipping container and it's innards. You can get a new outside replenishment for $40. You need to plan ahead and call ahead, but it certainly removes the airline bagage situation from the game.
    I have also had my bicycle profesionally packed and shipped to site or another bicycle shop at my destination who I pay to unbox/assemble/adjust/etc. so it is ready to ride when I walk in.
    I have also ridden my bicycle to a working Amtrack station and bought the bicycle box they sell and shipped it to a destination terminal. This worked well for me in timing and the least amount of work. The box cost $40 at that time and all I had to do was remove a pedal and loosen the stem to turn the bar 90 degrees. The transport cost was resonable. You need to look at the details of drop off and pick scheduling as well as where the services are available.
    If you travel a lot it is worth considering S & S couplers and a case set up to handle your specific bicycle. This is a substantial investment and understanding what you are getting into short and long run should be considered.
    Each scenarion requires planning and thinking through in advance, but it is hard to beat your own steed at your destination.
     
  6. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    One last bit of advice, deflate the tires some before packing the bike. Not all cargo planes have pressurized cargo compartments and you could ruin a good set of tires if they are not at least partially deflated.
     
  7. pudster

    pudster New Member

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    I don't think that it is a good idea to let all the air out of the tires because if the airline is rough with your bike, a wheel with no air in it can be damaged.
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Even if the cargo bays wouldn't be pressurized--and I can't think of a cargo plane that doesn't have a pressurized bay--not deflating your tires is not an issue. As it is, there's only 'bout 14.7psi acting on the outside of the tire. Removing that doesn't change the pressure differential across the tire carcass much at all and would likely still be within the real tire inflation limits (which are significantly higher than what's printed on the tire).
     
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