Folding Bikes on Planes - Advice Sought

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Elisa Francesca Roselli, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. I'm thinking about booking a cycling holiday in Bohemia this Spring.
    Although the tour operator provides bikes for rent, I was so
    uncomfortable on my rented bike on a similar holiday in the Netherlands
    last year, that I'm thinking of bringing my beloved Dahon folding bike,
    Flyzipper. At least I know I'm comfortable on Fly for hours at a
    stretch, that he does not give me carpal tunnel syndrome or mangle my
    soft parts, and that he does not need a fortnight of adjustments before
    he fits me.

    This pits me against the problem of having to fly with him round-trip to
    Prague from Paris. Dahon sells a special air-travel suitcase for its
    folding bikes, guaranteed to protect against scuffs and mistreatment,
    but it's SO expensive, about 250 Euros, that it will lose me three hotel
    nights in Prague. Moreover, I won't have much use for it at any other
    time. Also, having to pack my bike in the suitcase makes it much harder
    and heavier to transport, since I cannot unfold and roll it and use it
    as a luggage trolley when I'm making my connections. Getting to the
    airport will be a nightmare.

    On the other hand, Fly is dear to me and I don't want him damaged.
    Especially if I'm going to ask much of him in the Bohemian wilderness.

    A colleague also suggests that I may have to let the air-pressure way
    down in the tyres to take Flyzipper on the plane, to prevent them from
    exploding in a depressurized baggage hold. Is this true? Because I don't
    want, in addition, to have to travel with a floor-standing bike pump to
    get the bike operational on landing (I'm too weak in the arms and hands
    to use a hand pump.)

    Anyone have experience taking a folding bike on planes? Many thanks for
    sharing,

    EFR
    Ile de France
     
    Tags:


  2. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:

    > A colleague also suggests that I may have to let the air-pressure way
    > down in the tyres to take Flyzipper on the plane, to prevent them from
    > exploding in a depressurized baggage hold. Is this true?


    Yes and no... they won't explode, that's nonsense (or the plane's own
    tyres would go Boom every flight!), but airline regulations often say
    you must, and if you're playing their game you may want to abide by
    their rules to minimise your chances of them having a bureaucratic sense
    of humour failure at your expense. The check-in person may insist.

    > Because I don't
    > want, in addition, to have to travel with a floor-standing bike pump to
    > get the bike operational on landing (I'm too weak in the arms and hands
    > to use a hand pump.)


    Once air goes in it shouldn't come back out, so you've got as long as
    you want to get some pressure in, and then you only need enough to get
    you to a gas station with an airline.

    Or alternatively since there's an organised tour operator, have one of
    their staff pump them up for you.

    And/or look at pumps like the Topeak Road Morph, which is a portable
    pump that can be used in floor-standing mode. If you can't pump up a
    tyre on your own away from home then you really are inviting the
    Puncture Fairy to come and visit in a really awkward spot.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  3. > A colleague also suggests that I may have to let the air-pressure way
    > down in the tyres to take Flyzipper on the plane, to prevent them from
    > exploding in a depressurized baggage hold. Is this true?


    Kind if true. The airline may /think/ they'll explode but they don't.
    Ever. Some airlines have realised this and have removed the rule. Others
    haven't.

    It's worth bringing copies of their bike carriage policy with you, as the
    check in staff might not be familiar with their own rules and we've had
    reports of them making them up on the fly. <-- you see what I did there?

    (I'm too weak in the arms and hands to use a hand pump.)

    That's scary. Practice.
     
  4. dkahn400

    dkahn400 Guest

    Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:

    > A colleague also suggests that I may have to let the air-pressure way
    > down in the tyres to take Flyzipper on the plane, to prevent them from
    > exploding in a depressurized baggage hold. Is this true?


    No, it's a myth. Air pressure at sea level is about 15 psi. So even if
    you took your bike into space the differential between the internal and
    external pressures would not increase by more than that. Unless your
    normal tyre pressure is within 15 psi of blowing off the rim there is
    no danger, and you have to go way over the maximum pressure shown on
    the tyre sidewall to make that happen.

    The problem is that some airlines do insist you let your tyres down, as
    do some check-in clerks working for airlines that officially don't
    insist. The best bet therefore is to check with your airline, and try
    to get a letter from them confirming you won't need to let air out of
    your tyres. If you have problems at check-in you can then produce the
    letter.

    --
    Dave...
     
  5. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Elisa Francesca
    Roselli ('[email protected]') wrote:

    Hi Elisa! Good to see you back...

    > On the other hand, Fly is dear to me and I don't want him damaged.
    > Especially if I'm going to ask much of him in the Bohemian wilderness.


    I would have thought a stout padded canvas bag would do fine to protect
    him in flight. Furthermore, if he's in a padded bag, the airline don't
    need to know he's a bike, so you'll probably get away with not letting
    the tyres down (holds on modern aircraft are at the same pressure as the
    cabin, so the risk of exploding is an old myth).

    If you do have to let the tyres down, Pete's suggestion of a Topeak Road
    Morph is a good one.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/
    ;; Generally Not Used
    ;; Except by Middle Aged Computer Scientists
     
  6. John B

    John B Guest

    Peter Clinch wrote:

    > Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:
    >
    > > Because I don't
    > > want, in addition, to have to travel with a floor-standing bike pump to
    > > get the bike operational on landing (I'm too weak in the arms and hands
    > > to use a hand pump.)

    >
    > And/or look at pumps like the Topeak Road Morph, which is a portable
    > pump that can be used in floor-standing mode.


    The Cyclaire would certainly be worth looking at for someone with weakness.
    You pull a cord and its all done standing up. It won the C+ Innovation of
    the Year too.

    http://www.cyclaire.com/

    > If you can't pump up a
    > tyre on your own away from home then you really are inviting the
    > Puncture Fairy to come and visit in a really awkward spot.


    A pump is an *absolute* essential in my book. If I forget mine I worry all
    the time. I had one nicked in Beersheba in Israel once and had to divert
    over rough roads for two days to obtain a replacement. The concern over
    puncturing was not pleasant.

    John B
     
  7. dkahn400 a écrit :

    > The problem is that some airlines do insist you let your tyres down, as
    > do some check-in clerks working for airlines that officially don't
    > insist. The best bet therefore is to check with your airline, and try
    > to get a letter from them confirming you won't need to let air out of
    > your tyres. If you have problems at check-in you can then produce the
    > letter.


    Haven't booked the air trip yet but the bike policy may be a deciding
    factor in my choice. There are about 3 regular lines (Air France,
    Lufthansa and a Czech liner) running the flights at more or less the
    same price, so I have some options.

    But what about the suitcase? The tyre pressure is the lesser of my worries.

    EFR
    Ile de France
     
  8. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:
    >
    > Haven't booked the air trip yet but the bike policy may be a deciding
    > factor in my choice. There are about 3 regular lines (Air France,
    > Lufthansa and a Czech liner) running the flights at more or less the
    > same price, so I have some options.
    >


    Phone them up, ask them what their policy is (noting that British
    Airways policy does not require it) and if they agree ask them to put it
    in writing to help you avoid confusion with the check in staff.

    > But what about the suitcase? The tyre pressure is the lesser of my worries.
    >


    Have a look at the options at
    http://www.roseversand.com/rose_main.cfm?cid=170&mid=0&SPR_ID=2&KTG_ID=1106&PRD_ID=0
    which start at €36 upwards. Or find a friend with a very big suitcase.
    The suitcase size you need and how it fits in is shown at
    http://www.dahon.co.uk/b-airporter.htm

    --
    Tony

    "The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the
    right."
    - Lord Hailsham
     
  9. John B a écrit :
    >
    > The Cyclaire would certainly be worth looking at for someone with weakness.
    > You pull a cord and its all done standing up. It won the C+ Innovation of
    > the Year too.
    >
    > http://www.cyclaire.com/


    Thanks for the recommendation. It looks like a cool product, and I like
    that it works on Schrader and Presta valves as I have bikes with both
    kinds. I'll think about it.


    > A pump is an *absolute* essential in my book.


    For the kind of cycling I generally do it is sufficient to have one in
    the garage. If I have a problem on my trip to work it just means walking
    the rest of the way. As for cycling holidays, as I said, this will be
    the first time I'll be taking my bike with me, and in any case this is a
    fully van-supported trip with the van there to service bike problems. In
    fact, the issue only arises if I have to deflate the tyres for the plane.


    EFR
    Ile de France
     
  10. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Tony Raven
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    >> But what about the suitcase? The tyre pressure is the lesser of my
    >> worries.

    >
    > Have a look at the options at
    >

    http://www.roseversand.com/rose_main.cfm?cid=170&mid=0&SPR_ID=2&KTG_ID=1106&PRD_ID=0
    > which start at €36 upwards.


    Being a folder, she doesn't need anything as big as a full sized bike
    flight bag. A large canvas bag or medium-large hardshell suitcase will
    do the job. The Dahon suitcase is only 690mm(26") x 850mm(33.5") x
    350mm(13.75").

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    ;; Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.
     
  11. Tony Raven a écrit :
    > Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:


    > Have a look at the options at
    > http://www.roseversand.com/rose_main.cfm?cid=170&mid=0&SPR_ID=2&KTG_ID=1106&PRD_ID=0
    > which start at €36 upwards. Or find a friend with a very big suitcase.
    > The suitcase size you need and how it fits in is shown at
    > http://www.dahon.co.uk/b-airporter.htm


    The Dahon link is the one I have already seen. That suitcase is
    super-pricey. Moreover:

    <<The Airporter suitcase has a measurement of 73 linear inches. However
    the airlines have set a limit of 62 linear inches.>>

    Which raises another issue: whatever the price, a suitcase that is large
    enough to take my folded Dahon is possibly too large to go on a plane.
    It is also not apparent that the case, when filled with the bike, will
    hold any other luggage. Now, if I take such a large suitcase, it would
    have to be my only suitcase, which means it needs at least to take some
    changes of nappy and an evening gown or two ...

    EFR
    Ile de France
     

  12. > > which start at €36 upwards. Or find a friend with a very big suitcase.
    > > The suitcase size you need and how it fits in is shown at
    > > http://www.dahon.co.uk/b-airporter.htm

    >
    > The Dahon link is the one I have already seen. That suitcase is
    > super-pricey. Moreover:
    >
    > <<The Airporter suitcase has a measurement of 73 linear inches. However
    > the airlines have set a limit of 62 linear inches.>>
    >



    i have a dahon jetstream 20inch and have put it (easily with room for
    other bits and bobs and padding) into an ordinary large suitcase.I had
    to remove the wheels and seatpost and handlebars, but as you know they
    are designed for that, and in they go too.For flying I will put some
    reinforcing rods made of plastic tube from b&q across the soft sides of
    the case, and perhaps a sheet of hardboardeach side. I have not decided
    yet whether to use drainpipe or a smaller bore with the ends fixed to
    discs or the hardboard.Or you could buy a hard case , not so
    cheaply.This is so easy to pack I would not dream of getting the huge
    Dahon case and then worrying about the airline restrictions.You might
    need to detach mudguards; I left my cheap ones on.If you have no access
    to a big case to try out, then yoiu could take your bike down to the
    shop with a very clean looking (orange mountain survival£3) bag to try
    it .
    Are you sure about that 62 inches, seems awfully big to me.
    I'll get some more details of mine.
    TerryJ
     
  13. floor-standing bike pump to
    get the bike operational on landing (I'm too weak in the arms and hands

    to use a hand pump.)

    You'll need a pump anyway, but the really quick thing is co2 cylinders
    from mike dyason
    http://www.mwdyason.ltd.uk/shop
    Cool.
    terryJ
     
  14. In my research, I've just found a useful web-site that deals with a
    number of airlines and their bike policies. Here is is for the Google
    record:

    http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

    This also cleverly suggests the option of FedExing my bike to myself.
    Not cheaper, but so much more convenient I may look into it.

    EFR
    Ile de France
     
  15. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:
    > in message <[email protected]>, Tony Raven
    > ('[email protected]') wrote:
    >
    >>> But what about the suitcase? The tyre pressure is the lesser of
    >>> my worries.

    >> Have a look at the options at
    >>

    > http://www.roseversand.com/rose_main.cfm?cid=170&mid=0&SPR_ID=2&KTG_ID=1106&PRD_ID=0
    >
    >> which start at €36 upwards.

    >
    > Being a folder, she doesn't need anything as big as a full sized bike
    > flight bag. A large canvas bag or medium-large hardshell suitcase
    > will do the job. The Dahon suitcase is only 690mm(26") x 850mm(33.5")
    > x 350mm(13.75").
    >


    Yes, you don't need it that large folded but cheap suitcases that size
    are rare and stuff for full size bikes relatively common and cheap.
    Since airlines are used to carrying full size bikes, bagged, boxed or
    naked, why not simply treat it as such?


    --
    Tony

    "The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the
    right."
    - Lord Hailsham
     
  16. John B

    John B Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    > You'll need a pump anyway, but the really quick thing is co2 cylinders
    > from mike dyason


    Could you take them on a plane?

    John B
     
  17. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:
    > In my research, I've just found a useful web-site that deals with a
    > number of airlines and their bike policies. Here is is for the Google
    > record:
    >
    > http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm
    >
    > This also cleverly suggests the option of FedExing my bike to myself.
    > Not cheaper, but so much more convenient I may look into it.
    >
    > EFR
    > Ile de France


    Pity its not the US. There is a company there which collects your
    sports equipment from your house and delivers it to you hotel (and vice
    versa) for a fee.

    --
    Tony

    "The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the
    right."
    - Lord Hailsham
     
  18. Never thought of that one! Ryan air didn't spot them in the hold
    luggage.If they can hold so much pressure surely a little more can't
    hurt as with tyres, but there will be no point in trying to argue if
    challenged, you would just lose them.
    TerryJ
     
  19. In article <[email protected]>, John B ([email protected])
    wrote:
    >
    >
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > > You'll need a pump anyway, but the really quick thing is co2 cylinders
    > > from mike dyason

    >
    > Could you take them on a plane?


    Only if you deflate them at the check-in desk...

    --
    Dave Larrington - <http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/>
    Historians' Right To Work Campaign - We Demand A Continuing Supply Of
    History!
     
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