We understand that your bike is your baby, that you can’t possibly think of riding anything else on your biking tour, whatever the cost! But cost isn’t the only thing to take into consideration … imagine what can happen to your beloved bike en route to its destination! Here are a few stories that might make you consider keeping your bike safe and sound at home.
1. Nervous about flying my bike, I called the airlines the night before and asked their customer service about policies regarding bicycles. She informed me that if I pack it in a box within the allotted measurements, and as long as it was under a certain weight, that it will be OK. So I paid to have my bike packed according to the guidelines and even double checked the weight at the weighing scale when we got to the airport…it all looked good to go. When I reached the check-in counter, the lady asked me to open the box! She then proceeded to tell me that she would need to charge me $150.00 for overweight and bulk size. WHAT???!!! I explained to her that I had called ahead of time and specifically had my bike packed and weighed according to the guidelines THEY gave me, but she wouldn’t listen. I ended up having to not only open my packed bike and cut down the box(that I paid to have packed that way), but I also opened my other luggage to arrange stuff for the next hour to make sure every thing was within their weight requirements. What a pain!
2. Bikes on a plane? Easier said than done. I recently returned from a tour of the Balkans. The plan was to land at Sarajevo, cycle to Split in Croatia, ride up the coast and across to Ljubljana to fly home. But that isn’t exactly what happened, because the airline mislaid my bike. After a suspiciously long wait at Sarajevo airport for the cardboard box I’d carefully packed it in days earlier, I was told it was still in London. Two frustrating days later, Germanwings finally delivered a now very tatty box containing a travel-weary bike. The frame was dented and scratched, the rack bent, the gear lever minus its plastic end and my bell was broken. And because of the delay I had to take two trains to catch up, so missed a lot of my planned riding.Fear not, the trip was salvaged and I enjoyed lots of sun, sea and sightseeing, but it was slightly tarnished. Annoyingly, this also happened the last time I flew with a bike – although that time the damage was limited to two chainrings and a set of handlebars.
3. My pedal spanner and multi-tool were deemed weapons at the airport recently, despite having no particularly sharp parts. I argued that my laptop would probably be more dangerous if I decided to hit someone with the corner of it, but no, because they were metal and ‘tool-like’, I had to throw them away :-( Very frustrating. I had flown with my multi-tool before and it got through with no problem, but apparently this time they felt it was a security risk. Strangely enough, frying pans were no problem!
4. The worst instance for me was on Air France. My bike-in-a-box actually went missing for a couple of days. Then when it showed up, it looked like it had been stomped on by elephants. The cardboard was ripped open down one side and the rear wheel was bent completely out of shape.
5. I just came back from a road bike trip in Colorado. Here is a brief summary of the costs incurred to bring my bike w/ me:
Flight 1: – I was in a rush and had to ask my bike shop to break it down and box it: $15 for the box and wrapping stuff + $35 for the service
I had to take a cab straight from the bike shop to the airport instead of the subway: $50 vs $2
Flew with Jetblue: $50 fee because the box was slightly above 50lbs (even though it was below the 62″ requirement)
Lesson learned, on the return I shipped my bike with professionals. I used the box the bike shop gave me + bought some wrapping paper + use the plastic covers from the 1st flight. I shipped it from Vail in Colorado to Manhattan. Cost: $40. The bike arrived without a dent or scratch in the box 4 days later. No hassle, no hidden fees.
Imagine arriving to your Escape Adventures vacation destination with your bike waiting and ready for you. No pesky customs agents,TSA or airline reps to hassle with, no hidden airline fees, no bulky bike box to cram into the back of a taxi or rental car… Escape Adventures can take these issues out of the equation by renting you a quality bike for your next tour.
Bike Travel Tips
-From Bike Tips on http://www.theguardian.com
• Add extra layers of cardboard to the corners of your box and use plenty of Duct tape to hold it tight.
• Take extra tape in your hand luggage – customs may need to look inside the box, and aren’t required to help you seal it up again.
• Take off pedals, wheel skewers and anything else pointy that may puncture the box.
• Use lots of padding – foam pipe cladding from a DIY shop is perfect for protecting your frame and very cheap.
• Change to the biggest rings at the front and back – this will take up as much slack as possible in the chain and tuck the derailleur in.
• Once you’ve removed the wheels, protect the frame by using the plastic clips that come attached to forks on new bikes – if you don’t still have yours ask for some at the local bike shop
• Weigh your bike – if you’re over the allowance weight you may be stung with a large surcharge. Bathroom scales are perfect for this – but make your life easier by boxing it up first, as it’s not easy to balance a bike on one when it’s built up.
• Mark your seatpost with a bit of tape – this will help avoid any fitting issues at the other end.
• Pop any small, loose items like pedals or skewers in a small sandwich bag and selotape it to the inside of the box. If there’s a small hole then you could lose them.
• When booking your flight look carefully at bike surcharges, which vary hugely.
• Over-sized luggage can take a long time to check in, so arrive early or you may find your box has not made it on to your flight, even if you have…
• Forget flying with your bike altogether and rent a bike from Escape Adventures or get the pros, like Bike Flights, to help you transport your bike to your destination.