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Packing up the bike for travel. a few questions.(8 posts)

Packing up the bike for travel. a few questions.raboboy
Apr 18, 2002 6:54 AM
Ok, I'm taking a vacation next week and want to take the bike with me. My LBS rents the hard cases for $7.50 a day, i'll need it for 10 days, that's $75.00 (yeah, i'm good with math). Now, for $35 they will put it in a cardboard travel box. Now, my question is: how protected will my bike be in the cardboard? Obviously, the box is less sturdy and I wont be able to keep it for years, but it should make a round trip, correct? Or should I just go with the hard case? What are some of your experiences with taking the bike on a plane with different cargo boxes?

Next, I've heard that sometimes the airlines like to charge extra for that type of luggage. How often does this happen, and is it only with int'l flights (i'm just going domestic)?

Lastly, can anyone recommend some nice rides in the Pacific Grove (Monterey), CA area?

Thanks in advance.
re: Packing up the bike for travel. a few questions.Troyboy
Apr 18, 2002 7:11 AM
I'd say the cardboard box would work.

RE: rides, along 17 mile Drive is beautiful, however, there are so many cars and other riders and inline skaters that it is not a serious ride. A simple slow vista cruise. There is a Monterey Bike Path you should check out. Early AMs as I hear it's heavily traveled. Also, I know of a great rider up there who lives in Pacific Grove and rides with a club type group on Sats.

When I'm up in that area I ride from Santa Cruz to Monterey and back. I've also ridden Larkin Valley and San Andreas along with some hills to Mountain View. These rides are North of Monterey. I bought a Krebs map to find my way around. I recommend you do the same.

Send me an email at and I'll put you in contact with them if you'd like.
more ridesmr_spin
Apr 18, 2002 7:30 AM
San Juan Grade into San Juan Batista is a really nice ride. Try to work that into a ride if you can. The only bad part is that you cross a county line on the downhill into town, and the pavement instantly goes to hell.

An awesome ride is to go from Carmel to Cambria, which is roughly 100 miles. It goes through Big Sur, past Hearst Castle, and miles of absolutely spectacular scenery. It's generally downhill and there's usually a tailwind, too! Two problems here: lots of tourists and motorhomes looking everywhere except the road (can't help it!) and the biggest problem, now you have to get back to Carmel!
yes, and no....SteveO
Apr 18, 2002 7:47 AM
on the surface, a cardboard box should work...but you never know.

I have a 2-piece surfboard because i thought a padded case would be sufficient; I wasnt planning on finding a footprint directly over the 'PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE' which was printed in several languages on the bag.

sooo, odds are, the 35 dollar cardboard box will be enough, but if its not, you'll need to decide whether the damage/hassle/courtfees are worth the 40 dollar savings.

BTW - It took me over 2 years of persistence to recoup my loss, as airlines claim theyre not responsible for damages to sporting equipment (usually clearly stated in their agreements).

The footprint gave me evidence that the damage was not incidental associated with transporting sporting goods, but actual carelessness/recklessness on the airlines part. Im convinced I never would have seen a cent if i didnt have that footprint and immediately report it.
re: Packing up the bike for travel. a few questions.PaulCL
Apr 18, 2002 7:14 AM
1. For $40, go for the hard case. For peace of mind
2. Airlines can and often will, charge you for a bike box. A few tips: don't volunteer that there's a bike in the box. If they ask, tell them it is bike parts - afterall, it is in pieces. I went to a print shop and had bumper stickers printed up that say "Fragile: Conference Material Enclosed". I have flown with my bike about 5 times only once paying. Oh yeah, the charge is around $100 round trip.
box itmr_spin
Apr 18, 2002 7:23 AM
Your bike came in a cardboard box, so could it be any less safe to put it back into a cardboard box?

I borrowed a hard case from a friend for one trip. Another time I went down to a LBS and they gave me one of their cardboard boxes for free. By the way, one shop I went to wanted to charge me $10 for a box they were going to throw away!

If you pack the bike correctly, the only real advantage the hardcase has is that it is bigger and generally harder to rip open. Your bike can still be crushed. Depending on model, stuff can still fall out.

Save some money. Use a box, pack the bike correctly, and use lots of strapping tape as a coat of armor.
re: Packing up the bike for travel. a few questions.pmf1
Apr 18, 2002 7:41 AM
I'd go the cardboard box route and pack it well. Your LBS may be willing to pack it for a small fee. I have a hard case. If you think you're going to travel more than once or twice, its not a bad idea to buy one. Your bike will be safer in a hardcase, but not enormously safer. They have wheel and are lockable, which are advantages over a cardboard box. A variable that comes into this calculus is what kind of bike do you have? If its a $5000 Colnago, spring for the case.

If you pack it, brace your fork and rear drop outs. I made braces from threaded metal rods, wing nuts and rubber washers. I also wrap the tubes in plumbing pip insulation. You should zip-tie the chain to keep it from flopping around. Although I don't genenerally like this stuff, White Lightening chain lube is great because it is so clean.

Yes, airlines charge. Approx $75 EACH WAY on domestic flights. Its free for international. There are a number of people who claim to have ways to get around this, but it has never worked for me.
not all boxes created equalDaveG
Apr 18, 2002 8:57 AM
I've shipped a few times. Picked up a box for free from a shop. In my first experience I used a long, narrow, single walled box (type where rear wheel stays on). Thing got very badly beat up on trip (bike OK). Got a new box at destination which was from a Cannondale - this was a great box! It used double wll construction and included an internal "frame" that you could ziptie the frame to - very sturdy. I was able to use this box twice more. Moral of story: find the best box you can. Secure the bike so that it does not flop around in the box