's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

Coast-to-coast via airplane w/bike. How'd you pack it up?(16 posts)

Coast-to-coast via airplane w/bike. How'd you pack it up?128
Jan 6, 2003 7:41 AM
Or is it not really worth it somehow? I.e risk to bike, late Feb. weather in So. Cal., it's only a week/10 d trip etc. Yup, it's my first time travalling w the bike. The skiing (nord. & Alp.)has been really magnificient this season yet I begin to tire of throwing snow and I havn't seen a double yellow for weeks!

Should I buy a 'bike bag', or use an airline bike box? I'll have the basic tools I ride with: allen and crescent wrenches. Any additional info. or pitfalls to be aware of?

Thanks in advance to this invaluable cycling board.

And to all you riders in warmer climates: Ride an EXTRA mile for all us nor'easters!
Jan 6, 2003 8:42 AM
Are you friendly with any bike shops? Ask them to give you a bike box and show you the basics in breaking a bike down to fit it in the box. This usually requires removal of both wheels, pedals, seatpost/seat, and H-bars/stem. It requires only minimal tools and knowledge but I'd recommend watching a pro do it to get some tips. I've traveled with my bike a couple times and I learn something new every time.

Tips: Wrap pipe insulation or equivelent around frame if you value your paint. Put a spacer in the dropouts to keep frame or fork from being crushed. Zip-tie or tape anything that could rattle around and cause damage.

During my last trip I learned to face my cassette towards the outside of the box. I, inadvertantly, packed it up angainst my down tube. During the trip it chewed up and dinged my frame.
Best bike rack for commercial airliners??128
Jan 6, 2003 8:52 AM
Hey thanks that is very helpful.

Yes I am hooked in to a few shops around here so I'll pop in and give it a go.

(You think they could just install a bike rack on the nose of the plane. You know? Jeesh.)

Thanks again!
Bycycling had a good Article recentlyAlpedhuez55
Jan 6, 2003 9:21 AM
Here is a link to an article on the subject:,1596,1034-105-101,00.html

They had a good illistration on the subject in the magazine but not on the website. I think it appeared 2 or 3 months ago. Also consider packing some clothes in plastic bags the box for added protection. It helps keep the bike from moving around too much.

Mike Y.
re: Coast-to-coast via airplane w/bike. How'd you pack it up?jaybird
Jan 6, 2003 9:57 AM
I would UPS my bike instead of taking it on the plane with me. Most major hotels will take delivery for you and allow your bike to be picked up by ups as well. Just make sure you call and ask before. The airlines are getting pretty strict about bikes and they don't care if it is a "trade show display",if it is a bike it will cost you an extra $50-$80 each way.
Wow. That's instructive. I'll have to call UPS for128
Jan 6, 2003 10:07 AM
cost. Any idea? I'm going to a residence so I can have it shipped there you say....hmmm.

What do you mean by strict? High price as cargo or dissallow it altogether??

(Heck with it: Ill ride across!)

and Thanks!
Cheaper to ship...Brooks
Jan 6, 2003 10:37 AM
but you don't have your bike with you and may get delayed. If sending to residence, give yourself plenty of time for it to get there (and you don't have your bike to ride during that time). Airlines getting strict: it used to be that you could have a cargo box marked "display" or somesuch and depending on the ticket agent, how full the flight is, how cute you are, then they might not charge you. Each airline charges different amounts for oversized luggage. Check their website under special handling/shipping. Also see about renting a bike when you are at your destination. Depending on number of days you will ride, it may be cheaper to rent. Bring shoes and pedals, maybe your seat if desired.

I use a Trico Sport case (hard shell with 3 foam layers) if I need to bring a specific bike with me.

Good Luck!
better optionstevesbike
Jan 6, 2003 10:15 AM
Many bike shops rent bike cases--the hardshell ones. I'd get one of these and take it on the plane with me (I've traveled a lot with my bike (have my own case) and haven't had any problems-just try to minimize the number of connections). I wouldn't trust a bike to UPS unless it was nuke proofed packed.
Just spoke to the LBS: $25/w for the hard case: reasonable128
Jan 6, 2003 10:34 AM
and they'll pack it for 25.

They use the UPS a lot she says but I agree with you, could be dangerous. Although, UPS runs abt $35 each way and the airlines (she says) are about 80-100 each way depending on the airline. "They don't make it easy she says." Ahh!
She also suggested if there is a good shop out there you can rent, suggests bringing pedals and shoes...whatever.

Maybe that Greenugene guy can take this up as his next cause, get the planes to install bikeracks and somehow tie it global warming and those gould dern Ehrabs!
Sounds good to
Jan 6, 2003 11:06 AM
The price sounds about right (I own a hard case, but my LBS rents them for $50.00 and packs the bike for free -- so the bottom line is the same).

The first time that I used a hard case, I watched the LBS pack the bike for me. I'm glad that I did, because I had to repack it on the return trip.

I have done both the UPS and take-on-the plane options. The pros of UPS are cost (cheaper) and that you have door-to-door delivery. The cons are transit time (you will not have your bike for several days before and after your trip) and reliability (I have not had any problems, but there are a lot of people who have had problems. The pros of flying are that you will have the bike with you all of the time and the airlines, notwithstanding their bad attitude, are more reliable. The cons are cost and the hassles of getting your bike from the luggage pickup at the airport to your final distination (for example, if you are renting a car, you often will have to take the case on the rental car shuttle -- also, don't rent a compact car).

I also have done rentals. The advice above about taking your pedals and shoes is excellent. Given the length of your stay, I would take the bike. The cost will be less and you will feel more comfortable on your own bike than on a rental one.
UPS at $35 each way??PaulCL
Jan 6, 2003 12:06 PM
I called UPS last Friday for a quote from Ohio to Colorado round trip at just under $200! For that amount, I'll take it on the plane.

I have never paid for a bike on the plane in four trips. I had some cheap bumper stickers printed up that say (in red print on white background) "Fragile: Conference Material". I was once asked if it was a bike. I said " parts. I'm heading to the Interbike show to display my products". It was bike parts - just that they all added up to precisely one bike. And yes, the interbike thing was a lie. I don't feel at all guilty since the guy ahead of me with two golf bags didn't have to pay for his bags. Paul
And what about those ski bum hot shots! What do they pay?128
Jan 6, 2003 12:34 PM
I'm feeling singled out, man! It's a vast plane wing conspiracy.

Wow, big price difference you bring up. Guess I'd better call UPS.

What's the big deal/expense to the airlines to carry a bike anyway?? Geez, you'd think the arilines would be kissing our derailleurs, especially considering this airline is bankrupt...

Thanks for the info. Very funny story you relate there. I'll have to hunt around for some bumper stickers. I could slap this Sugerloaf ski mt. sticker I have on there and tell them ummm...."I'm a skier. And I golf in the summer. You understand."
Look up "bumper stickers" on Google for custom made (nm)PaulCL
Jan 7, 2003 7:22 AM
re: Coast-to-coast via airplane w/bike. How'd you pack it up?KeeponTrekkin
Jan 6, 2003 11:08 AM
1 - no loose parts in the big box
2 - reinforce the "no handhold" holes in bike boxes with more cardboard and tape; every baggage handler in the world will use the hole that way and they tear easily.
3 - reinforce the box walls and corners with extra cardboard and lots of tape.
4 - make liberal use of bubble wrap. My goal is to immobilize the bike and support the sides of the box so a crushing force won't be borne solely by the bike.
5 - Include packing supplies for the return trip.

I've used UPS with no problems, although it does get more handling en route; solution is to pack even better and get insurance.

UPS delivers to the doorstep of the destination. You can even include clothing, etc in the box, possibly allowing you to avoid baggage check-in and claim.

When you fly with a bike, you wait longer in the airport and then must deliver the bike and your luggage from baggage claim to the destination - not an easy task in any airport. Not many cabs, rental cars or airport services can handle a bike in a box either. I had to get 2 weeks of luggage and a bike box to a JFK remote parking lot after a trans-Atlantic flight and 6 hr. time zone change. It required a lot of help from other travelers and patience from the bus driver.

Bon voyage..
I'd ship it.pmf1
Jan 7, 2003 4:57 AM
I've travelled with bikes before and used a Performance hard case. Worked great. But since 9/11, things have changed. I recently read that the airlines are now insisting that all checked baggage be unlocked so they can root through it at will. This would concern me.

Instead, I'd get a carboard bike box from your LBS and pack it really well and UPS it there and back. You can pack a bike very securely using plumbing pipe insulation, bubble wrap and some home made braces for the drop-outs (I made some out of threaded metal rods, rubber washers and wing nuts).
Thanks to all. Very helpful info...nm128
Jan 7, 2003 6:50 AM