Bike Boxes; General Advice

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
nicholasgrundy
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Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby nicholasgrundy » 2 Jul 2013, 12:53pm

For the first time this year I have booked to bike boxes on easy jet flights to Italy for my and my son's road bikes. I was intending to hire bike boxes. We both have Kenises frames; he has a Racelight and I have a GF. We run our bikes with mudguards, but I was going to remove them for our holiday. I would be grateful for advice in relation to the following: (1) recommended Bike boxes; (2) whether there are any bike boxes which easy jet won't take?; (3) what size the bike boxes are; i.e. what size boot will e need on any hire car; (4) any pitfalls to be avoided.

ericonabike
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby ericonabike » 2 Jul 2013, 4:56pm

A different take on this, perhaps, having had to handle all sorts of bike boxes during two weeks working in the Pyrenees with Marmot Tours:

1. Go hard, not soft! Soft boxes seem to invite problems IMHO - baggage handlers see no reason to treat them with care, and they are patently not as protective as hard cases

2. I doubt it, but this should be explained in their T & Cs

3. Sizes vary slightly, but all too big for any but the most capacious boot. Assuming there are no more than two of you - get a hatchback and fold the rear seats down.

4. Pad everything to stop components moving/chafing against each other. Once you've figured out how it all fits in, make a note of what you've done! Saves having to relearn it each time you use it.
Motorists' mantra: Cyclists must obey the law and the Highway Code AT ALL TIMES. Unless their doing so would HOLD ME UP.

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RickH
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby RickH » 2 Jul 2013, 5:35pm

Best value for money is a cardboard box from a bike shop that you should be able to get for free (especially if you are a regular customer).

They would only have to dispose of the box anyway & probably pay someone to do so. They vary a little in size, slightly bigger is probably better but too big can give problems if it doesn't fit the oversize baggage x-ray machine at the airport.

If you go this route I can give some suggestions for packing.

Rick.

MarkF
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby MarkF » 2 Jul 2013, 6:07pm

1. Again, cardboard box from the bike shop, they are made for transporting bicycles.

2. I used Easyjet last year, we picked up locally an absolutely enormous box to fit my cousin's XXL hybrid. It was so big that the airport staff had to take us into the bowels of Malaga airport and use an industrial sized scanner, where it got stuck, then an employee and myself had to hold it at 45 degrees and feed it through, so, no problems with box size. :)

3. We used a Citroen Picasso, I wouldn't hire a smaller hatch, Golf, Focus etc.

nicholasgrundy
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby nicholasgrundy » 2 Jul 2013, 6:29pm

Eric, Mark and Rick,

thank you for all your advice. How far would I have to dismantle the bikes to use carboard boxes? I am happy to remove the wheels, rear deralilleurs, handlebars, seat posts and pedals. If I remove all of these parts won't a cardboard bike box be too big?

Nick

reohn2
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby reohn2 » 2 Jul 2013, 6:58pm

FWIW we've flown with Easyjet a few times with a boxed tandem without issue.
We've used two cardboard bike boxes with one end cut off and one boxed slotted into the other,then stitched together with zip ties.The box ends,base and top I protect by sticking 1inch polestyrene sheet(available at any builders merchants for about £10 for an 8x4 sheet)cut to size and stuck in place with double back tape.We use foam pipe lagging to protect the tubes(they're available in 22mm,for main tubes and 15mm for rear triangle and forks plus some for chainrings).You may want to fill any voids on the sides with more poly sheet(you'll have plenty left over :wink: )
Solos can be boxed up with just the front wheel removed( I cut a length of 3/4inch plastic overflow pipe to fit the fork dropouts and held in place with the front wheel skewer) and fixed to the frame with a couple of toestraps or zip ties.
Last time we flew the limit was 32kgs and the max length was 3.5m(I think)our tandem box was 1.83m.
Lots of Duct tape is needed so take a spare roll per box for the return journey and some spare zip ties too.
If there's only two of you and two solo bike boxes a medium sized hatchback will fit the bill even if you have to sit one behind the other with the boxes stood up down the other side and the passenger seat reclined.
Last time we were in Tuscany we hired a Ford Galaxy for four of us and two tandems plus suitcases,it swallowed the lot without a hitch :D .
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MarkF
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby MarkF » 2 Jul 2013, 7:34pm

nicholasgrundy wrote:Eric, Mark and Rick,

thank you for all your advice. How far would I have to dismantle the bikes to use carboard boxes? I am happy to remove the wheels, rear deralilleurs, handlebars, seat posts and pedals. If I remove all of these parts won't a cardboard bike box be too big?

Nick


Cut it down then, easy peasy! When I fly out I choose a regular box for my 58cm bike, I take off the pedals, seat, front wheel and turn the bars, that's all. I do take care to protect the rear derailleur carefully though. With two people and bike shop cardboard boxes you can use the hand holes (or cut your own) to carry both of them easily, one person at each end.

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RickH
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby RickH » 2 Jul 2013, 8:01pm

When I've packed mine, I've taken off the front wheel (& used a plastic spacer - that would have been attached to a frame in transit to the shop - scrounged from the bike shop to brace the forks), pedals & saddle/seatpost (there is a positioning clamp on the seatpost that rests on the main clamp so it goes back into exactly the right place).

I was packing the mudguards so took those off &, while it was unbolted, took the front brake out of the fork & taped/zip-tied it to the handlebars (1 less cable to have to twist around). The mudguards were then taped/zip-tied to the front wheel, as was the front skewer (so there's fewer lumps sticking out). With a slightly bigger box I might have been able to leave the rear guard on.

I took the handlebars off the stem (so the stem is still holding the forks in place) & gently (especially if you have STI/Ergo shifters & don't want to damage the cables) turned them to run vertically alongside the forks.

I left the rear mech attached but in a lowish gear so it was well inboard of the chainstay, but previously have sometimes unbolted it. I put the chain on the big chainring to protect the otherwise exposed teeth of the big ring.

I was taking a pannier rack so put that upside down with the rear wheel resting on it & some padding between the frame & the stays as a bit of extra protection for the back wheel.

Rick.

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bikes4two
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby bikes4two » 2 Jul 2013, 8:13pm

And of course the CTC website has some useful info too - see here for details.

I'm not a seasoned 'airplane with bike' traveller, but the three times I have done it, all with Easy Jet (Gatwick, Geneva, Nice, Gibralter)and using the CTC Poly Bag from Wiggle, have been problem free.
Without my stoker, every trip would only be half a journey

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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby Vorpal » 2 Jul 2013, 8:25pm

There is quite a lot of information on and linked to these two threads. The links have detailed advice about packing in a variety of boxes and bags.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67410
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=76731
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Gearoidmuar
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby Gearoidmuar » 3 Jul 2013, 9:03am

Easy Jet should change their name to Not so Easy Jet.

The airlines are becoming ridiculous about bikes.

A friend of mine was told in Brussels recently by the bike person in the airport that were the tyres not deflated they could explode and bring down the plane.. Their return home was made maximally unpleasant by an insistence on having their bikes wrapped, which cost them 50 euro each on top of what they had already paid. There was nothing in any prior documentation on this.
I had nonsense like this from a young idiot in Lisbon a few years ago. I was getting nowhere until I pulled myself up to my full height, looked him in the eye and said...
"I promise you something. If I have to fly home without my bike, I will create a lot of trouble for you young man, I promise you that"

after that the non-existent rules were suddenly non-existent and all went well, but why do we put up with this nonsense??

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cycleruk
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby cycleruk » 3 Jul 2013, 9:25am

I and a few friends have flown Easyjet many times now with bikes, in a boxes. Never had any problems between Liverpool and Majorca. There are rules and they are on the Easyjet website. If in doubt then print of the relevant rules and take them with you. It is the local personnel who have their own take on the rules. :mrgreen:
I have seen a couple of boxes damaged but generally they arrive in good condition. If a box/bike is damaged then make sure you contact Easyjet ASAP and get someone at the airport to witness/verify it. (take photo's) The baggage handlers handle thousands of items a day so become blasé about another bit of luggage and these people are not Easyjet staff.
I use one of these:-
http://www.thebikeboxcompany.co.uk/deluxe.html
but it is a small box and the bike has to be basically dismantled to make it fit.
The other two boxes on the website are slightly bigger so easier to pack.
http://www.thebikeboxcompany.co.uk/

If you decide on a box then shop around (Google) as they can be less expensive from other EU countries, including postage.
I got mine second hand and it has served me well.
You'll never know if you don't try it.

eileithyia
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Re: Bike Boxes; General Advice

Postby eileithyia » 3 Jul 2013, 9:26am

You will not need to cut down a cycle shop cardboard box, they are designed to take a bike with pedals off, front wheel out and handlebars turned sideways. Rear racks were also left in place and my small rack pack was left on the rack so any tools that could not be carried on the plane were left in that bag. We had pieces of tape prepared to secure the last bit of box opening and then put the roll of tape inside the box before finally securing... no duct tape on the plane..... you will need tape to re-secure your box on flight home.
Print off any paperwork from the site regarding travelling with a bike that states out the requirements, then you can show this to over officious desk clerks etc at the airport both out and back.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells