Cycles and Planes

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
billtyler58
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Cycles and Planes

Postby billtyler58 » 12 Jun 2013, 12:29pm

I want to take my bike by plane to southern Europe and cycle home. But not sure how to pack the bike for the plane as a bulky bike box or bag will be of no use when I arrive. Any ideas from anyone who has done this? Bill

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Audax67
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby Audax67 » 12 Jun 2013, 1:21pm

Never done it, but I know a few who have. They use folders such as Moulton or Airnimal. Pricey but much less vulnerable. Couple I know did a 1000k Audax in the Negev recently on folding Moultons.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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Sweep
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby Sweep » 12 Jun 2013, 4:18pm

I'd take a look at this:

http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/product-d ... ar-bag.htm

You get it by post from New Zealand.

Maybe a bit expensive for what it is but it's excellent.

Requires extra packing (cardboard/bubble wrap/pipe lagging) but once you land you can chuck all this and pack the bag on the back of your bike (a large A4 book) to use again.

I've used it once - it's a tight fit to get the disaassembled bike in so allow time.
Sweep

whiskywheels
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby whiskywheels » 12 Jun 2013, 4:31pm

billtyler58 wrote:I want to take my bike by plane to southern Europe and cycle home. But not sure how to pack the bike for the plane as a bulky bike box or bag will be of no use when I arrive. Any ideas from anyone who has done this? Bill

It depends on the airline you fly with, as they all have different regulations. Generally, you have to remove pedals, turn handlebars, and deflate tyres (utter nonsense, as it's unnecessary). We flew to Turkey with no covering on the bike at all, but I think many airlines now require the bike to be wrapped in a dedicated bike bag or in some cases just polythene or cardboard. Obviously you can discard polythene or cardboard when you arrive, but like I say, the important issue is what the regulations of your chosen airline are, as if you don't comply, you won't fly!

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RickH
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby RickH » 12 Jun 2013, 5:01pm

If you aren't wanting to pack the bike after the flight, why not get a cardboard bike box from a bike shop and pack it in that. Then just ditch the box once you've unpacked it at the other end.

Rick.

tyreon
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby tyreon » 12 Jun 2013, 5:36pm

Hi. Yeh. Check what the airline say. If poss,check the staff(nice,indifferent,overworked,rules and regs happy!) Flew from EM to Nice just recently. Jet2. Staff were 5*.Very helpful. Didn't want pedals removed. Did our bikes up in bubble wrap,as much as could do. Only had to turn the handlebars,and in so doin,bent me front cable adjuster(my fault).Took our panniers in 2 throwaway market bags secured with some parcel tape and gaffa tape. Threw all away at Nice.Never had any damage to bikes before when flying,but it's always nervy.Am prepared for scuffs and odd scrapes: wouldn't like to take brand new bike on plane,go Bike Express.Hope all goes well for you

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horizon
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby horizon » 12 Jun 2013, 5:40pm

billtyler58 wrote:I want to take my bike by plane to southern Europe and cycle home. But not sure how to pack the bike for the plane as a bulky bike box or bag will be of no use when I arrive. Any ideas from anyone who has done this? Bill


I made my own bag using a PVC ground sheet from an old tent - the bike fitted nicely. The important thing is that you have something pretty convincing when you arrive at Check-In even if their regulations aren't specific. Take some Duck tape and borrow some scissors if needed. Wrapping a bike is a palava but it will get you there, and may even protect your bike. I used my bag as an extra groundsheet and again on a coach. If you really don't need it or want to carry it, buy or find some wrapping and discard - everyone has loads of bubble wrap. if you are cycling to your departure airport then carrying it is no big deal.

PS You could buy a cheap bag/wrapping and put out an offer on here for anyone departing from your destination airport around the time of your arrival.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

gordy
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby gordy » 12 Jun 2013, 6:04pm

I've done it several ways, as suggested above.

1) Use a box, unpack at the airport, dump the box. Some airports (eg Christchurch in NZ) have designated bike assembly areas, with stands. Some airports have an area to stack bike boxes so that departing cyclists can usually find one.

2) Use a soft bag and post it back home as soon as you find a post office. I use this method if I'm planning on arriving late and getting to a hotel or motel. Soft bags fit into taxis more easily than bike boxes. Chain Reaction sell a Cinelli soft bike bag for <£40

3) Use a disposable plastic bag. My bike fits in an orange survival bag... about £4 from outdoor shops.

In your case, I'd use a box. Halfords (etc) seem delighted to give them away. They have a picture of a bike on the outside, which might help.

I've flown with a bike about thirty times and have never yet had a problem. I use cable ties but no padding at all. The airlines take hundreds of bikes. My personal preference is Easyjet or Ryanair as their procedures and online bike booking are clear and simple.

MarkF
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby MarkF » 12 Jun 2013, 6:09pm

As others have suggested, I always use a cardboard box from a bike shop, they give strong protection and with the hand cut outs, they are easy to manouvre around.

I've flown into Spain with Easyjet, Jet 2 & Ryanair with zero issues. At Malaga, Barcelona & Bilbao an airport employee had cleared up the bike box & packing before I'd even finished building my bike up.

simonhill
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby simonhill » 12 Jun 2013, 7:40pm

All good advice above, but maybe you need to decide a few things before worrying about packaging.

Decide where you want to go and where you want to go from, then check out airlines that fly that route. Check their baggage policy, bike and bag(s). It seems that the budget airlines are probably your best bet as they have clearly defined bike policies, unlike many scheduled airlines where it can be a bit hit and miss. Prices may vary consierably so if this is a consideration it may also affect your route and airline.

How do want to get to the airport? A bike in a cardboard bike box is not easy to manhandle on public transport and/or will it fit in the car? No such worries with a plastic bag. A c/b bike box can be folded flat and the bike packed at the airport, but it is not that easy to manhandle the two if doing transport changes. You get the idea, so some thought needed.

Personally I almost always use c/b bike box now as it is always accepted by airlines. Just bin it when you arrive.

If packing at the airport, have a trial run first to make sure you can undo pedals, etc and know how to tun your h'bars.

Don't worry about flying, I do it a lot and never have any problems as long as I do my homework first.

DaleFTW
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby DaleFTW » 12 Jun 2013, 9:41pm

Either put in a bag and post the bag home or get a cardboard box from the LBS :?:

MarkF
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby MarkF » 13 Jun 2013, 7:30am

simonhill wrote:How do want to get to the airport? A bike in a cardboard bike box is not easy to manhandle on public transport and/or will it fit in the car? No such worries with a plastic bag.


I've picked up boxes in Barcelona centre, folded them (x3) and cycled to the airport. :)

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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby Vorpal » 13 Jun 2013, 7:45am

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Sweep
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby Sweep » 13 Jun 2013, 8:58am

simonhill wrote:
How do want to get to the airport? A bike in a cardboard bike box is not easy to manhandle on public transport and/or will it fit in the car?


Yes I always wondered about the standard advice to use a cardboard bike box if you were relying on public transport. That's why I liked the Ground Effect Tardis - I had no trouble carrying it while carrying two other bags (thankfully one had wheels).

I appreciate that in terms of protection once you get it thereit is very good.
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elduderino12
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Re: Cycles and Planes

Postby elduderino12 » 13 Jun 2013, 9:28am

Portland wrote:I'd take a look at this:

http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/product-d ... ar-bag.htm

You get it by post from New Zealand.

Maybe a bit expensive for what it is but it's excellent.

Requires extra packing (cardboard/bubble wrap/pipe lagging) but once you land you can chuck all this and pack the bag on the back of your bike (a large A4 book) to use again.

I've used it once - it's a tight fit to get the disaassembled bike in so allow time.



I second this. I've got one too and it's taken all the stress out of flying for me. It sits on my back rack and I hardly notice that it's there - I suspect it will pay for itself over time.