How to Fly With a Bike the Cheap and Easy Method – Paul Devault
You are probably wracking your brain hoping to figure out how you can fly with a bike, wondering how hefty will the luggage fees be what the constraints are or do you mail it independently via shipping carriers like FedEx. Most cyclists would rather bring their bike along when traveling abroad for holidays rather than hire one at the destination.
To help you unravel this mystery, your first stop should be checking with your preferred airline for their regulations to fly with a bike; do they have a particular way of packaging the bike? Next, check the luggage charges which should be based on both the luggage size and weight. These will come in handy when determining a cheaper option for your luggage. Also check to see the benefits that come with traveling with elite status if you have or tickets like first-class or business tickets and leverage on them if you’ve as you’d probably not be charged bike fees.
You could as well be wondering what precautionary measures to take to ensure minimal or no risks of your bike getting ruined. Do you go ahead and dismantle the entire bike then put the pieces in a box or is there an easy way of packing it? Dismantling it almost fully could be a safe option with less chances of the bike getting broken but it will sure take a lot of time to disassemble and reassemble the bike on arrival. You’ll definitely need to be skilled to dismantle an entire bike or hire a professional to do it. This could mean added costs and remember, the same will happen during assembly. Even for the beginner mountain bike, you still don’t wish to undertake such an intricate tedious process.
The question is what other options are there, is there an easier way of packing a bike for transport? Yes, there are, for example, there are professionally made bike boxes or bike bags. Let us look at both briefly to help you select a cheap and easy method for your mountain bike.
Some boxes are made in such a way that there are provisions where you can mount the wheels and strap them and lock for safety. The interior usually has a protective padded lining offering extra protection for the bike from damages. You’ll need to dismantle quite a significant part of the bike to fit them in their fitments provided. Most of these boxes are usually made of metallic materials rendering them quite heavy. The added weight of the box will consequently increase the baggage fee not forgetting these boxes are bit expensive.
The other option is to pack it in bike bag. Some of these bike bags are made from fabrics that is super light and with some internal fitments where you can insert different bike parts, few straps to firmly hold the bike but still retain the bags lightweight form. Also there are plastic bike bags like CTC plastic bike bags which are light in weight as well. In addition, plastic bags are transparent giving them an upper hand as the bike is visible therefore the baggage handlers will handle them with care and not stack other luggage on it.
Let us list the advantages of plastic bike bags
They’re lightweight: you’d want a bag that doesn’t use up your baggage allowance, right? Then the lightweight nature of these bags favors that.
They are cheap: A CTC plastic bag retails for about $20 or less. Plus the fact that they do not add much weight to the luggage then your baggage fees will be low.
They are clear: Like mentioned earlier, these plastic bags are transparent and since one can clearly make out what’s inside, the bike will be handled carefully.
How to pack a bike
Most airlines require you take a few precautions for the safety of your bike. Please remember to check the guidelines of your airline as they differ.
- Partially deflate the tires.Remove the handlebars, you can attach them to bike or turn them to one side parallel to the frame
- Remove the handlebars, you can attach them to bike or turn them to one side parallel to the frame
- Remove the saddle or lower it into the frameRemove the rear derailleur
- Remove the rear derailleurSome require removing the bike wheels.
- Some require removing the bike wheels.
If intending to fly with a bike, prep early enough on how you’ll go about packing the bike, confirm the airline guidelines; you don’t want to be turned down at the desk for using unacceptable packing bag. For example, not all airlines accept plastic bags but require it be packed in either a bike box or bike bag.
Purchase the bike bag early to see how you’ll pack it, and which parts you will have to dismantle. Also, remember to put the tools like the pedal spanner, in place as you’ll need them to reassemble the bike. Inspect your bike on arrival to see if there are baggage damage claims to be addressed
Guest Article by Paul Devault
Paul is an avid cyclist. He’s travelled to over 10 countries with his bike. He writes a lot on bikes and biking at his blog. When not attending to his blog (http://bestmtbgear.com/ ), he’s biking in the neighborhood.