Are you thinking of taking your bike with you on a plane for a holiday and you are wondering how you will manage it? Well, if you neither want to stop your fitness or recreational riding regimen nor rent a bike at your destination, you are allowed to pack your bike and put it in the plane’s cargo hold.
First things first; look up for an airline that has cheap biker fees which will suit your budget. Once you have that information, make sure you know your chosen airline’s dos and don’ts. Check their policy on sporting goods so you be well prepared before you check in at the airport.
For you to air travel with your bike, it is crucial to pack it well to avoid any accidents when they are transporting it to the cargo area.
There are three basic options of packaging your bike.
Clear plastic bag
This is a simple and quick way to pack your bike.
There are plastic bags specifically designed for this purpose and their advantage is that they are not only cheap and easy to carry but you can re-use them again.
The benefit of using a clear plastic bag is it is always handled with more care since the luggage handlers can see through it.
When using a clear plastic bag to pack your bike you only require basic disassembly. You need some bubble wrap or foam to cover and protect the sensitive parts of the bike like the derailleur
You can detach the rear derailleur from the frame and wrap it with the foam so as to protect it.
Make sure the front wheel is firmly secured. Adding more padding to the front derailleur won’t hurt either.
When you are done with protecting those parts, put your bike in the bag and duct tape it so that it’s more secure and handling it will be easy.
This is a steady and a lasting method to pack if you want to air travel with your bike but it is costly. It may also be quite heavy to carry because of the material used in making the case.
Cardboard bicycle box
Cardboard boxes are readily available in most places; almost any bicycle shop should be able to give you one although you may also be charged a small fee in some shops.
The card board box gives protection to the bike frame and other fragile parts of the bicycle like the derailleur.
If you choose a cardboard box for your packing you will need the following:
- a) Cardboard box
The bigger the box the better it is for packing a bike. Plastic spacers are also valuable because they can are put into the empty forks which prevent any part from bending.
- b) Packing materials
Having plenty of packing materials is necessary, things like Styrofoam, strings, duct tapes, or even wraps are good to be on hand not only to protect your bike but to close the box up too.
- c) Patience
You may need to take your time to make sure you pack and secure the bike well to prevent any damage.
Disassembling the bike
Here is how to take your bike apart and prepare it to go in the box
- i) Detach the pedals -This can be a bit tricky, but if you lube the pedals in advance, they can come out easily
- ii) Take off the handle bars
iii) Take the wheels off – this you can easily do and even release a bit of air from the tires if that is a requirement from your chosen airline to air travel with your bike.
- vi) Protecting of the bike – Use the Styrofoam or wrap to cover the bike so as to guard it from any accidents or incidents that may occur while it is being transported.
- vi) Detaching the seat – The seat normally comes out easily and once that is done, wrap foam around the tube so it doesn’t get scratched while it’s in the cargo area.
Once you are done with the packing of your bike in whichever foam you choose, make sure you get to the airport early enough so that you can check in your luggage without any rush. Always be polite at the airport and co-operate with the staff in whatever they require from you and am sure they will also reciprocate.
On reaching your destination, collect your bike and check it for damages if any before leaving the airport. If you have any issue, talk to the staff and I am sure they will look for the best way to assist you.
If you find the procedures to air travel with your bike cumbersome then you can always check for more information on mountain biking and travel biking like best mountain bike for under 200 or beginner mountain bike