Travelling with my bike used to worry the beejaysus out of me. I loved the idea of riding in far-flung lands, mind you. But the thought of having to break down my beloved steed and rebuild it again in a random hotel room, petrol station or car park never entirely appealed to me. Similarly, entrusting the second most expensive possession I have in this world to anonymous and potentially-reckless baggage handlers who may or may not use the top tube to smuggle illicit drugs interstate or abroad was somewhat disconcerting.
However, having now travelled twice with my bike in the last four weeks I can report I really don’t know what I was worried about. Assuming you know how to use a pedal wrench and allen keys, it’s a piece of cake. Depending on how much money you have to shell out, some bike boxes don’t even require you to do this.
Given the numerous nooks and cavities between your bike’s tubes and stays, most bike bags and boxes on the market also have the added benefit of being able to accommodate the lion’s share of your other kit as well. Shoes. Helmet, Clothes. Spares. Leave the suitcase at home and simply shove in anything you want to take, anywhere it fits.
Not sure if I’ve just been lucky so far, but something else I’ve noticed is that on each occasion I’ve flown with my bike, the oversized baggage has emerged noticeably faster than the luggage at the normal baggage claim carousel. That’s good. But being located in a completely separate part of the terminal is even better, as there’s a measurably smaller chance of being barrelled out of the way by frenzied tourists, desperate to latch on to their faux Louis Vuitton luggage as if it’s going to get sent straight back home to Whereversville if they don’t claim it the very nano-second they lay eyes upon it. The worst that can happen at the oversized baggage desk is having your eye taken out by a rogue surfboard or Big Bertha.
Having used two different types of travel cases of late, my only other observation is be sure to go for one with a decent set of straight-rolling wheels. True, your bike may not weigh that much. But dragging it considerable distances through an airport is still no fun.
Now if someone could just tell me what the white powder coming out of my seat post is……???