Flying with your bike continues to get a little more affordable as airlines continue to compete with one another to gain loyal customers. Just this year Delta and American Airlines did away with their additional charges for oversized luggage and now charge normal baggage fees. Alaska Airlines ($25 each way) and Southwest ($75 each way) have always been some of the best airlines for flying with your bike. In the past TCH staff has gone with whatever airline has the best deal, but we’ve recently become pretty loyal to Delta and Alaska. We suggest you check with your airline prior to booking your ticket for additional fees for flying with your bike. The big benefit of flying is that your bike is in the handling process for significantly less time than it would be if shipping. We always suggest flying with your bike when traveling overseas.
HOW DO I PACK MY BIKE?
Packing your bike for the first time can be overwhelming and intimidating, but there are some great resources to help. The other option is taking it to your local shop and having them pack it for you. We always recommend having a well-tuned bicycle if you choose to bring your own on one of our trips. If this all sounds overwhelming, you can choose to rent a Cervelo C3 from us for $250; all you would need to bring are your pedals, shoes, and helmet. Below are a couple of great resources for packing your bike.
- Bike packing guide from Bike Flights.
- Reassembly guide from Bike Flights.
- Global Cycling Network Video – How to pack your bike in a cardboard box.
- Global Cycling Network Video – How to pack your bike box.
WHAT BIKE BOX SHOULD I PURCHASE?
The Cycling House has seen it all since 2005! Bike boxes have certainly come a long way but we do have our favorites. The main thing to consider when purchasing a bike box is, how often will you ship versus fly with the box. Feel free to contact us on the pricing of any of the bike boxes listed below.
- Thule Round Trip Pro XT. $699.95. This is one of the most well designed soft cases that we have come across. The innovative design utilizes an integrated stand that doubles as a work stand. The case has two wheels, making it easy to transport. The case is easy to pack and includes nylon wheel bags, and the stand holds your bike securely. The best part, once you get to your destination it can fold down easily (they offer a storage sleeve $39.95), and not take up a ton of room in your rental car. The compact design makes this a good option for both shipping and flying. (Weight 20 lbs)
- Thule Round Trip. $399.95. Durability, affordability, and design. The clamshell design has been used by many hard case designs over the years. The case has two wheels, but the downside is the case itself weighs nearly 30 pounds, so too much room for much more than your bike. This is a great case for shipping or flying. (Weight 30 lbs)
- EVOC Bike Case. $450. A well designed soft case that is easy to pack, and has two wheels for easy transport. The case utilizes individual compartments for your wheels and has well-designed padding for your bike. The case does not pack as tightly as the Thule Round Trip Pro XT and for that reason, it is better suited to flying versus Ground shipping. (Weight 20 lbs)
- Pika Packworks. $400. We have traveled with this case a ton! It is durable, easy to use, and offers a tight pack that is great for shipping or flying. The downside, it does not have wheels. Depending on how much gear you travel with (Our guides always push the limits on the 50lb airline weight regulations), this case can quickly become a beast of burden. The case does pack down small when not in use. After 50+ flights and countless shipping, our Pika Packwork bags are still fully functional. (Weight 12 lbs)
- Bike Flights Coroplast Shipping Box. $200. Incredible bang for the buck in a simple design that is durable protects your bike and can be used for shipping or flying. (Weight 10 lbs)
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME IF I FLY WITH MY BIKE?
We always suggest flying with your shoes, pedals, helmet, and one cycling kit (Jersey and Shorts) in your carry on luggage. That way, if for some reason your bike has not arrived, we can at least get you onto one of our rental bikes. Prior to shipping your bike make sure that you have a well-tuned bicycle and tires that have plenty of life left in them. We suggest shipping your flat repair kit along with your bike. The Cycling House will have CO2 on hand, just ask one of our guides and they will get you some. The Cycling House has plenty of extra tubes, tires, water bottles, pumps, and a full mechanics tool kit.