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  1. #1
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    flying with a bike and riding to and from the airport

    Hi all, I'm planning to go to Japan later this year and I want to bring my mountain bike which I also use for commuting. I'm arriving early and otherwise I'll just have my backpack so I'm thinking I'll just ride to my cousins house which is about 30k away. The only thing I'm worried about is getting a bike bag and then carrying the bike bag. What do you think? Could I carry a bike bag on my bike somehow? Or maybe could I store the bag in the airport, then pack it back up for the trip home?

  2. #2
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    If it's really a bag, then that seems feasible. I wonder how much protection the bag offers, though. There's some bag, and if I think about it, maybe the name will come to me, that I thought was supposed to fold down to about the size of a phone book.

    That very issue is one of the main reasons I got the soft-sided, backpack case for my S & S coupler bike. I haven't figured out how I can carry it, yet, but I am hopeful that it'll be possible.

    But what is your bag. How small does it fold?

    One thing I just did in preparation for an upcoming trip: I was worried that my full-sized rack might not fit in my luggage, so I picked up a seatpost-mounted rack that's good for up to about 20 pounds of weight. Quick release, relatively flat, and hopefully it'll pack and install easily.

    The bag I was thinking of: Ground Effect Tardis - compact bike bag

    If memory serves, someone reported using cardboard to firm up the sides, then ditching the cardboard at the other end of the flight.

  3. #3
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    One way flight would be OK. Pack it up in a cardboard bike shipping box, throw away the box when you get there. The return would be where you have some trouble, unless you can get another box while you're there and have it dropped off at the airport.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't ship my bikes in the Tardis bag. If you go that route, zip tie your handlebar to the fork, and remove your derailleur from the hanger and zip tie it to the chainstay. Card board reinforcements for the sides seems like a very good idea, too.

    Boxing it seems like the way to go. Inquire about storing the box at the airport. If that's not possible, then dispose of it and get another box for the trip back. Shops will often give them away free. Of course that means you will have to have your cousin drop you off for your return flight - or take a shuttle with your boxed bike.

    Good luck!
    The older I get the better I was...

  5. #5
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    I recently traveled with two bikes. One in a hard case and the other in a cardboard bike box. I used the same box both ways. I didn't have any trouble using ground transportation AT the airports with those big boxes.

    On the way TO the airport at home, I was able to fit everything into our Subaru XV Crosstrek. Barely.


    IMG_20160304_224311 by Nate, on Flickr

    Once there, I used one of the luggage carts at the airport to get around.


    IMG_20160305_105814 by Nate, on Flickr

    Things got complicated once we got there. We went straight from the airport to the trailhead, where we assembled the bikes. I had to pack some tools for this, but everything fit into the boxes easily enough. However, once we finished our ride, our stuff volume exploded, because we had the cases and luggage PLUS the two assembled bikes. Thankfully, we had a rental minivan.


    IMG_20160305_161503 by Nate, on Flickr

    If you go the cheaper route with a box, I strongly recommend hiring ground transportation. A taxi at minimum. That way, you can assemble the bike at home and disassemble it at your final destination. If you plan to ride your bike TO the airport, pack it up, fly with it, then you'll either have to reassemble it at the airport at your destination, or hire ground transportation to take you where you need to go in the end. Talk about a nightmare hassle. I could honestly probably deal with packing a bike up at my local airport if I had to. But at some airports, I could see this being a major problem. You'll just need to make sure your ground transportation understands the amount of space you'll need for your luggage. I have no idea if Japanese taxi companies use minivans or wagons at all.

  6. #6
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    I fly a lot with bikes, any bag that offers a reasonable (make that minimum amount of protection) is going to be too big to carry whilst riding, the other thing to check is that most major Asian airport hubs only have expressways out to them so bikes are not allowed.

    I have flown into Narita with my 29er hardtail- I use this bag:
    BUY | Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA Bike Bag
    I've used cardboard boxes before too.

    If I depressurize the tires and the fork it fits (even though it is for a road bike). It will fit in any of the hatchback Nissan Almeria / Toyota Camry / Hyundai Sonata size standard Airport cabs that they use at Narita, Changi, KLIA, Incheon, Suwannaphum etc. You don't need to get the super expensive limo types.

  7. #7
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    I totally support Rob-E suggestion of a Ground Effect Tardis - I have used one four times for international travel (NZ - Australia, USA, and Indonesia x2) and never had a problem with damage to my bikes. Careful packing is the key, and at the ther end you fold it up into an A4 sized parcel and it goes with you no problems at all.

    I flew into Indonesia twice, re-built my bike at the airport (with 50 locals watching my magic trick) strapped the folded up Tardis on as part of my luggage, and rode away ..... Reverse procedure at end of trip

    And as indicated by Simplejon bikes in a Tardis fit easily into taxi's boot or back seat. Bikes in boxes often require big vehicles which cost a premium.
    Last edited by pedalingkiwi; 04-07-2016 at 02:49 PM. Reason: additional i nfo

  8. #8
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    Just looked up that Tardis. In addition to the Dr. Who reference of "it's bigger on the inside", that's a pretty cool bag. I don't know if I'd trust a really high priced bike in it, just because I don't trust the airport handlers, but I'd be confident that it will at least hold everything together. Someone throws your bike down a conveyor belt and it falls to the ground, not much you can do about that.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  9. #9
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    Are you flying to Narita Airport?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Keep on Truckin'

  10. #10
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    I took my Carbon Tallboy mtb to USA inside one & had no problems what-so-ever. Mountain bikes are pretty strong structures, as long as you put spacers in the dropouts, and they are exposed to pretty severe stress on the trails, so I believe it would take a big load to significantly damage a bike frame. A decent mtb crash (Ie; rag-doll on a fast track) is going to stress a frame more than being dropped off a conveyor belt, or being roughly handled.

    The other big advantage of a Tardis is that at only 1.8kg, it doesn't gobble heaps of your baggage allowance just in packaging. Most other bike bags/boxes are anything from 5kg ++
    Last edited by pedalingkiwi; 04-07-2016 at 04:50 PM. Reason: more info

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalingkiwi View Post

    I flew into Indonesia twice, re-built my bike at the airport (with 50 locals watching my magic trick) strapped the folded up Tardis on as part of my luggage, and rode away ..... Reverse procedure at end of trip ......
    You cycled on that race track motorway from Soekarno Hatta in Jakarta? If so you are a much braver man than me.....lol

  12. #12
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    thanks all for the suggestions and comments! It's a old mountain bike that I use everyday but it's value isn't very high at all so I'm not super worried about damage. I don't have any bag at the moment, but I think I'd like to get one as now I've learned that with Swiss airlines you can take your bike for free if you don't have other checked luggage, so I might be flying with it more. I don't mind the idea of assembling the bike at the airport. I'm thinking a good option might be leaving the bag in some sort of locker at the airport if they have that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiang Mai View Post
    Are you flying to Narita Airport?


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    Yes Narita. Do you know if it's possible to ride away from there.

  13. #13
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    I'm going to need to read though this thread in more detail later, thanks again.
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfv...pWjU4574BDVNxw

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb_ATX840 View Post
    thanks all for the suggestions and comments! It's a old mountain bike that I use everyday but it's value isn't very high at all so I'm not super worried about damage. I don't have any bag at the moment, but I think I'd like to get one as now I've learned that with Swiss airlines you can take your bike for free if you don't have other checked luggage, so I might be flying with it more. I don't mind the idea of assembling the bike at the airport. I'm thinking a good option might be leaving the bag in some sort of locker at the airport if they have that.



    Yes Narita. Do you know if it's possible to ride away from there.
    If it was Kansai I say no way to cross bridge on a bike without being stopped but I have walked out of Narita Terminal 1 to the Hilton hotel without drawing any unusual attention before, and it is safe. Many people ride bikes to work at the various facilities near the terminals

    Assemble on arrival level and ride out to follow exiting traffic but avoid the expressway entrance, towards Higashi Narita station, I think. You will see many catering and cargo buildings. I used to go running there all the time and you could ride into central Narita in about 20 minutes.
    Keep on Truckin'

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiang Mai View Post
    If it was Kansai I say no way to cross bridge on a bike without being stopped but I have walked out of Narita Terminal 1 to the Hilton hotel without drawing any unusual attention before, and it is safe. Many people ride bikes to work at the various facilities near the terminals

    Assemble on arrival level and ride out to follow exiting traffic but avoid the expressway entrance, towards Higashi Narita station, I think. You will see many catering and cargo buildings. I used to go running there all the time and you could ride into central Narita in about 20 minutes.
    Thanks a lot Chiang Mai! I was thinking about bringing my gopro and making a video of how to ride out of Narita!
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfv...pWjU4574BDVNxw

  16. #16
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    I found on the Narita website that they do offer lockers from 300 to 500 yen per day, that's not bad I guess. Maximum 8 days which is exactly how long I'll be there. So I think that may work.
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfv...pWjU4574BDVNxw

  17. #17
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    flying with a bike and riding to and from the airport

    You have to use bike lights at night, and most cities require bikes to be licensed, no way to do without a local address. The police are also somewhat racist/ profilers and like to stop foreigners, to check for stolen bikes (from what I have seen in Tokyo they target people who look like "Asian" foreigners).

    http://en.rocketnews24.com/2015/06/0...-traffic-laws/
    Keep on Truckin'

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiang Mai View Post
    You have to use bike lights at night, and most cities require bikes to be licensed, no way to do without a local address. The police are also somewhat racist/ profilers and like to stop foreigners, to check for stolen bikes (from what I have seen in Tokyo they target people who look like "Asian" foreigners).

    14 things never to do on a bicycle in Japan with new traffic*laws | RocketNews24
    Thanks for the link. I'll have to be a bit careful
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfv...pWjU4574BDVNxw

  19. #19
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    I have seen many people touring in Japan, you'll be fine have fun. Upload the escape from Narita youtube please!
    Keep on Truckin'

  20. #20
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    Every airport I've ever seen has hideously expensive luggage storage, as in 10+ euros/dollars per day.

    Try to find someone on WarmShowers or Couch Surfing that will hold your bike luggage for you. Maybe a bike shop will do that too, for the cost of some beer or coffee.

    That's what I did with my S&S coupler bike in Ireland - I had the shop put the bike together and do a light tune-up, and they offered to store my case during the tour.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnee View Post
    Every airport I've ever seen has hideously expensive luggage storage, as in 10+ euros/dollars per day.

    Try to find someone on WarmShowers or Couch Surfing that will hold your bike luggage for you. Maybe a bike shop will do that too, for the cost of some beer or coffee.

    That's what I did with my S&S coupler bike in Ireland - I had the shop put the bike together and do a light tune-up, and they offered to store my case during the tour.
    Yeah, I find that bike shops tend to love bike tourists. As in, they want you to come back, or say great things about your trip when you get home to encourage more bike tourists. So they often will offer you things you might have a harder time finding elsewhere.

  22. #22
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    You could also take the train form the airport to, somewhere! Maybe some small town that has a bikeshop that would store your bag for a while.

  23. #23
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    Hi SimpleJon
    no I never cycled in Jakarta - I flew into Padang on Sumatra and rode loops from there - traffic conditions on the quiet roads of west Sumatra are perfect for cycle touring. But my mate who I met up with there did cycle through Jakarta & said it was a buzz ... Grum Goes Global - Home

  24. #24
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    Hi all,

    I did it! I made it out of the airport and made a shot video of the exit. Thanks again for all the help.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEQyJ7dQd0w
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfv...pWjU4574BDVNxw

  25. #25
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    ^That was great!

    How about another of the return trip... ride to airport, find box, pack bike, check in line, etc.?
    I ride with the best people.




  26. #26
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    well I had an early flight home so I bagged the bike up and took it on the train.



    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    ^That was great!

    How about another of the return trip... ride to airport, find box, pack bike, check in line, etc.?
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfv...pWjU4574BDVNxw

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