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  1. #1
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    Flying with my bike?

    So I'm taking a last minute trip to the West Kootenays in BC in a few weeks and need some advice on CHEAP air travel with my bike. I've had some people say it's better to ship it to a LBS or hotel rather than to fly with it but I did a UPS shipment quote and it looks like it'll be $160+ one way to get my bike shipped from Asheville, NC to Castlegar, BC. I've heard some tips and tricks in the past to cheap bike travel (ie. certain airlines better, not claiming it as a bike, shipping UPS to LBS, etc.)...

    Anyone have any advice? I have to have my bike there by July 22 for a race that starts the 23rd.

    Thanks!
    Chris

  2. #2
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    I'm going through the same situation as I plan a trip to Scotland. Cost to fly with your bike seems to depend on the airline. Continental will charge $100 if the overall length of L + W+ H exceeds 60". Good luck getting a Mt bike that small. The bigger issue I came across was the size of the plane. Many of the planes leaving Burlington VT may be too small to accomadate a bike. I was in Asheville a long time ago but can't remember the size. If you're taking a prop. plane you should double check that there will be room (size and weight) for you bike. I also found that UPS was more than I wanted to spend.

  3. #3
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    We just shipped our bikes this morning from Plattsburg NY to Telluride, $154.30 each.with fed x. From what i read on the forums they are 20% less than UPS.

  4. #4
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    I'm shipping my bike from Charlotte, NC to Sedona, AZ in November. $90 each way, FedEx. Delta wants $150 each way. I say "No Way".

  5. #5
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    Hi all, I know it's past your races and travels, but for future reference, I have a few more thoughts:

    I have been traveling with a full-suspension mountain bike (does not have s&s couplers) for years without paying the airline fee nor shipping costs. I use one of the 26x26x10 soft cases from sandsmachines (a soft case so I can more easily fold it and store it out of the way at destination).

    I have studied frame designs long and hard and found two kinds that work better for travel:

    1. Those whose rear triangle can separate from either the bottom bracket and swing down and under the down tube, or those whose rear triangle can separate from the rear suspension arms and fold up and over the top tube.
    2. Those whose rear triangle separate entirely from the front triangle, and more importantly, from themselves. This is preferred to number 1, because with the rear triangle separated from the front triangle and itself, the whole bike can lay significantly more flat in the case.

    One manufacturer runs their front derailleur cable literally through a small hole in the chain stay. If you did get the rear triangle off, you'd first have to un-wire and then re-wire the front der. No fun. Another example of no-can-do for travel: Most manufacturers' design the seatstay and chainstay as one piece, or their overall frame design is too complicated for destination-side reassembly.

    I chose a Ventana El Ciclon, and both the older frames and the 2012 version's rear triangles separate from the front triangle, and from themselves (meaning the frame is 3 total pieces). This year it's been about 70,000 miles with me over 6 trips. $0 in airline fees and shipping charges.

    Another idea is to buy a travel adjustable fork. Yes, it's more money and sometimes weighs a little more, and most people say they never change it once they dial it in. If you travel and have an adjustable fork, you can tighten it up or loosen it depending on the destination.

    I have not yet found a frame that doesn't first require the crank to be removed to be able to separate the rear triangles, and I would love to know of one if someone does.

    Hope this helps. Safe (and cheaper) travels!

  6. #6
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    Southwest charges a flat rate of $50 each way to transport a bike. I've flown from Baltimore to Salt Lake many times and I just go with Southwest. I even pack my tools and shoes in the bike box so I don't exceed the weight limit for luggage.

  7. #7
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    Shipping costs from the US to Canada (and vice versa) are about 50% higher than shipping across the US.

    Advance shipping from the US to Canada means it will be held "in bond" in Canada somewhere until someone clears it through customs as Free Domicile (meaning that it will be going back and not staying in the country so no duties and taxes will be charged).

    That in-bond customs warehouse might not be where you're finally landing, in fact likely in Richmond or Burnaby BC, where ever the freight company has their customs warehouse.You'll likely have a bunch of paperwork for clearing your bike, and you'll need proof that you bought it in the US for the return trip.

    You're better off just taking it as luggage and paying the associated charges, at least there's a reasonable chance that you'll have it available to ride and not having it sit in a warehouse for days and having to mess with brokerage and other cross border paperwork.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  8. #8
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    do you guys disassemble the bike and put it in a box or do you bring the bike as is?

  9. #9
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    disassemble, which isnt a big deal. Take off the handlebars, pedals,derailer, wheels. I use the TRico case ,lay frame on foam, add layer of foam than wheels gear etc another layer of foam, and your all set.

  10. #10
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    I do what Waynes wrote, and if I'm flying with my dual-suspension mtn bike, I take apart the two frame triangles and put the whole shebang into the 26"x26"x10" backpack case made by S and S Machine.

  11. #11
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    I don't know if they fly to BC, but I fly Frontier almost exclusively (Summit Member). Bikes always fly as one bag charge (I think it's $20), unless you by a classic plus ticket or are a Summit member. Oh, and they are very nice about it when you bring it to the counter.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wwjj View Post
    Hi all, I know it's past your races and travels, but for future reference, I have a few more thoughts:

    I have been traveling with a full-suspension mountain bike (does not have s&s couplers) for years without paying the airline fee nor shipping costs. I use one of the 26x26x10 soft cases from sandsmachines (a soft case so I can more easily fold it and store it out of the way at destination).

    I have studied frame designs long and hard and found two kinds that work better for travel:

    1. Those whose rear triangle can separate from either the bottom bracket and swing down and under the down tube, or those whose rear triangle can separate from the rear suspension arms and fold up and over the top tube.
    2. Those whose rear triangle separate entirely from the front triangle, and more importantly, from themselves. This is preferred to number 1, because with the rear triangle separated from the front triangle and itself, the whole bike can lay significantly more flat in the case.

    One manufacturer runs their front derailleur cable literally through a small hole in the chain stay. If you did get the rear triangle off, you'd first have to un-wire and then re-wire the front der. No fun. Another example of no-can-do for travel: Most manufacturers' design the seatstay and chainstay as one piece, or their overall frame design is too complicated for destination-side reassembly.

    I chose a Ventana El Ciclon, and both the older frames and the 2012 version's rear triangles separate from the front triangle, and from themselves (meaning the frame is 3 total pieces). This year it's been about 70,000 miles with me over 6 trips. $0 in airline fees and shipping charges.

    Another idea is to buy a travel adjustable fork. Yes, it's more money and sometimes weighs a little more, and most people say they never change it once they dial it in. If you travel and have an adjustable fork, you can tighten it up or loosen it depending on the destination.

    I have not yet found a frame that doesn't first require the crank to be removed to be able to separate the rear triangles, and I would love to know of one if someone does.

    Hope this helps. Safe (and cheaper) travels!
    Hello!

    I wanted to chime in on this, and I do know it's late. I had purchased a Ritchey Break-away CX bike which came with a soft box. With an upcoming mtn bike trip I gave it a shot. I was shocked, but it worked! I have a Maverick ML7.5. I know they are not in production at the moment, but that's a whole 'nuther thread. Anyway, with my bike I was able to take apart 2 bolts and the rear triangle could be removed. No crank removal...

    I could see how other frame designs may be more difficult. I did have a friend who took apart his Glory DH and stuffed it into 2 suitcases (both large, but regulation) to avoid bike fees. Needless to say, lots of options are out there if you have the time and inclination to finagle with your bike.

    Some things worth considering in the process:

    Cable couplers - these come with travel bikes (my Ritchey came with 3) and if your derailleur cables are interrupted and/or not internal this may help with the disassembly.
    Chain master links - I use the Wipperman link on all my bikes so I can just remove it for cleaning. It also is really helpful for clean assembly/disassembly of the bike. Then you can pop off the RD and put it anywhere in the box. I find that the Wipperman is easier to use than the SRAM but that may just be me.
    If asked what's in the box, I always say 'art supplies'. I had a friend that was borrowing my Ritchey and even though they didn't measure the box, they charged her for it being a bike! An Effing racquet that is!

    Anyway, it great to see more bikes are taking flight! I have come back from trips and seen people at the airport with their big cases and just felt sorry for them and the fees they've paid.

    Happy travels!

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