Traveling questions - Bike tool on a plane? helmet worth taking?
Has anyone tried to take a multitool in carry-on (on US flights) recently? Will TSA let this fly?
Also, I'm renting a bike at my destination. Bringing my shoes. Wondering if it's worth it to bring my own helmet... or should I just use whatever the rental shop has on hand?
I carried a multi-tool as well as a metal pump on my flight to Austria last year. I got hassled a bit leaving town (they pulled it out to check for blades) but the international airports didn't give it another look. I also carried my helmet on the outside of my backpack with no issues. For our TdF trip this year we carried our helmets in panniers and I left the tools in the bike cases. No issues at all doing it that way.
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In my experience, as long as the tool does not have any blades, you should be fine with minimal hassle. As for the helmet, I'm kind of particular about that sort of thing so I always carry my own helmet whether biking, paddling, climbing and now skiing (buying a new one just for that). Paddling helmets aren't as bad because most companies will dip their helmets in SInk the Stink to clean / disinfect them, whereas bike shops with rental gear don't typically consider that which is kind of disgusting, IMO, since folks actually sweat in cycling helmets!
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I forgot a small set of allen keys in my backpack that I was bringing as carry on in the plane once.
I had no issues from San Francisco to Toronto. When boarding my connecting flight from Toronto to Montreal, I was told could not not have the allen keys in my backpack.
Bottom line, I double check all my packs before boarding the plane now. I definitely would not try travelling with a multi-tool even if I might not have issues every time. I just sucks to loose bike tools at an airport security checkpoint.
And I assume the rules between USA and Canada would be pretty much the same, but I don't know for sure.
I think that if a metal tool is not over a certain length, 8" I believe, and no blades or other threatening looking-could be used as a weapon type attachments, it should go through. Take your own helmet, shoes, pedals.
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Tools under 7 inches with no blades are allowed, and I had no issues at all on carry-on... no looks or extra checks at all. Mini bike air pump too.
It was totally worth bringing my own helmet (and of course shoes too).
One ornery TSA agent could ruin your day. Suggest you bring own saddle, grips, and pedals (anywhere you body connects to the bike). Also own helmet. Check it all, or ship ahead of time. I did that for 5 day tour from Durango to moab, and it worked out great. Comforts of home.
I usually bring helmet, frame-pump, a mini-tool and everything I need to fix a flat, and put it in checked-baggage. If you must have it in carry-on, you might consider bringing a cheap one like this:
Ascent Bare Bones Multi-Tool - Tool Sale
I have one like this, and while it's a bit short to be super comfortable, it works.
+1 for bringing a saddle - after my last rental had a painful saddle (and I'm not that picky) I'll probably bring my own next time.
Shoes, pedals, gloves, helmet, glasses and one kit go in carry-on. That way if your bike doesn't make it you can borrow/ rent a bike until it arrives. TSA does tend to get confused looking at bike pedals in the scanner so you may want to pull them out when going through security or risk them tearing open your bag.