December 25, 2010
This is a busy time of the year for airlines, and if you are flying with your bike, get ready for some stiff baggage fees. But, as long as you're paying to get your bike on a plane, you may as well make the most of it.
Most steel touring bikes with racks are still going to weigh in under 40 pounds, which gives you some wiggle room to top off your 50 pound baggage limit. If you will be carting home gifts and souvenirs, take advantage of this weight limit to further pad your bike with clothing, towels, or other soft goods. If you are really efficient, you may even be able to check only your bike box on the plane.
Some other tips are to use a cardboard box, as it will be a lot lighter than a hard shell bike box. Just make sure it is in good condition, and taped up well with packing tape. You can also save some weight by carrying heavier objects on board with you, such as pedals, saddle, and maybe even a pannier or two.
With all of this said, be sure check in with the airline you will initially board with to double check on fees and size/weight limits. If you don't need your bike back home right away, shipping it can often save you some money.
Photo by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.