If you are one of the +/- 5000 International Cyclists heading to Cape Town for the iconic cycle tour in March 2017, bike transportation is possibly one of your main concerns.
Image Courtesy of sciconbags.com
All airlines will transport your bike, some as part of your luggage allowance, others for a per way fee, but they do have strict packing guidelines in place, and if you want to avoid damage, you need to pack your bike carefully, and wherever possible, in a purpose made bicycle bag or box.
Cardboard Bike Boxes
If you are on a tight budget, you can pack your bike in a cardboard bike box, which are readily available in most larger bike shops. They cost around £25 each, but they are big, bulky, and you need to remove your handlebars, saddle, wheels, and pedals to get your bike to fit. You’ll also need plenty of padding for your frame, and bubble wrap to fill all gaps, so it’s not the most practical option.
Hard Bike Boxes
Perhaps the most secure option, Hard Bike Boxes are the preferred choice for those with super expensive bikes, but they are heavy and difficult to transport, especially if you are travelling to the airport by bus or train. If you intend to pack your bike in a hard box, weigh it carefully to ensure you are not subjected to any baggage excess fees at the airport, and if you want to make your life easier, make sure it has wheels!
Soft Bike Bags
Undoubtedly the most modern option, Bike Bags are widely used by professional cyclists to transport their bikes overseas. Specifically designed to protect your bike, without stripping it down into numerous pieces, these bags are lightweight, easy to carry, and made to last. The Scicon AreoComfort 2.0 TSA Bike Bag is our particular favourite, but other brands such as EVOC, Thule and Scott offer a good selection of bike bags at affordable prices, and they are perfect for transporting your bike by plane.
Packing Your Bike for Flights: Airline Rules
Most airlines stipulate the same rules when it comes to packing your bike, and they are:
- Pack your Bike in a Protective Case or Bag
- Remove your Pedals
- Fix your Handlebars Sideways, or remove them
- Deflate your Tyres to reduce the risk of damage
Providing you meet the guidelines above, your bike should arrive on time, in one piece, and exactly as you packed it… which will make your Cape Town Cycle Tour 2017 experience even more spectacular!