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Thread: Advice Needed: Bike Case for Air Travel

  1. #11
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    If you don't expect to use it beyond this tour, I would probably just start the search for a second-hand bike there and selling (or donating) it when you leave.

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty View Post
    Thanks guys! The more I dig into it, the more complex the situation is becoming. United's bike shipping policies aren't terrible (if its >50 lbs no extra "bike" fee) however, it looks like there is a restriction imposed by Brasil for the Sao Paulo (and Rio) airport against oversized baggage... I'm going to have to make a phone call or two.

    I'd looked into the BikeFlights, but their quote was something akin to the cost of a tricked-out Brompton. Brazil further complicates things by having an extremely closed economy that makes imported goods (like bikes and bike parts!) stupid expensive so buying a bike there might be similar in cost to a tricked-out case. If I could get the plane to take a case, it would have been a good investment since I'll have to do this a minimum of every-other-year, but no dice.

    Sooooo... any thoughts on folding bikes? ^_~
    I love my Brompton, but it's not a great long distance bike, at least for me. It feels like too much resistance compared to a larger wheeled bike. The longest ride I've done on mine is about 15 miles for a work commute. You'll get to where you want, just slower.

    I don't have a case for it, but I've put directly in the overhead bin without any wrapping on a Southwest flight from Charleston, SC to BWI. (The BWI guys wouldn't let me do the same on the flight down to Charleston, but they did let me bring it down the runway like a stroller.)


    Brompton in Overhead Bins by ricky d, on Flickr

    Someone has a new Brompton and case on eBay for what looks to be an unbelievable price. If it's real, I'd jump on it:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/BROMPTON-S-...6KDL:rk:3:pf:0

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #13
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    I use a top-end hard-case Thule that I bought (~ $400) used off of Craigslist a few years ago that has served me well crossing the Atlantic with carbon-fiber framed bikes (see pic below). My UK housemate also used it to transport a steel framed touring bike to Sweden from the UK with great results.

    But it is bulky, exceeds the overweight limits even when carrying carbon bikes, and airlines are all over the map on their charges. WOW Air flew it for free across the Atlantic. KLM charged me $225 to bring it back. United Airlines flew it across the Atlantic for $185. So go figure!! I'd strongly suggest that you notify the airlines ahead of time in case they have a special baggage policy, or else you might get hit with an additional service charge because it requires that one of their handlers has to manually lug it from the ticket counter to the plane's cargo hold (KLM slapped me with an additional $25 fee once for this).


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    Last edited by Boomer2U; 01-06-2019 at 12:01 AM.

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    Oh man oh man, the plot thickens! I wrote to the shipping maven at post and was warned NOT to attempt shipping it via a private service. It will just stuck by customs and they will get pissed and charge me an arm and a leg to get it back! Glad I got that warning...

    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    If the airport/airline is strict on the oversized baggage limits, then you're most likely restricted to a folding bike with 16 inch wheels like a Brompton or getting a specially-made piece of luggage or getting creative...

    One extreme option to minimize spending money on new stuff but maximize workload: if you have a small enough frame (which in of itself is a bit of a longshot), you theoretically could disassemble your bike so that the frame fits into a box/case that is just within the size limit, have a second box/case for the wheels, use available space in either for the parts you took off, and travel with it that way.
    Thanks for the dimensions info for the wheels. That's really helpful.
    As for the disassembly, I'm looking into that option tomorrow morning. I've just gotten the dimensions for the Unattended Air Baggage shipment (we're alotted one UAB for a portion of our stuff that follows us a few weeks later after arriving in-country). I'm going to see if there's any hope of shoving Kali in there...

    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    So the State Department provides you no assistance with moving your personal possessions to your post?
    They do, but the main solution is it goes on a ship and you'll get your stuff in 6 months. I'm just trying to find a way to not be bike-less for that long... They also will ship some of the more urgent things by air, but that comes with very strict size restrictions. This is ostensibly to save you, the tax-payer, money.

    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    If you don't expect to use it beyond this tour, I would probably just start the search for a second-hand bike there and selling (or donating) it when you leave.
    That's my last resort. So far though the online searches haven't been promising. A basic-basic commuter is going used for the cost of a cheap folder new. The tariffs are real and have the market pretty skewed.

    Quote Originally Posted by drevil View Post
    I don't have a case for it, but I've put directly in the overhead bin without any wrapping on a Southwest flight from Charleston, SC to BWI. (The BWI guys wouldn't let me do the same on the flight down to Charleston, but they did let me bring it down the runway like a stroller.)
    I love that photo so much right now!

    Quote Originally Posted by Boomer2U View Post
    I use a top-end hard-case Thule that I bought (~ $400) used off of Craigslist a few years ago that has served me well crossing the Atlantic with carbon-fiber framed bikes (see pic below). My UK housemate also used it to transport a steel framed touring bike to Sweden with great results.
    But it is bulky, overweight limits even carrying carbon bikes, and airlines are all over the map on charges. WOW Air fly it for free across the Atlantic. KLM charged me $225 to bring it back. Go figure!!
    That is exactly what I had been hoping to invest in, but it sounds like this post, that's a no-go. Alas.

  8. #15
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    Stop by (or call) College Park Bicycles and see what used Bike Fridays they have. Those will fold up into a normal sized suitcase. Also check bikes@vienna. One of my riding partners bought a Dahon here in Germany to take in his tiny VW Polo "trunk" and has been happy with it. Much less expensive than a Bike Friday or a Brompton. Also look at a Tern.

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    Once Upon a Time, in a post far, far away, Steve O posted: "Do not be attached to the bike--be attached to the experience of riding the bike."

    Typing "bike shop" in Google Maps shows more than 15 bike shops. Trek has a dealer there.

    Also, Sao Paulo seems to have gotten their own docked and dockless bike sharing service earlier this year. I am not sure if it's fully implemented, but you can download the app(Apple/Google) to find out:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...systems#Brazil
    https://www.pbsc.com/2018/01/bike-sh...ice-sao-paulo/
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-br...-idUKKBN1KN330
    https://techstartups.com/2018/04/04/...ervice-brazil/

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  11. #17
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    My Bike Friday New World Tourist has so many air miles on it that it wore out its original Samsonite suitcase and I had to get a new one. If you want a bike you can tour and do long distance riding on, you're going to pay more $$ than for, say, the least expensive Brompton, but it more than pays for itself if you want to take it with you on a lot of planes. (Or trains; I can take the Bike Friday, folded up, on Amtrak without having to find one of the rare trains with roll-on bike access and paying the extra $20.) I've never had problems with the airlines taking the suitcase as standard checked luggage. Only problem was when I tried to shove my Kryptonite lock in there and the suitcase weighed more than 50 pounds -- ended up carrying the lock in my carry-on. Given your size, you should have not trouble fitting it into the suitcase. My bike might fit you, so if you'd like, you can come over and try it out.

  12. #18
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    Thanks guys! This has been some great advice. The more I've been thinking about it, a folder is really the N+1 that I need. I'm frequently traveling and agonizing over whether there will be a bike for me on the other end. This would help solve both problems.

    The challenge I need to sort out is whether I'm in a position to "invest" (ie: spend more than $500) or just need something that will fit my specs (small enough to sneak into Brazil in a suitcase) and call it a day. With this particular move we're hitting a number of unusual expenses (like spare Rx glasses) that are eating into my bike budget. Knowing that there are places in town I can get something used is a relief!

    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    Typing "bike shop" in Google Maps shows more than 15 bike shops. Trek has a dealer there.

    Also, Sao Paulo seems to have gotten their own docked and dockless bike sharing service earlier this year. I am not sure if it's fully implemented, but you can download the app(Apple/Google) to find out:
    Your point is well taken. I actually noted when I received my housing assignment that there are a bunch of shops near our new place. However, much like the shipping issues, we run directly into the challenges of the most closed non-communist country in the world: the costs on anything imported are exorbitant.
    We're talking like 70%+ of the cost of the bike:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I just did a one-to-one comparison of the new 2019 Trek FX2 (not a beater, but what I had data for) at Trek Clarendon and the Trek Store in São Paulo. In Clarendon: $600, in SP: $932, pre-sales tax.(Today's exchange rate) As a result, even cheap used-Huffies are going for the equivalent of about $300. That's largely what's spurring my desire to resolve this before I take off.

    That said, I'm super glad to hear that there are more sharing options as a last-last resort. When I got the assignment the dockless hadn't launched yet and neither of the non-integrated docked systems actually bridged the gap between where I'll live and where I'll work. It's a relief to know there's light at the end of the tunnel regardless.

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  14. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty View Post
    However, much like the shipping issues, we run directly into the challenges of the most closed non-communist country in the world: the costs on anything imported are exorbitant.
    While I'm not sure that I would agree with the first part of your statement, Brazil is plenty protectionist, so your conclusion about imports definitely holds. Have you looked into the domestic bikes, Caloi? You should be able to find a used one at quite a bit less than anything imported.

    Regardless of what you do, as I noted in your other thread on SP, theft is rampant there. Maybe the folding bike is a good solution, so you don't have to leave it locked up on the street.

  15. #20
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    Bike thieves in Brazil? Check out this video:

    https://youtu.be/FuQBtVoSBCU

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