While the process can hinge on which airline you choose to fly, there are a few things you can do to make the process as seamless as possible.
Packing a bike for travel can be tricky, but it isn’t impossible.
Chances are you’ve done some research and still can’t find exact answers to all of your questions. The information online can leave you confused, and it might feel like a flight with your bicycle is not worth the hassle. We’ve been there and we understand your frustration.
We’re here to show that it really is easy and you can do it. And it’s worth it!
Why Travel With Your Bike?
A trip — either for work or leisure — is a trip wasted if you don’t take your bike along! There are a ton of reasons why you should travel with your bike.
Explore New Trails
You’re probably familiar with the trails around your town. If you pack your bike with you on a trip, you can use it to sightsee new places or get some fresh air.
Easily explore areas of a new city and avoid the cost of gas or train tickets. It’s incredible how much money you’ll save on transportation when you opt to ride your bike instead.
Pack your bike when you travel and enjoy fun and convenient alternatives to cars and public transportation when you’re in a different city.
It’s Great Exercise
Cycling has both physical and mental health benefits. A bike ride is great for your muscles and increases your cardiovascular strength. It also releases adrenaline and endorphins, which decrease your stress levels and reduce anxiety and depression.
Plus, you won’t have to rely on a gym to get in a workout while you’re out of your hometown.
How To Pack Your Bicycle
Most airlines have a size restriction of 62 linear inches. It’ll be nearly impossible for your bike frame to fit in a travel case of that size. Plus, the bigger the bike, the heavier it’ll be, and you’ll probably go over the 50 lb weight restriction.
A sturdy, well-made bike case is worth the investment. You’ll protect your bike and have a piece of mind that your ride is safe while you fly to your destination.
A hardshell case provides the highest level of protection against impacts. They have a rigid, outer shell that is made from durable plastic. But this type of extra protection comes with a price — not only from the price of the case but the airline as well. Hardshell cases weigh more, which can mean higher luggage fees.
Another drawback of a hardshell case is that they don’t break down or fold up, so they take up more space in a hotel room or car when not in use.
Most softshell cases are made of nylon and use pads to protect your bike. They have an internal frame that prevents your bike from being crushed by another piece of luggage. Because they are so lightweight, these types of cases allow you to include your gear or pack a heavier bike.
Softshell cases fold or roll up for easy storage under the bed or in a closet.
Pro tip: If you choose to purchase a softshell case for travel, you’ll want to reinforce the chainstays, seat stays, and fork before you pack your bike. It’s simple — use a double-ended bolt and secure it with nuts on each side. You’ll thank us later.
Check the specs of each type of case before you make your decision. Both hardshell and softshell cases often include the option to add additional pads, plus they have straps to hold your bike and wheels securely in place.
Check Your Bike When You Arrive
As soon as you retrieve your luggage from the baggage claim area, find a place you can sit down and open up your bike case.
Don’t let the excitement of the arrival at your destination overcome your emotions. Airlines only may only offer a short window to file a claim if your bike is damaged on a plane. Once the window expires, so does any chance of the airport paying for bicycle damage.
Take a look at the seat stays, chainstay, top tube, and fork. These are the most commonly damaged areas.
Get Extra Coverage
While a claim with the airline might cover some of the cost of your bike if it is damaged on your flight, chances are it won’t cover it all. Add extra protection with full coverage policies from Simple Bike Insurance. Every basic policy covers travel and transit damage.
To find your perfect bicycle insurance policy, simply tell us a little bit about yourself and your bike. Then, build your policy … you’ll be covered before your flight leaves.