Author Topic: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights  (Read 3447 times)

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Offline tonythomson

Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« on: October 23, 2010, 01:57:27 pm »
My nephew has just flown to Oz from UK with his bike shrink wrapped and reported all well despite 2 changes of planes.  This was his first time flying with a bike and thought that was a good idea, I can't see how it would stop any damage to the bike but just wondered if anyone else has tried this and am I being too cautious.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline irc

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2010, 06:28:15 pm »
The theory is that airline employees can see it is a bike and are more careful.

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=5184

Myself, I prefer a reinforced cardboard box with a well packed bike inside.

Offline Susan

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2010, 02:39:28 am »
Past summer my bike and I flew from Hamburg to Vancouver with BA. 
I had always used a box but wanted to try something different this time.  I put extra padding on senstive areas and shifted into the smallest gear so that the derailleur would be positioned toward the inside of the bike.   Then I wrapped the entire bike in a couple layers of bubble foil using lots of tape. 

I had all of my other gear packed in a cardboard box (my one piece of luggage) and paid 49 Euros for the bike.
It didn't take me long to just unpack the bike and ride away from the airport to my motel.   I suppose it was easier to dispose of the plastic wrapping at the airport than it would have been to get rid of the box.
Upon arrival the derailleur was bent a little - I had to seek out a bike shop. 

I also found it much easier to handle the bike in a box.
Happy trails!  Susan

Offline tonythomson

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2010, 11:39:00 am »
Thanks Guys and will certainly check out CTCs bags, I quite like the idea of being able to see it is a bike as last time I flew to USA had my bike all nice and padded out in a cardboard box, which was too big to get into a taxi so needed a friend with a large 4x4 to get me there.  Trying to get through the crowds in Gatwick was a comical!  ???  And the at the check in desk I was directed to the oversize luggage area where there is a wider conveyor to x ray everything. It would not go through so off to another area where they proceeded to rip the box apart, unwrap all my careful packaging to do a visual check and then a hand held device was run over it.  When it was cleared all the packing was dumped back in the box, sealed and taken away.

As it happened the bike was fine the other end but..... So my thoughts where let it be visible??
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline indyfabz

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2010, 09:33:57 am »
My nephew has just flown to Oz from UK...

Is he following the yellow brick road?  :)

Offline JayH

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2010, 03:13:17 pm »
For road bikes, I've used foam pipe insulation on the main tubes as a protectant and it has worked well.  I've seen people with dinged tubes, perhaps not fatal but worrisome at the start of a long distance tour...

The pipe insulation is generally pretty inexpensive too.

Jay

Offline tonythomson

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 10:06:12 am »

Is he following the yellow brick road?  :)

Knowing my nephew and his liking for beer he probably sees all the road n shades of yellow.  :D  But then he's pretty young and can probably get a way with it.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Partygurl

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2010, 01:33:51 pm »
Maybe instead of shrink wrapping the Bike you could just cardboard it and write "Bike" in big letters on the side.

I think, personally, that baggage workers won't care if it's a bike or Faberge eggs. So my vote would be to protect the bike because I think delicate treatment just isn't going to happen.


Sorry to be a negative nancy... Cheers!
“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”- Lance Armstrong

"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."- Michael Jordan

Offline bsweet

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2010, 09:59:43 pm »
Two Questions:

Where do you get the shrink wrap? (OK, picture us riding into washington dc, or faro portugal)
Do you wrap the ENTIRE bike, including the tires, or do you let it still roll like a bicycle?
Any pictures anyone of successful shrink wrapping?

Thanks
Brian Sweet

Offline sanuk

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2010, 05:01:47 am »
I recently saw a couple of bikes - beat-up touring/mountain bike types - being wheeled through customs in Laos for a flight to Bangkok.  The only protection was some buble wrap around the pedals and a bit on the derailer.  They obviously belonged to some western travellers as no local would bother taking a bike on a flight, but I was quite surprised nevertheless.  However, they weren't the sort of bikes the owners would cry much over if they were damaged.
I've flown with the same cardboard bike box on three long-haul flights to and from SE Asia with changes of flights on each route.  The box is battered and torn but still just about functional.  How you decide to package your bike depends how much you value it.

Offline sanuk

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2010, 05:41:35 am »
Latest info on alternative ways of packing a bike for air travel: as above but this time I met a very tough looking middle-aged German woman cycling solo around Thailand.  I asked about how she packed for the flight to and from Europe.  'Nothing' was her answer.  She just rolls it into the airport and hands it over at the check-in desk.  Airline staff wheel it away.  She picks it up at the oversized luggage section at the other end.  Doesn't take the pedals off or turn the handlebars: nothing.  Depends she admitted on the airline.  She was flying Qatar and she had Rollof hub gears so was less likely to get any damage there.  Derailers are very vulnerable.  Her philosophy was as the airline staff can see it's a bike and have to wheel it on and off they're less likely to throw it around, as they might be with a box.  But I'm sticking with a box at least until I can aford Rollof gears.

Offline briwasson

Re: Shrink wrapping your bike for flights
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2010, 11:34:52 am »
Regardless of what I pack the bike in, I like to remove the rear derailleur completely or at least unscrew it and zip-tie it to the chainstay in order minimize damage back there. I also remove the chain (via a quick link), put it in a plastic bag, and zip-tie it to the bike to allow the bike to be easily rolled about.