Author Topic: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden  (Read 5141 times)

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Offline rimn

Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« on: February 20, 2010, 03:15:24 pm »

I am new here, so this topic MIGHT have been discussed before, but I did try out the Search field before writing this...

I am planning on bicycing from San Fransisco to Washington this summer (Western Express+parts of the Transamerican) but I need a bike to do so. I'd prefer to bring my Swedish bike to the states, but this seems to cost more then what I payed for my bike, and I am also concerned that I won't be able to find spare parts for this bike, if it would end up in San Fransisco broken.

Does anyone have experiences with flying between the states and Sweden (or at least, Europe), bringing a bike? Or with trying to get spare parts for a non-US bike?

I would be mighty grateful to any help...

Thank you in advance!


Offline geegee

Re: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2010, 06:37:39 pm »
I am wondering what components would be on a Swedish bike that you could not get in America. Could you describe your bike? The majority of bicycles have standard, interchangeable parts installed on proprietary frames. Aside from the associated fees, flying with a bike should be no big deal, just ask your airline about their requirements ahead of time. Some airlines let you register your bike when you buy your ticket.

Offline Galloper

Re: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2010, 06:18:23 am »
I've looked into the costs of doing something similar.   A fairly substantial bike bag, which offers a good level of protection costs £70 here in the UK.   The extra cost of shipping on British Airways, one way from London to Los Angeles was £32 and the same again from Miami back to London.

You could probably get a local bike shop to box it up for you quite cheaply if you didn't want to use a bike bag.

There's a very good guide on this site on preparing a bike for travel if you choose to do it yourself.

I wouldn't worry too much about parts, most transmission, wheels and running gear is pretty much universal these days.   Perhaps you have hub gears and dynamo?   Again, most parts are fairly readily available and even if the worst comes to the worst, I'm sure you could get anything you need sent overnight from Sweden.

If you are worried about it, there are plenty of very good bikes available quite cheaply which will do a very good job of getting you to Washington.

Have fun

Offline Tourista829

Re: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2010, 01:57:46 am »
If your airline of choice, isn't too expensive to ship and you feel comfortable riding your own bike, you might want to take it  and your gear with you. Breaking in a different bike may take some time to get us to.(although many people, who go on packaged tours do this) You should have no problems with replacing components. There are many bike shops in San Francisco, check with Adventure Cycling Yellow Pages, online. I would go to your local bicycle shop and have them give your bike a thorough inspection. They can tell you, if your bike is up to a cross country journey, if your panniers will work, and which components might be unique to your Swedish bike. Maybe the odd ones, you can take with you, but I believe, like the post above, you should be able to find anything here. Once you arrive in SF., you might want to consider to take your bike to a good bicycle shop in SF and have them reassemble it and check it out and make sure it is up to the adventure. Two opinions are better than one. You will have an amazing trip. Good luck to you. Welcome to America:)

Offline Susan

Re: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2010, 01:55:53 pm »
Hi Monica,
I live in Germany and have taken my bike on planes a number of times - this Saturday I fly Air Berlin from Hamburg to Fort Myers, Florida - going to connect with the Southern Tier and ride westbound -YIPPEE!!
I would never ever tour without my own bike that fits well and has been set up by me to meet my personal demands.  Spare parts should not be a concern in the USA. 
The only time I had a little damage (to a shifter lever) in transport was when I did a lousy, hasty job of packing it up coming home. 
Before I leave, I take my bike for an inspection and ask them to save as large a box as possible for me for when I come back to pick it up.   They usually give me a box that is so big that I just have to take off the front wheel, wrap it in bubble foil, put the seat down, turn the handlebars longwise, remove the pedals and let some air out of the tires.  They give me a plastic spacer to fit into the fork for protection.  I then put all of my gear including the panniers, helmet, clothing, tent, sleeping bag, etc. in the empty spaces in the carton. I take a roll of tape along in case they ask me to open the box for inspection.
Upon returning I have always gotten a box from a local bike shop - called before going there or asked ahead of time - and only once I had to pay for the box (in Spain).
Most airlines have charged me around US$100 one way to ship the bike to or from the USA, except the german companies, Air Berlin and Condor.
They charge 25 Euros one way and don't specify the size of the box, just a 30 KG weight limit.  That is no problem for me, since my entire rig fully loaded (including the box)weighs less than that - I always try to go light.  Of course, you have luggage allowance and can check in a piece of luggage (some old bag or garbage sack) that you can throw away upon arrival).
Air Berlin flies (at least in the summer) to San Francisco twice weekly for around 350€ from several german cities - their website is also in English if you want to check.   
Good luck and have a great time!!  Susan

Offline rimn

Re: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 07:25:53 am »
Thank you all for your replies! I have decided to fly KLM - they will take the bike for 50 euro to go to the states and 50 dollars for the return trip. I am happy to read that you think I will find spare parts for my bike - I kind of guessed that I would, but someone suggested that I might not, so I thought Id better ask a few more people...

So, I will cross the states with my bike. I have contact with a local bike shop in SF, and I might well take my bike there and ask them to make sure I have put everything back the way they are supposed to be. I expect my bike to hold for the whole trip - if I didnt, I would never bring it to the States, but leave it in Sweden.

8 weeks to go... :-)

Offline vanvalks

Re: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2010, 12:19:34 pm »
JUst one minor point.  Be sure you have it in writing from KLM about the $50 return shipping charge.  KLM's US partner, Delta, has been known to charge over $200 each leg to ship a bike, even when the airline's written policy about bikes was shown to the check-in agent.