You’ve finally made it! Last moment preparations at the house:
- Pack extra tape
- Small cardboard box to stabilize bike in box
- Pipe-insulate frame to protect it
- Empty water bottles
- Print out airline bicycle luggage policy
Packing the bike:
- Deflate tires
- Disassemble bike using only your bike tools.
- Pack bike in box (note that tools have to be checked typically, so sequence important)
- Place tools in checked luggage
- Bring your extra tape
Arriving at the airport:
Getting your bicycle to the check-in will be a bit of a pain. It’s extremely likely you’ll run into problems checking in your bicycle. They won’t like the size of the box. They won’t like the weight. They’ll want to charge you a different amount than you expected. If you have to repack the bicycle, well, that’s why you brought extra tape with you.
Getting off the plane:
You’re off the plane. Has your luggage arrived with you, or is it patiently waiting for you in some other airport?
The first place to go is baggage claim. In an ideal world, your bicycle is waiting there for you. In practice, it’s never there, and you’re going to have to hunt about for it. In some airports, they’ll actually try to put the bicycle on the luggage carousel. The feeling when you see your bicycle come tumbling down that ramp is hard to describe. Normally the bicycle won’t be put on the carousel. Instead, it will be put in some arcane corner, or taken to lost baggage claim. The best thing I’ve found to do it look for a door in baggage claim that looks like an access door. Typically it’s as far away from where you’d think it should be as it can be and still be within the baggage claim area. Once the bicycle arrives, the first challenge is to get the box open, as everything you have that’s sharp or pointy is either inside your luggage, or taken away by airport security.
- Unpack bicycle
- Change clothes
- Fill water bottles at airport
- Embark on adventure