Finally, you booked your cycling holiday that you’ve been longing forever, and can hardly wait to jet off. A lot of cyclists travel overseas with a bike for a race or to simply explore new routes outside of Singapore. But you might be wondering – how to fly with a bike?
Don’t worry; it’s not that tricky at all. In this article, we will guide you on the essentials of bike packing.
First things first
Before you take your expensive road bike abroad or for a holiday, we recommend that you get your bike fully serviced. This will reduce your chances of needing repairs in a foreign place, where it can get difficult to get the right tools and equipment to do the job.
Don’t forget to pack in a few maintenance items or spare parts such as a mini pump, spare tubes, puncture repair kits, spare brake pads, and a few tools. All these spare items/parts can be packed in your normal luggage.
Bike bags, bike case or bike boxes?
Most airlines require you to carry your bike either in a bike bag or bike box when traveling abroad. Whether you’ll need a bike bag or bike box depends on the length of your journey, the distance you intend to ride, and type of your cycle.
If you’re a going for a short overseas trip, it’s relatively comfortable and convenient to travel overseas with a bike in a bike bag. Storing your bike is also hassle-free in a bag, when not in use.
However, if you travel a lot or participate in various biking events, we suggest you go for a hard case as it will provide your bike with the ultimate protection.
If you’re on a low budget, and none of the bike bags are an option, then you can opt for a cardboard bike boxes. You can find them in most bike shops. These boxes are extremely lightweight; you don’t have to pay additional baggage charges for them to travel overseas with a bike.
But, there are drawbacks. These cardboard boxes are flimsy and don’t provide the level of protection like a fabric or hard case bike bag.
If you’re looking for the best protection for your road bike, nothing beats a hard-shell bike case. But, keep in mind hard-shell bike cases are expensive. Bike cases can cost anywhere from a few hundreds to thousands.
Most local bike shop merchants will usually advise you to rent bike cases instead of buying them if you’re not one to travel often with a bike.
Master assembling and disassembling your bike
If you travel overseas with a bike, it’s essential you know how to pack your road bike correctly to ensure that it arrives at your destination without any damages.
Take your time to disassemble and reassemble various parts of your bike especially the parts that can get damaged easily.
Take extra precautions while dissembling and reassembling expensive components including the wheels, rear derailleurs, and the frame.
Use additional padding like a wheel bags, towels, bubble wraps, foam, etc. to minimize the chances of damage which can happen during handling.
Check with your airline and keep the weight down
Bike bags or cases aren’t usually lightweight and can be difficult to handle if your bag is too heavy. This can cause problems at the airport’s check-in counter and it’s likely you’ll need to pay extra baggage fees.
Baggage charges depend on the airlines, so we recommend that you check with your airline before you fly. Some airlines charge a flat fee for sporting equipment including bikes, but most bike bags or boxes exceeding 25 kilos will incur extra charges.
Most airlines restrict baggage weight to 20 to 25 kilos, so if you don’t want to incur extra charges, pack your bike properly. Usually, a properly boxed bike should weight around 16 kilos.
Don’t pack your helmet, spare parts or other biking gear in your bike box, as it will significantly increase its total weight. Instead, pack these things with your regular luggage. This way, not only will you save money, it will also keep your bike damage-free if you travel overseas with a bike.
After all, those excess baggage fees can really be frightening. Depending on your destination, airlines can charge S$15 to up to S$470. Ouch! And they might even categorise them as sports baggage, which may cost a lot higher than the usual baggage fees.
Remember: Don’t be afraid to ask! Your local bikeshop merchant will be more than happy to assist and advise you if you’re unsure how to carry about the process!
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