Bikepacking | Tips for transporting your bike by Michael Strasser

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What’s there to keep in mind when transporting your bike by plane? How much time should you allot for check-in? Bike expert Michael Strasser shares his know-how!

Travelling around the globe with your bike

Tips and tricks by bike expert Michael Strasser 

Taking it apart, packing it safely and then reassembling it again – if you’ve ever travelled abroad with your bike, you’re familiar with this procedure. But what’s there to keep in mind when transporting your bike by plane? How much time should you allot for check-in? Soft bag or hard case – what’s better? 

Michael Strasser flew around the globe with his road bike. Now, he’s ready to share some valuable tips on how to get your two-wheel friend on the airplane with you. 

 

Soft bag or hard case? 

When he’s travelling with his bike, Michael Strasser prefers a soft bag. The reason is that it’s just easier to handle and significantly lighter than a hard case. It also takes up less space in your hotel room. 

Tip: Road bikes like the Kiaro or the Pride have handlebars that cannot be detached that easily – among other reasons, because of the integrated hydraulic brake cables. Ideally, you should get a spacious bike bag for these types of bike to make sure you don’t have to twist the handlebars. Alternatively, there are bags that are specially designed for wide handlebars. 

 

The various airlines and how they handle bulky sports luggage 

Many airlines charge you a fixed rate for bringing one piece of sports luggage. Emirates and Qatar Airways even offer this service without an extra charge. 

Good to know: If you pack your bike in a soft bag, the airline will usually ask you to sign a piece of paper saying they do not assume any liability. This means: In case your bike gets damaged, you cannot claim these damages. The only things that are insured are total loss or damages to your bag. Definitely read the paperwork thoroughly! 

 

Factor in more time at the airport! 

If you’re travelling with sports luggage, you should factor in another half an hour at check-in. Oversize luggage has to be run through the scanner at almost any airport. 

Good to know: Smaller airports sometimes don’t have scanners for oversize luggage. This means airport security has to take your bike apart and run it through the scanner piece by piece and then reassemble it, which can take up to 45 minutes. 

 

Take the derailleur off!

Bike travel expert Michael Strasser recommends taking the derailleur off before your flight. If you have an electric gear shift, it’s best to take the battery out as well. The reason: During the flight, the gear shift might wake up from sleep mode due to the vibrations on the plane and thus use up the battery. If you’d like to have a full battery upon landing, you should take it off beforehand and stow it away separately. 

By the way: Some airports check your luggage so thoroughly that they might discover the CO2 cartridges and take them away. “On most of my flights, the cartridges weren’t discovered. If they were found, they were always just removed without commentary. I’ve never had to pay a fine,” says Michael Strasser. 

You would like to learn more about Michael Strasser and his bike travelling adventures? Find out more in the Simplon magazine – for instance, about the spectacular ICE2ICE tour

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