Let’s Talk Bikes and Travel

As with all our “Let’s Talk” posts, this one will be built by you.  Give us everything you’ve got on the subject of Bikes and Travel.  Everything from your thoughts on the best places in the world to ride a bike to how to get your bike over there….and everything in between.

Have a look at the short video below to get you in the Let’s Talk spirit, and then let your comments fly.

  • http://biketravelcase.org/ biketravelcase.org

    According to my usage experience, the best bike cases are produced by Thule, Trico and Serfas. You should always choose a hard bike case for air travel. And remember not to load it very heavily with accessories. If you do so, some baggage handlers will throw it more aggressively. This is my tip.

  • Michael Moriarity

    Avoid the headaches of packing and shipping your own bike if you can. Call a local shop ahead of time, rent a bike you’re familiar with and fit to, bring your fit measurements, bring your own pedals, bring your own saddle, and bring your own shoes. Custom fits usually run $200, and they’re well worth it.

    Check BicycleFitGuru.com for the fit, and check Velolet.com for bike rentals in many places and growing around the U.S.

    You can also rent abroad. Just bring your measurements with you. Only adjustments you should need to make are typically to saddle height and position, handlebar height, and maybe stem length. I promise it’s very simple and requires just one tool.

    That said, packing your own bike is a cinch once you do it once, but it can be time consuming and costly. I pack my own bike to every race I fly to, but I try to avoid it if I can.

  • Bikeboy999

    Well last year I was thinking I could buy a beater bike for less than it would cost to rent in Austin for the NAHBS event. As I looked into it more it became apparent that it would very time consuming to get the bike from re-cylcer type outfit and where to leave it that it would get back. So I decided to box up my winter beater (front wheel has Schwable snow tire) and bring it with me on Amtrak.  While I was there I did do something stupid, I lazily installed pedals at train station to get to the hotel. So I had to buy a new triple crankset instead of a Mellow Johnny t-shirt. So this past August my spouse and I decided to pick up in Oregon some Bike Fridays as retirement presents to ourselves. So this year I will carry it with me on Amtrak to Sacramento NAHBS to see the great bikes and new city.  For the commenter who mentioned pedals and saddles, I would add mirror.  As I believe that is the key to great vehicular cycling safety in new environments.

    Brian

  • Jennifer Miller

    We loved the Euro Velo routes across Europe… I agree with Jackie that Amsterdam is pretty five star fabulous for cycling. From there down the North Sea Route into Belgium might just be my favourite stretch in the world. We spent a year bicycling from London, UK to Tunisia and back (with our four kids) and we found Europe really great. Eastern Europe we did better on secondary roads than cycle paths, which were often sketchy (trees down across them, leading through corn fields, in the Czech, etc).  We flew our bicycles, boxed both directions, on the same flights we were on and had no problems. Tunisia was *not* good for cycling. We saw a few hardy souls doing it… but outside of running errands around town, we didn’t take any long treks in Africa. 

  • http://www.reasons2ride.com/ Joel Phillips

    I am lucky, right out my front door is some of the most amazing cycling on the planet, so I never really thought of traveling with my bicycle, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t love to ride in other places.  I’ve always thought it would be uber-cool to ride the Bomber Glacier trail, near Hatchers Pass in Alaska, and visit the B-29 crash-site that gave it its name.  I’d rather just rent once I get to my destination however.  I am not an experienced enough rider to notice any difference, other than it’s a different bike.  Plus it’s a great opportunity to try something new, in my mind.  To make the Bomber Glacier ride, I’d want to check out a full suspension 29″ Mtn bike.   

    This summer I am planning to ride with Mojo Wheels Gravity Race Team at the Winter Park Ski area.  I am stoked…..take a chairlift with a bike  rack on back up the mountain, and ride down.  Something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.  To be honest though, and run the risk of sounding corny….anytime I am on my bike, I get the “vacation” feeling.  You know what I am talking about….all that worldly tension seems to just evaporate, clearing your mind of “noise” and allowing you to become in tune with your environment.  

    No matter what your tastes, or motivation, the planet is quite a big playground, and you see more of it from over the handlebars.  Happy Riding EVERYONE and I enjoyed every one of your comments, both posted and those yet to be posted. 

  • Gregger

    I would suggest googling “how to pack your bike” for some nice videos on how to do it online, or get your local bike shop to pack it for you.  But if you get the bike shop to pack it, you better pay close attention becuase you might have to do it yourself upon your return if you are going somewhere without a good bike shop.

  • http://twitter.com/PedalmanTO PedalmanTO

    If you’re thinking of traveling with your bike consider investing in or renting a hard bike case. Check the airlines prices for taking a bike, they vary in price and for some you might find it cheaper to send it before you and have it waiting at your destination. If you ship separate, you can also get it covered easier with insurance.

  • Jack Bulkley

    I have done two things besides travel with my bike. One is to rent. I rented a decent Jamis in Las Vegas and a Giant in San Antonio. Both were aluminum frame with Shimano 105 components and road quite well. The last fall I spent a week in Boston and actually bought a $40 bike off Craig’s list and then donated it to Bikes Not Bombs at the end of my trip. I road around Boston and out to Belmont and Watertown on two different days. None of these trips were cycling vacations, but I was able to get in some riding and see the cities in a more interesting way.

    • http://doodlemac.blogspot.com/ Paul J McManus

      Getting a bike on Craigslist is a cool idea.  

  • Jackie S

    One of the best places I’ve ever cycled is Amsterdam.  I could really feel the culture over there and it was such a pleasure to ride through the streets.  I recommend it to everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/DuttonCycles Dutton Cycles

    We’ve heard all sorts of stories about traveling on airplanes with bicycles.  Both good and bad.  If it is packed properly there shouldn’t be any problems at all, but if there is any concern then think about renting a bike from a local bike shop or rental company when you arrive at your destination.

    • http://doodlemac.blogspot.com/ Paul J McManus

      I fly with my bike quite a bit.  It’s a durable steel cross bike so I’ve never had issues.  If I was flying with an expensive bike I think I’d pay a shop to pack it.  At least once to see how they do it.  I’ve had clients use shops to pack their bikes and they always do a superior job.  If you’re gonna rent a bike, bring your own pedals and seat.  

      • http://www.lifes2wheelbalance.com Anthony Lussier

        Oh that’s a good one, I wouldn’t think about the seat. I couldn’t imagine having a sore rear end on vacation from a different saddle (that would suck).

        • Michael Moriarity

          Be sure to bring your own shoes too, especially if you’ve had them custom fit, which you should.

  • Eric

    There is a very nice bike box available from Air Caddy that it made to fit your bike properly and great for travel and shipping.  It’s the best one out there in my opinion.

  • http://doodlemac.blogspot.com/ Paul J McManus

    You always here about Spain, Italy and France being great cycling destination (and they are) but my vote would go to Turkey.  the roads in the mountains near the back sea are low traffic and the climbs are twisty and steep.  Safranbulo, Amasya and Yusufelli are a few towns to aim for.  Istanbul is, of course, a fabulous place to spend a few days but I wouldn’t cycle in the city much because of traffic.  There some great cobble stone hills along the Bosporus though and Istanbul does have a critical mass ride occasionally.