Bag or box

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Cathryn, 16 Sep 2007.

  1. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant


    Sorry if this has been done to death but I can't find any old threads.

    Husband and I are off to India in five weeks (FIVE, hurrah). We're taking our own bikes and the next decision to make is whether to get an old box from the LBS or buy one of those tough plastic bags from the CTC. I'm a bit undecided.

    Boxes...advantages - potentially a bit stronger? Disdadvantages, the baggage handlers may be more likely to dump other boxes on top?

    Bags...advantages - clear to see it's a bike (and a damn sight easier to transport at either end). Disadvantages - offers no protection at all.

    Your views??
  2. pw2389

    pw2389 New Member

    I recently used the clear bag approach taking my tourer to Japan.

    Seemed to work OK - the only definite damage was a bit of the cork of the cork handgrips broke off (about 1cm long), and a couple of small rips in the bag itself. Possibly one of the bolts on the front low-loaders was weakened as it sheared off when I replaced it (having removed it so that I could remove the front wheel to get in on the train at the airport - an unnecessary procedure I later worked out!). Didn't seem to suffer any additional damage on the return from Japan.

    No experience of bike boxes but I would use the clear bag again in spite of the above.

  3. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    We flew to Germany with bags and they did fine as well. Maybe it'll be enough. Air India don't make any stipulations about packaging...
  4. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Can't help with your question as I have no experience...however I do have another question...

    What do you do with the bag/box whilst you are touring? I am guessing a looped tour means you could leave it at the airport, but what if you fly home from a different airport to th eone you arrived at?
  5. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    We're lucky on this tour. Because it's an organised tour, there's storage provided. When we've done point to point tours in the past, it's been a nightmare. The beauty of the CTC plastic bag is that it packs up small and weighs nothing, so it would definitely be my preferred option if we were doing that kind of self-supported tour. Apparently people do go to bike shops in their destination town and get bike boxes, but that's a bit risky for me.
  6. pw2389

    pw2389 New Member

    This was a major factor in deciding to use the bag - plus it's a lot less hassle than faffing around with a box. That said, I left the bag along with a load of other bits and pieces at the hotel in Tokyo (I stayed there on the way back) so, yes, it was a looped tour in that sense.

    Your only other option is to mail the box to a hotel (where you will stay!) near your outbound airport.
  7. Andy in Sig

    Andy in Sig Vice President in Exile

    Ortlieb now does a set of three boxes which sit where the two panniers and racktop bag sit. They look like what they are: well built pieces of luggage. They may be the best solution for you.
  8. John Ponting

    John Ponting Über Member

    Can a bike be fitted in these Ortlieb boxes while flying around the world?;)
  9. I'd go with the bag. My experience of boxes is they tend to be handled with less care than a bare bike - I've had them appear with huge gouges in them. It''s much easier to manhandle the bikes in a bag and you can just stuff the bag in the bottom of pannier while you are on tour.
  10. Andy in Sig

    Andy in Sig Vice President in Exile

    Well funnily enough I've just seen a review of a folder which fits in a suitcase to keep it safe while flying. I presume that stuff like clothing goes in soft bags on the plane. When you get to the other end you put the bike together, put the suitcase on its trailer (the case lies flat) and then your luggage in the case and away you go!
  11. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I think I'm going to be a bag lady...thanks everyone.
  12. jags

    jags Veteran

    just back from italy ,my road bike was packed in
    a skicon bike box,bike made it ok .
    but they managed to break the wheels of the box,,
    these baggage handlers are something else,
    so pack your bike well ,,good luck..
  13. AndrewClark

    AndrewClark Über Member

    I recently flew Manchester-Heathrow-Delhi and back, plus another internal flight in India.

    Pipe lagging around the frame and then the CTC plastic bag. No damage to the bike at all.

    If you have to dump the pipe lagging on arrival it's easy to pick up alternatives. One of our group bought a big sheet of foam rubber and cut that up for padding.

    I also print my name & flight details on a piece of A4 card and attach that to the frame.
  14. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    That's encouraging!!!

    'm planning a lot of bubble wrap (and am now going for the pipe lagging too) and have got an Indian colleague to write out in Hindi 'Please treat me gently' which, along with the same in English might MAYBE make them laugh and be nice to the bikes?? Thanks for the idea about the card as well.
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