Bikes on planes

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Legendary Member
In September we're going to Canada. My friend wanting to take a scrap bike out and return with a nice shiny new MTB.
Neither of us have flown with bikes so I'm looking for some advice please from people who have. Tips/Ideas/PossibleProblems?
Flown to Canada and US with a bike several times and no problems at all. Air Canada charge Can$50 each way for the bike and you have to pay this at check in. I always use a bike bag - the decathlon soft sided wheelie bags are good. With this arrangement, always remove the rear mech, bubble wrap it and then tape it to the frame, remove pedals and seatpost, deflate the tyres, take the bars off, also remove the QRs from the wheels. Clad the tubing in bubble wrap or pipe lagging, and use something like thin plywood down the sides of the bag to protect the frame and wheels. Takes a while to sort out but it's worth it.

Last time I flew to Canada I borrowed a hard sided bike box from a friend. These are expensive to buy (hence best if you can borrow one), but you have to dismantle much less. Just remove the wheels and bars to make it fit. The only problem I had with it was it's size. I'm such a short arse it was difficult for me to lift and manouevre so I couldn't take it on public transport, so if you're a short arse and want to go the hard sided route make sure it's got wheels. Neil Pryde boxes are good.

Hope this helps
Oh yeh and if your friend wants to avoid trouble at customs with his new bike he needs to make sure that he rides it lots whilst he's in Canada so it looks used. If he's going to argue that he's been on a cycling holiday his equipment will have to reflect that. So, take an extra set of very well worn in tyres and ride it through lots of muddy puddles when you're there. Or, alternatively, give it a right thrashing on some trails. What part of canada are you going to?


Legendary Member
Thanks for the advice. I'll tell him about that site Creamcrackered, it looks good.

Kirstie - very good tip about not bringing back a clean bike! We hope to get some miles in so if he does it on his new one, we'll be reet. We're going to British Columbia. A wedding in Williams lake (where we've found some trails just behind my cousins house) then we're heading towards Calgary through the Rockies where we fly out of two weeks later. We're getting to the route planning stage now so if you can recommend anywhere to ride that'd be great.


New Member
I bought a hard case from EBC for £99 in their sale. I haven't actually used it yet but it weighs about 14kg so I will probably have to pay for excess baggage because the weight limit in cattle class on SAS for example is 20kg. It has wheels and is BIG. The other downside are the catches on the side that look flimsy.


Senior Member
Frisco, CO, USA
British Airways will take a bicycle free of charge to and from North America, the last time I looked at their website. I took an unboxed touring bike in the opposite direction (Denver-London and back) a few years ago with no difficulties.

Check the website of whichever airline you're contemplating using, there's usually something in the "baggage" section about bicycles, sports equipment, etc.
YOU'RE GOING TO WILLIAMS LAKE!!!???? :rolleyes::ohmy:

Only the home of the sickest, most incredible, most challenging mtb trails I have ever ridden IN MY LIFE. The woodwork up there is amazing. Here's some photos (all Williams Lake) to whet your appetite.

Best thing you can do is go to a bike shop downtown called Red Shreds. It's an incredible shop and has everything you could possibly want which is mountain bikey. Mark, who owns the shop is one of the coolest guys I have ever met and we stayed at his mum Lenoras house - Lenora also works in the shop and is a lovely lady. They have a female guide there too who runs her own guiding company (her name is Nellie) she is a national level DH rider. All you need to do is go in there and say what kind of riding you want and they should be able to sort you out either with a trail map, a shuttle or a guide. Maybe email them first. Tell them I sent you - I was there in summer 2005 with Johnny Smoke and Barb Haley.

Actually come to think of it I think Johnny and Barb moved up that way too. Their guiding company is called bush pilot biking ( I have ridden with them twice and they are a fantastic couple. If you want some guided riding around BC then definitely contact them *before* contacting Red Shreds.


Legendary Member
Just looked at those photos Kirstie :rolleyes:. I think I need some proper travel insurance. Any ideas for that?

My Aunt brought back the leaflet for Red Shreds so we'd been looking at that at the weekend. The wedding is nearby on the Saturday so if we time it right we can ride the trails on Friday, Sunday and will try to angle for staying Monday (if still in one piece). I'm crap with my wheels off the ground so this should be quite interesting.
When we went on that trip we got Norwich Union single trip insurance. They were great - my other half spannered his ankle really badly on the last day. Their duty office were very helpful in authorising hospital treatment, and arranged extra seats on the plane so he could keep it elevated without question. The service was fantastic.

There is a whole network of trails around Williams Lake - there's a map of it all somewhere...the bike shop will have all the details.
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