Monday, September 5, 2011

Going Mobile!

In three days I'm headed to San Diego for the TriRock. Since this involves a flight rather than a drive, it means special preparations for my bike.

Back in May, I found an Aerus Biospeed soft case on Craig's List for a little over half the list price. Given this is the sort of thing that is going to get dirty and scratched up after just one use, I was more than happy to buy second-hand.

Well, since May it has been sitting in my basement waiting for the day I'll put it to use. Today was that day.

While the case is essential, there were also some more steps that needed to be taken.

Quick note here. Everything I learned about this I learned on If you want to learn this from someone who has done it many times, go there. My post is more just for entertainment purposes.

The first step was to measure the various parts on my frame and then cut foam pipe insulation to fit:

I also used some Velcro straps and zip ties to hold the rear derailleur  and chain in place:

Before removing the seat, I placed some cellophane tape around it so that the height would be properly marked and I could replace it at the same height for which I was professionally fitted.

Another Velcro strap holds the cranks in place while a wad of bubble wrap goes around the sprockets. There was nothing more artful to this then tearing off a long strip and wrapping it around several times. The bubble wrap came on a big roll with squares that can be torn off. Kind of like toilet paper but less effective, I suspect.

At various stages along the way and where possible, I tied secured the pipe insulation to the bike using zip ties. They aren't long enough to wrap around the main parts of the frame, but I had not problem using them to secure the foam to the forks.

And, of course, spare parts go into a Ziploc bag so that nothing is missing when I arrive in California and it's time to put this all back together.

And the finished product before zipping up the case:

If you look closely you'll see one of the wheels in its own pocket. There's another one on the other side of the case. They snap in using buckles and straps and when it's all done I have a nicely packaged case that's light enough to carry around on a shoulder strap.

While I don't leave for three more days, packing up early gave me the peace of mind of knowing that everything was ready. If there had been some problem or I had needed some crucial supply, the extra time would have been needed.

I'm flying on Southwest Airlines who in addition to already having a bag-friendly policy also permit bike bags as one of your checked pieces of luggage so long as it is not overweight (50lbs) or over size (62 inches on any side). This meets both qualifications.

As for other airlines, well again I'd refer you to DC Rainmaker and his advice on how to deal with that.

There will be more follow-up on how all this goes including successes and failures. Then you can take some advice on how to travel with your own bike!

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