Traveling is fun. Cycling is also fun. Cycling whilst travel is the ultimate fun – so why don’t you do it more? Well, for many it is hassle of traveling with their bike. While you could always rent one in your destination, most of us who have cycled for a while have our preferences – and that preference usually is our personal bike. It is possible to travel with your bike, without the hassle that we all fear. You just need to be prepared ahead of time, in case something happens in the airport. Because, let’s face it: TSA doesn’t always cooperate with our plans.

Get A Case

First off, check with your airline before traveling with your bike. Most require that your bike be in a case; usually, a hard-shell case. According to the Delta Airlines website, “Upon a payment of fee, a non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats are allowed as checked baggage on most flights with the exception of some Delta Connection® carriers and other aircraft that may have different limits due to cargo constraints. Additionally, the following excess baggage fees might be applied when linear dimensions must not exceed 115 linear inches (292 cm) — no oversized fees apply.  Bicycles over 70 lbs will be charged the applicable excess weight fee. Bicycles over 100 lbs will not be accepted”. Printing the airline policy and taking it to the airport with you can also help if an issue comes up.

Pack It Correctly

This is also something unique to each airline, so be sure to check their websites or call to be sure you are packing your bike correctly. While some airlines and flights (it may vary between domestic and international destinations) allow you to simple remove the handlebars, others are more specific when it comes to dissembling bikes. If you cannot find anything specific for your airline, a good rule of thumb is to just disassemble your bike:

  • Remove the pedals & brakes.
  • Remove the front-brake cables.
  • Remove the front wheel & quick release.

Also, be sure that you have padding between the parts, and that they are not hitting or touching. Another thing: Don’t lock your case! TSA agents will need to look in the case, and locking it will just hold up the line.

Minimize Luggage

Yes, it’s hard, but to keep your fees down (and to minimize the risk of losing luggage), keep your luggage to a minimum. While you may check your bike, don’t check your clothing. Or, if you want to save money with an airline that charges huge fees for over-sized or heavy luggage, take your bike as a carry on and check your clothing. If you are traveling with two bikes, check into a double bike case or bag, instead of checking two separate bike cases. This can also have your money – and the number of pieces you have to keep track of.