Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

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Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby polishbiker » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:23 pm

Hey all,

On my last trip i used a box i bought from Qantas airlines which was a good size for a touring bicycle/racks etc. As far as i know you can only get one from them if you are actually flying with them.

Picked up a Large Giant box from a local bike shop but there is no way my touring bike is going in, maybe if it had 1 wheel only!

Any ideas where to get a bigger box to suit a touring bicycle??

Ta
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by BNA » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:48 pm

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Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby RonK » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:48 pm

If Qantas won't sell you one, try the other airlines. You may have to pick up at the airport.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby J Quinton » Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:26 pm

Ask for a bigger box from LBS?
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby WarrenH » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:40 pm

In NSW, Country Link and City Rail sell bike boxes for $12.00(that is last year's price), at the stations. If you ring ahead, and there isn't a box available, they will drop a box off at even the smaller railway or bus stations ... when the next train or coach comes through. They have big boxes.

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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby GregLR » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:57 am

polishbiker wrote: As far as i know you can only get one from them if you are actually flying with them.

This doesn't accord with my experience in buying Qantas bike boxes at Canberra Airport during at least the the past 10 years - I can't recall being asked to show my ticket, though it may be different at the Qantas desks at other airports. For example, last June I bought 2 Qantas bike boxes several days in advance of our trip to Sydney with Virgin linking with a Singapore Airlines flight to London.

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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby WestcoastPete » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:43 am

How do you mean it's too small? You should be able to fit a
bike with racks in a normal bike shop bike box with the front wheel, stem or bars and maybe RD removed. Front rack'll need to come off but should still fit in. The rear should be able to be left on.

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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby Meditator » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:45 pm

Go to a bike shop and ask for a touring bike box.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby polishbiker » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:49 pm

Dont think we have a CountryLink in W.A tho.

When i wanted to buy a bicycle box from Qantas service desk they asked me to show them my ticket, perhaps it depends on the person, will call the airport tomorrow to double check this.

Bike doesnt quite fit mainly because of the equipment i am using, racks are quite big in size (Surly nice rack and tubus logo) plus rear wheel is Rolhoff equipped, think it would be solved if i can get a hold of qantas bicycle box.

Dont know of any 'touring' specific shops in W.A. unfortunately, we mainly have road/mtb bikes here.

Will see what qantas says tomorrow, thanks for the input as always.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby GregLR » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:55 am

If unsuccessful with Qantas, you may be able to buy one from Virgin Blue:
http://www.virginaustralia.com/us/en/pl ... ile-items/
About 2/3 of the way down the page it says they cost $15 but doesn't gove the dimensions.

BTW, my 60cm Surly LHT only just fits in the Qantas bike box with the rear wheel still on (& front wheel off, of course) - with the seatpost/saddle taken out the top of the seat tube is level with the top of the box.

Also, the last time I travelled on the NSW CountryLink XPT from Yass Junction to Melbourne, admittedly a long time ago in 2001, at the station I was given a box sourced from a bike shop that wasn't long enough for my old 60cm touring bike with the rear wheel still on & front wheel off, such that the forks had to hang over the front of the box and the seat tube (minus seat post/saddle) was higher than the box. What a hassle it was travelling with a bike on the XPT in those days (probably still is, since bikes still have to be boxed).

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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby Meditator » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:27 am

Polish, you are not being too bright here. You don't need to find a touring specific shop. You just need to find a box that a bike with 700 wheels came out of. eg a road bike or a hybrid. You really shouldn't have to go and buy a box.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby Baalzamon » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:05 pm

Meditator wrote:Polish, you are not being too bright here. You don't need to find a touring specific shop. You just need to find a box that a bike with 700 wheels came out of. eg a road bike or a hybrid. You really shouldn't have to go and buy a box.


A thorn raven nomad compared against road bike hmmm into a road box. NOPE. It's too big for that, need quite a nice size box. Shop box from road bike are really narrow as well.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby RonK » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:10 pm

GregLR wrote:For example, last June I bought 2 Qantas bike boxes several days in advance of our trip to Sydney with Virgin linking with a Singapore Airlines flight to London.

Greg, could I fit a touring bike in a Qantas box with dissassembling it? How difficult would it be for a solo traveller to handle the loaded box?
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby polishbiker » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:29 pm

Well good news after all, i called Qantas and they confirmed there should be NO issue with getting a box even if you do not fly with them so problem solved :)

Ronk - i fitted my surly cross check with racks/mudguards/panniers and some random bits and pieces before, Qantas boxes are quite generous in size, they are ~16,90$ and can be picked up from Qantas helpdesk.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby GregLR » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:50 pm

RonK wrote:Greg, could I fit a touring bike in a Qantas box with disassembling it?

As Polishbiker said, there's quite a bit of room in the Qantas bike box. But a little disassembly is needed, at least for my LHT and also some for my partner Toni's smallest size, 26"-wheeled Thorn 'Sherpa':
- for completeness, I mention some obvious things like the front wheel, pedals & seatpost/saddle (in my case)
- I also need to undo the (drop) handlebar from the stem and tie it (with protection) to the top tube ideally so that no part of it is in front of the head tube, because otherwise it pushes up against the front of the box due to the length of my 60cm bike (Toni just needs to loosen the stem bolts and twist the drop bars around & retighten - haven't flown with a bike with straight bars, so not sure how they would be managed when packed
- also, before packing, we make sure the rear derailleur is on the largest cog, to minimise possibility of damage from outside the box (I also put padding, such as piping insulation or bubble wrap, around this area as well)
- we also put piping insulation or bubble wrap on the tubes to protect paintwork from anything sharp piercing the box from the outside (I've had some gouges before)
- also need to ensure that the front wheel is packed so that it can't be damaged by other parts of the bike - partly achieved by placing on the side where the pedals are in the forward position, ideally the non-crank side (I lock this in by tying the pedals so they can't move when I have them where I want them) - we now put the wheels in small cardboard boxes used to ship rims or wheels
- we also put a plastic spacer between the drop outs on the fork blades (ie, those used when bikes are shipped to shops) to prevent the forks from being bent towards each other, and also some padding under the forks to prevent them from pushing through the bottom of the box
- other things disassembled from the bike need to be covered with bubble wrap or similar and placed so they don't scratch the frame or prevent damage to them or other parts
- we put a pannier inside the boxes as well (the one with tools, charging devices, etc, and take the other one with clothes in it as carry-on luggage - if camping, obviously more needs to go in the box
- once packed we use lots of packing tape to seal the box, including a couple of times or more right around the box to prevent it coming apart, for example, if it gets damp/soggy while sitting on the runway before loading or after unloading (which has happened to us at Sydney Airport, for example)

When doing B&B / motel touring, typically our boxes weigh about 23-27kg but we've usually been lucky to avoid excess baggage charges, though not all the time. Box weighs around 30km if camping, and thus excess baggage charge is incurred - makes the Emirates 30kg allowance sound very attractive.

RonK wrote:How difficult would it be for a solo traveller to handle the loaded box?

Due to the weight & size of the box it's pretty unwieldy to get it around the airport on your own but the box can be picked up and shuffled around using the perforated gaps they leave in the side for baggage handlers. We try to get a trolley to wheel the boxes outside to get a maxi-cab or to find a good spot inside or outside to assemble the bike if riding away from the airport.

Also, we've usually been lucky enough to store the boxes at our accommodation at the flight destination if flying back from the same city, meaning we can re-use the boxes and packing, etc, material by spending the last night or two of hour holiday at the same place.

Hope this helps and sorry for stating obvious things that would apply to other bike transporting options as well. And sorry for the long post ! No doubt other forum members have differing views on packing & handling cardboard bike boxes.

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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby RonK » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:01 pm

Thanks for the comprehensive reply Greg - I've been tossing up whether to use a box instead of my wheeled bag. A box seems attractive because it would be much lighter and requires less bike disassembly than for the bag, and of course it is disposable at the destination, but travelling solo that would be offset by the inconvenience off trying to handle it while also carrying a duffle full of panniers. The passenger drop-off at Brisbane domestic airport is horrendous when you are struggling with a bike and a heavy duffle. Fortunately my next tour is in NZ and the passenger drop-off at Brisbane International is much better designed. I'm still not decided but learning toward a box to reduce excess baggage charges.

If I decide on a box I might get a wheel caddy to make it easier to handle.

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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby Meditator » Tue May 01, 2012 11:49 am

Ron, (and polish) i put one empty pannier in the bike box with tools and cable lock and other lighter stuff such as helmet. Or stuff that's not allowed to be carried on board. And try to keep it not more than 1kg over weight. It seems to be the allowance before they charge you but make sure your scales are good. If the airport finds a big discrepanacy in weight compared to yours, I have found its a good idea to challenge their scales. Once they were going to charge me when they would have been wrong. They double checked the reading when I said that can't be right. I just weighed it.

I carry everything else on board in the other pannier. And i usually have another bag for camera and plane bits. I"m often very boarding limit. But they never weigh your carryon bags.

Polish, remember that about the tools and the cable lock. You can't carry a cable lock on a plane. You might strangle someone with it. These days you are allowed to carry on nail scissors and little things like that but remember to stash any potential weapons in your box with your bike.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby WestcoastPete » Tue May 01, 2012 12:12 pm

Meditator wrote:Polish, remember that about the tools and the cable lock. You can't carry a cable lock on a plane. You might strangle someone with it. These days you are allowed to carry on nail scissors and little things like that but remember to stash any potential weapons in your box with your bike.


I've taken a cable lock in my carry on baggage each time I've toured, both domestically and internationally. I do this to keep the checked weight down.

I think there's some kind of moratorium on bike locks. A fella questioned it once and his supervisor said "na, bike locks can go through".

Disclaimer: Please don't hold me responsible if your lock gets taken off you by security if you try to take it onboard. My experience is that it won't get taken, but you never know on the day!
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby elStado » Fri May 04, 2012 11:22 am

polishbiker wrote:Well good news after all, i called Qantas and they confirmed there should be NO issue with getting a box even if you do not fly with them so problem solved :)


Great to hear, I was going to call and find out myself but you saved me the hassle. :)

My optometrist (who is a family friend too) mentioned the other day he had a Ground Effect Tardis I could borrow if I wanted. However I have heard these are a bit of a pain to pack your bike especially if you have front disc brakes. My other option was to get a box from the LBS I got my bike from who should be able to put a larger box to suit my VWR on the side for me. I also need to get a spacer for the front forks.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby polishbiker » Sat May 05, 2012 4:28 pm

just make sure you have your flight booked before you show up at the airport to buy a box, with no flight reference they will not sell you one, i just learnt the hard way :(
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby elStado » Sat May 05, 2012 4:43 pm

polishbiker wrote:just make sure you have your flight booked before you show up at the airport to buy a box, with no flight reference they will not sell you one, i just learnt the hard way :(


I don't know what the big deal is. You're not getting it for free. You would think that if you've gone there and are willing to pay for the box it would be all good. Bloody airlines making life difficult.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby Vintagetourer » Sat May 05, 2012 5:19 pm

A recent write-up about getting touring bikes into Tardis bags by John Hutchison may be of interest. Recently Ground Effect have produced a new, larger model of the Tardis. John used the older, smaller model bag.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page ... 75315&v=6c
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby wqlava1 » Sat May 05, 2012 10:03 pm

elStado wrote:
polishbiker wrote:just make sure you have your flight booked before you show up at the airport to buy a box, with no flight reference they will not sell you one, i just learnt the hard way :(


I don't know what the big deal is. You're not getting it for free. You would think that if you've gone there and are willing to pay for the box it would be all good. Bloody airlines making life difficult.

ElStado mate, volume costs them as well as weight. They are giving us heaps of extra volume by allowing a bike box, and i figure where one is allowed like on Qantas, it's easy. As you saw when i dropped by last year, I have bikes with big frames - all around 60-62cm. I tend to use my old Ground Effect Tardis bag or boxes just depending on what's available and whether I'm trying to fit extra stuff in (in which case I use a box). The biggest box I ever got was a Time TT bike box which is super wide (about 13" from memory, and a bit longer as well). Any of my bikes including touring bikes will fit in a standard box - just keep disassembling. In order, what I would take off to get the bike small enough is: guards, front wheel (and put spacer gotten from LBS in forks), loosen bars, seatpost with seat, rack, rear wheel, remove stem, RD, right crank, and that's all that's ever needed. If you had one of those oversized 64 or 65cm seat tube bikes because you were 6'6" tall you might need a bigger box, but those Qantas ones are basically for those who have less time and more money than myself. Another thing - standard bike boxes just slide easily into the back seats of Falcon and i think Mitsubishi 380 taxis. The bigger ones don't. I only paid for a ike box (Qantas) once when i was unprepared. Used boxes around Australia dozens of times since and always arranged one from a LBS or my stash of a couple of them in the shed.
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Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby RonK » Sun May 06, 2012 10:15 am

Another source for big boxes is from retailers of flat screen TV sets. Some of those boxes are huge. Try your local TV store.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby elStado » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:53 pm

I've just spent 4 hours breaking down my VWR to get it small enough to fit in the Tardis bag I am using. I still can't fit both my racks in there though, just isn't enough space for all these large bulky items in the one bag. Had to carefully remove both wheels, both mudguards, pedals, RD, saddle post, bars and racks.

The reason it has taken so long is because I am trying to keep all the bolts for each item organised and separated, so when I am at the airport I don't have to fish around to try and find the right sized bolt. It's a bit of a PITA but I guess taking a full size touring bicycle overseas is never easy. I didn't need to remove my disc rotor in the end, the wheel lays flat on top of the frame with plenty of clearance and isn't getting knocked or pressed against anything that I can see.

I've just written a check list for myself so when I arrive at the airport all tired and bleary-eyed I will have a guide as to what order the bike needs to be put back together again.
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Re: Bicycle box for a touring bicycle?

Postby WestcoastPete » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:39 pm

It gets easier with practice. I can do it in about 30-40 mins now. I'm surprised you can't squeeze everything in though. My bike's not much different to yours and I can make it all fit. It's tight though...

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