How to Make Your Bike Fly
A new year means a new racing calendar, and you may be prioritising which of the great cycle tours and stage races you want to conquer. Whether you’re attracted to the slick undulating roads of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the beautiful yet torturous vineyard terrain of the Cape Epic or the rustic tracks of Berg and Bush, you and your bike will be put pedal to the metal.
However, before the sweating starts, you need to plan your trip and transporting your bike is, of course, a key factor.
“Flying with your bike is no longer something that should be avoided,” says Warrick Kernes, CEO of Action Gear, online specialists in high tech sporting gear. “There’s no better way to explore South Africa, as long as you plan carefully, then your bike will arrive in perfect condition and be ready to explore.”
Considering that in 2015 around R700-million worth of equipment cycled through Cape Town’s roads during the Cape Town Cycle Tour alone, it is imperative that cyclists take the necessary precautions to protect their valuable bike and accessories in transit.
Pick the right Airline
Historically cyclists have tried to avoid flying with their bikes, often finding some way to send them via road transport. These days there is a far more convenient and safe way to have your bike travel with you via air. FlySafair not only offers a specialisted sports equipment handling service, but also allows your bike to fly on the same aircraft that you do. This means a lot less admin and a lot less stress about your valuable asset being lobbed around like any other piece of air cargo.
Start with the basics
As with any transportation bikes must not only be appropriately packaged for a flight, but also very well protected within their casings. On the subject of the casing, bear in mind that while a hard case will offer the best protection to your bike, the weight of these cases can attract a penalty fee on any airline if the whole package is over a certain weight limit. In the case of FlySafair, this limit is 32kg. “This extra weight allowance is great for transporting mountain bikes because of the weight of the wheels, which adds a significant amount on most bikes. You’ll find that just the bike and the bike bag will quickly add up to around 20kgs” says Wimpie Davidson, director of operations at FlySafair and road cycle race veteran.
Many cyclists agree that padded soft-shell cases or well protected bikes in cardboard cases offer a better solution. “When it comes to purchasing a bike bag, this is also not something to save money on. It will only end up costing you more in bike repairs.”
Most veterans of cycle races know the drill when it comes to how to package their bikes for the flight, but we believe the basics are worth recapping
Bikes must not only be appropriately packaged for a flight, but also very well protected within its casing. Bear in mind that while a hard case will offer the best protection to your bike, the weight of these cases can attract a penalty fee on any airline if the whole package is over a certain weight limit. In the case of FlySafair, this limit is 32kg.
Many cyclists agree that padded soft-shell cases or well protected bikes in cardboard cases offer a better solution. To ensure a safe journey, use a soft shell case, pad it well and remove the rear derailleur from the hanger.
How to package your bike:
Only bike parts may be packed into the box, bike case or bag, with nothing protruding.
Shift the gear into the highest position and ensure that the gearing is well protected.
Wrap the frame in bubble wrap for extra protection, with the handlebars turned in line with the frame.
Partially deflate the tyres to accommodate air pressure differences in the aircraft and arising from altitude differences between the highland and the coast. Remove the front wheel.
Do not include any valuable electronic equipment, your helmet, cleats and pedals in the bike packaging.
Empty the water bottles.
Four CO2 gas cartridges, not exceeding 28g each, per bike are allowed.
The fully packed bag must not weigh more than 32 kg.
Bicycles must be disassembled and packed according to aircraft requirements and checked-in no later than 3 (three) hours prior to departure.
No bicycle tool kits will be permitted on board as hand luggage.
When handing in your bicycle you will be asked to sign a ‘Limited Release Tag’.This tag indemnifies FlySafair (Pty) Ltd from any costs arising from the loss or damage to any bicycles, packaging, or any other equipment included in the packaging. You will need to produce your copy of this tag when collecting your bike.
For further information visit www.flysafair.co.za.