Apologies if this has already been discussed in older posts. I anticipate taking several flights with my bike this summer and though expensive, I think I will go ahead and budget for a bike case purchase. I would like to avoid buying the most expensive bells and whistles case on the market, but I also don't want to sacrifice the safety of the bike by buying something too cheap. Any thoughts on specific brands or models? Styles (soft case versus hard case) Caster wheels? Any pitfalls experienced traveling triathletes can note for me to avoid? Any success stories? Many thanks for taking the time to read.
In fact I'm about to pack my bike right now as I'm going to vacation tomorrow. I use a hard case, a decent one, not top of the line. It has rollers so easy to pull through the airport. Its a Thule:
If you search I think you can find this under $300.
www.bikeprousa.com Make some fantastic cases. I am partial to the soft case to allow for give and also traveling in cars. Hard case are more durable but I have seen my soft case (race case from bike pro) dropped from overhead. (the ground support guy at the airport that he was being funny) no problems at all.
I just put my wheels in normal wheel bags and in the case itself and it does the job. Hard wheel cases are nice to have but not a must with either this case or a hard case
Hope that helps
They have travel cases for sale. Not sure of the quality but I think they have fair prices - worth looking into anyway.
I've also seen for some races that your local bike shop can dis-assemble your bike and ship it to your destination as long as there is a local shop on the other end that will re-assemble it. From everything I've read, usually the dis-assembling is done for a fee... and it is dependant on the race as well. Just another option to explore, but may or may not be in line with your thinking...
I haven't had any personal experiences with travel cases, but I like the idea of being able to fly easily with your bike...
Hope this helps.
By the way, my Thule case worked out great, I'm still on vacation. It was painless getting through the airport and picking it up. So that's 2 for 2 for the Thule. All you need to do for this case is remove the pedals and tires of course and the handle bars from the headset (you can leave the aero bars on. Takes minutes.
+1 on the Pro Bike Case. http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=19571 I took my road bike to Ironman and my full suspension mountain bike to Xterra Maui. I bought mine for $350 and now they are $250. It is very big and will not fit in some taxis though. Also, some of the airlines are asking $100 each way. Plenty of room for extra wheels, helmet, etc, but keep in mind that airlines are not only charging a bike fee but a heavy fee if over 50#. I've had to unload my u lock and other heavy things from my bike box once in a while.
On another note, check out the bike transport services. I just paid $200 to get my bike to Alcatraz and then I had to carry up 3 flights of stairs at the B&B and stuff the box into the back seat of a cab. If I would have known about http://www.tribiketransport.com/, I would have used them. You can take the pedals off of your bike and leave at your local bike shop. I'll try them next time, but I'd be curious to know if people like this service.
Yes, use tribiketransport whenever you can. Especially with airlines the way they are now. I used this service in April for Ironman Arizona. I'd use it again for any race they support. They take your bike as is and deliver it via truck so there is no change to the setup, which is a key thing. The only thing is, you will probably need to drop it off at the LBS at least 1 week before the race and don't expect it back until 1 week after.