Monday, July 21, 2008

Come Fly With Me

Confession: I have never flown anywhere with a bicycle.

It's true. I've driven places with bicycles, sure. Been doing that forever. My dad once got pulled over for (allegedly) doing 80-plus through some speed trap in Connecticut with my MCS Styler (or maybe it was a GT Aggressor) hanging off the back of the family minivan. And the only two cars I've ever owned were both old station wagons, all the better for tossing a bike (or eight) in the back.

That said, I totally love this new DK flight bag.

Why do airlines charge extra for bikes to begin with? Who came up with that brilliant idea? I'd understand if you rode the damn thing to the airport and just handed it to the poor guy/girl at check-in like he/she was some kind of valet. But if you bag it or box it, why should you have to pay an extra surcharge that nothing else the same size/weight gets tagged with? What kind of sense does that make? (Could be worse—we could be surfers.)

If anything, airlines should encourage people flying with bikes, shouldn't they? That would be the environmentally friendly, Al Gore thing to do. As a matter of fact, shouldn't they let bikes go free and charge extra to the guys and girls who fly with their damn golf clubs? They're probably on an expensed business trip anyway—and even if they aren't, some dude who plays golf probably has more disposable income than your stereotypical Ramen-slurping BMXer. Then again, if that did go through, then DK would have to change the bag around. "No, I swear it's not golf clubs! It's a bike! Check!" The thought of golfers buying Dan's Comp flight bags to try and make airline personnel think their clubs are actually a bike makes me smile.

At this rate, I'm not sure if I'll ever fly with my bike. But if I do, I think I might have to invest in a, um, golf bag. Fore!

(By the way, according to this site, Delta really sucks when it comes to bikes, so I would suggest not flying Delta ever—whether you're bringing a bike or not—unless a) you have a lot of frequent flyer miles, or b) someone else is paying for it.)


Maybe you noticed there was a lot of weird, in-development stuff posted on the S&M site last week. If I were to wildly overestimate my status and standing, I'd assume I was being provoked. As it is, I think I have a topic for tomorrow.


bobby p said...

FIRST OFF... cru jones would beat the everliving piss out of tiger woods. and then go roast down the roll in fakie at hell track bitch!

bobby p said...

...and those crazy s&m drop outs...interesting. very interesting. (only if the back wheel world in bmx goes to the studs)

Stephen said...

Okay, I fucking love the golf bag. That is even better than the Taj guitar case idea.

Way better.

Secondly, the S&M stuff...I don't even know. I am calling bullshit.


todd from albe's said...

those bags are an awesome idea. i must confess, though, when i saw them the first thing i thought was "why is DK making stuff for golfers?" then i figured it out, guess i didn't expect DK to have an inovative idea, haha. BMX really needs to do more problem solving like this instead of simply trying to make a brake lever lighter or introducing a line of complete bikes into an overcrowded market.

and according to DK: "this bag can fit two complete bikes or three Catfishes"

Darren H said...

This is one thing I think we can all agree on - getting charged for bringing a small, light BMX bike is RIDICULOUS.

The DK bag is a great idea. I think S&M used to make one that said "S&M Camping Equipment" on it once.

I've flown a good bit with my bike,
here's what I do.

Steps to not get charged for bringing the bike:

1.) use a large hockey goalie bag, not a bike box bag. My bag is gigantic, there's plenty of room in it, but just moving with the thing is tough since there are no wheels on it. I've flown with it a bunch of times, I've only been charged twice, both flying out of Savannah for oversize charges, not bike charges.

2.) break the bike down as small as you can. If the guy at the counter doesnt think the bag is big enough to hold a bike, you're in the clear. Take off the wheels, bars, maybe even the fork. With internal sealed headsets this is way less of a big deal than in the past. Maybe even put your wheels in another bag.

3.) Check it with the skycaps, give them a GOOD tip. They don't ask questions, they just want your cash, so shell it out. Better $10 to them than $80 to the airline.

4.) Get there early.

5.) Watch the weight and size of the bag very closely. Going over the weight limit or over the size limit will saddle you with charges even higher than the bike charge. I flew Airtran out of Savannah once, there were no A-Tran skycaps, so I had to go to the desk, it was during the holidays, and the guy STRETCHED out my hockey bag (which was only about 1/3 full with the bike - told you it's huge) and told me it was over the size limits. The weight came in at around 51, which I KNEW was off, since the bike only weighed about 33 pounds, I had a pump, kneepads, and some tools, but that was it. There scale was off, probably on purpose.
The only reason I didn't raise more hell was that he never looked in the bag, which meant the shipping would've doubled. -($50 overweight + $50 oversize + $100 for shipping a bike) So avoid Airtran, make sure the bag isn't too heavy or too big, because they WILL check at the desk.

6.) I've never been asked what's inside the bag. (Maybe it's the giant "Sherwood Hockey" logo on there) but my friend Graham has used the term "exercise equipment" before to much success, since it's not lying, which you don't want to do in an airport these days.

7.) Don't panic if SECURITY wants to x-ray the bag or open it up, once you get past the guy at the airline counter, the HLS guy couldn't care less if you have a bike in there.

8.) If all else fails and they want to charge you, put it on a credit card and then dispute the charge later on. Paul Vail recommends this and claims it works.

9.) Or just UPS your bike to wherever you're going, which is way cheaper than the airline and is probably way more reliable.

10.) your paint job is getting scratched. All it will do is make your bike look well traveled. Relax a bit.

11.) Smaller airports with less going on will give you way more trouble than bigger, busier ones. I've never had problems in Philadelphia, LAX or ATL, Savannah or Jacksonville tend to ask more questions and pay more attention.

Anonymous said...

I call shenanigans on that whole S&M post.

Destroying my railed seat to use it with a pivotal post? Um, thanks but no. I'll just stick with my thompson.

Plastic bottom brackets are dumb as fuck. Bearings work. Stop trying to reinvent stuff just to make old stuff obsolete. There's nothing wrong with Mid or Spanish BB's. It doesn't get any simpler. So what if it makes your bike 6 ounces lighter and saves a buck or two. Plastic bushings feel like ass compared to sealed bearings, and there's just no way that bushings handle loads as well for as long as a metal bearing.

Shimano Cranks suck for BMX applications. Fact. Racers routinely strip the chainring bolt MOUNTS right off the spider. The arms are heavy. They look like shit. Oh, and Shimano sucks. Campy forever.

dayday said...

I think the seat makes sense, it takes the ease of the one bolt pivotal system and one-ups it by addng the the flexibitly of a rail-seat system. best of both for the other parts... I dont know enough about bb to comment, and the plastic sprocket, sounds like they were honest, it sucked.

Russ said...

Shimano cranks don't allow for gearing below 36, do they?

Also, while I still think the "golf" bag's a great idea, it's probably only a matter of time before golf clubs and bikes pay the same freight. Assuming the airlines don't WANT to go out of business.

Still can't figure out the S&M stuff. A clear sprocket? Troy McMurray is rolling in his grave.

wade said...

I'm currently in Yellowknife, Canada (WAY north). Flew here with my bike using a bike bag that I got six years ago from a company in Arizona. It has wheels, is the right size, and you just need to take off the front wheel, the seat and post, the pedals, and the handlebars. Very deluxe, but very expensive. Still, I have only been charged for one leg of a trip in six years. Max Vincent borrowed my bag countless times for international travel with no problems.
I used to say, when asked, that it was a portable promotions display: a display frame with tools to put it together. Pressed, I say it is action sports equipment including a skateboard helmet and some children's bike parts. Variations of the truth.

Anonymous said...

I travel to Japan with my bike all the time. I use a big padded bike bag with a strap that I got as a gift. It says bicycle all over it in many different languages. I am usually charged 50 bucks American one-way. It blows and I've just come to accept it. I like the DK bag a lot and would really like to get my mitts on one, but worry about the dreaded scan. I have had my bike scanned and been asked to explain things about it, like what the two pipes (pegs) are for and whatnot. I wonder if I would be hassled about trying to disguise my bike as a set of clubs, get into a brawl with a security team, bite the ear off of one of their dogs and then be forced into a seat on a plane bound for Guantanamo.

VxD said...

to dust of an old internet meme...


Aaron said...

I use a hockey bag too, never had to pay for it and I fly a couple times a year.

What's with all the positivity? First the UGP post and now this...

Anonymous said...

if youve never flown with a bike,how do you know and be able to comment on it.

jtb said...

fuck surfers. ive never seen anyone in a wetsuit thrown in handcuffs for riding...they dont get to bitch about having it rough and being singled by "corporate board members"

Russ said...

Tomorrow will return to your regularly scheduled mockery.

Anonymous said...

just because he's "never done it" doesn't mean he doesn't know anything about it, especially if he has been hanging aroung the bicycle community for many years. chances are he's heard stories from friends and whatnot...i've never smoked crack but i would be confident in posting on a blog to tell people it's bad for you.

Anonymous said...

Beerman you cunt. that Quamen comment was well out of order.

g. edward jones, jr. said...


I don't know how innovative it is. There was a review of the O'gio golf bag in Ride like two years ago where they said that O'gio team members used it as a bike bag for this very reason. If I ever flew again I was gonna use that trick.

ben said...

The one time i flew they scared me with.. "if you say this box is filled with bike parts, then you dont care if it gets lost right ?" I grudginly said i didn't care. Luckily it rolled out in Florida unscathed.

Rob D said...

all this shit talking surrounding sprfls on the come up can only help you.

"there is no such thing as bad advertising"

keep up the good work russ.

todd from albe's said...

you're absolutely correct. i remember that now. the the best inovation DK has contributed to the sport resorts back to the Random Wrench i guess. goddam it! i publicly humiliated myself again.

Russ said...

If DK were smart they'd do a whole DK Golf line—plaid pants, pastel polos, visors—so you could show up at the airport looking the part.

s.bros said...

The airlines aren't just singling out bike bags anymore... wait until the next time you fly American or US Airways or United (probably more airlines are or will soon follow, but this is what I know of right now) you get charged for your FIRST checked bag and it gets steeper and steeper the more bags you have. Tipping the skycap will not get you out of this. I tried. It can still help you reduce your overweight luggage charges though. ;)

pdxbmx said...

Tipping Skycaps here at LAX does not work anymore either. They started cracking down on the guys and hitting them hard if they let heavy bags through. I gave the guy a nice tip for the heads up. No matter what, they are gonna ding ya. I really don't know what I will do for my next bmx flight.

Ryan said...

I never had a problem with making a 16" kids bike box smaller to fit regulation or better yet a Fit frame box, and put wheels in my suitcase.

guy asked me whats in it i said bike parts and got past

how is it a bike if theres no wheels?

i still may invest in this bag

Anonymous said...

everyone has failed to say that this is moderately affordable. the ogio bag costs something like 200+ dollars, this is around 125. awesome.

mike.m. said...

my [so far never fail] solution:

1. go to an army surplus store, buy the biggest duffle bag you can find for about $20 bucks.

2. take off your pedals, stem, bars, fork, and front wheel.

3. zip tie one crank arm to the chainstay.

4. slide the fork blades around the seattube [so it's like a third stay going to the bacl axle], zip tie.

5. zip the front wheel to one side of the frame, and your bars / stem to the other [don't have to split up the bars and stem].

6. wrap a zipper hoodie around everything, with the back wheel in the hood.

7. zip the whole thing into a sleeping bag and pack the rest of you clothes for your trip around it [more padding = less it will feel like a bike].

8. everything into the cheap ass surplus bag.

i've used this for at least ten round trip flights in the last four years, and have never paid a dime, and have rarely been asked what is in it [including at LAX four weeks ago].

this is one place where lightweight can help you on a bike, my approx 25lb. bike gets up to about 40lbs. once its all packed in with clothes, tools and whatnot. one thing that may help avoid any hassles is that i always carry it on on a shoulder strap, just act like its a normal everyday bag and you're going on a long trip.

in other news, an apartment in my complex just got raided as it was apparently filled with pot plants.

Duncan said...

The golf bag is awesome. I'll save most of the S&M commentary until tomorrow, but I will say this: the "Campy forever" guy is a retard.

I wrench on bikes as a side gig. I worked on a guy's titanium cyclocross Litespeed with full Campy kit, including triple ring cranks, and I was loosing my mind trying to get the front derailleur dialed in. It either wouldn't get up to the 2nd ring, or it'd overshift on the way down and fall off to the inside. So I called up my friend who used to own a shop, and he told me to get a "Deda Dog Claw." What's that? It's a plastic thing that bolts to the seat tube under where the derailleur mounts to keep the chain from falling off on Campy front derailleurs, since they all do that. It's an aftermarket item made by an Italian company. This was a $7 fix for a $300 carbon fiber Record derailleur. Maybe they could've designed the shit right to begin with. Campy is the Emperor's new clothes...fancy shit for people who want to be fancy.

As far as Shimano sucking for BMX, you sir, are a joke. You apparently have forgotten that Shimano invented the platform pedal, and were the first to use micro adjust seatposts in BMX (in the fuckin' early '80s). I've had both Saints and DXRs on my race bikes, and they are FAR superior to any 48 spline crank, in that they don't flex. They are also lighter than any crank set-up out there, so the "heavy" comment shows your really don't know what's up.

The problem for street riding would be the spider. I do sprocket grinds, so I'm not feeling like bending a chainring every two hits. What they need to do is make a spiderless set with some kind of integrated, Tree-like spine drive gear set-up.

I'll chime in on the rest of the S&M proto stuff tomorrow when it's more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

this is a worryingly posi post

Anonymous said...


If you're having that much trouble adjusting a front deraileur, maybe you should go back to building the 16" kids bikes and leave the nice bikes to the grown-ups.

I wasn't referring to 20+ year old DX pedals, I'm reasonably sure that platform pedals were invented a long time before Shimano and BMX came along, in any case. I was referring to the fit, finish, durability, and aesthetics of Campy versus Shimano. Campy breaks in, Shimano breaks down.

I was talking about ridng modern BMX race and freestyle on Shimano aluminum cranks. There's a set of them in my shop right now with the chainring bolt mounts completely sheared off- by a racer. If you're doing sprocket tricks, you're just dumb to even try them on Shimano anything. It would be just like Shimano to steal a smaller company's idea and take it for their own, so it won't surprise me if they introduce a spline drive type system at some point. Which, as I'm sure you know, was actually introduced by Profile, years and years ago.

The Shimano cranks are light because the bottom bracket is a hollow pipe- the arms themselves are as heavy or heavier than most CrMo arms. If you can feel the flex a CrMo crank arm, you have some amazingly strong legs and even more amazingly sensitive feet to even feel it. Kudos to you, sir.


Go duffel bags,go!

bobby p said...

campy breaks in shimano breaks down!!! that is the truth duncan. and although i wont go as far as telling you to go back to building 16" bikes, i will say that campy is awesome. dont talk shit on it just because you had bad luck with a front deraillieur once. i have had just as many problems with 105, ultegra, and yes, even dura ace deraillieurs made by your beloved shimano.

and were you suggesting that shimano should copy tree? if they are that superior they should be able to come up with an amazing idea themselves. right? right....i say leave the mountain bike and road bike companies to making mountain and road bike components. leave bmx to the bmxers.

Duncan said...

Okay, so you weren't talking about 20+ year old DX pedals...but while we're on the subject, post up a link to an older platform pedal.

Trouble with front's only on the triple ring Campy cranks. And if it wasn't a pain in the ass, why would there be an aftermarket dood-dad to deal with it. Maybe dude's derailleur hadn't "broken in" yet.

In terms of flexing chromo cranks like Profiles, you must be fairly weak if you can't get a chromo arm to flex even a teensy bit under power. Out of the starting gate maybe? C'mon Hulk, put some leg into it. If chromo doesn't flex, take a look at the average AA pro gate at a UCI event and count the ratio of chromo cranks to DXRs. Are all these guys just trendy, or is there a performance advantage?

The chainring bolts shearing--was that on a set of Saints or DXRs? They beefed the spider up on DXRs for this problem, because the spider on Saints is much thinner to take more rings. A friend of mine actually did this as well with Saints, but he was running aluminum chainring bolts. I've never had a problem with either crankset with chromo bolts that were kept properly tight.

As far as leaving BMX to the BMXers, I admit that Shimano flits in and out of the scene when they see a dollar to be made. At the same time, DXRs are great cranks, and I'd love to see them adapted for street.

Anonymous said...

i'm glad this site is saving bmx from itself and not just giving a bunch of old dorks a forum to whine on.

bobby p said...

i'd like to see more naked women walking the streets. i guess sometimes we just don't always get what we want. life just isn't fair.

Anonymous said...

jesus christ, some of these comments are short stories.

Anonymous said...

oh no, you have to read sometimes. i'll tell your mom to get out some milk and cookies for you.

Anonymous said...

two long winded how-tos on how to pack your bag for a flight? are you that retarded?

Anonymous said...

I think russ's whole bmx experience is fraudulant he gets all his knowledge from a bunch of 22 year old salty bmxboard kids that never made it and never will so suckadick

Anonymous said...

Yes, because 'making it' in BMX qualifies you to comment on parts. Nothing else.

Any more logic we should be aware of, my dear TCU knob-jockies?

DBZ said...

The curbside check-in at the Austin-Bergstrom airport know what's up.

I have one of those big-ass padded flight cases for my bike, and I'd worked out that the oversize charges were going to run me around $150. The checker slapped a tag on it and threw it on the conveyor belt before the pissed off TSA lady could say anything, and I tipped him fifty bucks.

Getting wasted in the airport bar with the hundred bucks I saved was pretty fucking awful, though.

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