Sunday, October 4, 2009
Aerus Bike Bag Review
Flying with a bike( on a plane not off a jump!) has become and extra pain, hassle and most particularly expensive in the last year. When I traveled to Kona for Ironman Hawaii last fall, I met people who had paid more to get there bikes there than they had paid sitting in a seat on the plane - at least in the cabin, you got dry pretzels and a shooter of soda, who knows the treatment your bike got at the hands of the gorilla baggage handlers.
There's always been some sort of fee for traveling with a bike when you bring it on the plane. However, historically it was modest charge, but it was very inconsistently applied. Now some airlines are charging substantially more and good-news/bad-news - it's still inconsistently applied! This latter point can be frustrating when, at check in you get hit with an extra $200 to check your bike in. I get it that bikes, and bike cases are a little more un-weildly to handle - but $150 more dollars more work to handle per bike? Now, some triathletes and cyclists have not helped the cause by way over-packing some of these wheeled hard-shell bike cases to the point that they are attemping to check in a Hummer at the ticket counter! At Ironman Canada one year, it took three men, to lift one of these sherman-tank hard shell bike cases up onto the conveyor belt!
What to do? One solution, is to go the other way, away from the rolling armored-truck style hard cases and use the lightest, most compact bike travel bag that you can find. Enter the Aerus Biospeed Bike Bag. This is a heavy duty nylan bag that is very well thought out with a high level of protection and padding for your bike. The key things about this approach is that, when in the bag, the whole unit is compact and light - weighing in at less than 30 pounds with my 58cm Cervelo R3 road bike in the bag. Also, it's discreet. You can sling it over your shoulder. It does not scream I AM A BIKE from the outside!
I used an Aerus Biospeed bag for the first time on my flight to Kona from Toronto yesterday. I had the bike-bag slung over my shoulder and then another medium sized roller bag to check. At check in with Continental, the Agent asked me what was in the Aerus Bag. I said, "Sports equipment". She said, "Seriously. What is in the bag?". I said, "If you really want to know it's a bike". She said, "I would not have known, as it's so small and light [28 pounds on the scale]. It's only slightly bigger than a normal suitcase. I'll check it as your second bag - no charge"!! Thank you.
Picked up my Bike Bag at Kona airport and when I unpacked it at our Condo all was good. I did go the extra mile when I did pack it up and follow a number of the key points noted at the Aerus web site on packing tips - most noteably using foam copper pipe insulation on all the bikes tubes.
Edit: When traveling with your bike, make sure that before you book and pay for your tickets, check over thoroughly the airlines bike policy and the bike fees. Read all the fine print. As mentioned previously, some airlines, most notably the big U.S. airlines such as United, Delta and American, are all charging $175 - $200 each way for your bike. Do your absolute best to not support these airlines with your business. There is a group of smaller airlines, that have much lower and more modest fees for traveling with a bike. I know that in Canada we are very lucky, bit Air Canada and WestJet have a set $50 fee for Bikes - that's reasonable. That I don't mind paying. Consequently, I do everything I can to fly with AC or WJ, even paying a bit more up-front for my airfare - knowing that in the long run it will be less expensive and I am supporting a business, that supports and understands us.
Hope this helps.
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