March 19, 2018

Filled Under:

Flying with a Bike

There are some important things to remember when travelling by air with your bike.

  • The first thing you need to know is the policy of the airline you are travelling with in relation to the carriage of your bike and in particular to the weight maximum allowed per passenger. Their sporting goods carriage policy can usually be found on the airlines website.  Not all airlines have the same weight restrictions so check that the airline you are thinking of using has a reasonable maximum for each passenger before booking.
  • Airlines usually require bikes to be carried in a bike box while some airlines are not so strict and will allow bikes to be wrapped in plastic. This is good option when on the return journey as it may be difficult to source a bike box from a bike shop. While my wrapping does not look that good it has served its purpose well with the advantage that it less likely to be thrown as is the case with a bike box in my experience.
  •  It is very important to weight your bike and all your panniers and to know your exact combined weight before you get to the airport to ensure that you do not exceed the airline overall weight limit. If you exceed the weight restriction the charges on the excess will be very high. Of course if you take to much gear you will also have to carry all of your gear on your bike which is another strong incentive to take the minimum in gear on your bike tour.
  • You need to include all of your bike gear such as pumps and tools and cooking gear in the panniers and not in your carry on luggage. If they are in the carry on luggage they will almost certainly be confiscated by airport security. And of course you cannot carry cooking gas bottles or similar on aircraft at all. You need to research the availability of these items at the destination where you start your cycle tour.

Bike wrapped in plastic with panniers bag


  1. christania’s “Copenhagen Bike Rental” bikes are rolling across the city. The system, less than a year old, is funded by christania’s municipal government. It is currently only in one of christania’s 22 administrative districts. Although a 2nd generation system, there are 12 “Houses” in this district, each with around 40 bikes. The yearly subscription cost is the equivalent of $2 US, and allows the use of a bike for up to four hours at a time. In less than a year, there have been 6,000 subscriptions sold. There are larger 3rd generation systems in the world, which do not have a subscription to bike ratio as big as that.