Travel case?

Skip to first unread message


Jan 18, 2022, 5:36:39 PM1/18/22
to randon
For PBP 2019 I used an older hard-shell bike case.  For LEL this year I'm thinking I want a soft sided case that weighs less so that I can put more things in the case. I arrived at the airport being told that I needed to remove 6 pounds of weight, which all had to go in our carry on.  One that has 4 wheels (mine has just 2) Travels vertical instead of horizonal.
  Avoiding airline fees is not a primary concern, so I'm not interested in the smallest case that requires total disassembly of the bike.

 Any recommendations? Anyone have something for sale?


Larry Graham
RUSA #114

Scott Ebbing

Jan 19, 2022, 9:48:05 AM1/19/22
to LG, randon
In 2015 when I went to PBP I used a soft sided case that used a small air pump to pump up air bladders to protect the bike. It was great except for one thing. The TSA types in France and US both deflated the bags to inspect the bike. Thus unfortunately, I lost the main protection. So I went back to hard shell in 2019 and will use hard shell in 2023 as well...  

Just my .02... 

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "randon" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
To view this discussion on the web visit

Eric Nichols

Jan 19, 2022, 2:21:40 PM1/19/22
to randon
I used a Pika Packworks soft case for PBP 2019 and many other trips.  This particular case doesn't have wheels, but it is exceptionally light and easily carried using the shoulder strap. To add some additional crush resistance, I add coroplast sheets braced apart with some PVC pipe.  

I also have a Trico Sports hardshell case which is stronger, much heavier, and less TSA-resistant.  While walking through the airport, the Trico box requires dedicating at least one hand to pull it along.  The Pika case hangs from my shoulder, freeing up both hands. 

What do I mean by TSA-resistant?  In my experience, the greatest threat to your bike is the TSA agent. They will open your case to look for a few typical things, such as a seat bag or other item that could contain CO2 cartridges (prohibited on flights). They will quickly and carelessly open anything they can't see into. At best, they leave any internal bags open and then shut the case properly.  At worst, they will break a zipper on a bag, leave most of the buckles undone on the bike case, leave a chainstay sticking out of the case, and a few loose parts on the floor.  This has happened to me several times. 

My bikes are freakishly tall, so they take some extra care to fit into any case, soft or hard.  The overworked folks at TSA don't have time to figure out why my bike is a tight fit, and why the case won't shut. They just find a buckle or a strap and make a half-hearted effort to connect them.  Then the case is tossed on the belt and no longer their problem. 

The Pika Packworks case improves this situation by being exceptionally easy to open: one long zipper lets the top open wide enough for TSA to reach in and do their mischief without needing to pull anything out of the case.  I'll also zip-tie the bike and any loose parts together so that if they do decide to pull the bike out, everything (and I mean everything) stays together in exactly in the same position, so it all goes back in with no mental effort required.  If I put a bag inside the case, it's clear ziplok, double-bagged and securely clear-taped to the bike. 

So whatever you use, make it easy to inspect, and make it even easier for the careless to repack. That will eliminate most of the issues with taking bikes on flights. 

Eric N
RUSA 7056
PBP 2015, 2019

Mark Wolff

Jan 19, 2022, 3:48:46 PM1/19/22
to randon
This thread reminds me; If anyone is interested in a full sized hardshell case, I have one that I no longer need.
Taking up space in the attic, perhaps someone can put it to use again.  Pick up in NE Fla is best.

MW / N4MEW  (Knows it's way to PBP, BMB, Cascade, etc...)

Dan Driscoll

Jan 19, 2022, 9:43:36 PM1/19/22
to Randon
Eric, nice post !! I totally agree that TSA is the biggest problem. 

I still used a hard case, but have found a couple of helpful ideas worth looking into. 

One is to mail the bike, expensive for overseas...yes, but not had a single issue with customs, or getting the bike to the hotel. Last time I used luggage forward, and they were much cheaper than Bike Flights, for overseas, but that may have changed. For PBP 2019, I took the bike on the plane with me, but mailed a big box of heavy drink mix powders, tools and bars, to the hotel, to help keep the weight down, keep the bike box from being overweight, and free up an arm, as I could have lived with out anything in the box, if I needed to. 

Just home from a domestic trip, and used Trico Sports hardshell and it worked perfectly, in large part I’d guess, because I did not put anything in the bullet proof bike box except the bike, clear water bottles and a helmet, so TSA just had to lift the top off look and close it back up. For sure did not leave the seat pouch in the bike box. I’d agree that the Trico Sports hardshell takes an arm, to pull it along, but in this case that was not a bad thing, as I could sit my duffel bag on top of it and roll it from the BART Station to the hotel, down the sidewalk with out too much trouble, for that long of a walk, my shoulders were already worn out with the full back pack. 

No one right answer for sure, just more options to investigate and think about. 


Garry Armsworth

Jan 20, 2022, 5:07:53 AM1/20/22
to randon
I used a Scicon AeroComfort Road bike bag for PBP '19 which was it's first use having retired my previous 2 wheeled soft bike bag.  See:

It's had limited use since PBP (one other international trip and a domestic interstate trip) due to COVID-19 but am happy with it.

Minimal bike disassembly is required, has 4 wheels and travels vertically as per your desired features (of course there is absolutely no guarantee that baggage handlers will load it vertically).



Jan 20, 2022, 9:48:41 AM1/20/22
to randon
I use an S&S Backpack case which of course won't work with a non-coupled bike, so that case is not applicable.  But I have a few related comments that are applicable.

If you have a bike where all the parts have to fit in a certain way and only that way to fit it in the case, having a series of photos to remind you of the order and orientation of all the parts on your phone can help you remember the order for your return trip.

I zip tie or use double sided velcro to make all the big parts that have to be carefully placed in the right place and order one big bundle that is easy to lift out and visually inspect from all sides.  Over time I am using more zip ties, less velcro for that.  I also put a note on top that if they need to remove it for inspection, please remove the small loose items and them lift out the zip tied bundle for inspection so that it will easily fit back into the case.  And if they have trouble re-packing it, please call me at _______ or have me paged at the gate.  My note states that there are no Lithium Ion batteries in the case, but it never occurred to me to also state that there are not CO2 cartridges, I should add that to my note.

A small side cutter makes removing zip ties much quicker, but that might be seen as a weapon if you try to carry it on, pack it with the bike.  I bring enough new zip ties for the return flight.  If you do not have a small side cutter, toe nail cutter can suffice.

I have to deflate my tires to pack my bike in that small case, so compressed gasses in the tires are not a TSA issue.

All my bottles in the bike case have no lids on them.  Small parts and bottle lids are in a zip lock bag.

If I have a derailleur bike in the case, the rear derailleur is not attached to the frame, the hanger is less likely to get bent that way.

I have to remove the fork from the frame to fit it in the case.  All the headset parts in the correct order and orientation on the fork steerer tube, rubber band holds them on the steerer tube.  And to make sure I do not get it wrong, I have a photo on my phone with the headset parts in order in correct orientation.

A few pair of disposable medical type gloves come in handy if your bike is not that clean at the end of a trip.  I usually have a pair with my spare tubes, but also like to have a pair in my bike case.

A luggage scale is the traveler's best friend.  I make sure that the case is at least a half pound (or quarter kg) less than the airline specification.  Over the years I have noticed that airline scales are quite precise, but they always seem to add a half pound more than my luggage scales.  If I am in USA, I set my scale to pounds, if in a foreign country I set the scale to kg, I am less likely to make a mistake if I use the same units as the airline uses.  My S&S touring bike with case exceeds the weight rating for checked bags, so the pedals, saddle and a few other bits get packed elsewhere.  Pedals in a zip lock, as the threads are always greasy.  

I do not want airline luggage handlers to break my helmet.  Since it usually will not fit in my carry on bag I wear it onto the plane and put it in the overhead.  Only once has an airline employee commented on my helmet, he smiled when he said that the planes are pretty safe these days.

I put two luggage tags on the case for when one of them gets torn off.  If I think of it, I put a copy of my flight itinerary on top in the case in case the airline luggage tag gets torn off, but that has never happened to me.  Airline luggage tags rarely come off the bag these days.

Pedals can be very tight, make sure they are loose enough to remove a few days before you have to pack your bike, just in case you need to make a trip to a bike shop.

Keith Kohan

Jan 20, 2022, 12:21:10 PM1/20/22
to randon, mickeg
Use re-usable zip ties instead.  You won't have the waste or the need for a cutter.

Pam Wright

Apr 8, 2022, 1:48:40 PM4/8/22
to randon,
Hi all,

It's more expensive than the Bike Cases - TRI ALL 3 SPORTS that Dan has been using, but Tri All 3 has stopped making their compact version which saved 9#!  
  • Buxombox still has a 27.5# case vs 35#
  • Both have the front fork mount
  • Buxombox still have to remove the h'bar, but since I used to decouple my beastie, taking off the handlebar may not be as important as saving 9#.
Trying to get a decision made in time for flying to Treasure cove...LOL and Tripit tells me that's 38 days away :-)  Any input appreciated!

Pam Wright

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages