Our USA Catfish Athletes are coming out in numbers for this year's Cairns Ironman. We caught up with Hawaiian resident Allyssa to pick her brain on how she travels with a bike on a long haul flight.
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1. Check Airline Guidelines for traveling with a bike!
Some airlines require you to notify them that you will be traveling with a bike. Most charge extra fees, some don’t if you are under 50lbs or about 23kg.
2. Get a good bike box.
I love the Bike Box Alan easy fit as it requires minimal disassembly, is easy to pack, and it keeps my bike protected. I have successfully used soft cases, but after seeing how the airlines manhandled my bike, I opted to upgrade to a hard case.
3. Be sure to remove and hand carry Di2 batteries and anything else that contains a lithium battery — like my pedals here.
All airlines require it. Also, you can’t travel with CO2. You will have to leave that at home and buy one when you get to the race expo. Also, be sure to deflate your tires.
4. Throw in an Airtag
I also like to throw an AirTag in my box so that I have some peace of mind know it is on my flight.
5. Things to bring: extra derailleur hanger, just in case.
These are specific to your bike. I will typically remove my derailleur, but opted not to for this short flight. Which had me worried, so I just removed it coming home. Hex wrenches to reassemble what you have removed from your bike. Chain link pliers and chain oil. A way to re-inflate tires. I had a small hand pump for this trip.
Arrange to either have a large enough rental vehicle to accommodate your bike box or a ride from the airport to your hotel or Air Bnb. I will usually rent a mid sized SUV, but when I race in Asia I usually ordered a taxi/shuttle service in advance to pick me up at the airport.
7. Give the bike a once over.
Make sure the frame doesn’t have any damage and reassemble!
8. Schedule a race tune up
Often times, I will schedule (if possible) a race tune up at the expo to make sure everything is safe and working well after traveling.
9. One Last Shake out
Then do one last shake out ride to make sure everything is in working order!
10. Happy racing!
Usually, I will pack my wetsuit, shoes, and helmet, along with other race specific items in with the bike. I didn’t for this flight because I had free checked bags and didn’t want to pay an overweight fee as my bike and box weigh exactly 50lbs (or about 23kg). Just keep in mind TSA does not care about your items and may pack them back in a way you aren’t happy with. I will often times attach them to my frame or box in a way that they can see and look at them, but hopefully will not move them