bicycling tips

Bicycling Tips

How to Fly With a Bike: The Cheap and Easy Method
18.09.2017 15:02

Will you be travelling internationally soon? Are you feeling anxious about flying with your bike? It is understandable. Travelling with your bike exposes it to damages and in the worst case scenario loss. Aside from all the time and energy that goes into packing the bike, flying with your bike can be quite expensive. This articles aims at making travelling with your bike more manageable with an easy and cheap method of packing your bike in a clear plastic bag.

Packing the bike in a clear plastic bag may sound counter intuitive when seeking to offer you bike the optimal protection. Many people are skeptical about using plastic bike bags to pack their bikes on international travels fearing that the bike is more prone to damages. 

Naturally, you may tend to think that bike cases, bike bags and cardboard boxes do a better job. Indeed, bike bags and cases do offer optimal protection to your bike. However, they are expensive and hence may not be a good option when you are looking for a cheap method to pack your bike. On the other hand, although cardboard boxes are a cheap option, they are more prone to mishandling and damage.


Advantages of using clear plastic bag

  • It is cheap. There are well designed plastic bike bags in the market at an affordable price range of less that $20. However, you can make your own using readily available and cheap plastic sheets and duct tapes. The plastic bags are foldable for when you are not using them and reusable.


  • The plastic bike bag is an easy packing and unpacking technique.  It will take you less than 15 minutes to remove the handle bar and pedals as the better part of the bike remains intact. You only require basic level bike assembly and dissembling skills which will save you the cost of hiring a bike mechanic if you were to dismount the whole bike.


  • It is light. Compared to bike bags and bike cases, plastic bike bags are generally lighter significantly reducing your weight related baggage fees at the airport.


  • The transparent clear bag is actually going to be treated more carefully as the baggage handlers can see what is inside. Since the bag does not have handles, it will require atleast two baggage handlers to carry the bike each holding on one end. Your bike will therefore not be carelessly tossed around and stacked with hundreds of pounds of other luggage.  Since the bike is for the most part intact, it is more sturdy and easy to carry.


How to pack your bike in a plastic bike bag

Many airline carriers will accept a bike packed in a plastic bike bag. The only requirements are that you turn the handlebars parallel to the bike, remove the pedals and partially deflate the wheels. It is recommended that you take extra precautionary measures to protect the bike from damage. Add padding to the front derailleur, remove the rear derailleur from the frame, secure the front wheel to prevent it from flopping about and lower the saddle.

 A cheap and easy method to protect the rear derailleur from damage as you fly with your bike is to use a disposable water bottle to cover it and use duct tape to secure it. Put the bike in the plastic bag, fold over the top and secure it with a duct tape.

How does using to fly with your bike save you on travel costs?

  • Plastic bike bags are cheap. As state earlier, at a price range of 10-20 dollars you can get a professionally made bag or make your own.
  • Plastic bags are light. Therefore, this packing technique significantly reduces cost of transporting the bike as there is no additional weight caused by heavy packing materials such as bike cases.
  • Bikes packed in plastic bike bags are likely to be handled more carefully by baggage handlers reducing the chances of damage and ultimately the extra cost incurred in repairing on transit bike damages.



When travelling internationally, you can fly with your bike without breaking the bank to ensure it gets to your destination safely. Plastic bike bags are cheap, the offer an easy and quick bike packing and unpacking technique and they require of the baggage handlers to handle the bike with extra care. 

Due to their lightness, they will save you any extra luggage weight related costs. While many airline carriers accept plastic bike bags, some have restrictions on bike packaging. Before travelling, check in with your airline to find out whether they have specific regulations on travelling with a bike packed in a plastic bag. Also check for their rates for flying with a bike and enquire about any additional costs to anticipate so that you are fully prepared for your travel.


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