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Thread: flying with a handbike

  1. #1

    flying with a handbike

    Hi all,
    I need to fly with my handbike from the US to Europe. Have any of you done this before? Where and how do you pack your handbike?
    Thank you!

  2. #2
    I flew from the UK to Tasmania with my handbike. I put the wheels on the seat and wrapped the whole thing in loads of bubble wrap secured with duct-tape.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    I flew from the UK to Tasmania with my handbike. I put the wheels on the seat and wrapped the whole thing in loads of bubble wrap secured with duct-tape.
    Thanks Adrian. After wrapping it did you fit it in a box or some kind of bag?

  4. #4
    I bubble wrap the cranks/shifters/derailuer. I put my race wheels in a wheelbox, then I put my stock wheels on the bike. Then I zip tie the chain to the fram, and flip the front wheel so the cassette is on the opposite side of the bike than it should be. This will allow you to roll the bike around in the airport, without the chain engaging the chainring.

    They shouldn't charge you for the handcycle or the wheelbags. Make sure to use the term sports wheelchair equipment, and not bike so they will not charge.

    Also, be carefull wen making your flight plans. If you have a connecting flight that has a small plane, your bike is not going to make the entire flight with you. Just make sure the US connecting flights are on a super 80 or larger. Also make sure to arrive extra early when departing Europe. My wife and I missed our first plane out of Poland, and it was a nightmare the rest of the trip, we ended up making 4 hops instead of 2 because they did not have planes large enough for 2 handcycles.

  5. #5
    I remove the drivetrain from the bike: cranks, chain, derailleur, etc... Basically, everything but the frame, fork, and wheels. I leave the brake(s) on and just zip-tie the lever to the fork. All of the stuff I removed goes into my checked luggage. I made a few "panels" out of some strong plastic sheet that I then attach to the bike (using various means). I find that it's a much cleaner approach than using bubble wrap or cardboard, and the panels can be used over and over.

    Also, leaving it relatively assembled would allow baggage handlers to see that it is actually something fragile. If it's all wrapped up and doesn't have wheels on it, the chances are it will just get handled like a stroller, skis, golf clubs, etc... I also put wheelchair stickers on the plastic panels. If the baggage crew can see that it is adaptive equipment, they MIGHT be more likely to handle it with care. Then again, I watched one of them put my racing chair on a luggage conveyor (coming off the plane) and just let 'er rip. It fell straight to the tarmac! Now, I always tie the front wheel of my bike to the fork so that it doesn't roll away.

  6. #6
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    The Netherlands
    Have not travelled specifically with a handbike, but for the wheelchair we use bubble wrap so they can see what it is. I like @The_Wheel_Life idea of putting a wheelchair sticker/label on it too.

    As a note, European law allows every passenger up to 2 pieces of mobility equipment (regardless of where you are travelling from). If they try to charge you extra mention (EC) 1107/2006. Here is a good overview guide.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by maf View Post
    Thanks Adrian. After wrapping it did you fit it in a box or some kind of bag?
    No. I just removed the wheels and put them on the seat, wrapped the whole thing in loeads of bubble wrap (the stuff with the big bubbles), made sure that there were no unsecured flabs or edges of buble wrap by using plenty of duct tap, secured some name and address tags with string and more duct tape. They were happy to accept it like that. If it was to go into a box/crate they would have charged it as freight but as it was it was free.

  8. #8
    TopEnd has a great travel bag. It comes with thick foam padding to wrap around the entire bike. The bag is designed to remove the fork and put it on top of the frame. It's available for $300. In my experience, this is the easiest way to fly. I've even travelled alone with and been able to lift the bag onto my lap and roll.

  9. #9
    Thank you all for the advice. I think bubble wrap and stickers would be my best option. The Top End bag looks very good, I might get it in the future.

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