Jul 14, 2023
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How to Vacation with your Bicycle

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So you are going on a vacation that requires boarding a plane and you're debating whether you should bring your bike or rent a bike. There are several pros to both options but at Upcycle we help you break down those options so you can pick the best option for you and your vacation.

Fly your bike if:

  • You are going somewhere remote that does not have access to local bike shop rentals or peer to peer bike sharing like Upcycle
  • You absolutely want to ride your own bike and there are no other substitutes

Rent a bike if:

  • You do not want to deal with the hassle of packing your bike and flying with it
  • You are risk adverse to damaging / losing your bike in transit
  • You will be riding a limited number of days during the vacation. Carrying a bike bag around during a vacation can be a serious drag, not to mention space consuming in your hotel or airbnb.
  • You want to experience a new bike and you can find one at a local bike shop or peer to peer bike sharing platform.

Our personal barometer for flying a bike typically comes down to the number of riding days. Flying a bike can be expensive and risky. If you are planning to travel just for a ride or a race, bring your own bike. If you are flying on vacation and might want to squeeze in a ride or two, renting is a great option.

When it comes to costs, flying a bike can add up quickly, a bike bag can run you anywhere from $0-1,000. If you want to fly frugally you can ask for a cardboard box from your local bike shop, keep in mind you'll need to keep it for the way back. Alternatively you can spend several hundred dollars on a purpose built bike travel bag from various brands (e.g., Evoc, Dakine, Thule, Scicon). Generally a purpose built bike bag will help to minimize damage while your luggage is being handled but if you are diligent packing in cardboard you can save some money. New bikes are shipped in cardboard after all!

When traveling within the US, carriers typically have a 50lb weight limit. If your bike is under 50lbs airlines tend to handle it like a normal checked bag, not oversized even if it's larger than a standard checked bag. If your bag is over 50lbs there is often an overweight charge applied ontop of your checked bag fee (~$100 each way). If you have a layover this is only charged once, not for each leg. These are general recommendations, check with your airline on specific fees that may apply.

However you decide to ride, we hope this guide was helpful. Upcycle is constantly expanding to new geographies to make renting a high quality bike easier and more accessible for everyone. Here are a few helpful links to look for bikes if you are traveling to various metros in California!

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