Back in March, I used an Aircaddy to take my road bike with me to Austin for SxSW. I've been meaning to write it up for a while.
The Aircaddy is a reusable box for shipping bikes in, suitable for taking along on plane rides. When you order it, it comes all folded up and you need to put it together. It's not hard, but it takes a little time to do everything. I didn't get any pictures of me putting the box together, just of repacking it in my hotel room
I had no trouble checking it in at the airport with Southwest. Southwest charges $50 for the bike on each flight. Not too bad for moving such a big box. I ordered the optional wheels and it was of huge benefit. The wheels made it easy to carry both my luggage and the bike through the airport.
This is the box. A large triangular cardboard box. To prepare the bike, you remove the front wheel, the seat post/saddle, and loosen the handlebars.
On the bottom of the box, it the mounting plate for the front fork.
You need to be sure to mark your seat post and your handlebars. Not removing the handlebars or loosening the steerer tube makes this much better than other methods. You don't even have to remove your pedals.
The front fork locks into the mount on the bottom of the box. This is the primary anchor for the bike. The design is good and it worked well.
Here you can see where the seat post is removed. There are two cardboard wedges that go on each side of the rear wheel. There are straps that tie the rear wheel and frame to the box to keep everything stable.
Here you can see the entire bike in the box. The road bike fits perfect. If I was using a mountain bike, I would have to have removed the handlebars, but for roadies, it's simplicity.
There's plenty of room for the front wheel and even bags of your cycling gear. I put a bunch of stuff in bags and hung them off the frame to lighten the rest of the load of my luggage.
Here's a shot of the wheels. Again, I highly recommend them. They made moving the box in and out of the airport and hotel easy.
The only drawback is needing a hatchback or SUV to carry the Aircaddy in. It fit easily into my Prius and the rental RAV4 I used in Austin.
Needless to say, I had an overwhelmingly positive experience with Aircaddy. I recommend using one if you want to take your bike on a plane flight. The more traditional bike cases are smaller, but you still pay the same to fly with them and have to do a lot more assembly/disassembly. The Aircaddy is reusable and at under $200 for the box & wheelset, it a good deal compared to some of the hard bike cases out there.
The guys that run Aircaddy also run Lickbike.com and were super helpful on the order and making sure I knew what to do.Posted by michael at July 05, 2010 08:14 PM