Flying with a Strida Bike

Flying with a Strida Bike

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in News, product review, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Flying with a Strida Bike

I have sold many Strida padded bags, but until last weekend I had never used one myself. The Strida padded bag was designed for air travel or, flying with a Strida Bike.  I can now report that it was easier and more fun than I thought possible.  Here are the details and things that I learned, flying with a Strida bike.

The trip was a weekend excursion to Edmonton Alberta. I flew from Kelowna British Columbia, a three hour drive from my home. I traveled to Edmonton to attend director training courses for my position as a Credit Union director.  I thought riding my Strida bike would be the perfect way to unwind after a day of studying.

Planning

The first thing I needed to do was to check what flying with a Strida bike would cost in extra baggage fees. The West Jet website containing this information was not clear to me, reading it I understood this was going to be expensive with possible oversize and bike handling charges added. I phoned West Jet and a friendly and helpful customer service person explained this was not so. I was told that with the size and weight of the Strida bike in the bag, West Jet would handle the bike as if it was an extra bag. The fee for the first bag with West Jet is 25.00. This was good news but I didn’t trust the information because of what I had read on their website so I thought of ways of confirming this information. I sent West Jet a FaceBook message and within minutes received a reply confirming the baggage fee details.

What to Pack

So then I needed to decide how to pack when flying with a Strida bike. This was a three night trip so a carry on bag was sufficient for my clothes. There is a lot of extra room in the Strida padded bike bag, enough room for a Strida SX with 18 inch wheels, my bike helmet, an extra jacket, small backpack, small Airbone Pump, tools and a extra  tire tube. I also packed a small Strida headlight and Strida taillight.

Flying with a Strida Bike

Packing for travel

How to Pack and don’t forget to deflate the tires

I think it is important to secure the Strida in the bag from possible damage and dislocation of the ball joint socket. I know of an incident where this happened to a customer. I decided that zip ties would help and a small knife to remove them. I zip tied the handle bars together, it is important to completely fold the Strida bike first, then I zip tied the three tubes together around the seat mount. On my return flight I also zip tied the wheels together. Of note is the quality of the zip ties and the stress on the ties. I experienced one broken zip tie on each flight. I will use stronger ties on my next trip. I also positioned the Strida bell under the handlebar so that it would not be exposed to impact.  I left the saddle mounted on the seat mount, the saddle provides a base for the Strida combined with the rack when the Strida is parked and folded on the ground. Another thing to consider if you have the Strida leather saddle with the attached saddle bag hangers, the saddle bag hangers on the rear of the leather saddle are sharp enough to damage the Strida padded bag.

I packed my tools, Airbone pump and my helmet in my backpack and positioned it between the saddle and the rack. Positioning the backpack here filled this space and provided a larger contact surface at the bottom of the bag. I secured the backpack in place with a bungee cord and my jacket wrapped around it. Before placing the Strida in the bag I was sure to partially deflate the tires. This was mentioned on the West Jet website, by the customer service person on the phone, by the customer service person in the FaceBook message and was asked of me by the counter check in person. I am glad they did because unpacking the Strida at the front of a line of travelers to deflate the tires would not have been pleasant.

Zip tie the rear wheels

Zip tie the rear wheels

Deflate the tires

Deflate the tires

Zip tie the tubes

Zip tie the tubes

Zip tie the handlebars

Zip tie the handlebars

Check In

Check in was easy, the West Jet counter person knew what to do, charged me the extra bag 25.00 fee and was very interested in the Strida bike, if it wasn’t for the line of people behind me I would have been tempted to unpack the Strida and demonstrate the bike’s uniqueness in the airport. Maybe next time!

Ready to go

Ready to go

Baggage Carousel

The Strida bike in a bag is bigger than your average suitcase, because of this it was handled separately and is delivered not on the usual baggage carousel but rather on a wider conveyor belt for oversize luggage. This was the case in both of the airports I visited, but may be different with others airports.

Flying with a Strida Bike

Flying with a Strida Bike

Airport Shuttle

Now this was interesting and worth your checking ahead when planning your trip. I purchased a return ticket to my hotel at the airport. I then boarded the Edmonton Skyshuttle Bus and was delivered to my hotel with no problems. On the return trip when arriving at the airport the driver informed me of an extra 18.00 bike fee, both ways! The return ticket for myself was 15.00 and the bike fee 18.00. This news was starting to take some of the fun out of my otherwise smooth adventure. What ensued was a discussion between myself and two of the shuttle bus companies customer service personnel. I think all three of us agreed that the Strida bike in a bag did not require the handling and space of a full size bike and thus the 18.00 fee was unreasonable. At least this mutual agreement is what I would like to believe happened but in any case they waved the bike fee completely because they didn’t inform me in advance. This shuttle bus service does have a 6.00 oversize fee which I think would have been more appropriate. I was provided with a management contact and I plan on pursuing this further. {see note, at the end of post for an update from Edmonton Skyshuttle Bus}

A little added protection

A little added protection

Flying with a Strida Bike

Strida in the padded bag

Packing the Strida

Packing the Strida

Strida in the padded bag

Strida in the padded bag

Wrap up

I have traveled with a bike before, I know the joy of riding your own bike while visiting exotic locals. My previous experience was with a folding recumbent that required 45 minutes to pack and 45 minutes to unpack. Removing the Strida from the bag, inflating the tires and hitting the pavement was less than 5 minutes. The Strida was also lighter and easier to handle than my recumbent.

My highlight of the weekend was after arriving back to my hotel room after my first two hour ride I was presented with a complimentary fruit plate from the hotel staff.  It included a note that read,

Mr. Wilby, I hope you enjoyed your bike ride! I thought you may need a little fuel when you return.                     Enjoy this treat & your stay with us!

Guest Services Megan

Complementary fruit plate

Complementary fruit plate

 

Please note, I now have more experience traveling with my Strida and a Burley Travoy trailer, you can find the post here.

Please note, when I posted this I included a statement that Air Canada was similar with their bike policy. I have removed that as I am no longer sure that Air Canada will treat the Strida bike the same as West Jet. I will update this again when I have more information.

Edmonton Skyshuttle Bus, I contacted Edmonton Skyshuttle Bus through their website contact forum and explained this situation. They have since informed me that folding bikes will no longer be classed as full sized bikes and the charge to expect for a folding bike will be the 6.00 oversize fee.

Flying with a Strida Bike

Provincial Legislative Building Edmonton

 

 

    2 Comments

  1. Please note, when I posted this I included a statement that Air Canada was similar with their bike policy. I have removed that as I am no longer sure that Air Canada will treat the Strida bike the same as West Jet. I will update this again when I have more information.

  2. May later go with the padded bag. Seems like a good idea. But just ordered The Vault last night for $148.83. Eight pounds of hard shell on rollers with TSA lock. Supposed to fit. Will find out when it arrives.

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