I'm travelling this week for work and thought it would be a good idea to bring my new brompton along to do some exploring. I flew Brisbane to Adelaide late last night, a quick morning presentation session today and then flew to Melbourne this arvo to stay the rest of the week.

One of the reasons I bought a bromtpon was its small folding size so I could take it on a plane. To protect it I bought the Vincita B132 soft padded case (http://www.vincita.co.th/B132.html) which there are a number of good reviews online. I also purchased their B206B Garmet bag which not only carries your cloths but also helps protect your bike http://vincitabikebag.tictail.com/product/b132b-soft-transport-bag-....

I folded the bike and removed the clamps as there are reports these can be easily bent. I then used pipe insulation from Bunnings ($5) to protect / cover all the sharp edges. I then deflated the tyres to keep the airlines happy (plus the Marathon tyres run 100psi and I didnt want them to pop mid air!)

I also removed the seat post (its a telescopic one so I technically removed only the top part.half) and put the seat in between the folded bike.

I then popped the bike in the bag and the garmet bag over it:

Packed all it its not too big a bundle and the bike certainly feels well protected. Of interest with cloths for 4 days and toiletries the total weight came to 22kg (1 kg under the checked bag limit).

Because I was in Adelaide for only a short time I didnt get a chance to take the bike out for a ride so I left it in the bag. However I knew that the bag had some rough handling because after its first flight the bottom plastic brace on it was already broken (Thanks Qantas baggage handlers!)

I got to Melbourne at about 4pm today and with daylight saving I had plenty of time for a journey up the yarra river. I unpacked the bike and noticed first of all the the bottom half of the seat post (the bit the telescopic part goes into) was bent ./ compressed. This made putting the seat post back in very hard (and it is still tight). Considering how much protection was around the seat post it must of had some massive bangs to the case to do this...

I then went to pump up the tyres using the pump that comes with the brompton (zefal brand stored on the frame). Its the type that connects directly to the valve (auto valve) with no hose in between.

I started pumping the rear tyre and I was being as careful as possible in not trying to put pressure on the vale (holding the spokes to brace my hand) but its hard pumping those tubes up to 100psi. As I got to around 80psi or so I heard a sshhhhhhh sound and knew I had broken the valve where it connects to the tube.

Bugger I said to myself (may have been a stronger word actually used). I quickly checked for bike shops on google maps - there were about 5 nearby and I rang the closest one hoping they had a 16" tube. They had one in stock and I popped over and asked for help in changing.

Of course the bike mechanic had never worked on a Brompton but he was pretty good about letting me into his shop and giving him an impromptu course in brompton rear wheel removal and sturmey-archer hub tuning :-). $35 later the deed was done (I let the mechanic have the joy of putting the marathon tyres back on) and I was on my way. 

I did notice one more issue that Qantas caused - the front dynamo light was bent and hitting the luggage block. A little bit of manual adjustment and I was free to ride.

I dont know what more I can do to protect the bike. It made it over here from the USA in a cardboard box with no problems - maybe I should pop it in that before putting the bike in the bag next time.

There is a brompton hard case available but its pretty expensive ($300-$400) and it is heavy reducing what else you can put in there. It would definitely protect it better though.

Whilst its a bit of a pain to take your bike a little risky its nice having the freedom to explore even whilst stuck away from home for work.

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Disappointing for you Shaun.  Not good at all mate.

One of my pet hates is people not caring for property the way they should.  And a bike is like one of the family !!!

To return your own words back at you, "did you consider just using the Melb bike hire scheme?"

As well as being a smart a*$e, this is actually one of the great advantages of bike hire schemes, ie someone else does all the maintenance and takes all the risk on the bike.  They have a similar pricing model with $2.70 per day and $8 per week casual subscriptions with trips under 30 mins free.

Bob looks like a much nicer bike of course.  I hope its not too badly or permanently damaged and gets home in better shape.

Lol - I actually said that to my wife as I was leaving. It would be a lot cheaper and easier to use their hire bikes.

But then I would be limited to the 30 min trip time (because I'm a cheapskate) and keeping my journey near stations. I probably wouldn't have gone for a trip down the yarra like I did this arvo.

Hey Shaun, why didn't you buy a hard case for it? Not necessarily the official Brommy ones.

Too expensive Thea and too heavy. Plus I read plenty of blogs with people using soft cases who had none of the issues I had.

Good info. I haven't actually weighed my bike yet, but maybe I have underestimated the packed weight of the clothes and bike, but then I guess you came in under the weight. I also got asked the "Why don't you just hire a bike when you get there" question at work recently too - I'll start another thread about it because I had thought about this matter a lot before I got the latest folder there was a few surprises when tallying up costs and convenience and economies &c. &c.  

I see that you have invented the "pedal sock" - I expect that will be a big seller when we go into full production ;))

(That's a fine looking bike you've got there too)

I wonder if baggage handlers handle some things with more 'passion' if they suspect there's a bike inside.  I see however that you've taped over the pic on the outside of the bag.

The damaged part of the bike protrudes beyond the rest of the bike when folded.  This may have been why it bent so bad if it was dropped and landed on that point.  Just bad luck for Bob's maiden voyage I hope.

Initially I dismissed the idea of getting a travel case just because I don't think I'd use it often, if at all.  But I am still thinking about it.  The B&W hard cases do cost a lot though.


At least the damage was minimal but still... very annoying! :(

Touch wood.... I've had no problems travelling to races with our time trial bikes in bike bags, which are *obviously* bike bags. I wonder if you added 'fragile - bicycle' to the bag whether they might treat it better? Not that that should matter but you never know. If they think it's just 'any old bag' they'll treat it as such and chuck it onto their conveyor belts. Have you noticed how much these guys DON'T make an effort to be gentle or lift anything and that they're the most unfit specimens in the airport?!

"I then deflated the tyres to keep the airlines happy (plus the Marathon tyres run 100psi and I didn't want them to pop mid air!)"

I never do this. Firstly, they never check and secondly, it's a rule based on no sensible evidence. There is no more risk of the tyres exploding in the aircraft than on the ground and even if they did, nobody would hear it and it's only air!

Atmospheric pressure is 1 atm (obviously!) or about 14psi. So, even if you released your wheel INTO SPACE the pressure would only go from 100psi to about 114psi - so highly doubtful anything bad would come of that!

Of course commercial aircraft don't fly in space, or even near space, so even if the cabin was to entirely depressurise at 40,000 feet say, it would be the equivalent of adding about 11psi. Most cabins (including the cargo holds) are pressurised to the equivalent of 8,000 feet or so - the equivalent of adding only 4psi to your tyres.

As pumping to high pressures with a small hand pump is very, very difficult, I wouldn't bother next time ;)

"As I got to around 80psi or so I heard a sshhhhhhh sound and knew I had broken the valve where it connects to the tube."

This is where the 'lock nuts' come into their own.

Most 'purists' remove them for no logical reason, apart from obeying Rule 60, which claims that they're 'useless when it comes to tubes and tyres'. They're wrong and people who really believe it are kidding themselves.

The only time you really don't want them is if you're in a race and you have to change your tube very quickly - not in any cycling races that I can think of, where you have someone handing you a new wheel (or bike!) if you get a flat, but in triathlons particularly, where you are it and there is no outside help. It will save a bit of time in the change.

The locknut stabilises the valve stem in the rim and prevents damage to the valve base from movement during pumping, particularly against the inner aspect of the rim. It also stops the valve disappearing into the tyre when you're trying to push the pump head onto a flat tyre (although you can put counter pressure on the tyre).

The valve caps are good at keeping rubbish out of the valve and function as a sort of 'stop gap' if the valve is slightly loose, and leaking, particularly on a Presta or Shraeder valve.

If they were simply to meet 'shipping regulations' as the Velominati claim, it doesn't explain why new tubes in boxes (ie. not on the bike) come with them and some tubes don't (usually the cheaper variants).

Thanks Paul re: Tyres. I had heard its no big deal but good to get confirmation.

re: Locknuts. I wish I could put them on but its an Auto valve on the tubes and no thread on there for a lock nut. I think next time I'll a) not deflate the tyres and b) bring a small hand pump which does have a connecting hose.

BTW I deliberating tried to obfuscate that I have a bike in the bike (hence why I covered up the logo Aaron) because I didn't want to get charged excess baggage handling fees :-)

There is no excess handling fee.

With Qantas, when travelling with the bikes in addition to our bags, we simply notify them of a bike and it's free. There is no issue with having a bike in a normal bag (if it fits) and is within weight limits. :)

Well, if and when you get a flat, see if you can find some auto valve tubes with thread (most usually have them I thought?) and then you can chuck a lock nut on! :-D


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