Brompton by air

I decided to try another type of multi-mode travel with the Brompton; bicycle and aeroplane. My existing suitcase is not wide enough to accommodate the Brompton, so after a bit of research on Seven League Boots I decided to opt for the Carradice Folding Bike Case.

Unlike their  excellent saddlebags, the Carradice Folding Bike Case (more of a bag than a case, really) is made from Cordura-type polyester material rather than cotton duck. Whilst I am a fan of cotton duck, the extra weight it would require would not be desirable when using this bag for air travel. However, considering the material used, I feel that this bag is a bit over-priced.

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The bag came with no padding, but thankfully it does adhere to gaffer tape quite well, making these stiff foam pieces ideal for protecting the rollers/rack in transit.

20121129_150241The bag is more than sufficiently large to fit any Brompton with a saddle attached, although configurations which differ significantly from stock may not fit. The Seven League Boots post suggested removing the saddle when using the bag for flying due to the risk of damage (particularly to a Brooks saddle) and storing it between the wheels of the folded Brompton. I use the telescopic seat-post, so I will turn the telescoping part of the post around to minimise the number and size of protrusions from the folded package, with the remaining protrusions covered over with bits of foam.

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Naturally I removed the clamps from the frame as these were an easy target for damage. I wrapped the clamps up in gaffer tape and stuck them to the frame in the middle of the fold.

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As recommended in the Seven League Boots post mentioned before, I taped the saddle into the relatively well protected space in the middle of the folded bike

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A D-lock can be locked through the frame to save space, with the gap in the middle of the fold useful for stashing bits like a locking cable. The frame from my T-bag is pushed down the side of the bike in the bag to offer a bit of extra protection as well as making the T-bag itself a less conspicuous, odd-looking piece of hand luggage.

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The final step in packing the bag is to place your trousers, jumpers, jackets etc into a standard suit bag and wrap it over the top and sides of the bike before zipping it up. This gives a bit more protection to the bike and also means that you don’t use up your entire luggage allowance on a bike. A toiletries bag can easily be seated on top of the folded bike underneath the suit bag.

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Add a couple of luggage straps and pack your hand luggage into the frame-less T-bag and you are ready to fly across the world. I’ve unpacked the Brompton at the other end and rather pleasingly, it has faired well. Now all I need to do is get to grips with cycling in a strange new land.

5 thoughts on “Brompton by air

    • Thanks. If I was staying nearer to the airport, and my colleague hadn’t foolishly forgotten to bring or even own a Brompton, I might’ve cycled from the plane. In the end we got a coach.

  1. This is a very timely post as I have my first Brompton arriving in 2 more days. I can’t wait!! My plan is to travel with it and I’ve been looking at various bag/ box options. I have a couple questions:

    Why not a hard sided case for added protection?
    How small does the bag compress down?
    Does the Carradice bag have room in it to pack other things than the bike, say a set or two of extra clothes?
    I love cream colored tires! What are the tires you are running on your bike?

    • There is a hard case available for Bromptons which is mentioned here. However, I opted for the Carradice bag for two reasons:
      1. Price. The Carradice bag is overpriced for what it is, but it is still less than a third of the price of the hard case.
      2. Collapsibility. The Carradice bag is collapsible, meaning that on future trips it would be relatively easy to collapse the bag when leaving the airport and ride the bike away. In addition to this, the collapsible nature of the bag means that I can easily take the bike on trains, trams and buses where uncased folding bikes might not be permitted, such as on Japan’s railways, and into hotels where arguing the point that a folding bike should be allowed inside would be difficult due to a language barrier.

      There is sufficient room in the Carradice bag for a suit-bag containing several sets of clothes and also a typical toiletries bag, if you remove the saddle from the folded bike.

      On the Brompton I am not familiar with any non-black tyres, the ones I run are Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I do run cream-coloured tyres on the DL-1, they are Schwalbe Delta Cruisers.

  2. Pingback: Travels with my Brompton « Town Mouse

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