20 June 2011

Packing for the big trip

Levi Leipheimer takes 2:03 off of Damian Cunego in the closing TT stage to win the Tour de Suisse by 4 seconds.  ...  Laurent Depus arrives in London, triumphant (I hope -- have not seen a report, but should have happened only hours ago).  And on Wednesday I leave for Munich and points beyond.  Only 6 days until Transalp!

My bike is all ready to go, thanks to some maintenance by Nagai-san at Positivo.  Looking at the bike as I stopped by to pick it up, I realized that the only "original" components from when I got it in 2007 are the frame itself, the shifters, and the brakes.  Everything else -- including fork (recalled by Cervelo), derailleur hanger (bent), all the rest of the drive train, saddle, seat post (original was too short), stem, bars, wheels (of course!), etc. have been swapped out at least once.

Today I got to put it in my Biknd Helium bike box.  The Biknd Helium, with inflatable padding and even room for 2 pairs of wheels), is much nicer than the hard plastic case I've used before -- lighter, easier to pull around, fits more gear, and has pockets accessible from the outside.

The bike is dis-assembled and on the base

I added plenty of gear inside the space together with the bicycle

Done!

5 comments:

TOM said...

Wishing you a safe trip and a great time in the Alps David!

Nice heavy duty rinko you got there - never seen that before. The inflatable feature gives a lot of peace of mind.

Can't wait to read the ride reports!

Manfred von Holstein said...

Looks like a neat bag, but be careful with your wheels. Some reviewers are quite worried, and one had a bad experience:

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/biknd-helium-bicycle-travel-case/

It seems the total dimensions are smaller than for the soft bag I keep for my bike in Germany (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/scicon-aero-cycle-comfort-plus-bike-bag/) but still exceed the dimensions for which it would qualify as free luggage on many airlines. Are you flying ANA or Lufthansa? With ANA you may be able to sneak through at Narita, depending on how attentive the clerk is to the rules.

Good luck with the travel, and even more importantly, good luck with the TransAlp!

David L. said...

Thanks, Tom and Manfred.

As for the Wiggle reviews of the Biknd Helium, I saw them and then bought it (20% off the lower 2010 price) from Wiggle.

Most reviews are very positive and it certainly reviewed better than the Scicon cases (at least last year -- they've changed the model and wiped out the relevant reviews), which got trashed for having wheels that tend to disintegrate after a few trips and for generally not holding up to ordinary wear and tear. Yes, the parts of the bike that look most at risk in the Helium are the wheels -- on the outside edges of the case -- and the top of the steerer column. I might hesitate to pack a set of $7500 Lightweight carbon wheels in them, but I think for aluminum clinchers they should be fine. And the frame protection looks extraordinarly good.

Just in case, I wrapped a towel around the top of the steerer in order to give some extra padding against any direct topside impact. And I've got a set of spare spokes in case of any spoke damage.

I guess the EVOC bag would be another soft-side option on Wiggle, but the Helium has the added benefit that, when the bike is taken out, I can fold it up into something about the size/weight of a golf bag full of clubs, sling it over my shoulder, and carry it. I tried it this weekend, figured out how it would balance best, and so am now comfortable I can walk even a mile or two in Sonthofen to the place where I'll drop it off for Transalp, to be delivered at the finish in Italy.

Manfred von Holstein said...

It's true, the Scicon bag has a zip which is disappointingly weak. Mine won't close any longer around the saddle area. What I like the bag for though is that you don't need to take off anything except for the wheels, so it is very fast to pack and unpack.

David L. said...

Upon in-case inspection after arrival in Muenchen, bicycle case seems to have worked just fine.

... then again, this was ANA, and they did put "fragile" stickers on the top of the case, near the steerer tube. When it was put through the scanner at the "oversize luggage" drop off at Narita, the operator even asked me politely if it was okay to lay it on the side so it would fit through the scanner. And unlike many of the world's larger airports, I don't think they have any gorillas playing with baggage in the back room. We will see how it does on the return trip, which involves a Lufthansa transfer in Frankfurt.