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« A Brompton ride the Richmond and back | Main | Leaving for London and Oxford tomorrow »
Thursday
Aug082013

Packing my Brompton M3L bicycle for a trip to London and Oxford

Last night I packed my beloved Bromtpon M3L folding bicycle into a Brompton B bag so that I can have a bicycle with me in the UK while I am there for 10 days. I am training for a 200km mountainbike ride in November (the Wines2Whales) and I can't allow travel to drop my fitness! So, Doris the Brompton is coming along. Not to mention that it saves lots of money and time to ride around London and Oxford on a Bromtpon instead of using the tube and buses.

There are many posts about flying with a Brompton. My biggest issues were bike safety and weight. I needed to ensure that the bike doesn't get damaged in transit, but also that it doesn't exceed the 30kg weight limit when I add clothes and toiletries in the bag with the bike. I use the Brompton B Bag since it is quite large (I can pack the bike and my clothes / toiletries into the bag), and it has wheels and a few handles. I am fortunate to have Voyager status on Star Alliance airlines and that allows me to take 30 kg of luggage, as opposed to the regular 20 kg that other passengers can take.

Here are a few pictures of my packing.

1. First I removed the clamps from the steering column and the frame and put those into a small bag (they can very easily get bent or broken), then I put some clothing over the extruding parts (saddle and the front fold, and a scarf over the left folded pedal).


2. Next I put the Brompton cover over the bicycle since I will be packing clothes around it and don't want to get grease or oil on my clothing.

3. Next I put the Brompton with its cover into the Brompton B Bag.

4. Then, I packed my clothes around the sides of the Brompton - notice that I put my shirts and jackets into a suit bag to protect them and folder them over the top bar of the bike. The rest of my clothes were then put into the open spaces in the bag. There are lots of those!

5. When I got to the airport I had the bag wrapped in plastic to protect it (notice that I had the center and front handles exposed so that I can still lift and drag the bag). You'll also see that the bag, with my clothes for 10 days, weighs in at 27kg. The bike and bag actually weigh around 15kg. So, I have 12kg of 'stuff'. Since I have some meetings and will be presenting a paper at an academic conference in Oxford I had to take smart shirts, jackets, ties and the like.

So, let's hope and pray that it arrives safely at Heathrow and I can ride it! By the way, I let the air out of the tyres (important!) so that the added pressure during the flight doesn't pop the tubes. I also put a pump, spare tube, lights and a puncture repair kit in the bag.

Check back to see how I get along once I am in London!

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Reader Comments (1)

Thank you for the precise description.Intending to travel just the inverse way; Oxford to places for academic conferences etc., I strongly hesitate to get a Brompton to take it flying in the B Bag you describe. The wrapping into plastic at the airport you describe makes me more confident it could be stable enough. Overall, a year later now, would you suggest your solution viable and a great option for being ready to ride when landing? I'm still worried about security of the bike and don't see a (B&W) Hard Case an alternative given I couldn't roam around freely without deposing the case at a hotel.

August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFlorianH

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