#FlyingWithaBike – Getting Your Bike to the Starting Line

Greetings my fellow readers! I recently went to and came back from IRONMAN Canada, a blog for another time. Today’s thoughts are about a slick new piece of gear I acquired for the adventure – my Scicon Aerocomfort Triathlon bike bag. Historically, I have only driven to races, with the furthest being the 15 hour haul to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2013.

This year, Whistler was just too freaking far, meaning an airplane ticket was in my near future. My partners in crime (read: fiancée and best man) and I piled into the tiny Alaska Airlines puddle jumper for the two hour flight to Seattle, saving us two days of horrendous driving time.

I have invested a lot in my bike, and not just financially. I have spent more time in my saddle than my tush cares to recall, and I needed gear that would protect Black Beauty all the way into SEATAC. I’ve read tons of horror stories about shattered derailleurs, broken carbon wheels, and handlebars that have cracked, so naturally I was very paranoid. Being in a foreign city with a broken carbon bicycle is not good prep for a race. I needed everything in one piece and race ready…

Surprisingly, a suitcase for a bike isn’t a cheap investment. And even more surprisingly, the average bike case still requires a ton of disassembly of your bike just to get it on the plane. Not terribly convenient. The Scicon bag provides a unique offering in that you don’t need to disassemble a single thing – just take the wheels off and put them in their compartments. I will review the bag another time, but packing was truly a joy, and ironically, it was much more fun packing and unpacking my bike than it was racing in the pouring rain for four hours :D Check out how easy this thing is to pack here.

T-Minus 3 Days
A late night packing session the night before left me gassed, but it was time for the airport. I quickly stuffed my bike into the bag, strapped it in, and away we go. I arrived at the airport suuuuper early, again being paranoid having never flown with a bike before, and wanted to allow plenty of time for the inevitable snafus. Strangely enough, the bike case gave me zero problems. The wheels on the bottom made it a joy to whisk around the airport, and the friendly staff at Alaska Airlines reassured me they fly bikes all the time and it would be well cared for.

At the counter, I had more issues dealing with my luggage that wasn’t the massive bike case. My duffel bag zippers burst open, I had to go back through security to check something back in that shouldn’t have been in carry on, and I thought I had booked the tickets for the wrong day. Personally, I was glad the bike wasn’t a problem.

With great apprehension, I watched my bike disappear behind the mystical, view-blocking wall where all mysterious checked baggage goes. I could only hope that my precious bike would emerge two hours later in SEATAC…and it did.

My expensive race wheels (stored in a padded compartment in the bike case) were in perfect shape, none of the carbon on my bike was damaged, and I had a friendly note from TSA saying they verified that my bike was, in fact, a bike. We got a rental car, somehow crammed the bike bag inside, and it was off for the Canadian border. Success!

Both Alaska Airlines and the Scicon bike bag far exceeded my expectations – I’ll continue to use both for many years in the future :-)

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