Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fly, Land, Bike! Look Ma, no transit, no rental car.

Whenever I fly somewhere, I dream of just landing and riding my bike from the airport. I've been flying with my bike in tow for a couple of years now but, for a variety of reasons chronicled on this blog, that hasn't been practical. Until now...(cue Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra" from 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Yesterday, I landed at Ontario International Airport, in Ontario, California (not Canada). I walked off the plane with two modestly-sized carry-ons. After retrieving a typically-sized suitcase from baggage claim, I walked to a quiet corner of the airport. In less time than it takes to rent a car, ~15 minutes, I was riding off from the airport with all my luggage and still cruising at 30kph. Better still, I incurred no additional baggage charges like I did in D.C. recently.

Prior bike luggage travails:
Dream realized! What made the difference this time were some recent innovations in bicycle design: my folding Tern Verge X20 and my brand new Burley Travoy. Both performed superbly:
  • The Tern Verge X20
    • weighs 9.3kg/20.5lb
    • easily cruises at 36km/20mph
    • fits in a regular suitcase.
      Incredible! Here's a link to my nycewheels review where I gush further.
  • The Burley Travoy
    • weighs 4.4 kg/9.8 lb
    • easily attaches and cruises behind my folding bike
    • fits in a regular carry-on bag (included).
Thanks to these innovations, it is a great time to be alive and cycling. Other folding bikes and trailers have come along but few fold/unfold as fast AND perform as well on the road.


  1. Just discovered your wonderfully informative blog!

    I travel often for business and the increasing frequency of trips has made me decide to get a travel bike for training and city exploring while on the road.

    Your solution with the Burley Travoy seems a bit more elegant than a trailer attachments for the Bike Friday suitcase. Looks like the way to go.

    If you don't mind, I'd love to pick your brains on a few questions... Did you look at Bike Friday when bike shopping? If so, what were the deciding factors in favor of the Tern? Which suitcase do you use with your Tern when traveling and how much (and down difficult) disassembly/reassembly does it require? Possible to post some pics of your Tern in the suitcase?

    Appreciate the help as well as the blog!

    1. Bike Fridays are great. I looked hard at all of them. The deciding factors for me were:
      - their super light model only supports 190lb. I am 6'3" and weigh 200lb, not to mention my pack. Terns support over 230lb.
      - Bike Friday's model with SRAM is $6K, Tern's with SRAM is $3K.
      - Tern is aluminum. Bike Friday is steel. I like aluminum.

      The Tern folds super easy and fast. However, to get it into the Tern Airporter Mini suitcase (the extra small case), you have to loosen a few things. Nothing major though. That goes quite fast too.

      As I say in the post, it only took me 15 minutes to get it ridable and that was my first time. I think I can significantly reduce that with some practice.

      There's a picture of the Tern in the big Airporter case in this post:

      I'll add a photo of the Tern in the little case as soon as I have it back in there.

  2. Did you find a bay-area dealer for the Travoy, or just purchase online? I have a Bike Friday case with no trailer kit, the travoy + my existing case looks like a smoother ride that BF's integrated solution, for about the same price and with more flexibility to boot. I'd really love to check it out w/my case somewhere!

    1. I bought my Travoy on Amazon. They had the best price and it got to me in 3 days. I couldn't be happier. I agree that the flexibility of using it sans case is a big plus.

    2. sold! Hope you get a kickback :)

  3. I have a Tern Link D7i and have been looking at the Travoy trailer for travel and cargo carrying purposes. Does the X20 have a large diameter seatpost like the D7i does? If so, did you have any issues attaching the trailer to the seatpost?

    1. It does. No trouble mounting it on the larger diameter post.

  4. I was riding off from the airport with auto transport all my luggage and still cruising at 30kph.

  5. I've been using a Travoy to haul 50+ lbs of musical equipment for years now, it's a great trailer. I got mine from my LBS, and they were kind enough to match the price I found online. And we here at NYCeWheels are huge fans of the Tern x20--SUCH a fun bike. Keep writing, man!

  6. thanks for your posting. i cannot take the trailer as hand luggage on the plane here in oz-it seems to be too big

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