Last October, when we planned our trip to Vienna for one of the Brompton World Championship heats, there was one little thing that boggled our mind. The bike, and how to take it on the airplane.
Now a Brompton might fold up to one third of its size, there are (nearly) no European airlines that let you bring the bike on board as hand luggage. Unfortunately, this means you need to check in your beloved folding bike. And if by any chance you’ve seen the occasional video in which baggage handlers throw our precious cargo around, checking in your bike is a necessary evil.
I’d done a lot of searching on the internet – to see what the possibilities were for flying a Brompton and it could all be narrowed down to three options. A hard case, a soft case or an Ikea Dimpa bag (commonly used to store duvets & stuff). For Black Betties first flight, I opted for a soft case protective bag. After having done some more searching on the internet, it was the following bag that tickled my fancy.
Vincita B132B Transport Bag
According to Thai manufacturer Vincita, the B132B is a compact, and lightweight solution for air travel. The bag is made of water resistant material (5 mm thick lining), comes with concealable shoulder straps, plastic runners to protect the bottom of the bag and has two wheels and a hand grip for maneuverability. It roughly weighs 2,2 kg, and can be folded up to a third of its size to be carried on the bike carrier. The combination of a solid looking bag for a fair price (109 USD) and several good online reviews was enough for me to purchase the bag.
My first thoughts? A decent looking bag – I ordered mine without the bike logo – that fits my Brompton without a problem whatsoever. Several straps and buckles allow you to ‘secure’ the bike. There’s even room to spare for other stuff, let’s say a toolkit, helmet and a selection of clothes.
If you plan to wheel your bag around rather than to unpack your bike and ride it, I strongly advise you not to go crazy. It’s all excess weight that you’ll be carrying around and believe you me, I made that mistake before. Six months later, I still can’t feel my right arm.
Another thing I purchased through the Vincita webshop was a nifty garment bag that doubles as extra protection for your bike. Simply place it on top of the folded bike voila, that’s your clamps, levers and frame protected. Its three compartments fits enough stuff for a short trip abroad and turned out to be the ideal solution for my fancy yet sporty BWC kit. The garment bag can be carried around with the shoulder strap. If you plan on using it as a pannier. Well, don’t! It might look like one, but it most definitely isn’t.
Upon my arrival in Brussels – that means two flights – I noticed one small puncture in the bag. I guess things like that happen. The bike itself – one week old – was still in excellent state, which means the bag proved to be well worth it’s money. No complaints here!