Flying your Brompton: a 5 step ‘bikepacking’ tutorial

Us Bromptoneers tend to take good care of our little bikes. For good reason, the Rolls Royce amongst the folding bikes doesn’t come cheap and deserves every bit of pampering.

All good and well on a daily basis, but what when you take your bike on holiday? Well, if you’re flying back and forth –let’s say for a city trip of some sort – you can easily pack your bike in a bag or hard case destined to keep Brommie safe. Like the Vincita B132B for example which I’ve used over the past two years.

When you’re bike touring and have a plane to catch, you don’t want to carry a bulky bag around

Yep, a decent bag definitely is worth the purchase. However, if like ourselves you’re bike touring and have a plane to catch, you don’t want to carry a bulky bag around. So you’ll have to approach things a little differently. All you need is two things and lucky you, they come cheap / free.

Ikea Dimpa Bag

The Dimpa bag is big enough to hold a Brompton and a large Apidura saddlebag. Extra bonus, it weighs near to nothing and folds up really compact. The ultimate choice of the touring Brompton owner costs a mere 4.99 €, so you might want to buy a couple.

Cardboard *

It’s not at all difficult to get your hands on some cardboard. Hotels, supermarkets, office supply stores… all are good options. I tend to stay clear from cardboard that is to be found on the streets and so should you. I mean, you don’t want to steal a less fortunate person’s makeshift home now do you?

5 Step Tutorial

Got your cardboard and Dimpa bag ready? Here’s how to roll! Trust me, this 5 step tutorial is as easy as them come.

Step 1

The first thing to do is fold your bike. When it comes to the hinges you have two options. Or you unscrew them, or you tighten them as hard as you can. This is to avoid that your hinges get bend. And you know how they always tell you to deflate your tires? Well, we never do. Not a problem whatsoever.

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Step 2

The next step is to cover your bike, still pretty straightforward if you ask me. The Brompton saddle bag will do fine. Before you do so, you might want to put some cardboard between the stem and the frame. That is if you have enough cardboard.

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Step 3

As you can tell by sight, the Dimpa bag isn’t going to do a great job protecting your bike. That’s why I always ‘line’ the bag with cardboard. Ideally you cut the cardboard beforehand. Consider this to be step 0. If you’re at the airport now reading this tutorial and you have no knife or scissors at hand for all the obvious reasons.. well… sorry for that.

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Step 4

Once you’ve lined your bag properly, it’s time to put your Brompton in the bag. You’ll notice some extra space in the bag to stow a little extra stuff. On our last trip, we’ve put our Apidura saddle bag in there too. If you have a sleeping bag with you, you might want to unroll it and use it as extra padding in the bag. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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Step 5

Great news, if you don’t have two bikes to take care off, there is no step 5. However if you do have a second bike to check in, repeat the first 4 steps. You’ll see you get better at it the second time. Imagine how smooth you could have done in if only you gave this all a test run a day before, right!

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And that ladies and gents, is all there is to it. Only thing left to do for you is to check-in your bike(s). We always tell the person at the counter that the bag contains ‘precious’ cargo that needs some TLC. Never had any problem with that!

* Some people choose isolation tubes over cardboard as extra padding. An absolutely great idea, but bulkier to carry around and more difficult to find if you didn’t bring them.

Questions, remarks, ideas… shoot!

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