So you've booked yourself a cycling tour or holiday, or even entered the Mooloolaba Tri to tick one off the old bucket list? There's a few things to consider about transporting your pride and joy without damage, excessive baggage charges and minimal assembly once you've arrived.
One box that covers all of these concerns is the Bike Pod. Made from a combination of Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) and nylon, the Bike Pod provides all the protection of a ‘hard shell’ bike bag at a weight closer to that of a ‘soft shell’.
Packing the bike is as simple of removing both wheels (which attach separately to the ‘lid’ via a quick release skewer), removing the bars from the stem and then laying the bicycle inside – securing via velcro straps. Depending on your frame size, removing the seat post entirely might be required. Otherwise lowering it is sufficient. No rear derailleur removal is required, as the hard shell ensures it stays protected and multiple straps keep the frame stable and secure in transit.
The generous internal space, even with the foam divider that ensures the wheels are no risk of scratching the frame, allows for additional cycling gear to be packed inside of the Pod. The best way to ensure you get both value for your ‘checked baggage weight dollar’, and persuade handlers to not treat your bike like a football, is by packing it as close to the weight limit as possible. Much harder for one man to throw around a Bike Pod that weighs close to 30kg than one less than 20kg. It also means bulky items (like helmets) are easily fitted.
Four roller wheels allow for the Bike Pod to be easily controlled in and around airports and hotels. It’s easy to pilot both the Pod and a luggage trolley simultaneously. Or alternatively, with the reinforced base, sit it safely on the trolley itself.
One stated drawback of a hard shell bike box is said to be fitting it in hire cars and taxi’s. Personally I never found a taxi unable to fit my Bike Pod – having used one extensively to travel and race all around Asia last year. My bike (and packed gear) were also undamaged after every trip.
Sure a cardboard box would be cheaper to use. But at $385, it would only take the thought of unpacking your bike once to find a crack in the downtube to see the value, protection and peace of mind a Bike Pod offers is worth significantly more than its retail price.
Reviewed by Nick Squillari
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