Whether you're headed to a busy city or a secluded beach, you can spice up your next vacation with the freedom of two wheels. Your bike can help you enjoy the road less traveled and even save you money.
Sure, you can rent a bike at your destination, but don't dismiss the idea of bringing your own bike along. Here's how it's done:
If your bike is one that can be broken down — and assuming you know how to take it apart and put it back together — this might be a good option. You can lock it safely in the trunk or in the backseat while you travel. If this won't work for you, shop around for a bike rack that will fit your vehicle and your needs. Even compact cars can carry a bike or two as long as you use the right rack. Talk to the folks at your local bike shop for ideas on what will work best.
Each airline has rules and regulations when it comes to flying with your bike. At the very least, you can expect to have to break down your bike and pack it in a case. You can pick up hard, soft, and even cardboard bike cases from your local bike shop. Or you can enlist a service such as TriBike Transport or BikeFlights.com that will break down your bike, pack it up, and put it back together on the other end.
Expect to pay extra to fly with your bike; it's likely considered over-sized baggage. The fee can vary anywhere from $50-$200 depending upon the airline. In the past, JetBlue has offered free bike transport for the month of July in honor of the Tour de France. This post on Bicycling.com breaks down the fees and regulations for flying with your bike on each airline. But as these rules and fees can change daily, check with the airline you plan to use.
Surprisingly, the easiest way to travel a long distance with your bike is to take a train. In the U.S., Amtrak will let you bring your bike aboard as checked luggage. On some trips, you may be able to stash your bike on special on-board bike racks. Expect to pay an extra $10-$15 to travel with your bike by train. Check with Amtrak before your trip.