Mallorca guide to flying with your bike

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What you need to know about flying with your bike to Mallorca and taking your bike on an aeroplane


Mallorca guide to flying with your bike


Not everyone wants a bike rental, for some, the experience of cycling in Mallorca is an extension of their cycling lifestyle and as such, it requires they ride their own bike.

Mallorca Holiday transfers provides a cycling shuttle service on the island, between Palma de Mallorca and your hotel or villa, and cycling transfers for up to 50 bikes, anywhere in Mallorca.

For all the cyclists who come to Mallorca every year and are thinking about flying with their bikes, here is our Mallorca guide to flying with your bike.


Bike travels 


Mallorca being an island and all, flying in is still the easiest, fastest route, and if you are planning a cycling holiday in Mallorca you will probably want to be flying with your bike


Eco travels 


Cyclists tend to be a fairly eco lot and flying, with your bike or not, isn't quite as low carbon as we'd like. Flying to Mallorca (or even taking a ferry from mainland Spain) are still the only ways to access the island and as such, if we want to enjoy the many joys of cycling in Mallorca, then we are constrained by air travel.


Airline restrictions 


Some airlines have brought in extra charges for flying with your bike but as yet these are generally not restrictive and simply require you pay a special fee. Other airlines continue to offer free transportation for bikes. Packaging your bike is your responsibility and so it is important to do so correctly. No point flying with your bike to Mallorca if it is going to arrive damaged.


Packing you bicycle 


Gone are the days when you could simply rock up at the front desk, let down the tyres and load your bike onto the plane. Whether you are charged extra or not for flying with your bike, most airlines will insist you pack it in a suitable cycling bag or box.

It appears that the bike bag or case doesn't actually ensure your bike arrives undamaged however. Bikes travelling in the old naked style seem to have suffered no more or less damage. This is possibly because luggage handlers treat a bicycle they can see with more care than a generic bike case, which can be shoved, dropped, etc. Bike cases are also heavy and bulky, eating into your luggage allowance.

You can protect your bike of course, but it will require a little bit more attention. 


How to pack your bike


Polythene Bags. This is what British Airways used to supply to cyclists arriving at the airport with their bikes unboxed. The bags were clear, so presumably the luggage handlers were less keen to kick in the bikes as the damage may be all too visible, but also went quite a distance towards actually protecting the bikes. They were also quite easy to store and carry on your bike if you were planning to land and cycle straight away. Sadly BA no longer supplies these bags, but you can get hold of them yourself.


Bike Bags 


You can get hold of these heavy duty polythene bags on Wiggle. They are large enough to transport a full side road bike, easy to store and light enough to carry on the back of your bike. You can also make your own by buying the materials in a plumbing or bedding store and use bubble wrap and pipe lagging for extra padding around the frame and the more fragile parts. 

Some airlines may question these bags as suitable for flying and can ask you to sign a waiver for possible transport related bike damages. You can check this with the airline before flying.


How to dismantle your bike 


One of the first things to consider when packing your bike, is making the package as small as you can. This will not only generate less problems with check in staff who will also be less likely to charge you extra, but more importantly, the smaller the package, the less likely it is to get delayed in transit and the better it will travel down the conveyor belts,  thus less prone to getting damaged.

You want to create a compact package 1 metre wide, or even 80 cm, if you can.

  • To do this remove the front wheel and put the saddle down.
  • Remove the pedals and turn the handlebars and twist downwards in stem. This will shelter the levers, which is especially important for dual controls.
  • Remove the bike computer mount and tether to brake cable.
  • Unscrew rear mech from frame-end hanger and tether to chain stay.
  • Protect the end of your bars with PVC pipe.
  • Detach front mudguards and tether with PVC tape.
  • Foam pipe and bubble wrap are excellent for protecting the frame from scratches.
  • Make sure you place the flight label on the side of the bike where all the extra components are.


Letting down the tyres 


Oh, and another thing. When the airline check in staff ask you: "have you deflated you tyres?" Say "YES, I have deflated my tyres". Do not specify how much or when you did this.

The reason for this is that there is actually no need to deflate tyres in terms of safety, (unless you are packing tractor tyres, in which case, yes, you will be advised to deflate your tyres completly because with the amount of energy stored in a tractor, if it blew, it could quirte easily take out the side of the plane) and yet leaving your tyres inflated can help protect both the tyres and the rim when handling. You can let the bike tyres out a little, about 10psi. That will be enough.


Last thing on flying with your bike


Packing your bike properly will take time and if you are planning on flying with your bike, you are well advised to give yourself an extra hour to pack it safely before heading to the airport.

Hope you have a great cycling trip in Mallorca. And remember: Mallorca Holiday Transfers will collect you and your bike at Palma de Mallorca airport upon arrival and take you safely to your destination.