Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pika Packworks Review

Note my Green "it's mine" bow
This is not a detailed review (search DC Rainmaker if you have not seen an honest detailed review before) but a hands on, first experience traveling with a bike. 

The biggest tip (no pun intended) is what I did to avoid airline fees with Delta. I checked curbside with a ten visible in my hand. When he asked "is that a bike", I said yes, most of one and camping stuff as well. Ok sir, have a safe trip. whoopie, no fee!

On the return leg, Costa Rica airport, San Jose, I followed two others from our trip to the Delta counter. They were clearly charged "the fee" for their hard shell cases. There was a little debate, so I thought, oh great, she's mad now so I'm screwed.

So I approached the counter smiling with "hi, how are you doing" and set my Pika on the scale like it weighed nothing. She then asked "the question" and I used my answer; "why yes, most of one, but I have camping stuff as well". Ok sir, have a nice flight! wooooooooooooo! $175 x 2 saved, payed for the Pika and then some.

If you know me, you know I research everything and the bike case thing was no exception. The Pika was perfect and here are a few tips that may help you:

  1. I preferred removing the handlebar rather than the handlebar+stem. For me, handlebar position is easier than bar to wheel alignment.
  2. You should remove the hanger or it may get bent. This is no big deal.
  3. I put stuff, tools, skewers, speedplay pedals in my water bottles and put them in the holders.
  4. Write a note, big letters, and tape it to the top of the bike that "says": TSA-does not contain solvents, CO2 canisters, but do point out what is in bags if you have them. Say what you put in those water bottles, do not make them look. 
  5. I'm a fan of plastic wire ties (electrical ties) and used them profusely to secure, brake levers, handlebars, and damn near everything else. So pack a cuticle thingy (in water bottle) and extra ties for the return trip.
  6. My bag, loaded, was just under 40lbs. Easy to carry, easy to fit in car, easy to carry through customs.
So, remember to put a bow on your bag since thousands will now have them. But remember, mine is green, so choose a different color.

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