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Moving bikes effectively by ground and air

This past weekend, my trips on the Manhattan F train may have helped you fly better with your CHANGE bike.

It all started with setup for Bike Expo NY. I knew I’d be spending two frenzied days in southern Manhattan, so I rented space at Rockaway Beach that was the complete opposite…

The D Piper Inn is a world removed–and 3 trains–from Manhattan.

The first challenge was to get my three demo bikes to New York City from the Pacific Northwest. Many people think of this as an airline challenge. It is not, because we exclusively use Bikeflights.com, which ships over Fedex at a steep discount.

It’s a great deal for any bike. But a CHANGE bike folds quickly into a 35″x30″x14″ box, for an even smaller fee. You can even set when they arrive.

So for about $150, I shipped three bikes across the country and had them delivered directly to my hotel while I took a nap. No airport taxi challenges. No getting bumped while my luggage does not. Just pure convenience.

Next step, taking those trains into Manhattan. I had three bikes and two bags of booth display equipment to move. And I was solo. So I bought a week pass and made two trips each on the shuttle, C Train, and F Train.

On the C Train first trip, I met a DJ commuting with his fifth bike (the first four were stolen). He was excited about the ability to keep a CHANGE bike safely inside at night.

On the second trip, I carried a bike on each shoulder, along with a backpack. (This looks like it’s blocking an exit, but it’s the unused door between trains.)

Even two bikes had no problem fitting onto the train, although this being rush hour, I did need to wait for a second F Train that had room for one more person! Overall, the biggest challenge was the turnstiles–much easier with one bike than two.

About the carrying bags

Every CHANGE bike comes with a free carrying bag. The design changed in the past year from a standard large bag (two large handles, solid bottom, put the bike inside) to a modified bag (open bottom with drawstring and shoulder strap. CHANGE Bike has a nice demo of it here:

Until this trip, I still preferred the old design, as it isolates dusty tires more when putting the bike in a back seat. But that changed during the multi-block walk from the station to Pier 36.

The two bikes with shoulder straps were MUCH easier to carry long distances, and the bags don’t get dirty from being set on the ground. Need to protect a car seat from wheels? Just turn your bike upside down. I’m now a fan.

The rolling capability still didn’t work for me, because NYC turnstiles aren’t friendly to rolling devices, but this might work well elsewhere.

What to ship it in?

After the show, we shipped the bikes back in the sturdy original boxes. Two of the bikes had been shipped six times in these boxes, so these are responsibly heavy-duty pasteboard boxes.

Still, it bothered me how the corners were starting to look a bit worse for wear. Technically, no part of the bike was in the corners of the box and would get damaged, but I felt we could do better.

A possible answer appeared on the counter at Fedex:

The Kubox (pretend I just used an umlaut) is a corner & edge-reinforced, collapsible solid case.


Fedex had only a couple of standard sizes, but The Kubox can be ordered in custom sizes, like the 35″x3o”x14″ needed for a CHANGE bike. We haven’t yet used one of these, but especially with several requests for a hard case, this is very promising.

So there you have it. Whether you’re traveling by planes, trains, or automobiles, you’ve got a safe, easy, and inexpensive way to move your CHANGE bike.

Go have an adventure!

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave is president of Flatbike, an
ecommerce company offering full-size folding bikes
and kits to make any bike take up half the space.



One comment

  1. Bob Forgrave says:

    We found one with a lot of potential. The Kubox (http://www.thekubox.com/) is a heavy-duty corrugated box that is double-reinforced at the edges, with hard plastic corners, where boxes are likely to fail over time. It can be custom-ordered for any size–like 35″x30″x15″ for us. And, unlike other hard cases, it can also be disassembled to collapse into a narrower space–maybe 6″ wide. We’ll have more news after we or some of our customers have tried it out.

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