by Pro Triathlete Alex
For many, a tropical race/vacation combo can get the whole family on board with long hours of training and help you stay motivated. You don’t want to travel all that way for no reason, so best get out of bed and get at it!
Whether you’re going to a beautiful race venue that you just have to experience, in need of a warm weather training camp, or flying to a faraway championship level race, somehow you and all of your gear will have to get there.
This can be tricky when traveling with a bike. Not only would you have to worry about paying extra baggage fees ($400 round trip in some cases!), but you’d also have to worry about transporting a massive bike box once you get to your destination. This may mean hauling your box long distances, paying for bigger taxi cabs, or paying extra bus fees for your oversized luggage. All this while still having to deal with the other luggage you need to bring along. Your race paradise trip could quickly become a financial and physical nightmare, leaving you feeling too pinched to enjoy the area you’re in and too exhausted to even think about racing.
The Ruster Sports Hen House bike case is here to save your trip. It is a two-bag style case, where your frame goes into one bag and your wheels into another. The total dimensions of each bag are less than 62 linear inches and therefore they fly as regular checked baggage. Depending on the airline, you may get charged for having two checked bags instead of one, but it’s still a whole lot cheaper than an oversized bike fee!
The Hen House requires some disassembly of your bicycle, but not much more than a regular bike box. Ruster Sports has plenty of videos on their website that do a very good job of demonstrating everything step-by-step. You simply have to remove your pedals, rear derailleur, and front fork.
A common issue I’ve seen some people run into is reassembling their headset improperly. To make sure I’m putting everything back in the correct order, I stack all my headset components and spacers back onto the fork in the proper order once it’s all taken off. This way I can’t make a mistake and can be sure that I’m not forgetting any pieces either.
The Hen House comes with everything you need to safely pack your bicycle away. Included are Styrofoam tubing that you can cut down to whatever size you need to fit all the tubes on your bicycle, a reinforced rear skewer to keep your rear triangle from getting squished, a protective case for your rear derailleur, and several Velcro straps to keep everything together. After packing my bike, I then pack all my clothes, race necessities, shoes, and even a full size floor pump around my frame and wheels. This way I have everything I need in two bags and my precious bicycle has gotten some extra padding for comfort.
I’ve traveled on many different airlines with this case and have yet to be charged a single bike fee. This year alone the Hen House has saved me over $1000, which leaves me with more money for food and more racing!
I’m commonly asked, "What do you tell the clerks when checking your bags?" I keep it simple, and if the clerk asks what’s in the bag I tell them it’s less than 62 inches. If they’re really pushy I tell them it’s a carbon frame or sports equipment. Some companies have a policy that if it’s a bike it gets charged as a bike regardless of baggage sizing, so it’s best to be vague and firm. Worst case scenario is you can get back in line and go to a different ticket counter.
The Ruster Sports Hen House has revolutionized the way I travel with my bicycle. Gone are the days of nixing trips because they’d be too expensive. No longer am I worried about how to get from the airport to the hotel with a goliath sized box. I am simply just like any other traveler—I have two bags and a destination. So get yourself a Hen House today and go enjoy some new race venues!