This is a three part series on the logistics of embarking on a cross country bike ride, from a city that you don’t live in.

Part 1: Packing for a 70-day bike ride.

Part 2: Boxing up a bike to check on the plane.

Part 3: The logistics of a bike at the airport.


Once I had my bike all packed up, I was ready to go to the airport. I had chosen to fly out of FNT (Flint, MI) instead of DTW (Detroit, MI) because it’s a much smaller airport and the fare was only $10 higher, a price I was willing to pay for what I hoped would be less hassle. I planned to arrive at the airport an hour and twenty minutes before my flight (usually with FNT I go for 45) because I didn’t know what it was going to be like with so much luggage including my bike.

I pulled up to the departures/arrivals doors and was able to unload my bike and duffle bag to a skycap who kindly brought it over to the ticketing counter for me, during which time I actually went to park (nope, not leaving my car there all summer! My mom is flying back into FNT after she comes out here for the tribute dinner and taking the car home).

My duffle bag was much too large to be a carry-on, so I checked that too. There was nothing difficult about checking the bike; however I was informed that since my bike was in a cardboard box that the contents would not be covered in case of damage, which normally they are.  At this point it was too late to do anything about it, and even if I had known that ahead of time, I still would have proceeded in the same way, most likely, because I won’t be able to carry a bike case around with me all summer!

After I got to BWI I headed to baggage claim. My duffle bag was out within 5 minutes of being down there, and I had to walk over to the oversize area to get my bike, which was out by the time I got there, and also in fine condition. I was able to grab onto one of the box handles and just drag the box behind me, almost like it had wheels on it and was meant for that!

I had rented a car from Hertz, and at BWI car rentals are off-site. Definitely the most challenging part of this experience was getting the box on the shuttle somewhere where it wasn’t in everyone’s way, and I would say I only kind of succeeded at that (but true success might not have been possible unless the shuttle was empty). When we arrived at the rental building I dragged my bike over to the Hertz rental counter, got the information for my car, and continued on to my car. I ended up renting a full-size car because it was only $4 more than an economy car for me, and that pretty much gaurenteed that my bike would fit. When I opened the trunk I almost thought it would fit in there! Which would have been great… but the box was about 2 inches to long on the longest dimension. Oh well, it fit fine in the back seat! Bike and I arrived safely at the hotel for the evening.

Sorry for the lack of photos, but I was struggling to carry all of my bags! A purse, backpack, duffle, and bike are a lot for one princess to handle 🙂