It’s much easier to ride a bike, than to box it and transport it. Given this is the first time I’ve taken a bike on a plane, and that the airlines don’t provide boxes at the airport I decided it was best to have Alter Ego Sports tune my bike up and box it before the trip. While I can get the unboxed bike into the back of an Altima without any issue, the boxed up bike isn’t flexible and really requires an SUV or truck to move it around.
It turns out it was a good idea I brought it in for a tune up, the brake pads were very worn and in need of replacement. Given the amounts of up and down on the trip, brakes are probably a good thing. To get the bike hope I had to borrow my brothers SUV (Thanks Chris!) and grab the bike from Alter Ego. They had the bike ready around 8:30PM, just in the nick of time given my flight departed at 10:45AM the next morning.
The next adventure was getting to the airport in the morning, given that most cabs in the city are Prius’s that don’t have nearly enough room to carry a bike I needed to request a taxi van. In theory this should be simple, however calling Unicity in advance they said they don’t have vans despite it saying so on their website. Next on to Duffy’s, they said Van’s are available during the day but I couldn’t pre-book one the evening before. Dignity taxi didn’t answer at all. At 8:10AM I called Duffy’s, and they had no vans available and no idea when one might be available. At this point I knocked on my neighbours door, who thankfully has an SUV and drove me to the airport. This city really needs Uber.
A tip for anyone bringing a bike to the airport, don’t bother taping it up. If the box doesn’t fit in the X-Ray machine, you have to open it for them to inspect it. My box was about .5″ too big, so I had to open it up and re-tape it. Thankfully I was at the airport well before my flight, so I had lots of time to re-tape it.
The flight path to Vancouver went very close to my bike route. The lake in the picture is Okanagon lake with Kelowna being almost right under the plane and Pentiction down the lake.
I had about a 3 hour layover in Vancouver, and thanks to my AMEX Platinum card I was able to use the Plaza Premium Lounge in Vancouver.
The lounge featured a few hot entrees, lots of snacks, a selection of free wine/beer etc. Normally I would of went into Vancouver when I’m on such a long layover, but I had too much stuff with me and it was nice to just relax after the all the running around the past few days .The 3 hours passed pretty quickly and it was time for my final flight of the trip over to Castlegar. The flight was only 1h10m on a Dash8 prop plane, a bit rough and noisy but not bad for a short flight.
Alter Ego did a very good job of packing the bike and it arrived without damage. Putting everything back together took about 45minutes, mostly because some basic errors on my part. The ride to my bed and breakfast was only 10KM.
The B&B was about 6KM outside of Castlegar proper, but it has a beautiful location and was close to a local brewpub. After I got checked in and dropped my bags, it was time to bike back to the pub to get some dinner.