The bike box

Boozy P. had gotten me a sweet bike box for my trip. It was bigger than the standard hotel room and all you had to do was pull the front wheel. Inside there was enough space for an extra couch and wide-screen TV.

I got home and started packing. The giant box soon got pretty full, so I pulled out a suitcase. It got full, too, and I still had more stuff so I pulled out my knapsack. Somehow it filled in the twinkling of an eye.

I eyeballed the luggage assembly; it was a ton of stuff for a mere 18-day trip. Then I thought about the itinerary, Vienna, Graz, Klagenfurt, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Zilina … okay, maybe not too much crap after all. Still, I feared the box was too big so I checked LOT Airlines for its max luggage dimensions. “Call 24 hours in advance for bikes,” it said.


“Hi, I’m taking a bike box tomorrow.”

“Dimensions, please?”

“150 x 85 x 34.”

“Thank you. Call back in four hours and we will confirm whether it is accepted.”

“What do you mean?”

“Every plane is different. It may not fit.”

“Is it a Piper Cub?”

“Excuse me?”


I seth my alarm for 10:00 PM, well past my bedtime, and slept. The alarm rang but without effect. In a panic I awoke at 3:30 and dialed LOT.

“Was my box accepted?”

“No, sir. It was too big. You must reduce the dimensions.”

“Okay, what are the max dimensions?”

“I cannot tell you that, only that your box is too big. We cannot fit a 10-foot box into our cargo area.”

“Ten feet?”

“Yes, the dimensions you gave us are 3 meters high.”

“Ah, of course. How about 150 x 85 x 34?”

“Please call back in 2 hours and I will confirm if it is acceptable.”

I called back in two hours. “Your box is acceptable. We have charged you $200 nonrefundable excess luggage fee.”

“Ok,” I said.

In the living room I stared at Mt. Luggage and felt my blood pressure spike, and I hadn’t even left. “Honey,” Yasuko said, “could you put this in your suitcase to take to the kids?”

The only thing I hate more than luggage is other people’s luggage. “Sure,” I said, cramming the stuff into a bursting bag. The zipper didn’t snap, but I did. I had spent ten days in China in winter with a knapsack. WTF was I doing, ruining my trip in advance toting along The Empire State Luggage?

I sighed and unpacked everything. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Unpacking. Or rather, packing.” At the end I had nought but a tiny ruck and a small suitcase that was mostly empty.

“What about your bike?” Yasuko asked.

“What about it?”


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4 thoughts on “The bike box”

  1. Neal Andrew Henderson

    Hello Seth and All,

    The Atlanta-based airline (Delta) said Tuesday it would remove the special checked bag fee for sporting goods.

    As of Tuesday, passengers will no longer have to pay an extra $150 specialty sports bag fee if they bring sporting equipment onto a flight.

    Instead, customers can now check sporting equipment as part of their standard baggage allowance and will pay a normal checked bag fee.

    That would possibly make a difference in carrier choice for some triathletes. Hopefully (but unlikely) other carriers will follow Delta’s lead.

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