Ralph & Robinson have been packed for some days, awaiting their trip “home” (& their participation in the BWC 2013). We’re almost ready to go, just “fine tuning” what & where everything else will go. The pressure’s off really, because the theory seems to have worked out, with my expectation that we could get by with just a Brompton bike bag & a single cabin bag each.
For more than a year I’ve been looking at bag systems, wondering how to cope with the air travel baggage allowances for economy patrons such as us. Buying Robinson & inheriting a Brompton B bag was the start but I later realised that the bag was an earlier model & was an extremely tight fit (maybe from the Brompton SWB-days?) let alone having much space for travel clothes, etc. Researching other choices wasn’t very encouraging but then I noticed the new Vincita bag for Brompton (B132 model). This bag from Thailand seemed a similar style to the Brompton B bag – but much larger. It was even thought by some users to be too big & the manufacturer had also produced a more tapered-shape bag. My preference was for the earlier bag & as it was still available, I crossed my fingers & ordered one. If it worked out, the plus point was going to be that it seemed astonishingly good value; even with a large air-freight cost it was half the price of a B bag! When it arrived it looked like it was going to be ideal; good quality, spacious & well-engineered?
When Ralph was obtained, it came with a (well-worn) B&W hard-case. For me, one factor against using it was the issue of storing/transporting it while traveling around by rental car. Once Ralph was equipped with Ergon grips & come the final planning for a trip to the UK, the possible use of the case was resolved when I found that the lid wouldn’t close – I was going to be up for some bike disassembly! Back online to Vincita & an order for another B132 bag, this time not bothering to request the earlier large bag & expecting that the later bag would be suitable.
So, this week saw everything come together & I was rather relieved that there are no last-minute dramas or changes of plan! My slightly smaller Vincita bag has Ralph (wearing a Brompton cover), the small Axiom on-bike luggage (containing various spares & bits), 2 pair of shoes, a lightweight suit-bag (containing clothes – definitely no suit!) & a couple of small stuff-sacks. Robinson (also wearing a Brompton cover) in the other Vincita has a Brompton C bag (with frame & bag separated) & a myriad of packing cells!? (It probably wouldn’t be safe to describe what my wife is packing – but it seems to have fitted?) Onto the scales & they’re in the range of 26-27 kgs – fitting within the checked-luggage allowances for our planned flights. Oh, & the bags comply with the 158cm dimensioning restrictions! Rather weighty & bulky but then it’s not just the BWC we’re heading for!
Oh, & how’s the Brompton packing been arranged? Most travelers seem to recommend removing the saddle so off it came & got bubble-wrapped & placed between the front end of the wheels, with straps containing the saddle & tensioning the wheels together (with partially deflated tyres – just in case?). Next the hinge bolts & Brompfication clamps (& springs) came off & got bagged (although I wondered about some advice to just do up the clamp bolts? It seemed risky for any major strike to the bolt head area & so I decided that naked was best – but added padding to the hinge faces). Padding was also attached (via tape, straps or removable cable ties) to the handle bars, seat-post top, LH crank arm (remembering that I run MKS removable pedals), along with a large piece of dense foam placed inside the bag on the RH side (ie extra padding for the handle bars?). That’s it – now to trust the Vincita padding & clothing (in a suit-bag placed inside the bag on the LH side).
Our adventure awaits…