Can anyone recommend a shop that hires bike bags for air travel.
[Mod. moved to shopping]
It's the soft variety so needs some cardboard inserts. It has some but you might want more.
Only really fits a 26inch bike.
Otherwise just go to a bike shop and get a box. That's what I do for the 29er.
As in just pack it in cardboard? Are the airlines sweet with this. I got the impression they wanted proper bags?
I'd go the cardboard option - unless within your trip you are making multiple flights. If you are just flying somewhere, upacking, then flying home, a cardboard box is fine.
Some bikes come with bigger boxes than others - so go to a shop that stocks a brand like Trek or Specialized - ask them for the bigger box (typically that of a Time trial bike, or a 29er dually).
They might hit you for $50, but I'd be surprised.
Remember to pack your roll of carpet tape. I've seen too many people finish wrappying their pride and joy, and then realising the tape needs to be inside the box for the packing on the return leg......
I went and asked the guys at bike addiction and they let me pull one out of the skip as they go through a lot of them, they even gave me the little plastic bits that protect the discs and dropouts. A bike box will be a lot stronger than a bag and you can fill it with all of your other stuff, I did a week in NZ without taking a check-in bag as it was all in the box with the bike.
Went to my LBS last year before an overseas trip and asked them to set aside a couple of bike boxes. No problems.
The boxes are a standard size which most airlines (in this case Quantas) are happy to accept even on international flights.
It bit of foam to fill the voids and it worked great.
To be accepted for carriage, bicycles must be suitably packed in a bike box. Bike boxes can be purchased from most Australian Qantas Terminals. Customers can travel with their own bike box, however it must not exceed the dimensions and must be properly and securely packed.
Qantas bike pack dimensions are:
Length: 140cm (55in)
Width: 30cm (12in)
Height: 80cm (32in)
Before bicycles can be accepted they must be packed as follows:
Tyres must be deflated
Pedals must be removed
Handle bars must be fixed parallel to the frame
If the bicycles length exceeds 140cm (55in), the front wheel should be removed and fixed beside the rear wheel, inside the bike box
As discodan and ant have said if you are going to a single destination unpacking then returning go the bike box.
Should cost nothing, offers pretty good protection.
On a multiple stop journey / ride then go the dedicated bag, as packing / unpacking the bike box does take a little more time.
Get a 29er dually box and you can fit almost anything in there. Another tip, i got some cheap foam yoga / exercise mats. Cut them up and wrap around the frame. Provides great protection from even the hardest hits.
Thanks everyone for the feedback, it seems like a bike box is the way to go!
BTW, the official qantas boxes are bloody massive, you can fit anything in there including 2 standard boxes (speaking from experience)