travel international with uni

I’m scheduled to go Asia in spring.
Wonder if it’s difficult to take my 29" Hatchet or not.
Anyone have experience riding in asian countries?
Is is worthwhile to take uni? How did you pack it?

Here’s some pictures that show the same basic method I still use:


I flew with my 29" to Unicon 12 in Japan, Unicon 13 in Switzerland, and Unicon 15 in New Zealand. Watch your total weight though; the airlines are a lot more picky these days.

I’m still using the same foam panels, which came from a camping mat (for under your sleeping bag) and the same pipe insulation that I taped together to fit my various frames. I also used to bring a light roll of packing tape, to hold things together for the trip home. And a couple of extra garbage bags, folded up.

It’s absolutely worthwhile to bring your uni, as long as you’ll have time to get at least one good ride in. I’ve gone on many trips where I wished I had a uni, but often it isn’t in the cards based on the overall scope of the trip, other luggage requirements, etc.

BTW, the bag above was, I think, a 24" model, which easily fits a 29" wheel. But it’s pretty tall when fully opened, which probably puts it above the dimensions allowed by airlines. Better to take the frames off and keep one of the extensions closed. My 24" Muni would fit with both extensions closed, but I don’t think that would work with a 29".

This picture shows the equipment that went to Unicon 17, minus the packing material. the gray bag contains the tools for assembly (and basic repairs). The ziplock has gloves, Freestyle pedals and a spare tube. The Skechers bag contains my Camelbak pads, while my KH Leg Armor was used as packing around the cycles. Also there was one or two pairs of shoes in there (5.10s and Freestyle shoes). With the frames removed from the two smaller wheels, it all fit with only one extension open.

I have the unicycle travel bag from UDC and have flown all over the US, as well as to Montreal, Toronto, South Africa, Australia, and Scotland with my Oracle 29, hydration pack, pads, and helmet packed in it. The bag is a little tight on the Oracle 29" wheel, but it works. Pedals obviously need to be removed and a wrench packed to re-install. I suspect the Hatchet 29" tire might be too tight in that bag, a workaround could be to fully deflate the tire or even remove it and then it would be fine.

I can’t really answer your questions about riding in Asia. It’s a big place, depends where you go, what kind of riding you want to do, and ultimately what makes it worthwhile is up to you. You can see my bias though!

Deflating the tire doesn’t make it functionally smaller, at least for fitting into a round bag. If you’re just a little bit short of fitting an oblong or non-circular bag, it might make the difference.

You don’t have to deflate your tires (high pressure ones might be at risk) but I always do; it makes them a little more flexible when squeezing everything into the bag. I always bring a little mini-pump anyway. Don’t forget the trash bag; it will make your life 100% easier if you’re packing other stuff in there. With out some smooth plastic, tires can really fight against fabric for sliding in and out.

If you’re worried about the plane’s baggage area not being pressurized, don’t. if it’s a plane that flies high enough for a pressurized cabin, your luggage will be in the same pressurized chamber, which is the fuselage. That’s why it’s tube-shaped. But they don’t run full sea level pressure, which is why tires with high pressure might be at risk. With my old Casio watch, which had a barometric pressure sensor (for elevation), my experience in flying was pressures ranging from 6000’ (1830m) to 10,000’ (3048m).

I suppose you can convince the airline that you’re disabled and can’t walk, so the unicycle is kinda grown into your body. then you can ride right into the airplane :smiley:
Where in Asia do you intend to ride? I married a Thai last year and I don’t intend to ride in Thailand. Way too dangerous with traffic, and too hot really.

travel bag/box

I will take my 29" Hatchet with me, thanks for your answers!
My only obstacle now is how to fit inside a box that will conform to the airline size requirement of 62 square inch (Length+Width+Height) =158cm (62 in) :thinking:

If you try that, I request that you wear a camera on you and record the interaction. I want to see the expressions on the face of the Airline employee. :astonished:

I recommend against a box, for a couple of reasons. Boxes attract attention. When someone uses a box, it usually means it has “stuff” in it other than personal items. Stuff that might be related to customs rules, or other airline rules they can charge fees for. If you can find a piece of normal-looking luggage, like the cheap bags I use, they rarely attract any attention. I also use my foam pads (and leg armor) to obscure the tread on the largest tire, so I don’t give the impression I’m trying to duck the airline’s bicycle rule, or whatever. Just regular luggage, nothing to see here.

The other problem with a box is if you’re flying round trip. They often get pretty damaged on the flight there, so you might have to do major repairs, or even replace the box.

Lastly, boxes provide poor protection. Soft luggage, while it doesn’t provide much more, is designed to be more survivable in baggage transport systems (most of the damage to luggage occurs in the automated portion of the trip; getting it from the Check-In area to the plane and then back to the Baggage Claim). Boxes, like rigid luggage, are more susceptible to major damage because they aren’t flexible.

But boxes work, I know lots of people who have used them without incident. You may have to customize a larger box down to the size you need for your Hatchet. See if your local bike shop has boxes you can work with. Bring tape with you. :slight_smile:

If I travel with a unicycle, it is always my 20," but I have been saving the box my 29" road uni came in for possible travel one day. From what you say, John, it sounds like I can finally throw it out. Do you have any specific information about that bag in the photo you linked to above - item number maybe, or at least dimensions?

I’ve used this bag for flying with my 26". It fits within standard baggage allowances. I don’t think it would quite fit a 29 - maybe if the tyre was removed.

I’ve added some internal stiffeners and wheels. I can provide photos if anybody is interested.

Intl with 36

Last couple of International trips I’ve taken the 36. In May last year flew from Syd to NYC to Carribean, Cuba, Argentina Chile … there were + 10 different flight on the trip. To reduce attn and weight, jimmy packed seat and peddles in luggage and used bubble wrap and a couple of yoga matts with ties … now on way to Dallas and New Orleans next Week and will adopt same method again with the 36 … leaving the 29" at home … jimmy

I flew domestic with my 29" over Thanksgiving. I did not have a proper box. I cut apart some cardboard boxes, then taped them around the wheel. The end result was a container with pointy edges, widening toward the hub. It looked more like a bulging packet than a box. I measured the box and it was definitely over the L+W+H (despite its volume being possibly less). But, no one blinked at the airport. At the destination, however, there was some blue tape on the box where security opened up the box to have a look.

I get kind of nervous at airports. In 2004, I passed a musical instrument through the x-ray, but forgot to place some of the reed-making tools into the checked baggage. One of those tools was a box cutter. The screener caught it on x-ray, then asked me if I had brought a box cutter in my baggage. I immediately remembered my mistake, and replied “yes”. So, I was charged with “knowingly” passing a banned item into a secure area. Every bit of legal advice I received was that resistance was futile, and that all I could do was to plead guilty. A year later, I received a letter from Homeland Security saying they were going to charge me, a second time, this time in civil court, for the same violation. I replied with my own threatening letter to them, telling them to back off. The last correspondence I had with homeland security was them telling me they were dropping the civil case, but warning me that, if anything like this (the airport incident) happened again, that my ass was grass.