Traveling with unis

I’m going to Chicago soon, and I wanted to take my trials uni for some urban trials, but I was wondering how I might take it with me (I’m flying). Should I put the parts in a suitcase, or should I pack it up in a box. I’m thinking I’d rather use a suitcase, because they charge extra for cardboardboxes, right? But, if they see all these metal parts in my suitcase, they might think its a weapon/bomb. How have you taken your unis on planes before? How do you pack them?



There have been at least two long threads on this since last year’s NAUCC/UNICON but RSU search doesn’t seem to find them. I guess I should bookmark the Google search some day.

I checked with NW Air for my trip to NAUCC this month, as long as the L + W + H is not more than 62" and it is under 50 lbs it can be checked as baggage for no extra charge. A large suitcase is probably best. I am using some bunk bed boxes I cut down to size for my 20’s. You want to make them accessible incase they are searched. In other words, don’t tape them up so tight they destroy the box in the search.

I’m sure someone will come up with the links for the previous threads.

Here’s a good Traveling with Uni Thread
And as is mentioned…NEVER tell them it’s a unicycle or wheels if you can help it. “Circus Props” is what I learned from JF a few years ago and I’m sure those two words have saved me thousands of Yen.

I just packed 8 unicycles into the back seat of a Mazda Protege. One of them is John Childs’ Coker. Blue Shift, Steve DeKoekkoek’s MUni, 29er, Schwinn MUni, and his daughter’s 24". Also, John’s KH trials and Sem 24" racer. I will put my trials, SH MUni, 24" Torker, and JC’s spare wheel in the trunk. 11.5 uni’s in all. Why fly?

Traveling with a 20" trials uni or freestyle uni is easy. It will fit in a large suit case. I took my trials uni to Atlanta and I put it in a 29" upright pullman (20"x29"x10"). Take the pedals and seat off. Put the unicycle in garbage bags (it will keep your clothes clean and the garbage bags make the unicycle more slippery so it’s easier to pack thing around it).

The only thing to be careful of now is not to over pack the suitcase. Many of the airlines have lowered their weight limits down to 50 pounds from 70 pounds. If your bag weighs more than 50 pounds you’ll pay extra. Check with your airline to find out their weight limit. With a trials uni and tools in there it is easy to exceed 50 pounds.

For more general info on flying with bikes check out
A lot of the stuff there is about bikes and not all of it will apply to unicycles, but there is some good info there.

With all those unis there’s no room for passengers! Hope you left room for the refreshments.

I found the threads I was thinking of.

How do you transport your uni

Unicycles on Planes

RSU Google Search for Suitcase

Traveling with a 20 incher shouldn’t be a problem at all. I took my Torker in a suitcase last year, and My sister brought me my Summit Trials in the box it came in (cardboard, no extra charge) last month. She covered all the markings on the box with duct tape so they wouldn’t ask what’s in it. Both uni’s made it to their destinations with no problems and no extra charges.

Have fun in Chicago,

ah ha!

you could buy one of these (expensive tho!)

You can try one of the nylon wheel bags that wheel companies pack their high end wheels in. If you find a good bike shop they may even let you have one for free. I’ve got a Mavic wheelbag which I believe used to contain some CrossMax wheels. The good thing with these is that they can be folded up to next to nothing so they’re good for unitouring/travelling. But they can’t take much bigger than a 29’er wheel. You can use cardboard to stiffen the sides and give more protection and then throw it away when you get to you destination.

Re: ah ha!

Those bags are the utmost in cool. However, they only fit one unicycle, and don’t exactly conceal what it is when at the airport. I hardly ever fly with only one unicycle, and I prefer more stealth.

For NAUCC this year, I think I will bring my usual three (when flying) cycles: MUni, 24" Miyata, 20" Freestyle. These will fit easily into my bag, along with tools, spares, and some other stuff. Though I’ll probably take the painted frames off the Hunter and Wyganowski and put them in my suitcase to protect the paint.

Here’s the essential info. about my travel bag and method, copied from one of the other threads that was linked above:

I have found a type of luggage that’s very good at holding unicycles. Since I usually fly with more than one, and only the largest of suitcases fits a 24" wheel, and I usually travel heavy, I can’t just stuff them in with my regular luggage. More realistically, I have to stuff extra luggage in with my unicycles. :slight_smile:

So I go to one of the luggage vendors at my local flea market. There I am lucky to find a selection of the type of bag I use. Unfortunately I don’t know the name of this type of bag and I have been unable to find a picture of one on the Web after lots of searching. Oh well.

It has a flat, rigid bottom with wheels, about 18" x 24" on the big ones. Soft sides, and two zippered expanders, which will open the bag up to about 4’ tall. The main thing about this bag is that it’s big enough for a 26" MUni tire, and tall enough to fit unicycles without even taking the seat off, if you so choose.

I can get three unicycles into one of these bags, though not all with large wheels. I usually break down the cycles as much as possible, and don’t open all the expansion zippers unless I have to. The smaller your luggage is, the less likely it is to be subject to unusual forces in transit.

Always bring garbage bags when you travel. Put a garbage bag over each wheel. This does two things. It allows the grippy rubber wheel to slide easily in and out of tight spaces, and it keeps the dirt from a possibly unclean tire off everything else. Bring spare bags for the trip home, in case the originals got ripped up. They don’t weigh a thing.

As has been mentioned, never take the cranks off, because you’ll be left with axles that will poke through your luggage. You don’t need to let the air out of your tires unless you run them at extreme pressures, though letting the air out makes them fit into slightly smaller spaces. I put the pedals in ziploc bags, along with any other small parts left over.

I always bring tools and a pump, especially when traveling internationally. You don’t have to, but then you don’t get to ride until you find someone with the necessary tools and pump. I prefer being self-sufficient. So much for traveling light.

One of the nice things about normal-looking luggage is that you Seldom get asked what’s in there. But if you do, it ain’t anything with the word “cycle” in it. Sports equipment, show props, circus equipment, exercise equipment, all are the truth, to a certain extent.

Lastly, I use pieces of a camping pad. This is a piece of lightweight foam rubber you normally put under a sleeping bag for camping. I cut it in 3 or 4 squares, and put these between the cycles and to pad them against the outsides of the bag. Eventually even a crank arm will bust through strong nylon fabric. Been there.

Always assume your luggage will be treated with the utmost disrespect. If your box or other container can’t survive being dropped from a height of at least 3’ onto its corner, don’t expect it to be in one piece when you reach your destination. Remember, many flights involve changing planes at least once, which doubles the airlines’ wear and tear on the luggage.

Happy travels!

Re: Re: ah ha!

I have to dispute this one John, I have two Roach bags, a 20" and a 26". Although they were designed for one uni with pedals on, I have flown several times with each bag containing two uni’s with pedals removed. I used foam and Roach gear to pad them. In the smaller bag I pack my trials and my freestyle. In the large bag I pack my muni and ultimate wheel or road uni. The bags I have are quite roomy and durable except for the handles, they could definately come up with a stronger handle/carry strap. The most common question I get is “what kind of instrument is that?”

One of the things I like the most about these bags is that I have a place to put my muni after a muddy ride and I don’t have to worry about getting muck all over the car.

Re: Re: Re: ah ha!

Have you had any problems with the airlines when flying with the unicycles in the Roach bag? If they bothered to measure the large 26" bag it would be over the size requirement of 62 linear inches (L+W+H) to fly free.

I was just checking the baggage rules at Fronteir Airlines Here is what they say about bicycles:

If the airline gets fussy and tries to charge a bike handling fee just say they are children’s cycles. Kids bikes fly free so why not kids unicycles.

I stand corrected on the spaciousness of the Roach bags. I think my opinion is based on some earlier models, which were smaller… :roll_eyes:

Re: Re: Re: Re: ah ha!

I’ve never had anyone attempt to measure my Roach bags. They probably wouldn’t know where to start since it’s such an odd shape…“odd” if you’re not a unicyclist. Never been charged the big bucks for having a “bicycle” when using a the Roach bags. I have been charged for bringing a 6ft giraffe, taken apart, in a “bike” box that I got from a local shop. NEVER use a cardboard bike box…you’ll be lucky if they don’t charge you, and you’ll be even luckier if the box makes it in one piece.

I now use a Keyboard case (something like this) from a music supply store to fly with my giraffe uni’s. My 10ft and 6ft fit nicely and one of the wheels goes in my other luggage. This case is quite large, but I’ve never been charged extra because it doesn’t look like it contains a bike. The $150usd I spent on the keyboard case has paid for itself compared to the $100’s that I’ve shelled out to the airlines when using cardboard bike boxes, plus it’s much more durable and it protects my “props” better