Unicycles on Airplanes

I’m going to be taking a plane to a conference and have been asked to bring my unicycle for a talent show.

I can take my little brother’s Torker, which comes apart easily enough and will fit inside of one of our large suitcase (we get 2 free check out bags).

Does anyone know whether it’s OK to do this? I’m assuming that since it fits in the suitcase, I can bring it, but airports are so crazy about what they do and don’t allow that I’m not sure.

Typically if it’s checked luggage theyll let you get away with much more than carry on. I’ve actually gotten away with packing a large maglite and even a big aerosol can of axe. It should be fine in check luggage. I think you can even check knives. This is because nobody has access to checked baggage while in flight.

we took my bros and my unis in parachute bags in checked luggage


Remember to deflate the tyre!!

I took my KH36 to Germany recently for the Dusseldorf Marathon and that was the only thing they were concerned about :slight_smile:

“Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfking unicycles on this motherfking plane!” :slight_smile:

Seriously though, if you can get it to fit in your checked luggage? No problem. Have flown domestically (U.S.) and abroad with unicycles w/o any issues. Just disassemble as much as you can and deflate the tire (should be no need to remove the tire/tube from the wheel, though I had to to get my 26er to fit in hardshell suitcase once). Also think about putting some sort of padding around the wheel to protect the spokes.

Good luck!

I’ve done this w/ my Muni and use clothes in plastic grocery bags (to keep them clean) to pad the wheel.

One thing you have to pay attention to is weight. My bag was 10 lbs over the limit and had to switch things w/ that bag and carry on. I ended up putting my pedals, seat, and post in my carryon. I was worried they would say the post or pinned pedals were weapons. Don’t make this mistake, discretion is the TSA agent’s. One might have no problem and not bring it up while another will make you open your bag and then won’t let you pass w/ them.

I had this problem w/ some juggling clubs. One way they never mentioned them. On the way back they said I had to go back and stow them. Since I’d already checked my luggage I would have to pay $25 for an extra “bag”. The clubs only cost me $23, so I left them. Besides, if I had gone back I would have missed my plane.

Not necessary, unless you run really high pressure. The whole plane is pressurized, though the pressure is the equivalent of 6-10,000’.

This is currently true for ALL airlines. Even carry-ons have a weight limit, though the airline doesn’t weigh them, so if you don’t look like you’re carrying a bag of bricks, you should be okay with that. But they’re very picky about checked bag weight.

I have taken to bringing a luggage scale with me, because it’s worth it to prevent the hassle of having to repack your stuff at the front of the line with people crowded all around you.

Try to avoid any large metal objects in your carry-on. Non-obvious items, like pedals or unicycle seat posts, could go either way. Never assume things will be allowed to slide. Always assume strictness, and you’ll be spared the stress and hassles that can happen if you don’t!

And, the old advice I usually offer: never mention the word “cycle” in any form when checking your bags. You can say it’s circus equipment, for example. Once I even said it was props for a balancing act. All true. That’s for the airline. Never be untruthful to the TSA, customs or immigration officials. They don’t care if you have unicycles anyway.

last spring I was on Malta, and I brought my unicycle in a bag like this: http://www.google.dk/imgres?imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_guaVuKIz0Tk/SgqWIMKebMI/AAAAAAAACpk/PmGHaTQUuUE/s320/housse%2Bmgypack.jpg&imgrefurl=http://rolandpasnet.blogspot.com/2009/05/les-nouvelles-housses-mgypack-sont-sur.html&usg=_GwwrlLCKLoq2MpJgReL1SxCGjV8=&h=240&w=320&sz=30&hl=da&start=0&sig2=1TUD-z8qDHnORSW8_R7-w&zoom=1&tbnid=tgFimtXrdJZ05M:&tbnh=158&tbnw=211&ei=UN_fTcT8Bcb3sgbYmp3TBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmgypack%26um%3D1%26hl%3Dda%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:da:official%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D644%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=435&page=1&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:0&tx=69&ty=76&biw=1280&bih=644

And I had no problems with it :slight_smile:

I hope your brothers came through alright. It’s a rough ride down there in the baggage compartment. You must be the favorite since you got to ride in a seat :slight_smile:

There are a couple of unicycle bags for sale on UDC. They’re kind of expensive, but they probably have better padding than a regular suitcase. I’m going to try using one to take my 29" uni with me on a trip next week.

Hardshell cases for unis!

Although I had hoped to attend NAUCC (or even ELSBET) for the first time this year, it turns out I ain’t gonna be able to make it. Bummer. :frowning:

At any rate, in the lead-up to my sad/bad decision to not attend, I had been thinking about how best to get one or two of my uni/munis to Madison (or Zurich). I decided that it made the most sense to box them up and ship them by UPS or FedEx to a friend who lives there. But what if I didn’t have a friend there to receive them on my behalf? That got me searching for better ways to have my uni/munis travel with me – in checked luggage.

I had seen the various soft cases on UDC-US (which seemed like disaster waiting to happen), considered the old shipping box solution (another disaster waiting to happen), and had heard brief mention of hardshell cases for b*kes somewhere along the road. “Surely someone must make a hardshell case suitable for protecting a uni/muni in checked luggage,” I thought.

It turns out that my intuition was right.

A Google search tonight finally turned up a hardshell case by S and S Machine in Roseville, CA. Their standard case is 26" x 26" x 10", which apparently just meets the (US) airline standard maximum total dimensions of 62". (Here’s the link: http://www.sandsmachine.com/ac_hard.htm) It appears to be quite sturdy (with full-length piano hinge and solid hardwear), has a flip-out handle and 2 wheels on the narrow side for easy rolling through airports. And, with those dimensions, it looks like it would be perfect for a 24", if not a 26", with tire on, and might even fit a 29" with the tire off the rim. Plus, the 10" width should allow you to leave your cranks on.

The only rub is that the basic case weighs 17 lbs., and retails for $430 (USD). And $430 is a lot of dough! :astonished:

So here’s my suggestion: UDC needs to partner up with S and S Machine to start mass-producing similar cases specifically for uni/munis. Foam inserts could be designed specifically for uni parts. Alternative materials, construction & fabrication methods (like injection-molded PVC inter-leaving/nesting halves) could be explored. And with UDC’s global marketplace, the price could possibly be halved, if not quartered.

So what do you say Rodger & Josh, etc.? How about supplying the unicycling “masses” with a decent quality hardshell case for a decent price? :roll_eyes:

The globe-trotting Uni-Community would be forever in debt! :wink:


UPD in Utah

I just recently traveled over seas with my 24inch and i put it in a 26inch wheel box and i was able to fit all my clothes and unicycles parts and tools and other things in there and i had my carry on luggage with me as well. The only issue i had was that in America they charged me an extra 200 dollars for “sports equipment”. The box made it through to germany just fine and nothing was broke… the box was just really beat up so i had to tape it up again.

coming back was much easier because they didnt charge me for “sports equipment”. Although i had my carry on luggage searched a few times… haha every time i was the lucky one who got that “random” check :stuck_out_tongue:

but now im going to naucc and i was curious if i could just carry my wheelset with me as my carry on luggage? Im traveling with south western to and i dont have any suitcases large enough for the 24inch :stuck_out_tongue:

In Australia I am fairly certain that you can take a unicycle on any of the Airlines as long as it is in a cardboard box. I assume inside suitcases is fine also.

i always travel with my uni in suitcase and never had an issue,i once got asked if my tyre was muddy but it wasnt.Also leaving tyre pressure in tyre is fine i always do it

well if you have a 19inch it works just fine, but what do all the hardcore doods that ride 24inches and bigger do haha :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

bigger suitcase lol

Hi we missed you at the ELSBET
When I travel by plane, I pack my UNI into the original Box and pack olso most of my other things like clothes, sleeping back into this box.
I never had any troubles. They snt me to the special baggage counter and thats it.
But you never need to say the b*** word. Than you will pay for sport equippment.
Once they asked me what is inside, I said that are spare parts for circus equippment.

When will I see you in Austria?

next year?

Hi Charly,

I thought of you guys at ELSBET. I’ll bet it was “tons of fun” for all. Perhaps I can join you there, and in Austria, next year. It seems that the Euro:USD exchange rate is improving for us Yanks, thanks to troubles in Greece, Portugal, Spain & Ireland. Of course those Swiss Francs are resistant to such pressures, and remain VERY expensive for us.

Back on topic: I like your idea of claiming your uni as “spare parts for circus equipment.” After all, I often get told by random observers that I should go join the circus, or asked if I’m already in “clown school.” So, why not “go with the flow” and say that your uni is “critical for your work as a clown in the circus?” No airport security offer is going to deprive a clown of his unicycle. That would be inhumane – and downright mean to the clown, and all those children to which he/she brings joy!

Also back on topic: I sent an e-mail to the makers of that hardshell case (S and S Machine) and implored them to consider partnering up with Unicycle.com to come up with some mass produced, more economical, unicycle-specific cases to be sold globally through UDC. I copied the e-mail to Josh (General Manager) & Amy (CEO) of UDC-US. If any of you know how to contact Rodger of UDC-UK, you might want to do the same and send him the link describing the cases. Here it is again:
Hard shell bike case for a folding travel bicycle

Meanwhile, maybe, just maybe, I can realize my dream of riding with you, Turtle, Hugo, and others in Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland & Germany next year! I’ll let you (& Turtle) know once I commit to it.



Next year ther will be no ELSBET.
Anyway, you are wellcome in Salzburg any time

I ended up buying one of the soft cases from UDC US to take my 29" to Poland. It worked fine. It still looks as good as new after being thrown onto 6 different planes. It comes with 2 large pieces of foam padding to put around the wheel. I took the uni apart, wrapped all the pieces in towels, packed my clothes in as extra padding, and taped the bag shut. It seemed pretty secure that way.

One nice thing about it is that the bag and foam weigh almost nothing. Fully loaded with my uni, tools, pads, and clothes it was about 35 lbs, which is well under the limit. It’s big though – probably too big. I tried to squish the ends in to make it look smaller. Lucky the Lufthansa people didn’t measure it.

Anybody out there flown with a 36" lately? I’ve checked the regulations for United Airlines and it should be OK, although probably a tad bit expensive.