Saturday, 17 August 2013

No broken bones, but a cut tyre

Chatty Taxi driver arrived at 4.10am, bang on time, 25 mins later we were at Dublin airport.
It was heaving with Spanish students taking their yellow backpacks home.
Me, I was taking my bike home in a big clear plastic bag.
I checked my luggage in at the Ryanair desk, it weighed 16kg. 
I avoided eye contact, she avoided eye contact, nothing was said, neither of us wanted hassle at this time in the morning.
She let me off the excess weight and I thought she was the bees knees.
I mentioned the two CO2 canisters I was carrying, I asked was it ok to put them in my check in luggage? Her eyes glazed, she didn't really seem to know, she said it was fine.
She didn't check if I'd removed the pedals from the bike, deflated the tyres, turned in the handlebars, it all seemed very relaxed. 
An LBA sticker was printed, she put it on the plastic bag and told me to take my bike over to the oversized baggage section.

The woman at the oversized baggage section was equally as relaxed - a far cry from all the stress and hassle I had imagined I was going to get.
Again, she didn't check the tyres, handlebars, but she did check the pedals and was happy I had already removed them.
I asked if it was necessary and she said it was.
The bike was raised up and off it went through the metal tunnels.

Somewhere between this metal tunnel and Leeds my bike took a knock, unfortunately enough of a knock to put a hole in the back tyre killing both tyre and tube.
Shame because everything else had gone so smoothly.
I don't think it was down to the baggage handlers, I think at some point the wheel got bashed in the metal tunnels and because I had deflated the tyres, there was no protection.

I talked to one of the baggage handlers in Leeds, asked him if he had a bike how would he pack it for a flight? 
'Probably in a see through bag, we're more careful with anything we can see is fragile, a bike in a box is likely to get thrown around'. 
When I got to the baggage area in Leeds, someone had lovingly placed my bike against a pillar instead of letting it go round and round on the conveyor belt.
I was touched.
I went straight over, took it in my arms and gave it a big hug 'Hello you'.
In reality I walked over, removed my bike from its bag, took the foam padding off the frame, and gave it the once over, ready for a scream of horror as I ran a finger along a cracked frame.
There were no screams, it was all fine, no scratches, no cracks, no nothing.
Just a dead tyre and tube.

I rang Chevin cycles in Otley when I got home, they didn't stock my tyres - Conti GP4000s. I tried Crosstrax in Adel, they had loads - but £45 each.
Somehow through me telling them how much cheaper they were on Wiggle, and the story of my bike being damaged at the airport, the guy being nice gave me a deal.
2 x GP4000s tyres and 2 conti race tubes for £77 including fitting the new tube and tyre onto my back wheel.

I put the wheel back on my bike, went out for a little ride to check everything was ok, it was. 

I even managed a joint 2nd/62 women on a segment near home, not bad for being up since 3am.

My bike in its CTC bag, Dublin airport 5am

Going into the Oversize Baggage machine - I think this is where it got a knock to the tyre

Leeds Airport, the baggage handlers had kindly leaned my bike against a pillar


All fine except for the flat back tyre and inner tube - not great if you wanted to cycle away from the airport

The tyre was grazed like this on both sides



Cut tyre and cut innertube

Crosstrax in Adel nr Leeds, fitted new tyre and inner tube (at Wiggle prices) and gave me coffee whilst I waited