If you have an upcoming trip, you may be grappling with the decision on whether to fly with your bike or rent something at your destination. It’s an important decision to make and can impact your trip in a number of different ways. While each has its pros and cons, the decision will likely come down to how your trip is organized and what you prioritize. While you didn’t buy your bike to leave it at home, travelling with a bike can be a bit of a hassle. So here are the things you should consider before making your decision:
Airline bike fees
Airline bike fees can seriously add up quickly. If you have multiple flights during your trip, you’ll want to do the bike fee math before booking with any given airline. Consider how much flying with your bike will cost compared to the rental cost.
Bike comfort and fit
Cyclists build a strong bond with their own bikes. You make memories on them but you also have them dialled in with the right stack height and position. A rental likely won’t feel quite as good as riding your own bike because something about the bike will be slightly different from your own machine. If comfort and familiarity are important to you, a rental may not quite suit your needs.
Transporting your bike
If you have a well-dialled travel routine with your bike; packing it up, hauling it to the airport and flying with it may not be too much of a hassle. If you don’t have a bike box, don’t want to deal with dragging a +30 lb bag or box around, or have long transfers to and from the airports, you may consider it easier to rent. Consider you may need to rent a bigger vehicle or taxi to fit your bike when you travel as well. If you are moving around during your trip you might have to disassemble and reassemble your bike multiple times on the trip.
Upon arriving at your destination you might want to get riding immediately. If you are travelling with your bike that means you just need to build it up and you’ll be ready to hit the open road. If you need to travel to and from a bike shop where your rental is awaiting this could cut into your ride time. While finding a rental location if you are staying in a big city center shouldn’t be too tricky, if you are in a more rural area it may not be quite as easy to find a place with a bike that suits you. Having your bike with you gives you more flexibility.
Wear and tear
If you are going to a destination where you are going to be riding hard, consider the wear and tear you’d be putting on your bike. Maintenance costs will ad up on your own machine while once you return the rental, as long as the bike is in working order it’s not your responsibility to replace the chain and brake pads. If you’ll be riding a lot of gravel or surfaces that you may want more clearance than what your bike offers, a rental can be a great way to get on a machine that better suits your needs.
If you are in the market for a new bike, a rental could be an amazing opportunity to try a brand you are considering. It can also be fun to try a different groupset than what you run on your own bike or maybe if you are lucky you’ll have access to a nice high-end machine that will have you dreaming about N+1 for the entire trip.
If your trip is exclusively for cycling, you will likely be getting in the saddle every day. A week of bike rentals can cost quite a bit of money while just renting for a couple of days can be pretty reasonable. If you want the flexibility to ride whenever you want, bring your own bike. If you have other plans that will distract you from just spending hours in the saddle every day, maybe a rental would be more suitable.