September 14, 2016/ Jim Parker
Are you interested in taking your Cruzbike on a faraway adventure, maybe in another country?
Here is our recent experience traveling with our QX100s to the beautiful city of Victoria, BC in the southwestern corner of Canada. I had visited Victoria several years ago for a medical meeting, and rented a bicycle to explore the city. However, the discomfort from the standard bicycle quickly grew tiresome; and I vowed to return with Maria and our Cruzbikes, which would allows us to explore the area to our hearts’ content without any aches, pains, or numbness. In planning the trip, we thought about switching from 26-inch wheels, to 20-inch wheels to get the bikes into a smaller suitcase, but decided we wanted the added comfort and seat-height that comes with the bigger wheels. I carefully packed each bike into a Tern Airporter suitcase (dimensions: 13.8 x 27.1 x 34.6 inch) which had plenty of extra room for our helmets, shoes, tools, and some clothing. Each case weighed about 21 lbs. empty, and 65 lbs. when fully packed.
Starting my journey in the Fayetteville, NC airport. 44 lbs. of bicycle, equipment, and clothing are in the black roller, and inside the blue bag is a basket that I will attach to my rear rack. It made a nice carry-on.
Our first stop was Los Angeles, California, where our daughter, son-in-law, and 2-year-old grandson live. The bikes made it there safely and we had a fun visit with our grandson while his parents took a much needed vacation. I took my Cruzbike out briefly for a ride, but LA lived up to its reputation as a bike-unfriendly city, which is too bad because LA long-ago exceeded its capacity for efficient automobile travel. Every major road we were driven on was gridlocked. A 5-mile trip across town that would take a leisurely 30 minutes on a bike, took a stressful hour by car. There may be pockets of nice places to ride a bike in LA, but I saw surprisingly few bicycles being used on LA’s public roads; and this in a city with perennially perfect cycling weather.
Maria and I enjoying LA’s pleasant climate, but we stayed off the bikes to spend time with our grandson.
Our cycling experience in Victoria couldn’t have been more different. Well-marked bike lanes made it safe and easy to cycle across town, and beautiful multi-use paths connected communities so that it was easy to travel around the greater Victoria area on Vancouver Island. It’s wasn’t just the infrastructure that made cycling there such a joy. The citizens of Victoria are very civil to cyclists. They were friendly and stopped at all crosswalks to yield to us. I’ll let the photos tell most of the story. We didn’t need to rent a car to go see everything that we wanted to see. We took a 12-mile ride to visit the world-famous Butchart Gardens. We hopped a ferry across the Straight of Juan de Fuca to visit friends in Port Angeles, Washington. Despite riding everyday for four days, we explored only a fraction of the beautiful trails and waterfront parks. We visited a cool castle built in 1890.
Hopping on a ferry with our bikes for a day-trip over to Port Angeles, WA. Don’t forget your passport.
While riding through Saanich, we encountered this stoic gentleman whose head fit my helmet perfectly. I think he liked my bike!
The entrance to the Butchart Gardens. Maria has always dreamed of visiting here.
Bikes are locked up! Now we are ready to explore.
We could not believe how beautiful the Butchart Gardens were.
The view from our AirBnB apartment in Victoria.
After crossing the Straight, we explored Port Angeles,WA. Lots of hills, but great views.
We rode to Mt. Douglas Park and played by the water. That’s my bike with the basket that doubled as my carry-on.
Maria’s QX100 was equipped with a rack and panniers.
Beginning to pack my bike down for the return trip home.
Plenty of room left after putting the frame and handlebars in the case.
At the waterfront in downtown Victoria.
The Tern Airporter fit right through the TSA x-ray machine... and arrived safely on the carousel at our destination.
Fitting in cars:
Traveling to and from airports to our housing/hotels, we took Yellow-cab taxis or Ubers and were always able to fit both Tern suitcases either in the trunk, or one in the trunk and one in a backseat.
The added cost of traveling with the bikes varied considerably between airlines. We flew American Airlines from Fayetteville, North Carolina (via Charlotte) to Los Angeles and they charged a $100 “oversized” luggage fee for each bike-case. From LAX (via Seattle) to Victoria, BC, Alaska Airlines charged us $75. From Victoria, BC (via Seattle and Atlanta) to Fayetteville, NC, Delta Airlines charged nothing extra. I believe our bikes flew free because we used a Delta Credit card to purchase the tickets and got a premium upgrade for the short flight out of Victoria.
My bride of 31 years and I waited a long time to make this trip. It was one of my most favorite vacations ever. Exploring on a bike makes me feel like a kid again. I give high marks to the Tern suitcase for helping get our bikes safely there and back. Not everything went exactly as planned, however. On the return trip, the Delta clerk checking our bags put the wrong tag on my bike. My bike made it home safely a few days later, after traveling to Narita, Japan to Manila, Philippines, back to Japan, to Minneapolis, and finally back to North Carolina. The QX100 really knows how to travel!