Friday, January 30, 2009

Flying with Bikes & the TSA

It has been suggest that the prudent traveling cyclist always accompanies his/her own luggage through the TSA inspection, to see what they do and to put things back the way they are supposed to be. This idea, if you do not mind waiting, and arrived early enough (since it would naturally take a bit more time and handling), would save a lot of grief and complaints. I seem to recall requesting this in Buffalo in the summer of 2003, where upon I was rebuffed with "Absolutely not."

A printout of the official regulations in the coat pocket is always handy in this situation. I've flown my bike overseas many times for free, with a recording from an airlines 800 line stating bikes fly free internationally after initially being told there would be additional charges for the bike. I suppose with the secrecy necessary to fight terrorism so deep within our current government, actually publishing the rules would seem out of character.

Should you get placed on the "NO FLY LIST", even by accident (as some congressmen have found themselves), you will discover that there are no published criteria for this honor and no official way to get off the list. As cyclists we have a natural propensity to be seen as subversive anarchists by our very nature—as we would choose for transport or recreation the most energy efficient machine every devised, and thereby invoke class warfare against the heavily government-subsidized horseless-carriage industry and their users. As Phreds, we always must be ever vigilant—keeping our helmet mirrors pointing rearward and eyes forward.

Yours in Cycling,
Gilbert Anderson

North Road Bicycle Imports
P.O. Box 840
166 Courthouse Square
Yanceyville, NC 27379
toll free: 800-321-5511
local: 919-828-8999

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