I want to promote the use of folding bikes as a means of transportation here in the Philippines. This blog is meant to share my experiences as a folding bike user. I chose a Brompton for its classic style and compact fold, but other brands like Dahon, Strida, Bike Friday, Flamingo and Peerless produce good foldies as well.
I took my Brompton with me to a visit to Vietnam over the weekend. It was my folding bike's first international trip ever since I bought it in Taiwan late last year. I packed it in a Vincita B-132 Bike Bag.
I had no problems checking in the bike at the Cebu Pacific counter. They did not consider it as sports equipment and didn't charge me extra either. The bike, with the bag, weighed a total of 17 kgs (37.5 lbs). It was well within the 20-kilo check-in baggage weight limit I paid for (P500.00) when I bought my plane ticket last July.
The girl behind the counter didn't even ask me to deflate the tires (although I did). I just requested that a "Fragile" sticker be put on, and that was it. Left Brommie Skywalker there and boarded my flight to Vietnam!
After we landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, we breezed through immigration and headed to the baggage claim area. I waited for the bike bag to come out on the conveyor belt. When it did, I got the bag and rolled it out of the terminal. My wife and I boarded our airport pick-up and proceeded to our hotel in District 1.
When we got to our hotel, I was pleased to see that there was a cabinet there that was wide and tall enough to store my bike! How cool is that?!
I unpacked the bike from the bag and inspected it for any damage. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Nice one, Vincita!
The next day, Brommie Skywalker visited the Mekong Delta.
After the one day bike tour, I cleaned my bike and returned it in the Vincita bag. Mission accomplished!
I had no problems in our return trip to Manila. Again, no questions were asked at the check-in counter. I guess the bike drawing painted on the side of the bag gave it away. Like before, I requested for a "Fragile" sticker to be put on. And that was it!
When we arrived in NAIA Terminal 3, we waited for our bags to come out of the conveyor belt.
I think the Vincita B-132 Bike Bag performed very well in this trip. The foam padding provided enough protection to shield the bike from nicks and scratches. I like the fact that there was a handle/strap on the side of the bag, which I used to carry and fit the bike in the car trunk. And the skate wheels at the bottom were a life saver! Our car was parked at the end of the parking lot and I was glad I didn't have to carry the bike all the way there. I just pulled on the handle and the bag rolled with ease.
Nice work, Vincita! Thank you for protecting my bike in its first international trip!
Having said that, the B-132 Bag can still be improved. The most important one is to provide for a pocket where we can store the removable accessories of the bike. In my case, this includes the two hinge clamp assemblies, the rear LED light and the saddle rain cover.