RAGBRAI L – Friday July 21, 2023

Los Angeles to Omaha

I purchased a semi-hard shell bike case with wheels and handles earlier in the year. I was traveling on Friday, so on Thursday I started practicing disassembling my Surly Long Haul Trucker and fitting it in the case. I followed the video provided by the vendor, which was accurate for the most part.

Buy it on Amazon

I removed handlebars at the stem, pedals, wheels and rear derailleur. I discovered that I needed to turn the front fork backwards so the bike would fit. Despite manufacturer’s claim that the case was suitable for “large” road bikes, my 58 cm Surly Trucker just fit with some finagling. The handlebars were positioned over the top tube, but either the bar end shifters or the handbrakes were going to be sticking up. I went with the handbrakes sticking up, and the case closed just fine.

I thought I would pack some of the bulkier items in the bike case, like my tent, sleeping pad, etc. but in the middle of the night before I was to leave for the airport, I awoke thinking that was a bad idea. I was certain that TSA would open my bike case, and if they moved stuff around, it might not reclose as before. First thing Friday morning I removed everything from the bike case except for the bike, the stuff that would go on the bike, and my insulated sleeping pad which I used for additional padding. I used pipe insulation to cushion the frame.

I later removed all camping gear but left my insulated sleeping pad for extra cushioning

Speaking of TSA, the manufacturer claims the included padlock was “TSA approved”. When I picked up my bike at the airport in Omaha, the lock had been removed. So much for “approved”.

There were about 12-13 passengers on my flight also heading to RAGBRAI L, checking their bikes as well.

I chose Omaha as my destination because I could get a non-stop flight on American out of LAX. Getting myself, my bike and my duffle turned out to be surprisingly easy. I checked my bike as my complimentary bag and paid $40 for my duffle. I paid $300 to ship my bike in 2021 ($150 for the BikeFlights box, $150 for shipping) plus another $125 for assembly in KC.

The Marriott Residence Inn in downtown Omaha sent a shuttle to pick me up. Once I settled in at the hotel, I started reaching out to my contact at the shuttle that would get me from Omaha to Sioux City. Here I discovered that the second charter idea wasn’t so great, and that was mostly on me. I had reached out to my weeklong charter contact asking how I could get from Omaha to Sioux City, and the second charter was recommended. However, the second charter was catering to its clients, all of whom were staying at a different hotel and at a different campsite during the week. Hence, the beginning of several headaches.

Next: Sioux City Saturday and the trouble begins…

Author: brianbartleyberlin

Adventure cyclist. No spandex, carbon fiber or cleats. My ride is a 2009 Surly Long Haul Trucker, made of steel, built to last.

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