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"To break one bike may be regarded as a misfortune; to break both looks like carelessness," to paraphrase Lady Bracknell...

Vittorio Brumotti, it's fair to say, is not too happy with Alitalia - or rather, the baggage handlers who load and unload luggage from its flights to the United States.

The Italian trials ace was in the States for some filming recently, and on arrival discovered that his bike had been destroyed on the way out there.

He posted a picture showing the damaged rear stay of his bike, saying: "I'm speechless. I travel with the national flag carrier Alitalia and they destroy my bike! Never again!"

Happily, he managed to obtain a replacement bike, and used it in this video of him taking on the Grand Canyon.

Brumotti Grand Canyon.JPG

Brumotti Grand Canyon.JPG

The only problem is, that bike got wrecked too at some point on his flight back from Los Angeles to Milan's Linate airport via Rome.

"You've pissed me off, Alitalia," he wrote. "You've destroyed my second bicycle too!"

Helpfully, a good few of the people commenting on a video posted by a less-than-happy Brumotti from the airport earlier this week suggested he use a hard-sided bike box in future, rather than the soft bag he had on this trip.

If he wants any suggestions, he could do worse than look at our Buyers Guide on the subject.

> 14 of the best best bike bags and boxes

We also have a guide to flying with your bike.

> road.cc's guide to how to fly with your bike

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

14 comments

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fenix [667 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Wot no pipe lagging ? He does love to take risks I guess.

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mikeyc38 [7 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes

I have to admit that I don't trust the baggage handlers on any airline - that's why we always use Samsonite hardcase luggage - they would have to be really crass to destroy them! I've seen too many examples of people's softsided luggage in tatters on luggage carosels around the world. I would also agree with getting a hardsided case as well. It would give your bike a fighting chance

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janusz0 [12 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Bikes get treated best when you pad them, but leave them uncovered,  or put them in a clear polythene bag.  Many airlines require a cover, so that bits that fall off stay in the bag.  The CTC cybershop sells a suitable transparent bag that meets international aurline standards. (I will admit that that didn't stop me losing a vital part of my fork lockout, when I whipped the bag off my adventure bike at  Suvarnabhumi airport earlier this year, but at least that was my fault!)  Not all airports have a left luggage facility,  I just stuff the bag in a pannier.  It's not so easy to deal with a bike box, although you may be able to leave it at a hotel if you can find transport for it. 

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OldRidgeback [2776 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Quite a few British riders heading to the BMX Worlds in North Carolina recently arrived to find their bikes had been damaged. Luckily repairs were made in time but it was a close run thing for some, especially those on tight budgets. One comment a rider suggested is using an old golf bag to transport bike parts instead. They give a lot more protection for bike frames. But while you can get a BMX frame in one, a road bike or hard tail MTB frame would be out of the question alas.

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recurs [21 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

He left the bars on!

That's like wearing team colors at the "other" pub.

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Alb [152 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Hopefully the new bike uses a proper spoke lacing pattern

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turboprannet [265 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
Alb wrote:

Hopefully the new bike uses a proper spoke lacing pattern

It's rare, old-fashioned and unconventional but just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not a legitimate way of lacing a wheel. 

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dafyddp [432 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Hard cases protect well, but useless if you want to tour straight from the airport. I used Eurostar's service recently whereby despite being told we could wheel our bikes straight on to the train at Lille, we were then told at the very last minute that I had to disassemble and box the bike in the hard cases they provided. Despite the stress of taking it all apart (wide, straight handlebars had to come off completely), the boxes did a good job of protecting the bikes. Don't know if airports offer the same facility?

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Flying Scot [947 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

You think we have it bad - Ive just read this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40876598 so what chance do us us poncey bike lot have when they routinely destroy mobility equipment!

I always just hire locally, its not the same of course, but I dont consider my bikes replaceable as they're all hand built or got my choice of mostly obsolete components.

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FatTed [14 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I suspect it is homeland security opening the bike cases and not repacking correctly.

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JimD666 [61 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
Flying Scot wrote:

You think we have it bad - Ive just read this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40876598 so what chance do us us poncey bike lot have when they routinely destroy mobility equipment!

I always just hire locally, its not the same of course, but I dont consider my bikes replaceable as they're all hand built or got my choice of mostly obsolete components.

Was about to post the same. The BBC story that is. Not the bike is hand built bit  1

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DrJDog [412 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Suspect that might give a bit more than conventional lacing, for massive drops on skinny road tyres.

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LaVieEnVelo [30 posts] 1 week ago
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At the risk of sounding like a stuck record (I always post this under articles about airline-damaged bikes), there is an alternative to putting your bikes on a plane if you want to ride in amazing places, albeit that the US is a little out of our range! #bikesdonefly Check out http://www.lavieenvelo.com/cycle_france/file/getting_there.php

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zanf [932 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
recurs wrote:

He left the bars on!

That's like wearing team colors at the "other" pub.

The bag is designed so you just remove the wheels like the Scicon (wouldnt use one myself though)