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Ironman triathlete's £15,000 TT bike and kit lost by British Airways — cyclist waiting to be reunited two weeks later

Another tale of a cyclist suffering an airline baggage nightmare this summer...

When Neil Feakins boarded his flight home from Vienna having competed in Ironman Austria on July 3rd he had already read about a fellow Ironman athlete, Sian Hurley, whose bike and kit had not arrived in Newcastle on a connecting flight from Heathrow she and her family had boarded to complete their journey from Australia to Ironman UK.

And while Sian's story had a happy ending — minus the week's worth of stress and frantic phone calls to airlines — as she was reunited with her bike four days before the event in Bolton, coincidentally on the day as Ironman Austria, Neil's nightmare was only just beginning...

Hours after he completed the Austrian event, consisting of a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km (100-mile) bike ride and topped off with a marathon run, Neil arrived back at Heathrow, at the same airport where Sian's kit had remained for several stressful days due to a technical malfunction. However, unlike his Ironman counterpart's bike the week previous, his was not in London.

"I dutifully put in the claim to be told at Heathrow I'd likely have it delivered to home within 24 hours," Neil told

"Obviously that didn't happen. I have called them multiple times, I have emailed, I have been through the Executive Club, I have messaged publicly on Facebook and Twitter." 

The worried owner of the misplaced Canyon Speedmax TT bike and kit worth £15,000 has also contacted the airport in Vienna directly but was told "they are very busy but if I want to go to Vienna I can".

"I have had absolutely no proactive communication from BA at all, the only contact I've had is in response to my public Facebook messages which apologised and sent me a link to their baggage tracker.

"I had already pointed out I was using it and it wasn't being updated."

Apart from the obvious financial concern about the lost kit which, if not found, Neil estimates he will be "likely years away from a replacement TT bike", he is also meant to be competing again throughout the year, including on Sunday 31 July. has contacted British Airways but, at the time of publishing, has not received a reply. We will update this story with any response we receive.

Neil's story adds to an already concerning picture for riders hoping to travel abroad with their bikes this summer. On top of the widely reported airport chaos, staff shortages and cancelled flights, we have heard multiple stories of airlines losing riders' kit.

Just last week we reported that Scottish cyclist Richard Davidson had flown to Stanstead on his way to the five-day Haute Route Pyrenees only to be told his £14,000 bike and gear had ended up in Naples due to issues with a label printer at Edinburgh Airport.

> EasyJet sends cyclist’s £14,000 bike and luggage to Naples… instead of London

The 55-year-old had spent 10 months training for the event, covering 5,500 miles, and ultimately was able to complete the event having bought a helmet, shoes, shorts and hired a bike.

EasyJet apologised for the delay and promised a "gesture of goodwill", although as of last week he still had not been reunited with his kit...

Novo Nordisk pro rider Stephen Clancy also reported his €12,000 Argon team bike went missing at Dublin Airport as he travelled to Copenhagen at the end of last month.

Have you travelled abroad with your bike this summer? Did everything go as planned? Let us know in the comments, at info [at] or by dropping us a message via the Facebook page...

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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Sully123 | 2 years ago

Similar thing happened to me, flying Manchester, via Heathrow, to Arizona on BA (both flights), last November, enroute to Ironman Arizona.

I arrived with only hand luggage, including 3 sachets of energy drink as my only kit, everything else (all tri kit & nutrition) was in my bikebox & suitcase. Luckily, I had already done a few ironman races & I flew out with a group from my local tri club (all of their 8 bikes, were on same flights & were checked by US customs, arrived as usual). Day before Ironman Arizona race, I had to hire bike + helmet, wetsuit, bought goggles, bike shoes & trainers, borrowed a trisuit (mate's wife), bib shorts, run-visor, race belt ...  Not the best race prep & a massive drain on my usual optimism, but a finish is a finish, even though it was much slower than I had trained for. The popping of blisters on the IM marathon, from brand new trainers, took my mind off things.

Other Details: My luggage was not automatically checked thru by BA (recent policy change) from BA internal (arrived late into Manchester, departed even later) to BA international flights, as it was 2 bookings & same airline. At boarding gate BA staff showed me both luggage items were booked on flight under my name. Luggage never arrived during week I was in the USA. It eventually arrived back in Manchester 3 weeks after I had returned to the UK. I believe it arrived on the next day's BA flight (was given the BA luggage container number), but was detained/lost by US customs for 16+ days. Once it was rejected (correctly) by the Arizona hotel, it was flown back to the UK & onto Manchester, then delivered to my home.

So there is some hope for lost items ...

However, I'm still fighting the insurance claim of "reasonable & necessary" items totalling $1500+. They say it was delayed .... I'm arguing that it was lost for the period of insurance. I got travel insurance with a major cycling insurance ('bright colour cycling top') specifically for the medical coverage in a competitive cycling event. But they off-loaded my claim to a claims settlement agency in the UK, with whom I'm still disputing things with.

fenix | 2 years ago

£20 apple airtag in box or even better hidden on the bike and you can at least let the airline know where the bike is.

Great event Ironman Austria. I'd much rather do that than Bolton.

Karl219 | 2 years ago
1 like

Gee. I wonder where all of this CO2 comes from? Yours obliviously, G7 Amateur Athlete

ktache replied to Karl219 | 2 years ago

Don't worry, you can offset  at least some of that guilt by paying someone to not cut down a forest they probably weren't going to anyway.

OnTheRopes | 2 years ago

It always seems to be BA losing bikes, a party in Mallorca when I was there all had their bikes fail to turn up, didn't Dan Martin also have BA fail to deliver his bike?

JoanneH | 2 years ago

A friend's bike went missing en route to IM Hamburg and while he got it the day before the race it made me very nervous on the way to the Etape du Tour the other week. Thankfully BA got my bike and all other bikes on the plane safely to Geneva, and I got it safely back afterwards, but I was definitely nervous what with all the horror stories.

RoubaixCube | 2 years ago

I hate to say this but if BA lost or damaged some of your kit and doesnt seem very helpful in replacing said lost or damage kit let alone wanting to talk to you about it. Just send a them a recorded/signed for letter to their CEO detailing that you will give them two weeks to either find or replace said goods or they will be speaking to your lawyer instead of you directly in the near future.

Give them a window of time to right their wrongs then get lawyers involved. They will settle it out of court quite quickly as it doesnt benefit them to fight it and drag the case out.

bobrayner replied to RoubaixCube | 2 years ago

Lawyers are expensive, and thus not always a great option for people who want their losses to be made right. 

The preferred route is through moneyclaim (the artist formerly known as small claims court); you don't need a laywer, you can fill in the form online, becase MoJ has made its first tentative steps into the 21st century. And from the perspective of a customer-service manager who's wading through a backlog of customer complaints, an official-looking letter from an actual court (with a deadline set by the court), rather than yet another letter from an angry customer making vague threats about lawyers, is a very good motivator to "settle it out of court

I used moneyclaim last year to get a refund from a travel company which cancelled my cycling holiday. It's surprisingly efficient. Not quick by modern standards, but you don't try it until you've exhausted the other quicker options like phoning the airline's callcentre.  1

RoubaixCube replied to bobrayner | 2 years ago

yeah but a small claims court only covers up to £10k. If your bike and equipment are worth more, going to small claims court isnt going to cut it unless youre happy to settle the case and being out of pocket by any varying amount.

While lawyers are costly, A lot of the costs can be recovered from the other party.

In this example here. Will you choose to be left £5k out of pocket (before compensation or good will guestures are even agreed upon?) I dont think you would. Thats quite a substantial chunk of cash.

boardmanrider | 2 years ago

I feel for this athlete, it frightens me everytime I travel with my bike. More so when I'm flying to the intended destination; at least then I can ride once there. Coming home, at least Im not massively  dependendant on the bike. That said this year I used an Apple AirTag with my bike bag. Popped it inside and had a piece of mind. Thankfully I had no issues. When I arrive in Lanzarote I could see my bike on a map when the aircraft parked. Likewise on the journay home. Is accurate enough that you can see where in the airport the AirTag is so if you do have an issue with a lost bike you can tell staff where you think the bike is.

Carior | 2 years ago

To be honest - BA is a joke!  Whilst its great that they let you take a bike box without oversized luggage fees they ask you to call ahead "to ensure that your bike can be booked a space on your flight".  All good - I did this a few weeks before and was assured that I had a space on my plane to Switzerland.

Now I put an air tag in my bike box for good measure and as we're sat on the plane I see that whilst my luggage has made it on my bike is still sat in the terminal - all the while the captain is suggesting that the doors are closing and being pushed back.

I make the point to the air stewardess that my bike isn't on here so WTF?  She does some checking and apparently they've punted it to the next flight - no explanation why, no nothing, just "tough shit, you can hang around in Zurich for a couple of hours (or flight was landing at 6pm and we had a drive of c. 1hr 45) or it will probably be delivered the next day".... 

Fortunately we were flying on Thursday so with IM Switzerland on the Sunday, there was still time for bike to arrive on Friday (which it did around 5pm) and ensure I was good to go - but its just ridiculous that you do everything to avoid precisely that eventuality and the outcome is basically DGAF - we'll screw you anyway!

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