From SFO to Italy With a Thule Bike Bag

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Wheeling your whip up to the airport check-in counter seems more harrowing than any mountain pass. I feel less in control of my bike than at any other time in my cycling life. How much are they going to charge me? Did I pack securely enough? Will my ride arrive in one piece or fifty?

Of all the things that could go wrong, trusting my two-wheel to the Thule RoundTrip Pro 100501 does not seem to be one of them. Their new soft sided, airport-approved, wheel-equipped wonder bag seems to be just enough and not too much at the same time.

I recently put it to best kind of test during a trip from San Francisco to Italy and still can’t believe how smoothly the whole thing went. It was a breeze to pack up because Thule includes a mobile “repair stand,” which you use to take apart and reassemble the bike. The stand is not a place I would want to do anything but the most simple of tasks, but it came in super handy for a last minute derailleur adjustment. It packs nicely into the rest of the bag for transport and gets the job done.

Beyond the fact that the bag kept my ride safe, I also like it because it rolls up and can be stuffed into a corner of the garage when not in use. That’s a real asset for someone who loves bikes, biking, travel and travel biking, but has a limited amount of space.

Just remember, although the Thule worked flawlessly for me on my international trip, and even though those lovely baggage folks went through the bag like a pack of gorillas and got grease on things which were not intended to be lubed, this thing is not ready for the riggers of actual shipping via UPS or FedEx. So don’t try.

The Elements:

  • Soft-sided bike case that gets your whip to where you are going with minimal hassle
  • Everything is thought out, from how the zippers allow one side to flop open to how the legs of the repair stand help add strength to the sides of the bag
  • Roll on up to the ticket counter and try your luck
Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.lt
Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly

My Love Affair with Campagnolo

Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly
I can’t stop wearing their logos, even though I haven’t ridden a Campagnolo gruppo in years.

I have a love-hate relationship with Campagnolo.

I haven’t ridden a Campy-equipped bicycle since I gave my Eddy Merckx Century TSX to my brother over 15 years ago. That beautiful piece of history had Delta Brakes, Record downtube shifters and Campagnolo’s aero seatpost. I loved that bike, but it shifted like ass, those brakes took their sweet ass time to slow you down and was heavier than a huffy beach cruiser.

I still long for the days when Campy dominated the tour and outpaced Shimano on just about every riders lust list. But alas, now they are a distant third behind Shimano and SRAM in market share. Hell, it is almost impossible to find a bike shop these days with a Record or Super Record-equipped bike on the showroom floor. Which is sad, considering they are back in the game on all fronts but availablity.

Campagnolo’s newest offerings are bejeweled and, by all accounts, work flawlessly. But I wouldn’t know. Haven’t ridden the new grouppos. I’ve had the pleasure of holding them in my hand, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I still buy Campagnolo t-shirts and for the brief period of time they tried to get into the apparel market, I bought some of their kit. And I cheer for Vincenzo  Nibali, not because I am fan of the horribly ugly kit he wears, or because he is stunningly good looking, or because I am tired of the Froome/Contador story, but because he rides Campagnolo like the great Tour riders of old.