Let me paint you a picture of how my first experience with Orucase went:
I have been flying with a bike since I was about 16 years old. The first bike case I ever used was a hard plastic one where the inside looked like a bomb had gone off. Since then I have used large ones with wheels on the bottom - the idea being you can wheel it through the airport easily, where in reality it doesn’t and up straight and keeps falling over in the middle of the sliding doors. I have also used a small canvas case, which is unfortunately not small enough, and my day time T.V. Emmy award winning acting skills need to be called upon to convince the airport agent that it is not oversized. In short, flying with a bike is stressful. And when our fearless leader Kelli gave us the news that we would be using Orucase this year, my previous trauma kept me a tad skeptical.
LA Sweat just raced and podium in one of the fastest and hardest crits we had done in a long time. We then celebrated a little, packed up the van, had dinner and arrive back at our house at around midnight. We were tired, or at least I was tired. Oh, and we had to pack our bikes in these new bike cases we have never used before and leave for the airport at 4:30 AM. Did I mention I was very tired.
When I started to disassemble the bike like I normally would; removing the pedals, seat post and dereillieur, it turned out to be super straight forward to just slide the fork off as well. A teammate gave me the hint to remove the front brake from behind the fork, so those 2 extra steps were pretty simple. In all honesty, all I had to do after that was put the wheels on either side of the bag, lay the frame down flat, slide the fork into a separate pouch on the bottom, and put the seat post in by the frame. And then zip it up. I couldn’t believe I fit my whole bike in this tiny bike bag in less than 20 minutes.
Now that I had my bike in the bag, the next test was getting it through the airport. The bag has these cool straps that let you wear it like a back pack, and because its such a small bag, its super light and easy to move around. My favorite part of the Orucase is that it’s dimensions are within the size of regular luggage. So when I finally got to the check in counter, where I normally sweat and make up some lie about being a massage therapist for a bike team (because there are always so many other cyclists there with huge bike cases), the agent just took the bag and put it on the regular luggage belt. No questions asked. No bike fess! SAY WHAT! If you have ever flown with United or Delta, bike fees can be upwards of 200$ each way, so I basically just made money!
When I landed in YVR (Vancouver, baby!) I had it so ingrained in my head to go straight to the oversized luggage carousel, that I stood there for about 20 minutes until it dawned on me that my bike might be on the regular carousel for my flight. It was. I laughed a little. Getting it home was pretty simple too. I typically take a shuttle to a car lot where I rent an EVO (car share). Normally it’s a bit hit or miss if I can fit everything in the EVO without rearranging the whole car (especially if I am traveling with a buddy), but the Orucase just slid in the back seat. Easy Peasy!
It seems funny to say how much the Orucase affected my travel the other day, but it did. I was so tired, and really didn’t have the energy to mess around with a bike at the airport. I didn’t even have to lie about the bike being a massage table - Orucase supplies you with a cool velcro patch that says Massage Traveler, so basically they had my back through the whole experience. And in case you are wondering, my bike made it back without a scratch, and I had it assembled in less time than it took me to pack it.