Since we weren’t camping in Mexico, we travelled pretty light. I know the photo below is not Instagram worthy, but just so you have an idea, this is what I (Heather) brought:
I did decide to leave the solar panel and battery behind, which was a good call. Our camera batteries easily last a full day, so it wasn’t necessary. I also could have done without the guide books (I did so much research ahead of time I didn’t need to reference them) and the folding keyboard (I didn’t have time to blog while travelling so I didn’t use it). Other than that, I needed everything else.
Oh! You probably noted the packing cubes in the photo do not look like they hold two weeks worth of clothes. That’s because they don’t. We brought laundry detergent and hand-washed items throughout our trip, but that’s what you gotta do to travel light!
Airplane/Bus Travel Set-up
Brompton has a new travel bag that I want so bad! It solves all the problems I have with the B bag, which are: 1) Two wheels are insufficient for rolling (new bag has four), 2) It’s difficult to pack down (new bag packs flat), and 3) It doesn’t provide enough protection (new bag has plastic boards inside).
But alas, I have to save up for that purchase. Until then, our trusty B bags are still our best option. Here’s how we pack our Bromptons for air travel:
- Deflate tires. Some people say you don’t need to do this, but why take the risk? It’s not that hard to pump them back up when you land.
- Remove C-clamps and put them in zippered pouch inside B bag.
- Wrap pedals.
- Reinforce sides with cardboard.
When we landed in Cancun, we caught an ADO bus downtown, then found a quiet corner of the bus station and unpacked in just a few minutes.
Flying with Brompton Bicycles
Check-in baggage people usually recognize our Bromptons as bicycles, but none have charged us the extra bike fee since the bikes in the B bags fit within regular checked luggage size and weight. They simply put FRAGILE stickers on the bags and direct us to the Oversized/Fragile area. However, at our destination often the bags come out with the regular luggage (as they did in Mexico). But this time when we returned to Canada, the bags came out in the Oversized luggage area. So we always have one of us in each place, because you never know on which conveyer belt the Bromptons will appear!
The first time we travelled with the Bromptons (to Cuba in 2013), all we had were 20-litre O Bags and our B Bags rolled onto our back racks.
You can read more about that in this post: Brompton Packing Test. But suffice to say that set up wasn’t perfect. Since the O Bags are too small to fit everything, we put our clothes in the B Bags. This is fine if you are only cycling and not also hopping on other means of transportation. However, in Mexico we’d be taking a couple buses, which meant we needed to pack our bikes in the B Bags, and that’s easier if the B bags aren’t being used to transport other stuff.
Since Brompton’s big 31-litre front carry bag doesn’t work with our S-style handlebars, we bought 30-litre backpacks. For our trip to The Netherlands, we strapped these backpacks to our Brompton back racks, and tied the B bags on top.
I was fine with this set-up, but Pier didn’t like it (too back heavy). He decided to find a different solution…
It works great! I still used the old Netherlands set-up…
… but in an effort to not be so back heavy, next trip I may try putting my big backpack on the front block too.
So now that we’re done nerding out about our cycling set-up, how was biking in Mexico? Well, I’ll tell you in these next posts:
- Cycling Cancun – The Pleasures & Pitfalls
- Cycling from Merida to the Dzibilchaltun Ruins
- Biciruta Merida – Car-Free Sunday in Mexico
- The Adventurous Cycling Route From Merida to Izamal
- Izamal to Chichen Itzá Detour – When the Scenic Route is Impassable
- Cycling on Mexico’s Highways – Chichen Itza > Valladolid > Coba > Tulum