|Journal for 20-Jan-2004 : Christchurch|
Rode over to Sydney Airport and started negotiating the nightmare that is post 9-11 airport check in. Actually, the security wasn't such an issue, but the bikes (as usual) were.
The Air New Zealand check in staff could probably have been more officious with some effort. They charged us a (previously undisclosed) bike handling fee, and it took some persuasion on my part for them not to charge us excess baggage, even though our ticket class meant we were not overweight. Airlines have a policy of requiring bikes to have the tyres to be deflated, on the rather spurious grounds that they might explode in flight in the decompressed cabin. Bike tyres handle 8-9 atmospheres of pressure. This increases by 1 atmosphere in the aircraft hold (a bit less actually), so letting the tyres down a touch, 25% in our case, is more than enough to stop mid-air explosions. The Air NZ staff were having none of it. They wanted all air out of the tyres.
Landed in Niew Zulund without a hitch, other than the quarantine lady had trouble repacking our tent. It still took us some time to get everything packed back on our bikes, but once on the road cycling in downtown Christchurch is a dream. Wide streets and roads with light well behaved traffic to contend with only on the rare occasions smooth bike lanes didn't exist.