On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with Royal Airlines (you can share your experiences here).
Last year I did a cycling vacation out on the east coast of Canada and ran into a snag with Royal Airlines. They not only insisted that I deflate my tires; they in fact fully deflated them for me after accepting my bike as baggage. They offered no explanation; just a bunch of arm waving saying that it was required for "safety".
Luckily I didn't suffer any snakebite punctures till the return trip. Yes, they roll around and leave your bike with the tires fully deflated; begging for destruction of the tubes, tires and possibly rim damage.
I'm glad to say that they've sent me a letter saying that they have repealed that policy. They have a nice policy of taking bicycles for free and don't force you to have your bike in a box or bag. Like many of the other carriers; you simply take off the pedals and flip the handle bars. A bag is useful for keeping other luggage away from possibly oily bike parts.
For those who have not picked up a physics text in years; tossing a tire into outer space would increase pressure by only 15 psi. Cargo is pressurized to at least 1/2 of the cabin's pressure. So there is no danger of explosion or anything else unless your tires are damaged and near the point of blowing.
As for the trip. The eastern coast of Canada was quite nice. Newfoundland was amazing; with 60+ mile stretches of nothing; no houses, no gas stations, no nothing. Foxes ate my hung food and there were no real grocery stores in the Gros Morne park. I never found fuel for my camp stove and after taking a short cut with a bus (the Newfoundland part of the trip was a quick addition and I didn't have time to cycle it fully) they informed me that when they said that they take bikes; they were really thinking that I'd have a box for my bike. Bahhhhhhhh. As if I cycle places with a bike box.
Amazingly enough I met a guy who spent several months cycling from central Canada [my home town Kitchener] out to the east coast. Some people really love to live in tents!
Pictures are on my web page below.
I did a return trip to the west coast of Canada and have to report that you'd have to pay me a lot to cycle on the roads that I used 6 years ago. In particular, Duffy Lake Road. It leads from the Thompson river canyon towards Whistler (was a logging road) and is now a fully fledged highway for people and their mobile homes. This road was a wonderful 50 mi (80km) of nothing but you, the glaciers and wolves. Still worse than that was the road crossing Vancouver Island. It was also a newly paved logging road when I was last out there and now is jam packed with RVs and people driving full tilt thru a narrow, winding and hilly countryside. it used to be a good 60 mi of nothing; except that now they're putting in boat launches, and people hawking everything they can. Sigh.
- Eric http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/vacations http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/~praetzel
On their charter flights within Canada bicycles travel free of charge. They provide heavy duty plastic bags - I used two this summer (1996); one for the bike and one for the bike bags. They were very helpful at both the Toronto and the Calgary check-in counters.Brian Hedney, August 17, 1996