Air Canada “Fly your bike” 2019

Air Canada’s motorcycle shipping season between Europe and Canada is in full swing. The same cities as last year have all been retained as pickup and delivery points.

Having uncrated “Streak & Storm” in airport carparks in Delhi, Santiago and Seoul, I have a soft spot for the simplicity of the Air Canada “Fly Your Bike” program. Having used it twice, once on each of our two RTW journeys, and seen the ease and helpfulness of the Air Canada staff, I like to give an annual plug for what I think should be the standard for all motorcycle air transportation.

While packing your motorcycle it is important to remember the dangerous goods provision to avoid having items removed at the receipt point doing the inspection. Just before the end of our first RTW journey, we had to leave behind the rubber glue and CO2 canisters from our AirPro puncture repair kit, Loctite, Sendrite (an instant adhesive), WD40 and ScotOiler oil. (brake fluid /oil was OK). Since we only had some 100 miles/160 kilometres to go after arriving in London, it was not much of an issue. We also took our Sena intercoms with us because of the lithium batteries. Since you are arriving either in Europe or Canada those type of items will be fairly easy to obtain. So you can leave them out and obtain on arrival.

Here is Air Canada’s 2019 Fly Your Bike brochure:

flyyourbike_brochure_en.pdf

Enjoy the travelling.

– Anthony

Leaving Montréal

We arrive in Montréal a day earlier than originally planned so we make the most of it to go and find out where we need to be to ship the bikes. It is Labour day Monday, the roads are quiet and the industrial areas deserted. The first building at the 2200 address seems to be offices only so we ride on. Oh, a bike, another overlander! We ride over. There are 3 people. We ask if they are shipping with Air Canada and we mention we were finding out where we were expected to go the next day. One of them, the non biker asks our name: he just sent Anthony an email a few minutes ago about our shipment. He’s the one Anthony has been dealing with regarding the dangerous good clearance exercise tomorrow. What amazing timing!!! Once again! The area is deserted apart from those 3 and we arrive just at the right time, just before the bike was being ridden into the building for weighing, out of sight. We set a time for tomorrow and get back to our hotel room to repack which includes going through all our liquids, and removing a few ‘dangerous’ items such as any glue of any kind, including the minute tyre repair tube of glue, our tent repair glue and our WD-40 spray. A good time to throw out any old medication, find a few things that need throwing out like the squashed tube of cream that’s leaked out over a few other things (thank goodness for zip lock bags or the mess would have been worse!), clean up and repack. We keep to one side some items we are not sure about.

About to drop Streak and Storm off at Air Canada Cargo - our North American leg complete

About to drop Streak and Storm off at Air Canada Cargo – our North American leg complete


Time to weigh the packed Streak

Time to weigh the packed Streak


First we weigh the bikes. 270kgs each, exactly. I bet Anthony wishes his bike had been as light as 270kgs during our travels! We reckon his was 20kgs heavier than mine, especially when he carried extra water and fuel. This weight doesn’t include the small pack we each have with a few changes of clothes, shoes and toiletries for the next few days.

Anthony removed the fuel container cap to let all the fumes out

Anthony removed the fuel container cap to let all the fumes out

Our dangerous goods check is very quick and painless: we tell the guy what we have removed such as the helmet bluetooth units (because of the lithium batteries) and tar remover spray and show him all the items we weren’t sure about: the brake fluid is fine, other tubes of glue he doesn’t like but we may be able to take them as part of our hand luggage. Dangerous goods check complete, time to pay for the service. Next is some security check. Pity the airport security guy has a bad attitude problem but lucky we decided go back to the bikes and I repack the lump of the first pannier he’d “repacked” to find out he had simply thrown everything back, the box of bits and pieces upside down, and even Anthony’s 60th birthday Zippo lighter from Myanmar out of it’s box and the pannier was barely closed – everything inside would have got wet had it rained on it somewhere. Slack. Our Air Canada contact Mario was very apologetic and suggests we can X-ray the other 3 panniers and camping bags without the bad attitude guy having to open them. Great idea. And no repacking necessary.

An hour after we first arrived, invoice paid, Streak and Storm in the hands of Air Canada Cargo and we are all done. This is the quickest, simplest and cheapest shipping process we’ve had on our whole trip. Thank you Air Canada. Here’s hoping collecting the bikes at Heathrow in a couple of days’ time is as easy…

A little lump in our throats, we say goodbye to our trusted bikes, until our last little leg from Heathrow to Verwood later this week.

Now we have a couple of days to fill – that’s how we feel, it’s odd. We wish we could leave now. Anthony did check – the cost of changing our flights is ridiculous. We go into the city, to the Old Montreal, which we last visited in 1985. There are a couple of Inuit art galleries I want to visit with stone sculptures and prints. Most of what we see seems to be the same – so many dancing bears, of various sizes. Oh dear… I am not feeling it. Is it me or is it the artwork? Probably both. We walk through the streets, full of tourist shops with the same goods, then onto the port. It all feels soulless. Nothing like the small South American old towns, that were always buzzing with life and fascinating history. I did like the look of this small restaurant – pity their menu wasn’t more inspiring – and the South American trio playing at the top of the pedestrian area – thank you for bringing a bit of life to the area!

Jardin Nelson in Montréal

Jardin Nelson in Montréal

A haircut the next day for both of us (Anthony can stop telling me I have the same booffy hairstyle as Trump now, cheek!), some blogging, note taking, bill paying and general administrative stuff. We are ready for our flight back to the UK. Think of us Saturday around 10am UK time, when we are planning on getting back to Anthony’s sister Tansy in Verwood, where we started our trip from nearly 15 months ago. That will mark the official end of our round the world on motorcycles tour… The butterflies of excitement are starting to fly around at the thought!! Stay tuned, our wonderful followers and supporters, for a final blog post…

– Anne