Barbarella's European odyssey - Part the first

Barb unpacking

Barb unpacking (Image credit: Joscelin)

In the beginning...

So much for being an airport ninja. I got the idea that it was possible to slip around the airport with minimum hassle from my homie in Hamburg, Greg Reain. I flew American this trip instead of United. Rules of oversize and/or overweight baggage depending on who check you in and what kind of mood they are in. My customer service assistant, a gruff old man, was determined to stick to his 70-pound weight limit.

The double bike case weighs in at 39 pounds empty. Put two 17-pound bikes and some protective packing inside and you're easily over 75 pounds. The gate agent was insistent that my bike case could not go over the weight limit so I started removing all extra stuff from the case. Luckily, the bag had extra space because not only did I put an empty water bottle, clip on fenders and some rags into the duffle, but also both saddles and seat posts. He also went on to explain the rule stating I can really have only one bike with me, if I was to bring two, they would each need to be in their own box.

To him it made perfect sense to have two bikes each in their own case. Never mind that two single cases weigh more and take up more space than one double case. The bike case got down to 72 pounds (I don't think it was all the way on the scale) and the duffel went up to 65 pounds. He charged me $25 for each piece of baggage because they were over the 50-pound limit. This was actually good considering a bike usually costs $80 and if the customer service assistant is cranky they tack on another $25. So, I didn't get to ninja past check-in but at least I made it through security without any problems.

Sometimes I can sleep on airplanes, sometimes I can't. This trip was a no sleep trip. Every time I got my legs comfortable my neck cricked. When the neck got comfy the legs seized up. After a while I gave up on sleep and watched airplane TV.

Housemates and riding with Sven

Joscelin met me at the airport and I was informed that today (Tuesday, January 10) I was participating in a group ride and tomorrow in a race in Antwerp. The house where I'm staying is owned by a British couple, Tim Harris (former British National Road Champion) and Joscelin. The house is a fantastic old farm house with a garage for bikes. It is a bit strange for me to go from living with Josh and kitty for so long to being in a housemate situation.

Read the entire Barbara Howe diary entry here.

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