The following is an article I wrote three and a half years ago, meaning that I have now been regularly been using a Tardis bag for well over 6 years, and (at the risk of tempting fate) so far no damage has come to my bicycle.
I do take a little more care these days with packing though (well, most of the time I do), placing some of the pipe lagging as used by domestic plumbers around the front forks (carbon fibre on the bike I use now) and around the frame where the wheels make contact with it. I am also planning to add a corrugated plastic layer between the bike and the bag but have yet to make this. I will hopefully get an update done soon.
Three years ago I made a purchase to settle a curious itch. I had already learnt that flying with a bike was no problem - getting to and from the airport though could be a different kettle of fish. With the bike in a box it was always touch and go whether it would fit across the back seat of a taxi, and with both hands full of bicycle box carrying any extra bags could be a pain. And then I discovered the Tardis.
Named of course after Doctor Who’s famed police box time machine the Tardis is remarkable in its ability to swallow a whole bike plus hordes of other luggage in a sturdy bag that one can sling over one's shoulder and amble effortlessly down the street in search of a taxi. Once said taxi is located there is no doubt this diminutive bag will sit happily across the back seat, even allowing room for a passenger to squeeze next to it.
The only downside to The Tardis is that the bike takes a tad more stripping a rebuilding that with other bags. But with both wheels having to be removed and placed across the frame’s main triangle I feel that the wheels are less vulnerable than when the rear is left on the bike.
Bike and Tardis ready and waiting…
All necessary tools for stripping.
Salsa Vaya ready for disassembly
The instructions that come with the Tardis suggest leaving the crankset in situ which is quite likely fine, but for the sake of loosening two Allen keys and removing the screw from the end of the shaft, I always take mine off.
Note: These days I don't always remove the crank. If I leave the crankset in place I secure a piece of pipe lagging to it and to date have had no problem.
Note where the crankset is positioned and tied in place along with the rack, the theory being it is less likely to become damaged. Wheels are strapped into place with straps I carry in case I need to secure a bag to the rack. Note discs facing inwards out of harm's way.
I loosen the steering stem and turn the front forks flat, thus protecting them from potential damage. I always feel the STI leavers are a little vulnerable but so far no damage. The saddle and seat post are tucked in a safe and convenient spot and loose items are all placed in the bag that houses the Tardis when it is not in use.
Once the bike is in the Tardis you will note that there is lots of spare space, which is ideal for tucking away clothing, panniers etc. If carrying panniers keep one out for hand luggage on the plane. For most light trips in the tropics, I can generally get everything in the Tardis and the one pannier that will be my carry-on bag.
Ambling the streets with your bike and belongings is a relative breeze with The Tardis. Here I have just arrived in Rangoon and have everything necessary for a few weeks exploring Burma slung over my shoulders, including the bike.
If flying into one airport and out of another fear not, the Tardis packs down into an A4 size bag just a few inches thick.