Author Topic: Bicycle Shipping Cases  (Read 7492 times)

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Offline awuwi

Bicycle Shipping Cases
« on: July 16, 2010, 12:23:26 pm »
Preparing for RAA in 2011 and inquiring what folks use to ship their bicycle to the starting point?  I read the article on ACA.   I am looking for a case that is durable, will hold the bicycle pretty much assembled, and does not cost a lot.  Can you rent cases from somewhere?  Thank you in advance.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2010, 01:10:27 pm »
Preparing for RAA in 2011 and inquiring what folks use to ship their bicycle to the starting point?  I read the article on ACA.   I am looking for a case that is durable, will hold the bicycle pretty much assembled, and does not cost a lot.  Can you rent cases from somewhere?  Thank you in advance.
What kind of case or box is best depends on how you plan to ship it.   Assuming travel within the US...
  • On Amtrak - Use the box they sell.  It is huge and you only need to take off the pedals and turn the handlebars for most bikes.
  • For UPS and FedEx - Use a box that bikes come in or a similar sized case.  This means a lot more disassembly, but a beyond a certain size cost goes way up.  You can generally get a box for free from a bike shop.
  • For Flying - The same kind of box or case as with FedEx or UPS.  Stick with South West or Frontier Airlines if in the US.

The thing with cases is that you have to do something with them while on your tour.  If you are returning to the start before flying home that might be easy, but if starting in one city and finishing in another it will be tougher.  That is why I use cardboard boxes.

The hassle is usually at the end of the trip when you need to send the bike home.  The easiest way to handle that is to have a bike shop pack and ship it for you.  It typically costs $30-60 for the bike shop and $40-60 for UPS or FedEx for domestic shipping.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 03:36:05 pm »
http://www.aircaddy.com/ This is an impressive little package and keeps your bike mostly intact.  It can be broken down and then mailed back to yourself. 

ShipBikes.com (http://www.shipbikes.com/HowMuch.aspx) also has an estimator.  You can get door-to-door service or drop-off service. 

Some people rent hardside cases (check Craigslist), but the required disassembly is nearly complete.
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2010, 09:18:56 am »
http://www.aircaddy.com/ This is an impressive little package and keeps your bike mostly intact.  It can be broken down and then mailed back to yourself. 

ShipBikes.com (http://www.shipbikes.com/HowMuch.aspx) also has an estimator.  You can get door-to-door service or drop-off service. 

I used one on my tour last year and it worked well.  They were cheaper for the shipping than I could negotiate with FedEx or UPS.  That said they are still a pain to deal with wrt to what to do with the box when you get to your destination.  If you have to mail the box home from the start of the tour and then mail it to the end of the tour it is a real pain.

On the tour where I used it I started and ended at a friends house so it worked great.  Very little disassembly is required and the bike is very well protected.  The box is not cheap, but can be used several times and the shipping seems to be a better deal than you get if you go directly to FedEx yourself.  If you start and finish your tours in the same place this is a great way to go.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2010, 09:14:31 am »
Crateworks makes some good products.  I have more expensive the "plastic" one.  Good alternative to a hard case.  Have taken 5 trips with it and it's still going strong.  And there is a lot of extra space for things like your helmet, sleeping bag and even tent.  Shipped it UPS ground from the east coast to Montana last year for about $45. That was through my LBS, so maybe I got a cheaper business rate. I have also flown with 4 times and have never been charged any more than the airlines' standard fees for a bike.

As with most boxes, you will have to remove the wheels, seat post, bars and pedals and turn the stem.  I also un-bolt the rear derailleure to prevent bending the hanger.  I don't consider my self to possess extraordinary bike mechanic skills, and I can re-assemble the bike from this state in about 20 min.

Agree on the Amtrak box.  It's the easiet.  I have shipped bike via Amtrak more than a half dozen times and have never experienced any damage.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2010, 07:02:32 am »
Slightly off subject (sorry) but might be relevant just what do you do with your box/case when you have arrived at your starting point - always been a prob for me and usually use a cardboard box which can be left for recycling at the airport. 
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2010, 09:27:24 am »
Slightly off subject (sorry) but might be relevant just what do you do with your box/case when you have arrived at your starting point - always been a prob for me and usually use a cardboard box which can be left for recycling at the airport. 
That is why a case generally doesn't work for me.  If you fly into and out of the same airport (I don't) then a case makes more sense.  It should be easy enough to find someplace to leave your case (motel where you stay at the start, bike shop, warmshowers or couchsurfing host, etc.).  If using a case means having to ship it empty between start and finish, or start and finish and home, then it is more hassle and expense than it is worth to me.

I wish there was a better answer for folks who do not start and finish in the same place and still want to use a case, but I have not found one.

Offline dombrosk

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2010, 10:43:42 am »
Even if you are flying, if an AMTRAK station is within reach, consider buying one of their boxes. 

It's inexpensive, so there's little pain in abandoning the box at your destination.  All you need for prep is removing the pedals and turning (or with bar ends dropping) the handlebars.  The only extra gear I needed to carry was a lightweight pedal wrench and a baggie with a dollop of grease for reattaching the pedals.  The pedal wrench gave good service pounding in tent stakes!

Delta had no issues accepting this box on a recent flight from the U.S. to Amsterdam, aside from the $200/euro charge.  While I was assembling my bike in baggage claim a Dutch traveler picked up his bike from his flight home from Los Angeles--- also in an AMTRAK box!

BTW, if flying home from Amsterdam, Schiphol airport sells sturdy cardboard boxes for bikes that are the same size of the AMTRAK boxes.  I'm holding onto that box for my next overseas trip.

This was my first time flying my bike, and it was not difficult at all.


Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2010, 11:03:00 am »
Even if you are flying, if an AMTRAK station is within reach, consider buying one of their boxes. 

I have always thought about that, but was afraid it might be big enough for the airline balk at accepting it.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Bicycle Shipping Cases
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2010, 06:54:11 pm »
If you are transporting a bike via Amtrak, some precautionary notes. Make sure they have a box, in stock, at the station. If not, you will have to find a bike shop and then take a cab to the station. Also, just because there is a station stop for Amtrak, it may not be manned. If it isn't manned, they will not allow you to put the bike, on the train, even if you have it packed, in a box. If they don't have a union baggage handler, you are out of luck.
 
If I were to get a case for airline travel, I would get one that is almost regulation size. R&E of Seattle has a good case 26x26X10. Some airlines charge a lot for transport of a bicycle. I would break the bike down, S&S couplers or a folding bike. I would also purchase a collapsible trailer, from Bike Revolution, out of Oregon, which makes the trailer for Bike Friday. info@bikerev.com. The above mentioned together is on the plus side of $600. Unfortunately, the cardboard bike box may be your cheapest option.

One other suggestion. I was able to rent a car from Avis, one way, for a very inexpensive rate, and simply drove myself, and bike to my destination. That solved the problem with what to do with the case.