Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: awbikes on May 14, 2012, 02:16:42 pm

 
Title: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: awbikes on May 14, 2012, 02:16:42 pm
 After much research and effort it appeared the best and cheapest way to get my two bikes from Florida to San Francisco for my west coast tour was FedEx. LBS gave me two boxes curiously one much smaller than the other. My wife's bike fit in the larger of the two boxes with only removing ft. Wheel, handlebars and peddles. What a dream. My bike in the smaller if the two boxes required both wheels removed, Rear rack, derailluer, handlebars and of course peddles. It was a difficult and tight fit. Took the boxes to FedEx and send them standarrd 5 day ground delivery. Now came the Shock. Small box total weight 35.8 lbs. shipping cost $85.17 larger box total weight 33.8 lbs. shipping cost 157.43. ALMOST DOUBLE!!! Total cost to get tha bikes toCalifornia. 242.60. Info has it that the  some of the so called rip-off airlines are too pricey. While I'm not complaining about FedEx their pricing seems a bit high, or is it that everybody ships in small boxes and my mistake was the larger box?

If anyone will send me a free set of southern tier maps (I spent my last dime on shipping) I may consider riding home!
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: John Nelson on May 14, 2012, 02:38:27 pm
FedEx and UPS both offer on-line rate calculators. You can do what-if games with sizes and weights to see where the break points are. It's also a good way to see what extras you find worth paying for and which ones you don't (e.g., insurance, home pickup, home delivery). When I shipped my bike, I played around with those rate calculators quite a bit. With FedEx, size seems to matter much more than weight. If you get too big or heavy, you slip from "ground" to "freight" class and the rates quadruple, so you want to make sure you don't do that.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: staehpj1 on May 14, 2012, 02:58:53 pm
Be careful with the box sizes for FedX or UPS it makes a big difference once you go bigger than a particular size.  Personally my preference is to fly with the bike on one of the bike friendly airlines.  SouthWest, AirTran, or Frontier are the way to go if doing that.  On Southwest my only baggage fee is for the bike and that runs $50.  AirTran was recently acquired by Southwest and now apparently are the same.

Frontier charges for both bags if you go economy class, but nothing extra for the bike if it is one of the bags.  I think that comes out to $40 or so.

On the way home I sometimes don't want to bother boxing my bike in a strange city and just drop it off at a bike shop for them to ship.  Between their packing fee and the shipping it usually runs about $100 ($40-60 for the bike shop and $40-60 for UPS).  They seem to get a better rate than I do and it is nice to have them pack it and deal with the shipping.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: indyfabz on May 14, 2012, 03:55:37 pm
Info has it that the  some of the so called rip-off airlines are too pricey. While I'm not complaining about FedEx their pricing seems a bit high, or is it that everybody ships in small boxes and my mistake was the larger box?

Out of curriousity, which airline will you be flying, and what is there bike charge? You may have saved money. U.S. Air, for example, charges $200 per bike.  I believe Delta is $175.

As noted, size can matter. Last year we shipped two bikes UPS in two separate boxes from Philly to Missoula. MY GF's bike is 42cm so it can go in a relatively small box. I used my pretty large CrateWorks plastic box because my bike is 60cm and has correspondingly larger things like bars and stem. Also has 700c wheels vs. her 26". Shipped via a LBS. While the shipping bill was not itemized, it was their belief that my bike was more because of the larger box.

Looking forward to flying Southwest to Cycle Oregon in September.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: John Nelson on May 14, 2012, 05:40:37 pm
Frontier charges for both bags if you go economy class, but nothing extra for the bike if it is one of the bags.  I think that comes out to $40 or so.
In one month, I'm flying Frontier domestically within the U.S. with my bike. I paid $25 extra for a "Classic" fare. Both my bike and my checked duffle bag will fly along for free.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: DaveB on May 14, 2012, 06:42:39 pm
As yopu found out, Fed Ex and UPS charge based on distance, weight AND package size.  Bigger boxes that weigh less are often cost significantly more.  As noted above, both companies have a shipping cost calculators on their web sites.  You enter the origin and destination zip codes, the package weight and it's dimensions.   They then give you a shipping cost.    Two smaller boxes would have saved a bunch. 
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: staehpj1 on May 14, 2012, 07:12:49 pm
Frontier charges for both bags if you go economy class, but nothing extra for the bike if it is one of the bags.  I think that comes out to $40 or so.
In one month, I'm flying Frontier domestically within the U.S. with my bike. I paid $25 extra for a "Classic" fare. Both my bike and my checked duffle bag will fly along for free.
Sounds like a good deal.  Cheaper than the economy class ticket.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: awbikes on May 14, 2012, 07:57:40 pm
As a first time flyer with bikes I apparently did not do my homework. My wife booked with United and I believe their bike fee was $100 per bike. Plus I was concerned with airport hassles. I did check the FedEx on-line calculator before I picked up my boxes from the LBS. Being my first time, I assumed bike boxes were pretty standard and a few inches here and there would make a small difference. In the FedEx on-line calculator I used the measurement that popped up in the "road bike" field and the weight of my bike price was around 70.00. As previously stated by you guys little changes in measurements make a big difference in price. I will be more careful on my return and may even take staehpj1 suggestion and have a LBS handle it all.  My intent with sharing my experience was so I an others could learn from my mistake. Thanks again for the feedback.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: reed523 on May 15, 2012, 08:22:55 am
Here's another twist in the box size equation.  Fedex will not cover the bike against shipping damages unless there is a couple inches clearance between the bike and the box. 
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: vmax4power on May 15, 2012, 12:52:02 pm
I've always had good luck with Fed Ex. Usually go to the local bike shop, pick up a bike box for nothing, (they use them for trash after they pull the new bike out). Just shipped a Cannondale T2 to Vegas from Nothern Michigan for $72 with $1100 insurance on it.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: BobOnABike on May 15, 2012, 05:05:50 pm
I just rec'd a bike from Nashbar that I ordered last week.  I assume that they know more about shipping bikes than we do.  This bike had free shipping, but a couple of years ago when I ordered a similar bike they charged about US $40 for S&H.

On the outside of the box that my bike came is written, " This carton qualifies for" in small print and in large print, "UPS OS-2 130 inch L & G Limits".

I don't know what "UPS OS-2 130 inch L & G" is, but I'm guessing that's the key to shipping the bike inexpensively via UPS.  You may want to check into it and get a box that qualifies for "UPS OS-2 130 inch L & G".
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: DaveB on May 15, 2012, 05:50:13 pm
The "130-inch L&G" means the box measures no more than 130" "Length and Girth" or 130" is the total of the length plus the distance around the width and height.   A box 50" long by 26" high by 10" deep would have an L&G total of 50+(2*26)+(2*10) = 122" and would be less than the 130" limit. 
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: Chris Schmidt on May 17, 2012, 09:52:38 am
I found bikeflights.com to be most helpful.  They offer several shipping options.  I chose FedEx ground and it was ~40% less than FedEx.com!
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: John Nelson on May 17, 2012, 01:27:51 pm
Be aware that shippers may not measure your box as optimistically as you do, so don't get too close to the limit. Pay special attention if your box bulges, as the shipper will measure along the fattest part of the bulge.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: jimbo on May 21, 2012, 09:13:28 pm
I shipped Fed Ex via BikeFlight today..NY to OR and the "road-bike" box calculator was $69 but I had a LBS free box that is laid on it's side to be packed and therefore larger in some dimensions and it came to $89 for 50 lbs. Five day ground.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: RangerTom on September 04, 2012, 11:18:10 am
After looking at various options on this forum and others out there in internet land, I'm pretty well convinced that BikeFlight is the way to go for shipping our tandem cross-country next month. I was wondering if there is anyone amongst the forum that has used a CrateWorks  shipping box. Rather expensive, however I wondered if my percieved ease of packing (looks like everything you need is there, no stuffing the bike /equipment in via the narrow top )  and the added protection of it's design is worth the protection. Any further recomendations/comments in addition to ideas posted above?

Tom
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: indyfabz on September 05, 2012, 10:59:03 am
After looking at various options on this forum and others out there in internet land, I'm pretty well convinced that BikeFlight is the way to go for shipping our tandem cross-country next month. I was wondering if there is anyone amongst the forum that has used a CrateWorks  shipping box. Rather expensive, however I wondered if my percieved ease of packing (looks like everything you need is there, no stuffing the bike /equipment in via the narrow top )  and the added protection of it's design is worth the protection. Any further recomendations/comments in addition to ideas posted above?

Tom

My custom IF is sitting at home packed inside a CrateWorks box (the poly one) at this very moment. Going to Cycle Oregon on Friday.

I first used one to fly to Spain in '00. Not only did it hold my 63 cm Cannondale T-700, but also my tent, sleeping bag and helmet. For reasosns I won't bore you with, I ended up abandoning it there.

Bought a second one back in '02. This will be it's fifth flight. It has also been used twice to ship my 60cm Surly LHT to Montana via UPS. Still holding up strong. They are roomy boxes but sitll "legal." Easy to load. The internal tie downs can be positioned to best secure your particular frame size/geometry. Mine came with a diagram affixed to the inside showing you how to position the bike and tie it doen. And you can replace certain parts of they get damaged.

While I like the internal compression straps, I am less than enthusiastic about the outer h-strap system. TSA at my airport doesn't have a large scanning machine, so they open bike boxes. Some employees have had trouble figuring out how to re-secure the straps. One time, I got the box back with two of the straps tied in a knot.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: Pat Lamb on September 05, 2012, 01:36:35 pm
While I like the internal compression straps, I am less than enthusiastic about the outer h-strap system. TSA at my airport doesn't have a large scanning machine, so they open bike boxes. Some employees have had trouble figuring out how to re-secure the straps. One time, I got the box back with two of the straps tied in a knot.

TSA must be hiring the gorillas from the Atlanta zoo that used to do luggage commercials.  They have trouble with belt buckles.  I'm sure that's why they want you to take your belt off.  Reading or following pictures is right out -- they've never done either with the directions on top of my S&S coupled bike, and I hold my breath every time I open the case after they've monkeyed around with it.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: John Nelson on September 05, 2012, 02:58:06 pm
I took my bike with me on a US domestic flight in June. It went very smoothly. I constructed my own box. Here are two suggestions that worked well for me.

1. Tape the box closed, and put instructions on the lid about what tape needs to be cut to open the box. The TSA followed my instructions and cut only the tape I indicated, and retaped it securely when they were done.
2. Put as little as possible in the box and make the box generously oversized (but still within airline limitations) with sufficient space around the box. This way the TSA can thoroughly inspect the bike without removing it from the box.
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: bodyscan on January 23, 2013, 06:55:44 pm
Check out www.racedaytransport.com

It is absolutely the easiest way to transport your bike and gear bag.  It travels "fully-assembled", so you don't have to worry about bike boxes, dissassembly or anything like that. 

Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: DaveB on January 24, 2013, 09:57:40 am
Check out www.racedaytransport.com

It is absolutely the easiest way to transport your bike and gear bag.  It travels "fully-assembled", so you don't have to worry about bike boxes, dissassembly or anything like that.
OK, let's see them drive it to Belgium. :)
Title: Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
Post by: John Nelson on January 24, 2013, 10:47:31 am
Check out www.racedaytransport.com

It is absolutely the easiest way to transport your bike and gear bag.  It travels "fully-assembled", so you don't have to worry about bike boxes, dissassembly or anything like that.
OK, let's see them drive it to Belgium. :)
It does not appear that this service is useful for people doing bicycle touring.