Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: mpiercy@hpa.edu on December 07, 2016, 10:47:52 pm

 
Title: How to transport bike box?
Post by: mpiercy@hpa.edu on December 07, 2016, 10:47:52 pm
I'm sure there is a lot of experience that might be able to shed light on this topic.  What have people done when they are heading one-way yet want their bike box to meet them at the end of the route.  In my case, riding out of Eugene and arriving in San Fran.  USPS to a person in San Fran?  Really appreciate your ideas.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: John Nelson on December 08, 2016, 12:09:03 am
If you price this out, you'll find that it makes no sense to ship an empty bos. Use a cardboard box to get your bike to the start, throw it away, get another box for the return trip.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: mpiercy@hpa.edu on December 08, 2016, 12:15:34 am
Thanks John.  Have had too many bad experiences with cardboard boxes so purchased nice box.  Hoping to go this route.  Sounds like FedEx is an option and might be as cheap as $40.  Just wondering if anyone has experience with this maybe.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: zzzz on December 08, 2016, 07:11:56 am
I have the answer you seek and that answer is ....... it depends.

I send my bike in a hard shell case as well. I ship it to a local bike shop (wherever that may be) so it arrives a week in advance of when I get there and I have them put it together for me. I alway ship using one of the bike shipping services, either Bike Flights or Ship Bikes. Bike Flights web site is better, I find I like doing business w Ship Bikes a little more. They are both substantially cheeper than walking into your UPS or Fedex office. btw : they both use FedEx Ground I believe every time.

As for what then happens to the bike box, the shops I shipped it to in Bellingham and in Spokane had lots of room and they just hung on to the case for the 25 days until I had it shipped to the bike shop at my final destination. Two of the other years I knew someone at or near where I was riding to and so I generated the paper work to have it shipped those folks from the bike shop so the bike shop only had the box an extra day or two and they were okay with that. And once I had it shipped to my daughter in Colorado so it would be in at least the right time zone.

One small complicating factor is that they have to generate the shipping ticket within 3 days of the item being shipped. So once I get to my final destination's bike shop and drop off the bike I'll ask them how long they need to pack it up and then I'll get the shipping paperwork made up and also arrange for the box to be picked up at the store.

As John mentioned, there is no way to make a economic argument for this. You're throwing a lot of money away to avoid the possibility of spending your precious days off waiting for new repair parts to come in or worse case scenario, shopping for a new bike. But it's been worth it to me.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: indyfabz on December 08, 2016, 08:20:14 am
Throwing a lot of money away? I shipped my bike from the east coast to Rapid City for less than $50 using Bikeflights. Philly to Missoula was something like $70. And those charges included $1,400 in insurance that I purchased. The OP is talking about an empty box from Eugene to San Francisco.

OP: Go to blikeflights.com. The site has a handy tool that will produce a quote for you. It even has a drop down bar that contains many popular bike boxes. If your is on the list, you don't have to measure your box to get a quote. You simply need origin and destination zip codes and weight.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: zzzz on December 08, 2016, 08:46:09 am
Infadybiz: I may not have been as clear as I should have been or maybe you miss-read my post. You are not throwing your money away by using the bike shipping services. They are a very good deal particularly compared to the $300 some airlines are charging as a carry on.

What does get expensive is the way I do it and described. Shipping your bike to a shop ($150 as I carry more insurance than you do), having the shop put it together (usually $75), if the shop hangs on to the box I normally give them $50 for their trouble, shipping the empty bike box to the new shop ($50), having the shop at the destination take apart my bike and pack it as the box will regularly arrive after I do and in anyway I usually have them clean it after the big trip so thats $75-100, and then ship it home is another $150.

So yeah, doing it the way I described is more money then most people spend.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: indyfabz on December 08, 2016, 01:22:39 pm
What does get expensive is the way I do it and described. Shipping your bike to a shop ($150 as I carry more insurance than you do), having the shop put it together (usually $75), if the shop hangs on to the box I normally give them $50 for their trouble, shipping the empty bike box to the new shop ($50), having the shop at the destination take apart my bike and pack it as the box will regularly arrive after I do and in anyway I usually have them clean it after the big trip so thats $75-100, and then ship it home is another $150.


Don't see where the OP was suggesting all that.

BTW...If you ever start in Missoula, check out REI. $40 to reassemble and tune. $40 to pack for shipping. $0 for holding on to your box. Conveniently located 3 miles from the airport and a 5 min. walk from the KOA. Used them twice in the last two years.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: zzzz on December 08, 2016, 02:16:25 pm
Because I should not assume people can read my mind...

The larger point I was getting at was if you want someone to do you a favor,in this case hold on to my bike box for 4 weeks and then work with me when its time to get it picked up by printing out the shipping ticket etc, it's good to develop a business relationship w them. I do this by becoming a customer when they put the bike back together for me or when they take it apart for shipping home. OP asked how other people handle it, this is how I do it.

I also had in mind but did not comment on in my post that the OP is from Hawaii which has to make shipping cost more.

I had forgotten that REI provides that service, that's a great way to go for towns w an REI. And I see there is a REI in Eugene.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: Bclayden on December 08, 2016, 07:22:58 pm
Some good advice above. I'm often challenged with this sort of thing and have had much luck with cardboard bike boxes and shipping via BikeFlights. No bad experiences so far.

I always begin my touring rides at a hotel near the airport so I ship to the hotel.

What I've found works best for me is packing the bike up myself at home then shipping the bike (via BikeFlights and FedEx Ground) to the hotel at the start of the ride to get there a few days ahead of me. Marriott at least has always been accommodating with this sort of thing. Not sure about other brands. This requires self-assembly after unpacking but if you're up to that then you won't have to coordinate your arrival during bike shop business hours and it will save some $.

If you're cool with some dissembly/re-assembly there are some good YouTube vids showing how to pack a bike properly for shipping. There's more to it than simply throwing the bike into the box but it isn't difficult.

At the other end of the journey I have found it best and easiest to end at a bike shop who can pack and ship the bike for me and I make the BikeFlight arrangements and print shipping label for them (at the hotel) so I'm sure it's done right.

I've never tried to check bike as luggage on the airlines but have heard TSA has been known to pull the bike out of the box and not repack properly. I have avoided checking via airline.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: John Nelson on December 09, 2016, 06:09:14 am
My preference is to take my bike on the plane with me (on Frontier or Southwest), assemble it in the airport and ride out the door. On the way home, it depends on whether I have a friend with a car who can drive me to a bike shop to get a box, and then the airport. If I do, I'll bring it home the same way. Otherwise I'll ride to a bike shop, have them do the pack and ship, and take public transportation to the airport.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: staehpj1 on December 09, 2016, 07:08:32 am
My preference is to take my bike on the plane with me (on Frontier or Southwest), assemble it in the airport and ride out the door. On the way home, it depends on whether I have a friend with a car who can drive me to a bike shop to get a box, and then the airport. If I do, I'll bring it home the same way. Otherwise I'll ride to a bike shop, have them do the pack and ship, and take public transportation to the airport.
That is my preferred way to get the bike to the start of the tour.

On the way home I have generally found it easier to just drop it at a bike shop and let them pack and ship it like you do as your second option.  That has always cost me around $100 including packing and shipping.  I figure it is worth it at the end of the tour to be able to just drop it off and forget it rather than deal with boxing a bike in a strange city and then getting it to the airport.

The bike shops seem to get a better price on the shipping than I would if dealing directly with the shipper, so some of their packing charge is offset by that.\

BTW, I avoid going to a UPS store and having them ship.  Both times I did that the price was crazy high despite it being the same size and weight as when I paid way less via a bike shop.

I think that since I moved to Florida it may be a little more expensive, because when we shipped our  bikes home from Reno my bike was ~$100 to Baltimore and my daughter's was ~$125 to Tallahassee. That was with same size boxes and about the same weight (actually her's was slightly lighter).
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: Pat Lamb on December 09, 2016, 01:25:23 pm
BTW, I avoid going to a UPS store and having them ship.  Both times I did that the price was crazy high despite it being the same size and weight as when I paid way less via a bike shop.

The UPS Store is a retail affair, and they'll charge a lot more than if you take it to the UPS facility (where trucks drive in and out).  I think pricing is generally facility cost < pickup cost (from home or business) < store.  Unfortunately, UPS seems to choose the most remote spots imaginable to site those facilities - even worse the REI!
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: zzzz on December 09, 2016, 02:59:42 pm
Pat:

I think the pricing that BikeFlights and ShipBikes give you is A LOT lower than you get even when you go to the shipping centers.

It was 5 years ago when I went on my first tour and drove my bike out out to our local UPS hub and shipped it to SF. I'm not much for keeping my paperwork but it was $250-300. I just typed my bike box size/weight/destination into BikeFlights' calculator and it was $47. This isn't 100% apples to apples, no insurance on the BikeFLights number and there would have been $5000 on the 5 year old walk in #. Since then I've used the 3rd party shippers and it's in the lower $100 range w the insurance.

When you walk in to the FedEx or UPS shipping center you will get some break for them not picking up the package but as far as they're concerned you're 1 guy, shipping 1 bike, 1 time. When you use BikeFlights or Shipbikes you're a customer who ships a 1,000('s?) bikes a year. They get much better prices and while I'm sure they tack on some overhead but you still come out way ahead
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: driftlessregion on December 16, 2016, 09:58:06 am
I like BikeFlights because you can pay ahead of time and they pick up and deliver. Asking a motel to hold the box with the promise of your business makes perfect sense to me. I use that technic when driving a few hours to begin a week long tour: I walk into a bar and grill and eat lunch then promise another meal a week later if they let me leave the car in their lot for the week. Works even better when there are 4 of us: that translates into 8 meals which is a good incentive for the owner for no effort on his/her part.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: aggie on December 16, 2016, 11:49:51 am
For this particular trip I would suggest taking Amtrak back to Eugene.   Take the ferry over to Oakland.  The train leaves very late in the day and you will be in Eugene the next day. 
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: PeteJack on December 19, 2016, 07:14:38 pm
For this particular trip I would suggest taking Amtrak back to Eugene.   Take the ferry over to Oakland.  The train leaves very late in the day and you will be in Eugene the next day.
+1 You don't even have to box your bike up these days, they hang the bikes in the baggage car, no removing pedals or turning bars just remove "anything that might fall off" It's all of a minute's ride from the ferry to Oakland station, I was a senior but I believe the regular ferry fare is <$10 and bikes are no problem. Caveat: don't arrive too early for the train, there is absolutely nothing to do around Oakland station.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: Soulboy#1 on December 24, 2016, 06:28:21 pm
Interesting responses. Does anyone have any advice or ideas for doing all this when flying into the states from London. I'm doing the trans-am trail in May 2017 so it's not as easy for me. If I bring my own bike case (I have a trico case) how much would it be to to send an empty bike across to my final destination? Would I be able to do this at Washington Dulles airport?

Thanks in advance
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: John Nelson on December 24, 2016, 08:10:31 pm
My advice is the same as before. Don't bring your Trico.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: Soulboy#1 on December 25, 2016, 03:32:39 am
My advice is the same as before. Don't bring your Trico.

I have a destination at the end of my journey and staying with family in San Francisco. Is there a possibility of fed-ex'ing the box from Dulles?
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: PeteJack on December 25, 2016, 11:05:57 am
My advice is the same as before. Don't bring your Trico.

I have a destination at the end of my journey and staying with family in San Francisco. Is there a possibility of fed-ex'ing the box from Dulles?
I'm with John on this. Pack your bike in a cardboard box from a bike shop and toss it when you arrive. It should take 5 minutes of phoning in SFO to find a shop that will give you a box for free.There's no shortage of places there that will box up your bike if you don't want to do it yourself, I'd budget $100 for a shop to do the boxing, last one I had a bike shop do was in Tulsa OK and it cost me $80. San Fran is more expensive than most places.  I've flown from Seattle to Europe four times using cardboard boxes for my bike.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: zzzz on December 25, 2016, 12:28:50 pm
Are you actually riding out of Dulles airport directly from your flight? That seems like a pretty tough way to start. It's been years (like 40) since I lived in DC and I don't know if there are others roads out than the Dulles Access Rd but I hope you don't need to ride on that.

Since you have someplace to send it in SF and I presume you can ship it right away, you are not asking for much help.

Before you leave get in touch with either a local bike shop or a hotel if you want to get some sleep before you start and see if they will hold your box for 1 or 2 days. If I do some business w the bike shop they have been easy to get help from. Bclayden said he has gotten cooperation from Marriot hotels. Leave the airport for a taxi ride out of the immediate metroplex to your pre-arranged bike shop or hotel. Alternativly, maybe there's someone on Warmshowers that would hold it for you but I think pick up from a residence is harder than from a business.

Go thru either BikeFlights or ShipBikes to send the box to SF. They have to generate the shipping ticket within 3 days of shipping and on the forms you will fill in the space for a pick-up. Take care of this the day before you leave and print out the paperwork and take it with you. That should do it.

pm
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: John Nelson on December 25, 2016, 03:58:41 pm
I have a destination at the end of my journey and staying with family in San Francisco. Is there a possibility of fed-ex'ing the box from Dulles?
The nearest FedEx shipping office is 5.2 miles from Dulles Airport. The online FedEx calculator says that to ship a 31 pound box of dimensions 47x30.5x10.5 (the specifications for a Trico Iron Case) via FedEx Ground (the cheapest option) from Dulles to San Francisco with no insurance and with delivery to and pickup from a FexEx office (again, the cheapest option) is $162.95.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: zzzz on December 25, 2016, 04:32:42 pm
I think anybody reading this topic from the beginning will see that we have repeated all of our points several times over.

Some people, and I am one of them, prefer the additional assurance of packing our bikes in a hard shell case.

The original poster felt that way, Soulboy#1 feels that way.

If he ships the empty box from DC to SF using ShipBikes (who ships w FedEx ground) with door to door business pick-up service, their on-line calculator says $46.50. BikeFlights had a similar cost.

The #1 issue is the cordination involved, since he has someone already on the receiving end, and he can ship it there right away, he's more than 50% of the way there. He's going to have to email either some bike shops or hotels in Northern Virginia as a prospective customer -if-  they can do him the favor of hanging on to the box for 24-48 hours until it gets picked up. It has never been a problem for me to get someone to say yes to this request.
Title: Re: How to transport bike box?
Post by: Pat Lamb on December 27, 2016, 10:14:39 am
I'm with sleepy (zzzz) on two points.  First, even though there's a back way out of Dulles, it'd be a whole lot easier to go to a local motel via cab or (free?) shuttle and ride out of there the next morning.  Second, you should have little to no problem getting the front desk to help ship the bike the next morning (or shortly afterwards).  There just aren't any Bates Motels left in the high-priced area of Dulles.