Author Topic: Getting to your start with all your stuff  (Read 6427 times)

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Offline misterflask

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2021, 10:07:21 am »
I have allowed myself the luxury of shipping bikes to a bike shop near the trip origin and paying them to put the bike together.  I think it's usually cost $40-$60.  This has the advantage of beginning your trip knowing that your bike is tweaked and ready to ride (and not bent or shipped to another state) and also that the bike shop will gladly accept a box of your stuff and hold it for you.  Shipping bags cross-country wasn't cheap and I'm not sure that it might not be cheaper paying airline extra bag fees.  But it was low stress flying with just a handlebar bag carryon.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2021, 10:39:09 am »
My question is this...
But how have you gotten your gear there? 
I have done it one of any of the following 3 ways,
subject to that which is most practical for each tour route end to end,
and getting back home,
ranked in order of preference of what has worked best for me:
1. One way rental car where by everything is with me.
2. If there is an REI at one end of tour &/or other .... I give it all to REI ....they will even re-assemble the bike.  I ship me by plane.
3. Bike shipped bike shop to bike shop and gear shipped USP to same bike shop. I ship me by plane.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2021, 11:04:56 am »
2. If there is an REI at one end of tour &/or other .... I give it all to REI ....they will even re-assemble the bike.  I ship me by plane.
When was the last time you did that? I was told that REI shipped bikes with their own store to store shipping.  It was supposed to be cheap and convenient.  I tried that some years ago and they told me they no longer shipped bikes with their shipping system.  They said they had just discontinued that service.  The would box a bike and let me pay UPS or FedEx to ship it.  They would also receive it and assemble one for a fee.

They quoted me higher prices than bike shops typically charge me.  I think that was in Denver in 2012.   The price was high enough that I asked if they could give me a used box so I could just pack and ship it home myself.  The guy told me he was supposed to charge for the box.  The price was kind of steep so I said never mind.  He said meet him at the loading dock and don't tell his boss and he would give me a box.

I went to a UPS store, always a bad move, and they screwed me with a super high rate.  It was still less than REI was going to cost though.

My typical strategy to get a bike home is to let a bike ship pack and ship it and it is usually pretty reasonable (less than just the shipping if I go to a UPS store).  The bike shops seem to get much better shipping rates that you will get quoted at a UPS store.

BTW, unrelated, but I have found that printing USPS shipping labels for packages online from the USPS website is a good bit cheaper than going to the post office.  I find that with my little business I get an even better rate shipping my product if I buy the labels via paypal.  It is sometimes enough to saving to cover the fees they charged for an ~$200 sale.  It only works for orders sold via paypal though.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2021, 01:24:21 pm »
If there is a group of us, i.e., not me alone, one or two cars are driven by the retired guys with all the bikes and gear while the working folks fly a few days later. This assumes a loop tour of course.

Offline CannonBill

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2021, 12:32:25 pm »
this is an option: pack your bike in a hard case, fly to your destination. Besides the bike, You can fit a lot of other items in your bike case as well. Bring a separate suitcase for remaining gear. Spend the first night in an airport hotel because they can shuttle you and your stuff. Call ahead to your final destination hotel. Also a airport shuttle hotel. Talk to the manager and tell them what you’re doing and ask if they’ll hold your bike case for you until you arrive. I usually reserve two nights so I can spend the 2nd day packing up. Put the suitcase inside the bike case, call UPS and have them pick up up and deliver the case to your destination hotel. If you’re doing a round trip, ask the hotel manager to store the case. I always offer to pay for storage, but they’ve always refused. I’ve never been turned down doing this. Of course, you need to use a moderate to upscale hotel chain. No fleabags. Kind of expensive, but to me, ease of setup and protecting my bike from damage during transit is paramount...

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2021, 10:15:47 am »
When flying, I ship the bike with racks, stove and empty fuel bottle inside. Two panniers and much of my gear goes in a duffel bag which I check. One pannier is my allowed carry-on and another is small enough to qualify as a personal item. What's not in the duffel bag (e.g., helmet, water bottles, cycling shoes, Kindle, etc.) goes in those two panniers. If your tour is one-way, you can mail the bag home, buy a used one and toss it or even give it away.

When taking the train, the tent stays on the rear rack. I consolidate the panniers into a sleeping bag storage sack to carry them all on at once. The sack is light to ride home with without adding noticeable weight.

Offline dfege

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2021, 01:15:31 pm »
Saburo,
This is not a stupid question.  As you can see from the responses, cyclists have many different ways to get to the start of their trip.  I usually try to balance cost, possible damage to the bicycle, and convenience.  I have done at least 20 trips where I needed to get my bike to the start.  Here are my assessment of the options.

Having your bike packed by your LBS and shipped to an LBS at the start of the trip is probably the safest for your bicycle.  I usually don't do this, especially if I am flying because I don't want to take the extra time at the beginning of the trip to shlep to the LBS with my gear to pick up my bike.  This usually costs me an extra day since I arrive late in the day. 

A hardshell bike case is a great option, but you need to make some arrangements as to what to do with it while you're cycling, which can be a little problematical if you are not ending your trip where you began.

If  the start of my tour is "near" to home, a long one-day drive, I prefer to drive.  If my tour does not return me to my staring point, I will rent a car.  I have found that I can fit my bicycle in the back seat of an intermediate size car by removing the rear wheel.   f the tour ends where I began, I ask the motel owner or the camp ground if I can leave my car with them for a few weeks if 'm driving my own car.

If I am flying, I take my bike in an "airline" bicycle box.  This is a box that you can buy from most airlines at the airport (although always check ahead of time) and it usually costs about $25.  It is a one time use box.  It is much bigger than a typical bicycle box, but packing is simpler.  You take off your pedals and turn the handle bars.  Since the boxes are big when packed, I usually do this at the airport because i can't fit them in my car or even a van. To save me the time of standing in an airport line simply to purchase the box on the day of the trip, I will purchase ahead of time, and bring it with me to the airport.  Make sure you have tried to loosen the pedals before you go.  When you turn the handlebars you may need to release break or derailleur cables to turn the handle bars.  I put a pannier bag lightly stuffed with soft things like clothes n the derailleur side of the rear rack to help cushion it. I also try to put a sleeping bag in the box to reduce luggage on the plane.  Remember to take scissors and tape with you to cut the tape and secure the box.  Also, note that you can't take the scissors on the plane with you.  At the other end I re-assemble by bicycle at the airport.  I have put together bicycles at many major airports of the world:  Gatwick, DeGaulle, Hamburg, Amsterdam, SFO, Missoula, Portland, Green Bay.  Portland's airport actually has a special room with a bike rack and tools to reassemble your bike.  Make sure you know how you are leaving the airport.  Some are easy:  Portland and Washington Reagan both have a bike path right out of the airport.  Others you will need to find surface routes.  Others, like O'hare, you will need to get on the local train/subway or hire a service.

Depending, Amtrak is an option.  Always check with Amtrak ahead of time.  In some cases, you can walk your bike in the luggage car.  The Pacific Surfliner allows you bring the bike on the train, but you have to make a reservation for your bike, which is free.

As a side note, I have had lubricants and degreasers confiscated from my luggage and you can't take them on board, so I now plan to purchase at the beginning of the bike trip.  Good luck on your trip.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2021, 04:03:33 pm »
Depending, Amtrak is an option.  Always check with Amtrak ahead of time.  In some cases, you can walk your bike in the luggage car.  The Pacific Surfliner allows you bring the bike on the train, but you have to make a reservation for your bike, which is free.
Amtrak can be a good option or a terrible one depending on when and where.  It can be really expensive and quite slow.  Going coast to coast when I checked it out I was surprised with both how long it took and with how expensive it was.  In other cases it was a nice option.  Sometimes for some trips I was able to rent a car one way and get there both faster and cheaper.

Offline wurzincg

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2021, 08:52:01 pm »
I've used a company called Ship Bikes to arrange shipping with Fed X ground five times and my bike has arrived on time and free of damage each time. I have the bike shipped to a hotel where I've reserved a room after making sure the hotel staff agrees to accept delivery and store the bike box for a few days.
I can fit my tent, my stove and any other stuff that can't go on an airplane in the box with the bike and still stay below the 60 lb. maximum weight.  I strap my loaded panniers together and they become checked baggage on the flight.  I hope this helps.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2021, 09:21:24 pm »
If you have the time, Amtrak can be quite relaxing. I twice went from Philly to Seattle to start tours. Enjoyed both trips. Got to run around Chicago both times between trains. The scenery through the Wisconsin Dells, the border of Glacier and the Cascade range was spectacular.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2021, 02:05:21 pm »
I've used a company called Ship Bikes to arrange shipping with Fed X ground five times and my bike has arrived on time and free of damage each time. I have the bike shipped to a hotel where I've reserved a room after making sure the hotel staff agrees to accept delivery and store the bike box for a few days.
I can fit my tent, my stove and any other stuff that can't go on an airplane in the box with the bike and still stay below the 60 lb. maximum weight.  I strap my loaded panniers together and they become checked baggage on the flight.  I hope this helps.

Close that I have done. I have started several loops tours from Missoula. Shipped the bike to REI using Bikeflights but will try ShipBikes next time because Bikeflights switched to using UPS and the service declined and rates went up. The Missoula KOA in conveniently locatd about 3 miles from the airport. REI is conveniently located a few minutes' walk from the KOA. My bike is assembled, tuned and ready for me to pick up when I arrive, and they hold my bike box and duffel bag for me. I can also pick up last minute things like fuel for the stove. At the end of the tour I drop off the bike, give them the shipping labels and go have a beer.

Did something similar for a Black Hills tour.

Offline TCS

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2021, 08:11:11 pm »
Amtrak can be a good option or a terrible one depending on when and where...

And there is Amtrak's whole 'only stations that offer checked baggage service' thing.

Maybe Brompton Mafia has the right idea:

https://www.facebook.com/BromptonMafia/posts/651591201599714
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2021, 05:49:07 am »
There are some exceptions. The Vermonter and Capitol Limited services allow you to get off and on at any station. I believe some other routes with roll-on service allow bikes off and on where checked baggage service is not offered. The Down Easter being one that I know of off the top of my head.

It’s all explained here:

https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard

Offline staehpj1

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2021, 08:02:54 am »
There are some exceptions. The Vermonter and Capitol Limited services allow you to get off and on at any station. I believe some other routes with roll-on service allow bikes off and on where checked baggage service is not offered. The Down Easter being one that I know of off the top of my head.

It’s all explained here:

https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard
I thought that bikes as checked baggage were never allowed on or off unless the station had baggage service and didn't think whether a station had baggage service had anything to do with roll on roll off.

Offline canalligators

Re: Getting to your start with all your stuff
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2021, 09:24:02 pm »
The days of checked-baggage-stations-only are over.  They have been adding bike services over the years, which can be a trick on equipment not designed to carry bikes.  The latest innovation is a luggage rack on one end of certain cars that can be converted to a bike rack, you remove your front wheel and hang the bike by its rear wheel.

Do read the fine print and call Amtrak to confirm.  A reservation for your bike is usually required.  Different trains have different bike service.

True folding bikes are allowed on any Amtrak train, any station.  But it has to be a real folding bike, with folded size less than specified dimensions (which are generous).  A 26" wheel folder probably won't fit.