Bicycle Travel > General Discussion

Shipping Bike

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I am going across the country one way and then would like to fly back.  Any suggestions on how I should go about shipping my bike?  I have never done it before so any suggestions would be helpful?  Also do you think I should buy my ticket now or wait till I hit my destination.

The easiest thing to do is to find a bike shop at the end of your route and ask them to take care of it.  Shops generally charge $20 to $50 to box a bike, plus the shipping cost, about $50.  Call them up now to make sure that they will do it.  If you're given a choice, FedEx seems to handle bikes better than UPS.

For your plane ticket, unless you buy a refundable ticket, it is probably smarter to wait until you are close to the end of your trip and have a very good idea on when you will finish.

Sean Smith

Wanderingwheels' suggestion is a good one.  I would further suggest you contact a bike shop at your final destination before you leave and get their agreement to pack and ship your bike and get firm timing and cost numbers for the service.  Walking cold into a strange bike shop and expecting prompt service and reasonable cost doesn't leave you much negotiating room.

Also, find out how far the airport is from the bike shop and how you can get there.  A long taxi ride to the airport could cost more than shipping your bike!    

Or you could box it yourself, and pay (usually) $80 to the airline to take it as baggage.  Takes a little while to get it into the box, depending on your bike, the box, how much you have to disassemble, how many times you have done it.  Took me about 2 1/2 hours the first time, one hour the second time.  Requires allen wrenches and a pedal wrench, plus whatever additional tools you might need to take racks and fenders off.  There's a picture and description in the LP Cycling New Zealand.  Don't forget tape and zip ties.  Also, put all loose parts you take off the bike in a bag and tape or ziptie it to the bike, in case the airline opens or damages the box, so you won't loose your parts.  

I have heard you can get a bike box for like $20 at some airports, but haven't tried it myself.

You should be able to get a box from a bike shop for free or cheap, if you can find a shop that has been building bikes.  Also try Walmart, Kmart, etc that sell bikes.  

Some hotels near airports provide courtesy shuttle vans, you could try to find a hotel/bike shop/airport that are pretty close together and box your bike up in the hotel room the night before.  Less stressful that way.  I just did the reverse of this in L.A. (of course, i didn't have to source a box).  

good luck.


I have a sort of related question.

What if you want to go on a self-supported tour from hotel to hotel (or inn, campsite, etc).  What do you do with your bike box in the meantime?  Is there some business I haven't thought of who's willing to hold a bike box for a week, for a fee?



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