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Old 12-28-10, 10:51 PM   #1
bhdavis1978
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Moving long distances with bikes?

Hi all,

I may be moving long distance in a month or so- probably using something like ABF, or PODS. I will probably have four bikes then, two aluminum comfort hybrid bikes, one steel frame touring bike, and one carbon fiber frame road bike. Does anyone have any advice for packing bikes for a long distance move? I don't have a bike carrier, so packing them up on our car isn't an option.

Thanks,
Brad
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Old 12-29-10, 01:14 AM   #2
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Pack and mail it through UPS or FedEX. If you don't have the know-how to do this, just have a bike shop do it, they unpack bikes all the time, they'll have plenty of boxes. Most likely will charge $25 per bike to do this. Maybe you can get them to lower this amount by taking off the front wheel and the stem/handelbars on all the bikes B4 you drop them off. Don't know where you live, but if you live in snowy or rainy conditions, shipping a bike is better so water doesn't get into the bearings.

It might be cheap overall just to buy a bike carrier and wrap it all in plastic or a tarp so it doesn't get wet and dirty because it'll cost about $60-80 per bike just to ship them.

or compromise and buy a cheap two bike carrier and ship the other two bikes.

Why isn't a bike carrier not an option? Your car not compatible with them?

Also if you do end up shipping them and you are not familiar with the neighborhood, have them ship it to a nearby bikeshop. That's what I did when I moved across country. My new place was a complex(more like a hostel) and I wanted to make sure I got my bike so I shipped it to a bike shop. The receiving shop didn't even charge me to do this.

Last edited by 531phile; 12-29-10 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 12-29-10, 01:19 AM   #3
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Pack them like you would if you were flying to another country, and put them in the Pod.

I just recently shipped my household possessions from Canada to Australia (a long distance move), and that's the way I packed the two bicycles that were in the shipment.
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Old 12-29-10, 01:43 AM   #4
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Pack and mail it through UPS or FedEX. If you don't have the know-how to do this, just have a bike shop do it, they unpack bikes all the time, they'll have plenty of boxes. Most likely will charge $25 per bike to do this. Maybe you can get them to lower this amount by taking off the front wheel and the stem/handelbars on all the bikes B4 you drop them off. Don't know where you live, but if you live in snowy or rainy conditions, shipping a bike is better so water doesn't get into the bearings.
My plan is to pack my bikes up in one of those shipping containers that the moving companies drop off at your house. You pack your house up and load your belongings onto the shipping containers, and then they come by pick it up, and move it for you. It's a lot like moving by UHaul, except that you don't have to drive the truck, and it's cheaper- at least for the distance we're moving. I suppose I could buy a bike rack for my car, but when we move, we will be driving the car from our current home to our new location. Our pets (a dog and cat) will be in the back seat in carriers, and our immediate belongings will be in the trunk. Thus, it will be somewhat impractical to have the bikes mounted on the car for the drive to our new location. It would be extremely inconvenient to remove them at every stop and put them in our hotel room, and I'd feel very insecure leaving them locked up to the car.

Packing them up and sending them by USPS/FedEx/UPS though might not be a bad idea. We'll (hopefully) be moving somewhat close to my in-laws, so I could have them shipped to their house.

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Pack them like you would if you were flying to another country, and put them in the Pod.

I just recently shipped my household possessions from Canada to Australia (a long distance move), and that's the way I packed the two bicycles that were in the shipment.
How exactly did you pack up your bikes? What are the sorts of things you did to protect them during the move?

Thanks!
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Old 12-29-10, 03:44 AM   #5
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Pack them in the pod. Pad them well with blankets and quilts, I would also try to get them closer to the top of the load to protect them from crushing. You could probably build a "box" around them with furniture to protect them.

I WOULD NOT recommend UPS or FedEx except as a last resort. Two biggest forms of damage are crushing and movement. Pad them well and pack them tightly.

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Old 12-29-10, 04:40 AM   #6
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How exactly did you pack up your bikes? What are the sorts of things you did to protect them during the move?
Thanks!
Pack them the same as you would if you were flying with your bicycles. Or have you never flown with your bicycles?

1) Get cardboard bicycle boxes from your LBS

2) If you've never packed your bicycle into a bicycle box, you might bring a bicycle in with you and get someone from your LBS to show you how to pack it in the box.

But basically, you take off the wheels and remove the skewers. Put the skewers into a large ziplock bag. Remove the saddle (mark the height of the seatpost and pull it out). If you are concerned about the saddle, you might wrap it in plastic. Remove the pedals and put them into the large ziplock bag. Remove the handlebars, turn them and ziptie them to the top tube. You may also need to remove fenders and racks. Put any screws back into the holes where they belong and tighten up the nuts so you don't lose any screws. If the bicycle has lights, computer or other things like that which could break or fall off, remove them and pack them in a separate box. Tape the ziplock bag to your rack, or to your frame (don't put tape on your frame, wrap the bag around the frame and secure it with tape so it won't fall out the handholes or rattle around the box and damage something).

Insert 'fork spacers' or 'dropout spacers' (not 100% sure what they are called, but your LBS should know what they are) into the dropouts to protect the dropouts. Wrap the derailleur in bubble wrap, and I usually wrap several other things in bubble wrap too (brakes, parts of the frame, etc).

Put the frame in the box. Put the wheels in the box. Put the saddle in the box. You may want to cut out pieces of cardboard and put them wherever you see a pressure point from the wheels or any other part of the bicycle against the wall of the box ... anywhere where there is a chance a part of the bicycle could put a hole in the wall of the box. And tape!

That's about it. I think I've remembered everything. But when I packed them to move, I didn't have to worry about the weight of the boxes (like you would if you were flying) so I also packed some other things into the boxes. I had a set of golf clubs (carefully wrapped in bubble wrap) in one, an extra wheel in another. And some duffle bags and other things as well that provided some extra padding.

If you can pack the Pod yourself, pack the bicycles standing up, and pack boxes quite tightly around them so that they don't flop back and forth or anything. Make sure there is nothing that is going to jab the boxes or anything like that.


Incidentally, packing the bicycles in boxes should protect them better than just rolling them into the pod. Mine made the trip from Alberta to BC across the ocean, and then about 1000 km across Australia over a period of 4.5 months just fine. And I discovered that same principle worked for my other stuff as well. When I just wrapped up ornaments in bubble wrap or whatever and put them into the packing box, several of them arrived broken. But the ones that I wrapped in bubble wrap and put into a small box which I then put into a packing box ... those ones survived.

Last edited by Machka; 12-29-10 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 12-29-10, 09:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
Hi all,

I may be moving long distance in a month or so- probably using something like ABF, or PODS. I will probably have four bikes then, two aluminum comfort hybrid bikes, one steel frame touring bike, and one carbon fiber frame road bike. Does anyone have any advice for packing bikes for a long distance move? I don't have a bike carrier, so packing them up on our car isn't an option.

Thanks,
Brad
I used an ABF container to come from CA to AR, and a couple of bikes went in in the top of the container. The only thing I'd recommend is to make sure the bike is well packed for any jostling. And always try to imagine which way things are going to slide. The CF bike should certainly be the topmost. You might want to break them down and put them in boxes, or just wrap rags or bubble wrap around the critical points.
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Old 12-29-10, 10:26 AM   #8
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These are a bit too expensive for multiple bikes, but I bought two of them to use for moving my bikes across the country. Then I sold them on Craigslist. http://www.aircaddy.com/products1.html

I've packed and shipped bikes using the standard bike box, and while these wedge shaped aircaddy containers cost a lot more (regular bike boxes can often be had for free), they are easier to deal with and super strong. No fears about bikes getting crushed with these containers. They just probably aren't worth it unless you re-use or sell them. At any rate they helped me sleep better knowing that our precious bikes would survive two weeks on a partial load moving van without incident. They arrived in pristine condition.
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Old 12-29-10, 10:27 AM   #9
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Seems simple enough...how are you packing your china, mirrors, lamps, etc? Probably something akin to "pad it well and don't put it in a box under the heavy stuff"
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Old 01-02-11, 06:01 PM   #10
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Good luck with the cat in the box. Bring ear plugs and you might want to stop at the vet beforehand to get some kind of sedative, for the cat that is.
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Old 01-03-11, 10:09 AM   #11
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I would be very interested in learning how you make out with this. I want to move out west in a year or so and taking my 15+ bikes will be a real headache.

I was thinking of making a rack of some type to support them standing by wheel then putting bike boxes between them in a Uhual. but let me know how the POD does.
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Old 01-03-11, 10:15 AM   #12
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Good luck with the cat in the box. Bring ear plugs and you might want to stop at the vet beforehand to get some kind of sedative, for the cat that is.
Depends on the cat's purrr-sonality. Some kitties don't mind it. Some react very negatively.
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Old 01-03-11, 11:19 AM   #13
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I've done this twice. First time from Chicago to Seattle, I had no protection on my bikes and used a large shipping company (18 wheeler). The bikes arrived a week late and didn't have any damage.

The second time I moved from Seattle to Cincinnati. I hired my own U-haul and just packed like wahoonc said. Also, didn't have any problems.

I had a friend ship a bike out to my by UPS. However, he didn't put a spacer between the fork arms, nor the back stays. I had to have a bike shop unbend the bike after it arrived.
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Old 01-03-11, 09:30 PM   #14
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Bike racks aren't that expensive. You're looking for a problem that can easily be solved.
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