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  1. #1
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    best method for getting my bike there?

    so i have slapped together a tour of the south apparently, and i leave in 2 weeks. which is super.
    but i am having some worries about how i get my bike from pittsburgh to new orleans. i will be flying in, and the way i see it i can either ship it down using ups or i can take it on the plane with me.
    what are the pros and cons of each method?

  2. #2
    Senior Member 12bar's Avatar
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    UPS is far less expensive, depending on your airline you could be charged up $300 or more for a round trip.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    I just went through this a couple of months ago.

    If you are going to ship the bike, I would go through Fedx. They are cheapest, and my bike got to it's destination in perfect shape.

    I wouldn't take it on the plane, the above poster is right. They'll probably charge you at least $150 ( or more), each way.

    If you have the time, you could always drive. Believe it or not, if I had it to do over, that's how I would do it. Just rent a little economy car from Hertz(Ford Focus), put the bike and gear in the back and drop the car off when you get there. You won't have to disassemble the bike very much that way, probably just take the wheels off. I spent hours trying to get my bike back together once I got to my destination to start my tour. Plus it was a pain trying to get it into a shipping box to begin with. It might cost an extra few dollars in gas, but it's a lot less hassle.

  4. #4
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I really liked being able to assemble the bike and ride out of the airport when I flew with my bike, It was something like $80 for the bike and we used the airlines box for $25. You could use a smaller bike box for free from a bike shop, but it will require more disassembly. That was last year though.

    Most people who go the FedX (Much cheaper than UPS last time I checked.) route ship to a bike shop who assembles the bike for them. If you do that figure another $40 over and above the FedX charges. If you have a shop pack it add another $40.

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    Has anyone ever shipped their bike to Maui?

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I really liked being able to assemble the bike and ride out of the airport when I flew with my bike, It was something like $80 for the bike and we used the airlines box for $25. You could use a smaller bike box for free from a bike shop, but it will require more disassembly. That was last year though.

    Most people who go the FedX (Much cheaper than UPS last time I checked.) route ship to a bike shop who assembles the bike for them. If you do that figure another $40 over and above the FedX charges. If you have a shop pack it add another $40.
    The only proviso on shipping via UPS or FedEx is to know the size limits. There is a pretty significant upcharge for oversized boxes, i.e. not disassembled bikes. I'd also suggest going to a commercial shipper but not one of the shipping stores, like Mailboxes, Etc. Those guys charge far more to ship stuff. I have a local hardware store near me that does UPS shipping. Their rates, as long as the item is packed, are extremely low compared to the shipping stores.

    An alternative to flying is to do a one-way rental car. If you can make the drive in a single day, the rates are very comparable to flying without all the restrictions and hassles. National has the most locations for one-ways. If you are doing the trip with 2 people, the cost of a one-way rental is much cheaper than 4 one-way airfares and bicycle shipping fees.
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  7. #7
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    FedEx will be far cheaper and easier than shipping by plane.

    Just some tips.

    1. Be sure to insure your bicycle. FedEx damaged my fork on my last trip.

    2. If shipping from a bike shop on the return and the bike shop is not actually shipping, you need to arrange for a 3rd party pickup and a Call Ticket. You will need an account to make this arrangement.

    3. Capitalize the beginning of your sentences.
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  8. #8
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    cyccommute brings up a good point. The magic number for FedEx seems to be 92 linear inches. UPS seems to be much smaller. Go over the "magic number" and you pay nearly double.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  9. #9
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    wow thanks for all the posts. so i already have the plane tickets though, and pretty sure this is going to be a one-way flight deal. so the car thing is out, and i am not at all concerned about shipping back home or anything. i do like the idea of bike shop assembly, but my budget for this is nothing, so cheapest = greatest.

    caps..... i dunno about those things. think i'm racist against them

  10. #10
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    It's possible to ship bikes by Greyhound bus really cheap, but you need somebody to pick the bike up at the bus station at the other end. Your trip is too long for a ride bus, however. But I think it's always a good thing to remember that for trips close to home, you can take the bus, and your bike for cheap. I've never paid a extra penny for my bike on Greyhound, but I've had to charm a couple of managers at big metro stops.

    If you have the cash, you cannot beat FEDEX shipping from one bike shop to another, with professional disassembly/assembly. Because of oversize box charges, sometimes this is almost as good of deal as DIY shipping.

    I also think it's a good idea to ask the airlines about shipping when you buy the ticket. A buddy of mine paid an extra $75 for his bike (not a bad deal) BEFORE he got to airport with it. They tried to tag on an extra $100 at the gate, but he just stood his ground and got the orginal deal.

    A little charm and lot of gumption go a long way in getting you bike your starting place.

  11. #11
    Hooked on Touring
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    Bad Newz - -
    Cheap isn't part of the bike shipping picture any more.

    There used to be a time, not so long ago, when either the airline option or the shipping option was cheap. Plus bike shops often would hold the box for free or assemble for $15. Those days are gone.

    The cheapest way to ship a bike is taking Amtrak. But many trains do not have baggage cars, and those that do have only a few locations that accept baggage. If you are lucky enough to have Amtrak baggage service at the start and end of your trip the cost is only $5. If you really don't want to pack your bike into a small box, you can buy an Amtrak box for $15 and roll you bike in - only turning the handlebars and removing pedals.

    http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...Page&c=am2Copy

    For most of the past 20 years, I have opted for shipping over airlines. Why? I have found that it has almost always been cheaper and easier. I don't have to schlep a bike thru airports. I can have my bike right where I want it to start my tour. The one drawback is that you have to ship about a week early so you are without your bike - if you have more than one bike it is less of a big deal.

    About those additional costs to assemble a bike. UPS and FedEx both have MUCH better rates for businesses than for individuals - so I have found that the assembly cost is more than made up by the differential in shipping costs. Plus they usually offer faster and guaranteed times for business to business shipping.

    My LBS will let me box and they do the shipping - so that leg is free. I have done this about 20 times and find that I can Google bike shops at my destination and find a shop that will hold the box for me for free or for like $5. Fuel prices have really shot up since I last shipped, but have gone down some. I'm going to guess it will cost at least $50 to ship to New Orleans - bike shop to bike shop - which is a lot less than the airline charge.

    It takes a little research and a few phone calls to get the lowest shipping cost and a good location at your destination, but you can usually work it out.

    J

  12. #12
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    Which airline?
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  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When I travel with my bicycle, my bicycle flies with me.

    I like being able to pick up my bicycle when I land and, if I want, putting it together right there in the airport and riding off.

    I fly Air Canada, and their rates for my bicycle are pretty good.

  14. #14
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    the airline is northwest, so i don't htink that will be cheap. though i like the shop to shop thing, i was just going to send it to the hostel i will be staying at.

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad_Dinner View Post
    the airline is northwest, so i don't htink that will be cheap. though i like the shop to shop thing, i was just going to send it to the hostel i will be staying at.
    Have you contacted the hostel to see if that would be OK?

  16. #16
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    A Hundred Bucks

    http://www.nwa.com/travel/luggage/specialitems.html

    Scroll down to the bicycle policy.
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    Mexico, Central America, South America & Africa in a Volkswagen

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