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Old 05-23-11, 05:50 PM   #1
Bacciagalupe
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Shipping a bike in a cardboard box?

I'm thinking of doing a short tour in Northern California (curse you, Tour of California ) and am over the whole "drag bike to airport" routine.

It looks like shipping the bike via Fedex Ground will run me $150 or so, which is an acceptable premium over the airline fees. My plan is to fly non-stop and get a new box for each leg.

Anyone done this using the good ol' bike box from the LBS?
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Old 05-23-11, 06:01 PM   #2
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That bike box from the LBS was probably used by the manufacturer to ship the bike a bike to the LBS, so....

BTW...Is that round trip or one way? Seems very high if it's one way. Shipped from Philly to Whitefish, MT two years ago for less than $50 one way. Used my LBS, which I believe gets a commercial rate.
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Old 05-23-11, 06:41 PM   #3
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Flew back, Scotland to SF Cal, Taped together 2 cartons,
so I could leave the front wheel,
low rider-racks and mudguards on..
worked fine..
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Old 05-23-11, 06:45 PM   #4
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$150 is round trip, ground service.

I'll check with my LBS, and call a shop in Marin as well. Perhaps I can have them deal with the hassle of packing the bike as well.
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Old 05-24-11, 07:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
$150 is round trip, ground service.

I'll check with my LBS, and call a shop in Marin as well. Perhaps I can have them deal with the hassle of packing the bike as well.
That's what we did for our loop out of Whitefish. We are heading to Missoula this year for an 8-day loop and that's what we are doing. Our LBS will pack the bikes and ship them to an LBS in Missoula, which will store our boxes and the gear bags that will fly with us. The bikes will be assembled ready for us when we arrive. At the end of the tour, we'll simply drop the bikes off at the LBS in Missoula and they will be packed and shipped back to our home LBS for re-assembly. I could pack and assemble/disassemble everything myself, but I am happy to give the shops the business, and not having to deal with the work is worth the extra cash. Jyst make sure you give the shops enough lead time so they can put you on the schedule.
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Old 05-24-11, 08:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Anyone done this using the good ol' bike box from the LBS?
Yep. It works fine.

That said I prefer to get to my tour with the bike as baggage if Frontier or Southwest fly where I will be starting. Personally I find it easier to just ride out of the airport rather than deal with getting to a bike shop that the bike was shipped to. At $50 total in baggage fees including my bike and a throw away thrift shop suitcase containing panniers and gear, I figure it is a good bargain. I think I read that Frontier was even reducing the fee to $25.

For returning home I am more likely to do the fedex or ups thing and let a local shop handle the packing and shipping.

Last trip I paid Southwest $50 for checking the bike on the way there and $100 to a bike shop to pack and ship the bike home. The $100 included the UPS charge, so $150 total for the round trip including the shop dealing with all details of the return trip. That was Baltimore to San Diego and Reno back to Baltimore respectively.

Last edited by staehpj1; 05-24-11 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 05-24-11, 08:22 AM   #7
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Used my LBS, which I believe gets a commercial rate.
Yeah, it always seems that the bike shops charge me less for shipping than fedex or ups quote me.
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Old 05-24-11, 09:23 AM   #8
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This site seems to have good shipping rates from FedEx.

http://www.shipbikes.com/HowMuch.aspx

I got a rate of $63 one-way from Georgia to Portland OR using a cardboard box with dimensions 53"x29"x8" (dimensions of bike box I have) and weight of 35lbs.
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Old 05-24-11, 09:58 AM   #9
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This site seems to have good shipping rates from FedEx.

http://www.shipbikes.com/HowMuch.aspx

I got a rate of $63 one-way from Georgia to Portland OR using a cardboard box with dimensions 53"x29"x8" (dimensions of bike box I have) and weight of 35lbs.
I used them once and it went well. At the time you had to use their special box.
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Old 05-24-11, 05:26 PM   #10
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In addition to the above suggestions, I would also check with Amtrak and Greyhound freight (assuming they have locations near your start and destination). Don't know about how their service is, but the rates are usually pretty reasonable.
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Old 05-24-11, 05:46 PM   #11
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Be careful on your box size with FedEx. One inch over their limit and you will pay nearly double.


So before using the bigger box because it might be easier to pack, check the shipping costs.
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