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  1. #1
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    Getting your bike home

    So I just finished my recent tour from Buffalo, NY to New York City with one of my friends. Initially I was going to just ride back home, but at this point I don't think I want to do it alone (my friend is leaving tomorrow). What do you think is the best way to get my bike home safely? Some options I have considered: slipping the megabus driver $20, boxing it and taking it on the Amtrak with me, having a bike shop box and ship it for me, and boxing it myself and going to a ups/fed-ex store.

    I know going to take a megabus with hopes that slipping the driver some money is risky. I'm also worried it may be rejected from the Amtrak (this route does not have an on car rack so it must be checked... I also worry it will just get thrown around and bruised). Right now I'm leaning towards taking it to the lbs.

    Does anyone have any experience with this?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member bktourer1's Avatar
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    You could rent a car one way and drive home. Get some ideas here:
    http://www.bikeaccess.net/bikeaccess/

  3. #3
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    I checked my bike on Amtrak after I rode from SF to LA. I think the cost was something like $15-20 for the bike and their cardboard box. The idiot unloading the train put my bike on the baggage cart, then stacked all of the other luggage on top of it! Bring a Sharpie and draw a bunch of "up" arrows on the box and you may avoid this. Other than a scrape or two, my bike was fine...

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    If you are trying to take it on Amtrak, make sure the route and train you are taking actually has a baggage car. I almost made that mistake and got a ticket from NYC-Pittsburgh directly, but I called and they told me I couldn't take the bike on that train. I ended up having to take a train to DC and then another one from there to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately most of the trains in the Northeast don't have baggage cars. But as was said above me, you can pick up a box at penn station for $20 at the amtrak baggage desk and your bike will be relatively well taken care of.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pardonme View Post
    If you are trying to take it on Amtrak, make sure the route and train you are taking actually has a baggage car. I almost made that mistake and got a ticket from NYC-Pittsburgh directly, but I called and they told me I couldn't take the bike on that train. I ended up having to take a train to DC and then another one from there to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately most of the trains in the Northeast don't have baggage cars. But as was said above me, you can pick up a box at penn station for $20 at the amtrak baggage desk and your bike will be relatively well taken care of.
    "Unfortunately most of the trains in the Northeast don't have baggage cars" isn't quite accurate; ALL of the long-distance trains in the Northeast do, and that's what the OP would be taking. The stations must have staffed baggage service, but that's not a problem in either NYC or Buffalo.

    As for the OP - Amtrak charges $10 for the bike box, and they're absolutely huge. Remove the pedals, turn the handlebars, and you're done. There's no charge beyond that as long as you travel with the bike. Heck, it's likely that they'll give you a used box for free if they have any laying around.

    Just remember to bring any packing tape and tools you'll need, and you're all set.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  6. #6
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by one-headedboy View Post
    So I just finished my recent tour from Buffalo, NY to New York City with one of my friends. Initially I was going to just ride back home, but at this point I don't think I want to do it alone (my friend is leaving tomorrow). What do you think is the best way to get my bike home safely? Some options I have considered: slipping the megabus driver $20, boxing it and taking it on the Amtrak with me, having a bike shop box and ship it for me, and boxing it myself and going to a ups/fed-ex store.

    I know going to take a megabus with hopes that slipping the driver some money is risky. I'm also worried it may be rejected from the Amtrak (this route does not have an on car rack so it must be checked... I also worry it will just get thrown around and bruised). Right now I'm leaning towards taking it to the lbs.

    Does anyone have any experience with this?
    Personally on the way home... I would take my bike on the train if there is baggage service at the necessary stops. Amtrak boxes are huge so it is easy to pack. Since I usually fly home and don't like to have to deal with the packing on the way home, I am most likely to have a bike shop box the bike and ship it for me.

    Getting to my tour I usually take the bike as baggage if I fly. I like riding out of the airport. If I were to use the train, I would take it as baggage, again if there was baggage service.

    BTW to get my panniers and gear there, I usually pack it all in either a thrift store suitcase (~$7) or a walmart expandable duffle bag.

  7. #7
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    I took Amtrak from Penn Station in NYC to Buffalo with my bike last year. I don't think things have changed, but at that time there was 1 train a day that had a baggage car, and it left around 4pm and got into Depew at midnight. Get to Penn early, go to the Amtrak counter & get a box. They had a sharpie and packing tape for me. Make sure you have tools to remove the pedals or remove them beforehand, and are able to loosen the handlebars to turn them sideways. The boxes are BIG and the bike will roll right in. I think it was $20 total including the box. For me it was as smooth and painless as could be. I put the bike together in the station at Depew, snoozed a bit on the uncomfortable chairs, and started pedaling homeward (Long Island) at first light.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    "Unfortunately most of the trains in the Northeast don't have baggage cars" isn't quite accurate; ALL of the long-distance trains in the Northeast do, and that's what the OP would be taking. The stations must have staffed baggage service, but that's not a problem in either NYC or Buffalo.
    Actually only the Depew stations handles baggage, not the Exchange St. station. Additionally of the four daily routes that go from New York to Buffalo only the Lake Shore Limited accept checked baggage.

    Despite the fact that there is only 1 train to Buffalo, I'd still suggest Amtrak.

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys. I'm currently trying to find friends who want to road trip to NYC to get me. If not, Amtrak will probably be my way back. The unfortunate part is that tickets for the baggage car train are about $40 more than the other trains.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    You're going between two cities of significant size and your distance isn't all that far. You should be able to go to the Greyhound station, get a box from their or at a nearby bike shop, box up the bike and send it on the same bus you're riding. It's not all that expensive and better yet, your bike should get home when you do. This works on major routes, but not on some of the less travelled routes. For you, it should work, but call and find out first.
    Life is good.

  11. #11
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    One other question... when packing a bike in a box, you just need to take off the pedals and turn the handlebars, right? is there Anything else I have to do?
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  12. #12
    fiddling with my bike msviolin57's Avatar
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    This is a great little video that shows exactly how to prepare your bike for an Amtrak box. http://pathlesspedaled.com/2011/01/v...le-for-amtrak/

  13. #13
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by one-headedboy View Post
    One other question... when packing a bike in a box, you just need to take off the pedals and turn the handlebars, right? is there Anything else I have to do?
    That's all you need to do. Have shipped my bike on Amtrak like this twice with no problems.
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