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  1. #1
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    Shipping a bicycle?

    I am relatively new to the touring lifestyle, and I have never had to ship a bike to a start location before(Pennsylvania to Vancouver). I am wondering which is the easiest or cheapest option? Does anyone know much about just dissembling some parts of it and checking it on the airline?

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Hi James,

    Welcome! Why don't you try a search in this form for bike boxes, shipping etc. I think there has been a lot of discussion on the topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    Hi James,

    Welcome! Why don't you try a search in this form for bike boxes, shipping etc. I think there has been a lot of discussion on the topic.
    I have tried searching around a bit, unfortunately I'm not coming up with much. I may be using the wrong keywords.

    -edit: ah there we go, got the advanced search to work. Thanks!

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I did a search using the world airline, and this is one of many posts that appeared:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=airline

    Here's another one:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=airline

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  6. #6
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    Perfect! Thanks guys, sorry for the redundant post.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I am wondering which is the easiest or cheapest option? Does anyone know much about just dissembling some parts of it and checking it on the airline?
    James,
    A couple of additional links on packing a bike for shipment. It all depends on who you fly with. United Airline's boxes were similar to Amtrak's boxes which required minimum disassembly. Their boxes are huge. Check with your airline, and see what their requirements are, and if they have bike boxes available.

    We shipped a couple of bike by FEDX last fall from Oregon to Michigan, and size of the box made all the difference. The size of my wife's bike box was just under the arbitrary cutoff and shipped for $60. My bike box was just barely under their cutoff for shipping and cost $160 to ship. It was about a wash with the prices of the airline we were using. UPS was in the same price range.

    You can get bike boxes at your local bike shop. Try to get the largest you can find that still meets the airline's criteria. Larger boxes are getting harder to find because the manufacturers are shipping their bike less assembled to fit into smaller boxes, reducing shipping costs.


    http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...cking-the-bike

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/boxingbike.cfm
    Last edited by Doug64; 01-07-13 at 01:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Then there's this in case it wasn't in one of the links.

    http://www.shipbikes.com/home.html

    Buses will usually take boxed bikes as express shipment, and aren't too picky about size. Price is right too.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Easiest: Have your LBS box up your bike, then they can ship it UPS to a Shop
    on the other end of the trip,start.
    they will have it Ready to ride when you get there.

    Cheapest, you have to do all that..

    Astoria, on the Columbia at (almost) the Coast,
    the connection is thru PDX, and a nice plush Bus that leaves from the Train Station and bus station.
    [they are just a block apart] twice a day ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-07-13 at 01:47 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Then there's this in case it wasn't in one of the links.

    http://www.shipbikes.com/home.html

    Buses will usually take boxed bikes as express shipment, and aren't too picky about size. Price is right too.
    Yea, I had looked into this option. The only problem is since we are starting in vancouver it would technically be international and will cost more. I am definitely opting more toward getting a box from my LBS and packaging it up myself. My only concern is possible damages to the bike while en route with me on the airline. I know if it is properly packaged it should theoretically be fine, but you never know with baggage handlers.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    We've had pretty good luck with a properly packaged bike and the airlines. This box was on 5 different flights before we reached our starting point. We now reinforce the hand hold as this seems to be a weak point



    A little duct tape on the inside of the handholds seemed to work well on our last trip.

    Last edited by Doug64; 01-07-13 at 07:06 PM.

  12. #12
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    Look at shipping the bike to bellingham, washington (or there abouts) and starting from there. only an easy days ride to Vancouver, and you avoid the international shipping costs/issues as you can ride across the border in abbotsford, langley,whiterock depending on where you start. If you are taking the ferry you can look at shipping to point roberts, which is uniquely USA but only accessible through Canada, and conveniently close to the Ferry terminal.

    if you come through abbotsford we are a warm showers host, so you are welcome here.

    brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by bighairbrian View Post
    Look at shipping the bike to bellingham, washington (or there abouts) and starting from there. only an easy days ride to Vancouver, and you avoid the international shipping costs/issues as you can ride across the border in abbotsford, langley,whiterock depending on where you start. If you are taking the ferry you can look at shipping to point roberts, which is uniquely USA but only accessible through Canada, and conveniently close to the Ferry terminal.

    if you come through abbotsford we are a warm showers host, so you are welcome here.


    brian
    Thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely talk to the rest of the guys on the trip and see if we can work that out. Sounds much more economical for us poor college students.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Parrotte View Post
    I am relatively new to the touring lifestyle, and I have never had to ship a bike to a start location before(Pennsylvania to Vancouver). I am wondering which is the easiest or cheapest option? Does anyone know much about just dissembling some parts of it and checking it on the airline?
    Have a look at this website:
    http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

    You'll see that the price for a bicycle on an airline varies widely.

    If it is possible for you to use West Jet (which is not on that list), you might get away with a charge of about $35. If you can use Air Canada, chances are you'll pay about $50. Those prices are pretty reasonable.

    West Jet will fly into Abbotsford, Air Canada will fly into Vancouver.


    You will need to put the bicycle into a box of some sort. You can pick up cardboard boxes from your local bicycle shop. You may be able to use a bag, and British Airways will have bags, but I think that the airlines generally prefer boxes.

    You will remove the wheels, pedals and handlebar. Return all screws to the holes they belong in, so you don't lose any. Secure the pedals, skewers, and any other loose bits so they don't fall out the handhold holes (tape them to the rack, put them in your handlebar bag ... somewhere secure). Ziptie the handlebar to the frame. Place the whole works into the box. Pad with foam or bubble wrap or whatever you've got.

    Arrive at the airport very early ... be the first person in line. Be friendly, cheerful, nice, helpful. The nicer you are, the better chance you've got that you'll be treated well.

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    The best packing instructions I've found are these ones:
    How To Box A Bike - City Bikes

    They explain how to pack it into a standard bike box, available free from most LBS's. This is probably how you'll want to pack no matter how you're shipping it.

    As for airlines, I'm mostly familiar with Westjet and Air Canada, which both have fairly reasonable policies ($50 "bike fee"), but the bike then counts as a piece of luggage, so if you haven't packed everything else you need into a carry-on, you'll also have to pay extra for a second bag. Check baggage policies before booking tickets...an airline with more expensive tickets and a better bike policy may still be the better deal. Also remember that flying with a bike can complicate transportation to and from airports. Very difficult to bring a boxed bike by transit, and if you take a taxi, you'll need a van.

    I've never tried shipping with couriers.

  16. #16
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    If you ship to WA as suggested (+1 on that idea) and have a relationship with a LBS, they may be able to get you a better rate with FedEx and/or UPS.

    Also, if you are near an Amtrak Station with checked baggage you might be able to ship to Bellingham using Amtrak Express:

    http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...=1241267371736

    Packing a bike for shipment on Amtrak is easier than packing for airline or FedEx shipping. Call to check availability and for a quote.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Parrotte View Post
    Thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely talk to the rest of the guys on the trip and see if we can work that out. Sounds much more economical for us poor college students.
    Sorry i can't pm you but get in touch with me bighairbrian @ yahoo . ca and see if i can help you out at this end.

    brian

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    If you can live without your bike at the airport - When i ship my bike i like turn key. it may cost a bit more but not so much as to be a deal killer. I find a bike shop at the destination call them and arrange delivery and assembly. I take the bike down to my local LBS who i trust and have them do the honors. They disassemble and ship. This works as an easy no worry way to show up credit card in hand and ride off.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

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