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Shipping a bike... suggestions?

Old 12-23-20, 09:36 PM
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Fen
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Shipping a bike... suggestions?

Who has experience shipping a bike somewhere? I have an emergency flight across the country to take care of my mother. Iíll be gone for a month and would like to take my bike. What do you recommend for transport? Freight company? Checked baggage?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-23-20, 10:35 PM
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Recently shipped one of my bikes down to my parents' place to have when I visit.

Took the bike to my LBS and they handled disassembly and packaging. Was $40-50 for them to pack it up, $120ish for shipping + insurance (they used Bike Flights).

Had my LBS ship it to a bike shop close to my parents' place and they built it back up for me so it was ready to ride when I got there ($60).

Could not have been easier. Also think you can get a discount with certain shipping services when you ship B2B (ie shop to shop).
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Old 12-23-20, 11:04 PM
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I wouldn't let anyone pack one of my bikes.

Use pipe insulation on the tubing and shipbikes.com.

You might also want to look into using Greyhound. Or rent a car.
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Old 12-23-20, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I wouldn't let anyone pack one of my bikes.

Use pipe insulation on the tubing and shipbikes.com.

You might also want to look into using Greyhound. Or rent a car.
Pipe insulation and Shipbikes.com for sure. I shipped a bike to San Francisco about a month ago and it was like $50. Your local bike shop will likely give you a box for free.
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Old 12-24-20, 03:10 AM
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I took one on a plane as luggage. I just removed the front wheel, handlebars, etc. Let the air out of the tires, and wrapped in in clear plastic. It was a small fee in addition to the cost of regular luggage. I reassembled it at my destination, and saved a taxi fee. Check with the airline. Different airlines may have different charges.
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Old 12-24-20, 04:14 AM
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I just had a bike shipped across country. Insured for $1k and it worked well. The bike was wrapped in bubble wrap and pipe insulation and fit nicely in a used bike box from a local Trek shop. Total was $105. I used Shipbikes. It got here a day early.
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Old 12-24-20, 05:51 AM
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I fell out of love with Bikeflights.com when it switched from FedEx to UPS. Price jumped and service declined. Iíd try ShipBikes.

Nothing wrong with letting a competent shop pack your bike. Have had it done numerous times for tours. Sometimes some people can do some things as well or better than you can.


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Old 12-24-20, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I wouldn't let anyone pack one of my bikes.

Use pipe insulation on the tubing and shipbikes.com.

You might also want to look into using Greyhound. Or rent a car.
I looked at bike flights but not shipbikes. Iíll check those out. As for driving, Iím going east coast to west coast. Not too keen on that.
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Old 12-24-20, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Fen View Post
I looked at bike flights but not shipbikes. Iíll check those out. As for driving, Iím going east coast to west coast. Not too keen on that.
Bikeflights now makes you create an account with a user name and password. One more thing to remember for someone like me who is out on tour and has to buy return shipping on the run. I have also had trouble with their website not recognizing a pickup zip code though it was clearly correct.

After my 2019 tour in MT I checked ShipBikes and found I would have paid appreciatively less for faster service. Bikeflights used to provide 4 calendar day shipping. That changed to 4 business days when it switched to using UPS. So if you ship on a Friday itís not due until Wednesday instead of Monday. Last time I also got an email saying my bike had not been picked up from the shop for return shipping. Called only to find that was a ďmistake.Ē Stuff like that never happened when it used FedEx. One it got bigger and started things like sponsoring the TdF, the service really declined.
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Old 12-24-20, 08:05 AM
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My only experience with BikeFlights involved a bike that was shipped to me. It came UPS, right on time and judging by the tracking updates, was shipped via rail (so the "Flights" part of the name was not totally correct). My only complaint was that it arrived with a QR skewer partly protruding from a hole in the box but I blame that on the shop that packed it (why did they leave the skewer in the front wheel?). Bike was 100% fine fortunately.
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Old 12-24-20, 08:46 AM
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Had a similar experience with bikeflights. But blame the shipper. They’d left the box propped up on its corner lengthwise when the markings on the box clearly indicated it should NOT be left on its side. Think they positioned it like that because the bike’s fork had been driven through the bottom of the box and was sticking out. Fork was pretty dinged up. The shop that packed the bike had put in a whole other piece of cardboard on the bottom of the box to specifically try and prevent such from happening, too. No go, though. That plastic thingie they put on the fork end had popped off, too, before the fork went through the box. Further indication of some pretty rough treatment.
This was a couple years ago and I still regret not opening a claim.
That sucked but it was pretty much par for the course, as far as my experience shipping bikes. That time and another my bikes showed up looking like they had been thrown off a cliff lol.
I mostly just try and buy a beater to use when I am out of town.
This may be why I have so many 90s era mountain bikes and 80s era road bikes tho...
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Old 12-24-20, 09:02 AM
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Yes. Packing problems and damage during transit are not their fault. Both services are essentially discount brokers for bike shipping. They promote the services for compensation. With that said, Iíve read horror stories on this forum about getting compensated from Bikeflights if there is damage. Apparently, when you purchase through it you agree to its claims procedure. From the stories people have told, itís more of a PITA than dealing with the shipping company directly. Donít know either way about ShipBikes. Fortunately, I have never had any damage despite using Bikeflights for 5 round trips between the east coast and the west (Missoula) and Midwest (Rapid City).

And yes, shipping has always been by ground in my experience, despite the name.
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Old 12-24-20, 10:17 AM
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Remember cost of shipping a bike is generally going to be based on size not weight.

Also check the policy of the airline you plan to fly on.
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Old 12-24-20, 10:50 AM
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Cost of checked bike fee varies widely. I've paid from zero to $100. It's arguably more of a hassle than shipping because you have to deal with a large box at both ends of your flight. OTOH you have your bike upon arrival.
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Old 12-24-20, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Remember cost of shipping a bike is generally going to be based on size not weight.

Also check the policy of the airline you plan to fly on.
The Delta website says itís the normal baggage fee. *except on certain smaller planes. Iím flying from a regional airport to a large metro one so I dunno. Itís too wet and snowy to ride where I am now, so I could ship it ahead of time and have it waiting for me, I guess. ShipBike quoted $95 each way (thatís with the $5 pick up surcharge). Not too bad. I canít rent one for a month for that, certainly.
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Old 12-24-20, 04:28 PM
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I used shipbikes and I sent a bike from the east coast to the west coast for $45 and they use Fedex as their shipper. It could not have been easier. I got a box from my LBS, I packed it up and took it to the Fedex office around the corner from me. I used pipe foam to protect the frame and also used bubble wrap. It was completely undamaged.

https://www.shipbikes.com/
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Old 12-24-20, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Remember cost of shipping a bike is generally going to be based on size not weight.

Also check the policy of the airline you plan to fly on.
Shipbikes is based somewhat on size, but is also weight based. Their pricing seems to jump when you cross the 50 lb mark. I used them to ship a trainer and by the time is was all boxed and ready to roll, it weighed in at 48lbs and it cost me $33 to ship to Dallas from East Coast Florida. If it has been 2 pounds more it would have been 63.
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Old 12-24-20, 05:00 PM
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How to pack a bike 101

bikes packed by bike shop for shipping

​​​​​​I'm sure I never want to pack a bike again...
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Old 12-24-20, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
I used shipbikes and I sent a bike from the east coast to the west coast for $45 and they use Fedex as their shipper. It could not have been easier. I got a box from my LBS, I packed it up and took it to the Fedex office around the corner from me. I used pipe foam to protect the frame and also used bubble wrap. It was completely undamaged.

https://www.shipbikes.com/
Funny. When bikeflights used FedEx the LBS that packed my bike carried it around the corner to a FedEx/Kinkoís store. Saved me the $10 pickup fee that had been $5 before Bikeflights switched to UPS.

Definitely going to try ShipBikes next time.
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Old 12-26-20, 01:02 PM
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Thanks everyone. My original thought was to take the bike as checked baggage, but since I am making this trip solo and I'm going to have navigate an Uber to my mom's place I've decided that ShipBike is the way to go. I can't imagine wresting a bike box into an Uber. My LBS has a box they will give me a box. Now I just have to decide if I'm packing it or they are packing it. I also have to decide which bike (MTB or road) to take.
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Old 12-26-20, 03:56 PM
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Iíd give a shipping time cushion if possible. One year my bike was delayed for a couple of days coming home due to massive flooding in the Midwest.

I think youíll be glad you donít have to schlep a bike around.
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Old 12-26-20, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Fen View Post
Thanks everyone. My original thought was to take the bike as checked baggage, but since I am making this trip solo and I'm going to have navigate an Uber to my mom's place I've decided that ShipBike is the way to go. I can't imagine wresting a bike box into an Uber. My LBS has a box they will give me a box. Now I just have to decide if I'm packing it or they are packing it. I also have to decide which bike (MTB or road) to take.
Their site has some good videos if I recall on packing a bike, but all in all, its pretty simple. And would agree with the additional shipping time due to potential weather and just the over all glut of people shipping stuff. I know a women who is traveling to Oregon to see her parents and she decided it was cheaper to send her stuff she was going to pack via Fedex than take it on the plane. She is only going to take a carry on as she still has some clothes she leaves at her parents place just in case luggage is lost.
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Old 12-26-20, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Iíd give a shipping time cushion if possible. One year my bike was delayed for a couple of days coming home due to massive flooding in the Midwest.

I think youíll be glad you donít have to schlep a bike around.
Yeah, Iím traveling on the 8th. I was planning to send it before the new year. The weather is preventing a ride here now so itís just sitting in the garage. If the bike arrives before I do, it can sit in momís garage. If it arrives later, I can wait. (I really donít want to fly in a pandemic, but needs must when you are joint caregiver for an elderly parent and your sibling has two kids to return to college)
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Old 12-26-20, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Fen View Post
Yeah, Iím traveling on the 8th. I was planning to send it before the new year. The weather is preventing a ride here now so itís just sitting in the garage. If the bike arrives before I do, it can sit in momís garage. If it arrives later, I can wait. (I really donít want to fly in a pandemic, but needs must when you are joint caregiver for an elderly parent and your sibling has two kids to return to college)
Consider renting a bike instead, if possible. Bring your pedals, shoes, helmet etc...
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Old 12-26-20, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Consider renting a bike instead, if possible. Bring your pedals, shoes, helmet etc...

That was the first thing I looked at. Iíll be saving money by shipping the bike.
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