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Shipping my bike

Old 06-09-21, 10:51 PM
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Joearch
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Shipping my bike

I live in Los Angeles and will ne going to Northern Michigan in a month. I plan on shipping my bike via Bikeflight but was wondering if others here with experience have found other options. My plan was to take my bike to a shop and have them pack kt up and ship kt to another shop for reassembly.

thx
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Old 06-09-21, 11:09 PM
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That sounds like a solid plan, and one that will ensure that the bike is packed well, shipped safely, and rebuilt reliably.
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Old 06-10-21, 01:59 AM
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I had success doing that several years ago with a tandem.
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Old 06-10-21, 06:08 AM
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This thread is timely for me. We are shipping two bikes to San Antonio, TX from our VA home. I've packed my wife's bike, and am using its dimensions and weight to obtain competing quotes for shipping. The box is 51x8x28" and the gross weight is 35#. Here are the prices:
FedEx $129
UPS Gnd $109
Bikeflights $69

EDIT: At indyfabz suggestion, I checked with shipbikes.com. Their quote: $64.22!

We're also getting one more quote from the independent shipper who is already scheduled to take a mattress and box spring for us. I don't expect them to be less than bikeflights, though.

Last edited by Phil_gretz; 06-10-21 at 07:37 AM. Reason: additional quote
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Old 06-10-21, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
This thread is timely for me. We are shipping two bikes to San Antonio, TX from our VA home. I've packed my wife's bike, and am using its dimensions and weight to obtain competing quotes for shipping. The box is 51x8x28" and the gross weight is 35#. Here are the prices:
FedEx $129
UPS Gnd $109
Bikeflights $69

We're also getting one more quote from the independent shipper who is already scheduled to take a mattress and box spring for us. I don't expect them to be less than bikeflights, though.
Have you checked out Shipbikes.com? It's a competitor of Bikeflights.

Here is my story involving Bikeflights. I used them 5 times since 2014. Originally, they used FedEx. Everything worked great, and their prices were great. And you could drop off the boxed bike and any FedEx/Kinko's location. There was one right around the corner from the LBS I used to pack my bike. A mechanic would walk it around the corner for me, saving me the modest pick up fee.

A few years ago (2019, I believe) Bikeflights switched to using UPS. Service deteriorated (went from 4 calendar days to 4 business days) and prices increased. Customer service also went down hill. (E.g., when booking return shipping their website would not recognize the zip code of the REI outlet where my bike was to be picked up from.) When I got home from my 2019 tour I retroactively priced my shipping using Shipbikes, which uses FedEx, like Bikeflights used to, and it was appreciably less expensive.

Alls I am saying is don't count out Shipbikes.
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Old 06-10-21, 09:00 AM
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I did once; Columbus, OH to Seattle. I made calls and arranged it all ahead of time. Here, perfect. Arrival, perfect. But on return the LBS in Seattle said I needed an appointment and they would not call for pickup. I was leaving the next day, so I was pissed.

Eventually, I convinced them to do it that day, but had to pick up the loaded bike box and get it to FedEx myself. Might have greases some palms, not sure.

So, not an indictment of Bike Flights, but make sure you have firm, confirmed, detailed arrangements on both ends. And get the name of who you talk to, because that dude might not have the authority to promise anything.

Have a great trip.
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Old 06-10-21, 09:29 AM
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I have to ship one in August. I found a decent case on CL, but it appears you get charged bike fees on the airlines. After reading up some on the topic, it seems the cheapest way is to get a bike box and pack it yourself. Then take it to a Fed Ex or UPS location. Probably what I will do.
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Old 06-10-21, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I have to ship one in August. I found a decent case on CL, but it appears you get charged bike fees on the airlines. After reading up some on the topic, it seems the cheapest way is to get a bike box and pack it yourself. Then take it to a Fed Ex or UPS location. Probably what I will do.
ShipBikes and Bikeflights are likely to be cheaper (possibly by a lot) than going through UPS or FedEx directly. You can get quotes if you play around with their websites. They are both discount marketers for bike shipping. See my post above.
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Old 06-10-21, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
ShipBikes and Bikeflights are likely to be cheaper (possibly by a lot) than going through UPS or FedEx directly. You can get quotes if you play around with their websites. They are both discount marketers for bike shipping. See my post above.
Thanks, I'll take a look.

Edit: I took a look at both. Those look like good deals.

Last edited by seypat; 06-10-21 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 06-10-21, 11:27 AM
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Glad to see there are options. I hear about bikeflights a lot, but a competitor is never a bad thing (for us).
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Old 06-11-21, 04:53 AM
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It has been a long time but pre-retirement, the 1 week vacation was to have a local bike store pack the bike and ship it to the tour site. Ride in any direction we (DW) wanted and end at a bike store. They would ship it back. Typically, we were in reasonable distance to an airport or car rental. At that time UPS seem to be the cheapest. In a recent tour in Europe, we used Bike Flights since it was cheaper than the airline (that may have changed recently since airlines are beginning to regard bikes as regular baggage).

All in all, a little expensive but no need to end where started to get your flight box. No damage in many shipments that I can recall. Except for one weird case in Canada, where the bike shop forgot he was going to be closed for a Canadian holiday, the bikes were ready to go. In the Canadian case, the owner rushed to the store and got us going very quickly and was overly apologetic. And, one bike store in southern Florida that we did not realize was nearly 100% cruiser bikes and they were not really familiar with touring bike design. That also worked out but can't remember how right now. Bikes also made it back home as promised by the shops.

You'll love northern Michigan. Its great place to tour.
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Old 06-11-21, 05:01 AM
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As expected great response to my question. I have spoken with LBS on both ends and will be comparing pricing a timing on both bikeflight and shipbikes. Thx to all for excellent input. I am excited to be able to tour in one of my favorite locations but this tear on my own Bianchi.
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Old 06-11-21, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Joearch View Post
I have spoken with LBS on both ends and will be comparing pricing a timing on both bikeflight and shipbikes.
Good plan, especially because some shops are very busy. And people can call me lazy, but I do what I think you are going to do: have a LBS unpack and reassemble my bike and then do the reverse after the trip. After a day of early morning travel the bike is ready and waiting for me when I arrive, and the shop holds my bike box and bag that I flew my gear in. At the end of two weeks I of touring I give the bike and shipping labels to the shop and go have a beer. Costs more, but the convenience is worth it to me.
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Old 06-11-21, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by debade View Post
....we used Bike Flights since it was cheaper than the airline (that may have changed recently since airlines are beginning to regard bikes as regular baggage).
One thing to keep in mind: large packages often get shipped by rail and can take several days to arrive. At least that was the case the one time I used BikeFlights (despite the name "flights").... I could follow it as the tracking updated every 12 hours.

I only mention this so no one assumes it'll get there in just one or two days. Sure, you probably could ship it by air and get it there faster, but it'll be more expensive.
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Old 06-11-21, 06:37 AM
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shipbikes uses FedEx ground, 4 days from VA to TX

bikeflights uses UPS ground, I don't recall the time they predicted.
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Old 06-11-21, 06:56 AM
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I will use a bike box and pack/unpack mine going and coming. Thinking now about picking up some small PVC pipe/fittings and making an internal skeleton that will fit in the bike box. It shouldn't add much weight to the assembly. I could lay the skeleton and box flat on their sides, pack/pad/anchor the contents in the skeleton, then slide it into the box. I have a couple of months to figure it out.

I made a bike stand out of PVC the same way. You don't have to make it permanent. Just assemble your structure. The box will keep it from coming apart. It will be very strong.

I'd better get the airline tickets and rental car procured first. I'll do that today.

Last edited by seypat; 06-11-21 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 06-11-21, 07:23 AM
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oops, I had it wrong, in 2019 when returning from a European tour, we used ShipBikes to ship from NYC to WA state. In our case, we saved vs USA airline baggage costs. Following our flight, we dropped off the boxed bikes at FedX, close to the airport grounds. Took an Uber, I believe. ShipBikes was the cheapest and the bikes arrived without any issues. Except, FedX mistakenly delivered them to our neighbor. No problem, our neighbors do not bike. .
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