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Cheapest way to ship panniers

Old 04-17-15, 01:36 PM
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Cheapest way to ship panniers

I'm flying to the start of a tour (early June) and want to ship both the bike and panniers full of gear. The bike shipping is not a question (already decided on that). Just the gear. USPS, UPS, a 3rd option ???? Who is cheapest? If I send it to a local post office under "general delivery", do I have to use the USPS or can any shipper send it there?

Thanks!

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Old 04-17-15, 01:55 PM
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Why not pack your gear in a duffle and pay the airline baggage fee? Many airlines let you carry on two items--one carry on and one smaller "personal item." I have had no problem taking two panniers on with a policy like that. The rest of the stuff (except stove and empty fuel bottle) goes in the duffle. The stove and fuel bottle gets shipped with the bike.

In any event, what you will pay for shipping will likely depend of how much stuff you have and where you are shipping from and to.

BTW...Have you checked out bikeflights.com for the bike?

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Old 04-17-15, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Why not pack your gear in a duffle and pay the airline baggage fee? Many airlines let you carry on two items--one carry on and one smaller "personal item." I have had no problem taking two panniers on with a policy like that. The rest of the stuff (except stove and empty fuel bottle) goes in the duffle. The stove and fuel bottle gets shipped with the bike.

In any event, what you will pay for shipping will likely depend of how much stuff you have and where you are shipping from and to.

BTW...Have you checked out bikeflights.com for the bike?
Agree with this if you can put both bags in a box and count it as one checked bag that would probably be cheapest.
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Old 04-17-15, 03:48 PM
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Accompanied Luggage .. Coming Back from Scotland I had Bike, a taped together Box, and my Panniers in a couple Plastic bags that once held grains to feed the Chickens.

Who is cheapest?
How am I supposed to know I dont run a shipping company , ask them ? what does your stuff weigh in the Box?

Once people arrive on the west coast, I in my LBS Gig box Up the Bike and if It wont fit in the Box, fill another Box and weigh Or estimate the weight.


The Touring rider has left the Credit card Slip in the Bike shop , and when the bill from UPS comes to the shop for the actual Cost ,

that cost is Passed on to the Card holders account. Business to business seems a bit lower rate ,

Maybe because Residences are not always there ( 9-5 ) to recieve, and a 2nd and 3rd attempt must be done . (IDK in Reality )

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Old 04-17-15, 03:54 PM
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Thanks all for the information. I'll check with the airlines and see how much I can carry on without a big expense.
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Old 04-17-15, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wheels78
Thanks all for the information. I'll check with the airlines and see how much I can carry on without a big expense.
It is my experience with airlines that carry-on is mostly a size issue (will it fit?) and not a weight issue. If you have to gate check a carry on, it is best not to have fragile stuff in that bag, I carry my fragile stuff in my old brief case. I have often put my most dense stuff that is heavy in my carry on, but the stuff in the carry on has to be allowable on the plane (no tools, knives, etc.).

I always carry an old canvas brief case on planes as my second item, it fits under the seat in front of me while the carry-on goes overhead. I think a pannier that is small enough to go under a seat would be just like my brief case as far as airlines are concerned.

There have been several posts on this forum about wearing a helmet when you get on the plane so that you do not have to waste space by packing it.

If you look at UPS and Fed Ex Ground, you might be able to ship to a UPS Store or a Kinkos (Fed Ex) and pick up there. I have not actually tried that, but I know that those shipping companies have local stores where you can ship from, presumably you can pick up from those locations too. You could ask them if there is an extra charge for that, there might be.
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Old 04-17-15, 06:12 PM
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When I travel by plane within the US, I ship my bike ahead. In the bike box goes shoes, helmet and anything bulky. Also tools and anything else I can't carry on.

I slip on pannier inside the other, pack that and just carry it on.
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Old 04-17-15, 07:17 PM
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Put the empty panniers on the bike when you ship it. Put all the gear in a large lightweight duffel bag.

My yellow Ortlieb rack pack usually goes as carry on, but this time they checked it free as a courtesy. Four panniers worth of gear are in the yellow nylon duffle that went as checked baggage. I've used this system several times, both shipping (FedEx) the bikes, and using the airlines.

You might check FedEx's prices. We have shipped some items home using both FedEx and UPS. We did this more often when taking the train back from a tour. That way we could ride the bare bikes from the station to home, and we did not have to mess with all the gear on the train.

Be careful what and how you pack gear in the bike box. I had a helmet ruined when I shipped it inside my bike box; it was my error, plus some rough handling

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Old 04-17-15, 09:05 PM
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how many panniers? how much stuff? what's the starting point?
flying to major cities on big planes (A320) with large luggage bays,
or is one leg on a cessna to podunk, ark?

if only two, you can tape them together as one bag (some are designed to clip
together for travel) and check them. a smaller front pannier can often be used
as a carry-on. the airline website will have size/weight limits for checked and
carry on.

if you're worried about clips breaking off the panniers, stuff them in the bike
box. buy some $1 luggage/duffels from goodwill you can discard when you
arrive.

shipping the bike? which airline are you flying? if you gotta box your bike
for shipping anyway, could it be cheaper to take with you on the plane as
excess baggage or charged differently (set fee) as "sporting goods."

when are you arriving? day and time is important. let's say you land at 3pm.
oops.....post office is closed by 4, and with budget cuts, many offices are closed
all weekend. so no saturday pickup. you're stuck waiting until monday morning
to pick up your bike box......assuming it's not lost...

sounds like you won't be flying back from the same location. if you were, you
could ship to a hotel that has agreed to hold your box/luggage for you.
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Old 04-17-15, 09:24 PM
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In case it hasn't been said. You cannot sent to USPS general delivery by anyone except the USPS. However if you can find a Mailboxes, USA or UPS store, or a Fedex franchise similar store you can phone in advance and try to arrange something.

I think that subject to weight limits, you should put as much as you can into the bike box, using soft goods as packing for the bike. What doesn't fit will be pricey by USPS, so Fedex ground or UPS are better bets it you can arrange a delivery point. If your first night is a hotel stay, shipping there is the best day addressed to Mr. X, arriving guest, Hotel so and so, etc. I do this all the time for trade shows, or if I have to travel with more than an airline will accept.

If you're sending the bike to a bike shop to be assembled there, then ask if you can send everything there.

And there's always biting the bullet and paying the airline for extra luggage.

BTW- for overseas, nothing is less costly than the crazy outrageous fees airlines charge.
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Old 04-18-15, 12:25 AM
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If your gear fits into a USPS Large Flat Rate box, that likely to be about as cheap as you can go. If it doesn't, USPS is now doing some common shipping with FedEX, so you may want to look into that (FedEx Ground is the cheapest way to go for heavy, bulky stuff).

As FBNY said, see if you can ship it to a FedEX/Kinkos site to be held. (I often have packages delivered to my local FedEx/Kinkos site, but they want me to pick them up within a week.)

Alternatively, join something like Warm Showers and ship them to the house of your host, assuming you can find such an accommodating host.
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Old 04-18-15, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
..., you can tape them together as one bag (some are designed to clip
together for travel) and check them. ...
Somebody told me this, so that is what I did. Then the station agent (Amtrak) said "you can't do that, you have to separate them so that I can charge for two more pieces of luggage." Since then I have used a lightweight mesh duffel to put most of my stuff into. Then when I have to carry my mesh duffel for my entire tour as wasted weight in the bottom of my pannier, it was pretty light.
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Old 04-18-15, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Then the station agent (Amtrak) said "you can't do that, you have to separate them so that I can charge for two more pieces of luggage."
sounds like some dude with fascist tendencies. i've never done it with amtrak; all airlines
i've tried had no problem with panniers clipped together. my current set doesn't clip
together, so sometimes i just wrap them together with packing tape, with two small
mostly deflated plastic soda bottles between them to protect the fittings.

were it a problem at the airport, get the "wrap your luggage in saran wrap" guys to do their thing.
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Old 04-18-15, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by wheels78
I'm flying to the start of a tour (early June) and want to ship both the bike and panniers full of gear. The bike shipping is not a question (already decided on that). Just the gear. USPS, UPS, a 3rd option ???? Who is cheapest? If I send it to a local post office under "general delivery", do I have to use the USPS or can any shipper send it there?
Going to my tours I find it easier to fly with the bike and gear if I manage to fly a bike friendly airline. I try to use Southwest when ever possible for their more reasonable bike and baggage policies. With Southwest if you box the bike and keep the second bag under 50 pounds it is easy, comes out cheaper than shipping them, and you can ride right out of the airport.

I do often ship the bike home though. It is kind of nice to not have to deal with the bike at the end of a long tour and in a strange town. So I often go to a bike shop and have them box it and ship it home. I usually find they get a much better shipping rate than UPS or FedEx charge if you walk in to one of their stores. The better rate offsets the $45-50 the bike shop charges to pack the bike.

I have sometimes put my gear in a thrift store suitcase (about $7) and discard it at the airport.

General delivery is USPS only.
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Old 04-18-15, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I have sometimes put my gear in a thrift store suitcase (about $7) and discard it at the airport.
I like this idea. Just make sure the TSA knows that your purposely leaving a safe bag. Or this may occur!

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Old 04-18-15, 07:45 AM
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I've used Fedex and their hold for pickup option. Works great.
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Old 04-18-15, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
sounds like some dude with fascist tendencies.
......
Huh!!! Truly an error wrt name-calling. It seems to be nothing more than (perhaps) an entrapment situation where the traffic must bear the price or suffer a HUGE inconvenience. No further way of describing the obvious. Is the situation described a good one (for the bicyclist)? Not in my estimation but there are basically only 2 options in that case... And neither is of benefit to the bicyclist.
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Old 04-18-15, 08:12 AM
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FI;FY
sounds like some dude with (bundle of sticks)* tendencies
"Just doing my Job as Instructed", he said (though leaving the items tied together would still be a bundle )
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Old 04-18-15, 01:38 PM
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Within the U.S., you can check an airline bag up to 50 pounds.

See if you can ship your stove and any fuel or fuel bottles with the bike.
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Old 04-18-15, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
I like this idea. Just make sure the TSA knows that your purposely leaving a safe bag. Or this may occur!
Yeah. I should have mentioned that I always ask where I can leave it. Also when you do leave it, leave it empty and open so it is obvious that it is empty.
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Old 04-18-15, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
...
See if you can ship your stove and any fuel or fuel bottles with the bike.
Do NOT ship fuel.
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Old 04-18-15, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Do NOT ship fuel.
+1 Read this.
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Old 04-18-15, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Do NOT ship fuel.
That should read, do not ship fuel by air. It is legal to ship properly packaged fuel and other flammables by ground transport, with required documentation depending on the type and quantity. The small quantities we're talking about generally fall below documentation thresholds.

I still wouldn't ship fuel even by ground because it doesn't make sense. You risk leakage and damage, plus are paying by the pound to ship something you can easily buy at the other end.

In any case, it's best not to put a closed metal canister of any kind into airline baggage because it's sure to draw a detailed search since examiners have no way of knowing what, if anything, is inside. If the canister is full, it will likely be removed and, if you're lucky, have the contents dumped before being placed back inside. If you're not lucky, it's be set aside and send to be destroyed.
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