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No more free bike boxes at REI :(

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No more free bike boxes at REI :(

Old 05-24-19, 05:05 PM
  #1  
spinnaker
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No more free bike boxes at REI :(

Last year I picked up a nice oversized box at REI. Got it for free. With Bikeflights, there really was no difference in the larger box over the smaller standard version. The large box made packing a whole lot easier.

Stopped to arrange for a box today and was told they no longer give away boxes because they no longer throw them out. They are sent back to the distribution center. You can still buy a box for $15. Stinks that you have to pay but worth it considering REI is not reusing boxes instead of tossing them in a land fill or snding them off to recycling which often really means landfill.
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Old 05-24-19, 06:02 PM
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Your LBS other than REI will be happy to provide a box at zero cost. Is REI charging 15 smackers for a used bike box???
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Old 05-24-19, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Your LBS other than REI will be happy to provide a box at zero cost. Is REI charging 15 smackers for a used bike box???

Plan to check it out. Going for a LBS ride on Monday. Tried last year. What I got was a smaller box all broken down. Perhaps if I make it cleat I don't wan tth ebox cut up they will oblige. They better, an employee is my neighbor.
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Old 05-24-19, 06:34 PM
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Cool that REI is into reuse.

Maybe free for Co-op members to reuse would be a good idea. But then you'd have to return it for reuse?

Last edited by BigAura; 05-24-19 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 05-24-19, 07:10 PM
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I wonder if this is an REI thing, to send back, or is it going to be something the LBS’s start to do.

I’ve always been able to get a box from my local big LBS. I was told years ago by the guy who wrangles the empty’s, to come by early Monday, after they’ve sold stuff on the weekends. Always a good selection.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Cool that REI is into reuse.

Maybe free for Co-op members to reuse would be a good idea. But then you'd have too return it to for reuse?
I was considering have them just pack it up and send it, if I need to pay for the box anyway. But it would mean going into the city in Portland. Not really headed in that direction so I will likely use a shop near the airport.

Doing it over again I might have just used the train both ways instead of one. A lot more relaxing and don't need to worry about boxing up the bike. If t just didn't take so long to get there.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:05 PM
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My other LBS is Trek. Would not surprise me if they are doing the same as REI now.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:17 PM
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I'm surprised that REI had even been throwing out the boxes. AFAIK good corrugated cardboard is one of the few paper products considered ideal for recycling; even in the past many (non-bike) companies saved it for re-use or recycling. Anyway $15 box charge is not exorbitant compared to overall shipping cost. In the old days I would have preferred to support a local LBS but REI stocks touring bikes & gear unlike many LBS's.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Your LBS other than REI will be happy to provide a box at zero cost. Is REI charging 15 smackers for a used bike box???
I don't believe the large boxes are used boxes. When I picked up one last year it was a new box. Amtrak charges $20, Shiphol Airport 25 Euros, Frankfort Airport 35 Euros. Fifteen dollars might be a bargain.

If your LBS sell e-bikes, ask them for an e-bike box. They are larger than conventional bike boxes. Also bike boxes come in all sizes, ask for the biggest box they have. While your at it ask for some of the protective items the manufacturers use for shipping: fork spacers, derailleur protectors, axle discs.

Last edited by Doug64; 05-24-19 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post

If your LBS sell e-bikes, ask them for an e-bike box. They are larger than conventional bike boxes. Also bike boxes come in all sizes, ask for the biggest box they have. While your at it ask for some of the protective items the manufacturers use for shipping: fork spacers, derailleur protectors, axle discs.
No ebikes around here that I know of. I always ask for all of the other packing dodads. The big box is why I went to REI first. Mentioned above. Bike Flights does not seem to rack you for oversize like direct to FedEx or UPS does.
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Old 05-25-19, 04:01 AM
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As posted many times on other threads, UPS/FEDEX oversize rates jump tremendously when the box exceeds 130 inches, length + width + girth. That's a small to medium bike shop box. The larger ones commonly available at the LBS will exceed that limit. The larger boxes will still be within limits but at a MUCH higher rate. Traveling by air? Box size may not be so much an issue with many airlines.

Bikeflights is cheaper than the UPS store but not immune to these limits. Their rates will also jump when box goes past 130 inches. From their website... https://www.bikeflights.com/dimensionsandrates

"To get the most economical shipping rates, your “Shipment Size” should be less than or equal to 130 inches or 330 cm"
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Old 05-25-19, 04:55 AM
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I would be surprised if Trek and other manufacturers would re-use boxes. I got a box from Trek last year, the bike was packed into the box in Asia and sent here that way. I can't see how REI is really saving anything this way. When I say I got the box from Trek, it was a Trek store, not a dealer that sells Trek and other brands.

When I got that box, they did not have any boxes when I first came in, the garbage/recycle collector had just been there a day or two earlier. But they took my name and number with the type (size) box I was looking for. A couple weeks later I got a call that they had a box for me. I had also asked for the plastic thingy that goes in the fork dropouts, when I said that they added to the note to keep all packing materials with the box so there was some other stuff in the box, most of which I did not use. Keep in mind that each bike size might have a slightly different box, so there is not a standard bike box size, you should know how many inches you need in all three dimensions, but thickness is probably more standard than the height and length of the box. Go there when nobody else is in the store, if they have more customers than staff, they won't have much time for you.

With possible increases in tariffs coming, there might be a shortage of boxes if people do not want to pay for a sudden big increase in bike prices from China. But some bikes come from other parts of Asia that would not have tariff increases so it is impossible to tell if there will be a bike box shortage or not. Last year I bought a new Raleigh, came in the box (a bike shop did not assemble it for me), the box was labeled from Guang Zhou China.
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Old 05-25-19, 05:16 AM
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Here is an example of the UPS price jump when you exceed 130 inches. I've entered all of the information to ship my bike from VA to NH with $2000 insurance.

For quote one I used a box measuring 52 x 8 x 31= 130"
For quote two I used a box measuring 54 x 8 x 31= 132"

That extra 2" of box length cost me $119.16! That happened to me once at an LBS at the end of a trip where I left my bike to be packed. They randomly chose a common bike box (56" in length) that was handy.



Quote 1 @130 inches ^



Quote 2 @132 inches ^

edit: Bikeflights quotes either $84 big box/$42 small box or $134 big/$101 small. They don't explain the two price options.

Last edited by BobG; 05-25-19 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Here is an example of the UPS price jump when you exceed 130 inches.
Yeah. The size is an important price driver vs. weight. I never weigh the package when I ship with Bikeflights. I just overestimate the weight of the box, bike, racks, empty fuel bottle and stove at 70 lbs. One year I played around with the rate quote feature. Same size box each time. (Mt CrateWorks box is on their dropdown menu.) I entered 70 lbs., then 60 lbs. then 50 lbs. and, I think, even 40 lbs. Rate was the same every time.
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Old 05-25-19, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
My other LBS is Trek. Would not surprise me if they are doing the same as REI now.
.


Trek boxed will fail half way to the destination.


-Tim-
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Old 05-25-19, 11:12 AM
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Cardboard is recycled, and comes back as more stuff in cardboard boxes...




Out here the basement has a bike box abundance..









...

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-26-19 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 05-25-19, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Cardboard is recycled, and comes back as more stuff in cardboard boxes...
It takes energy to recycle an old box back into a box. Far more efficient to send th ebox back for reuse assuming the turck is going back to the distribution center anyway.
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Old 05-25-19, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
.


Trek boxed will fail half way to the destination.


-Tim-
Funny I have used Trek boxes at least a half dozen times with no issues. I guess the boxes at your store are somehow subpar.
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Old 05-25-19, 05:55 PM
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Specialized bike boxes must substitute cellulose fiber content with carbon fiber, because the one I got free from my LBS recently had been to China, UT, FL, NC and MI, based on the affixed old shipping labels, and still had a few more shipment cycles left in it.
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Old 05-26-19, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I never weigh the package when I ship with Bikeflights... One year I played around with the rate quote feature. Same size box each time. (My CrateWorks box is on their dropdown menu.) I entered 70 lbs., then 60 lbs. then 50 lbs. and, I think, even 40 lbs. Rate was the same every time.
Yep, same with the UPS pricing. For large parcels they use "dimensional weight" to calculate cost. They figure a box that takes up that much room in the truck (over 130") should contain more billable weight. Thus 40 pounds costs the same as 90 pounds. At the mid-oversize level (just below 130") 40 pounds costs about the same as 78 pounds. See fine print at screen shots above.

Yes, Bikeflights has cheaper rates than LBS, LBS with shipping contract is cheaper than UPS store but they all share that 130" threshold where price goes up.

As noted at an old thread, your Crateworks box measures 127" length + girth. Not by accident, that's just below the 130" limit.
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Old 05-26-19, 08:12 AM
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When I worked for REI, we would pull the bikes from the box and stick them in the warehouse. About once a week, a man would come and load the cardboard into his truck and haul it to the port. They loaded the cardboard onto container ships bound for China. I did this for almost 10 years. We were never instructed to recycle it and the company didn't count it as inventory. It took a few decades, but it's nice to see that the company is doing something better with the cardboard.
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Old 05-28-19, 08:38 PM
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A bit OT but yesterday I stopped at REI for last hours of Memorial Day sale. That REI had a tiny bike rack (actually the REI closest to my house has no bike rack) & I was the only customer to park a bike despite 100+ customers inside! Gaw, buncha DC poseurs. Sure, they're happy if folks wheel their bikes inside but I didn't see anyone doing that.
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Old 05-29-19, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Funny I have used Trek boxes at least a half dozen times with no issues. I guess the boxes at your store are somehow subpar.
Trek boxes vary in quality based on where they came from. A friend of mine uses a Trek box he got for free instead of the hard case that he bought because that particular Trek box is double thickness corrugated and has worked well for him on Bikeflights on several trips.

But my local Trek store gave me a box that I decided was not as good as I wanted so I did not use it.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
A bit OT but yesterday I stopped at REI for last hours of Memorial Day sale. That REI had a tiny bike rack (actually the REI closest to my house has no bike rack) & I was the only customer to park a bike despite 100+ customers inside! Gaw, buncha DC poseurs. Sure, they're happy if folks wheel their bikes inside but I didn't see anyone doing that.
I took a pic last Saturday in our REI parking lot to text to my wife.
4 Subaru Outbacks in a row(ours being one) and 2 more on the other side of the lot aisle.

I groaned at knowing I am a stereotype, but still went in to buy some sunglasses because they were cheapest with the 20% coupon.
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Old 05-30-19, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Funny I have used Trek boxes at least a half dozen times with no issues. I guess the boxes at your store are somehow subpar.
ProBike and Run sells e-bikes if you want to give them a call for e-bike boxes.
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