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Shipping Bike UPS : CAUTION!

Old 05-13-06, 01:28 PM
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Shipping Bike UPS : CAUTION!

We fly to Seattle on Wednesday (from San Diego) to begin our tour.

A few weeks ago I used the shipping calculator on the UPS web site to check the cost and shipping time to get our bikes there using the less expensive UPS Ground. The site told me to deliver them to the UPS service center this morning (Saturday).

Just to be safe I took them in yesterday (Friday). When I got there they told me I was far too late AND even if I had brought them early enough, the fee for my bike alone would have been $298.

I nearly fell over. Six months ago I had shipped a bike to Berkley I had sold through eBay from this UPS Service Center for $26. No amount of polite, friendly prodding helped. After remeasuring the box the price went down to $190, still far too high.

Fortunately we are flying Southwest...they have a great bike policy...fifty bucks per bike and they still allow three hefty checked bags (not that we'll need it).

The moral of the story: Do not trust the UPS web site calculator.
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Old 05-13-06, 09:30 PM
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Do you have to box the bike up for Sorthwest to take it?
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Old 05-13-06, 09:32 PM
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First - you need to remind all UPS supervisors that UPS got its start as a bicycle delivery service.

Second - Yeah, their bike oversize charges are extortion. But they still offer reasonable rates - very reasonable - for business to business - so you need to ship LBS to LBS.
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Old 05-13-06, 09:46 PM
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I sent a guitar by UPS out of one of their stores and it cost me $150 from California to Tennesee.

Moral of the story - UPS and the other shipping services apparently have more business than they can handle. They simply don't give a crap about you or your shipping needs.
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Old 05-14-06, 07:23 AM
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You didn't happen to go to 'UPS Store'? Even though they use the same coloring as UPS, it is NOT UPS. It is a cover for Mail Boxes Etc. and they are a ripoff. They pay UPS the $26 and pocket the rest.
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Old 05-14-06, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by thomson
You didn't happen to go to 'UPS Store'? Even though they use the same coloring as UPS, it is NOT UPS. It is a cover for Mail Boxes Etc. and they are a ripoff. They pay UPS the $26 and pocket the rest.
UPS owns Mailboxes Etc.
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Old 05-14-06, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by IronMac
UPS owns Mailboxes Etc.
Indeed they do, but they are franchised and the franchisees seem to be able to set their prices. And it is quite a disparity from what UPS charges. The franchisee pockets the difference.
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Old 05-14-06, 08:10 AM
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Here's a couple tips:

UPS has several levels of oversize charges. Some bike boxes may be large enough to trigger the higer cost levels. It helps to check the limits before selecting your box.

You can avoid any Mailbox Etc. / UPS Store upcharges by setting up your own MyUPS account at ups.com. From there, you can create your own shipment, get the price, and print your shipping label. Once you've done that, you can drop your package off at any UPS shipping location, including a UPS Store without paying them anything. By using MyUPS you can enter your package dimensions and see any oversize charges before you print the label.
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Old 05-14-06, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by supcom
Here's a couple tips:

UPS has several levels of oversize charges. Some bike boxes may be large enough to trigger the higer cost levels. It helps to check the limits before selecting your box.

You can avoid any Mailbox Etc. / UPS Store upcharges by setting up your own MyUPS account at ups.com. From there, you can create your own shipment, get the price, and print your shipping label. Once you've done that, you can drop your package off at any UPS shipping location, including a UPS Store without paying them anything. By using MyUPS you can enter your package dimensions and see any oversize charges before you print the label.
Ya know, your post is why this forum is so good. While mine was just a rant without any real research. you provided a real solution. Thanks
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Old 05-14-06, 09:21 AM
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This is really odd, I've sent two bikes out using UPS and both of them came out to be about $35 each. I'd make sure you are going to a real UPS location, try to find your cities main distribution place and go there. You can check locations on their website.
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Old 05-14-06, 10:00 AM
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I realize that this is off-topic but it is worth mentioning for future consideration.

Since bike touring often involves sending the bike either to the beginning or home from the end of a tour, it might be worth getting a bike with or having an existing one converted to use S*S couplers. While they are pricey, say $750 when the couplers and travel case are purchased, an uncoupled bike can be packed in a suitcase and travels as luggage (free) on airplanes. Uncoupled bikes also are easily packed in car trunks.

Having the bike travel with you (so you know it arrived) and learning to pack and unpack it are two unseen benefits of the couplers. In addition to saving shipping fees, you also save on LBS reassembly fees.

I have couplers on my Waterford and have taken it by plane to England and Phoenix and driven all over California with it in the truck of my car.

I haven't gotten the $750 back in saved shipping fees, but I will eventually.

Ray
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Old 05-14-06, 08:28 PM
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OK what are "S*S couplers"?
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Old 05-14-06, 08:40 PM
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They are specially designed couplers that allow a bike to cut in half and then coupled together so that they are easier to transport. See https://www.sandsmachine.com/ for more information

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Old 05-14-06, 09:09 PM
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Yeeech!
Cutting my bike in half sounds like the biblical story of Solomon and the baby.
No thanks!
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Old 05-15-06, 03:20 PM
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Yes, the bike must be boxed for Southwest Airlines....
No, I did not use the UPS Store or Mail Boxes Etc. I went direct to the UPS service center. I think it was the oversize charge that got us.

Great tip...MyUPS. Had I done this I would have avoided any problems.
Thanks
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Old 05-15-06, 03:40 PM
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fedex ground is usually cheaper than UPS, and the fedex/kinkos retail locations aren't ripoff fronts. also, they're everywhere.
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Old 05-16-06, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ZachS
fedex ground is usually cheaper than UPS, and the fedex/kinkos retail locations aren't ripoff fronts. also, they're everywhere.
I agree. I shipped my bike from WI to DC via UPS (local hardware store was the front) for $23 but when I was ready to ship back the UPS store wanted well over $100 and that was after spending an hour there cutting the box down to a smaller size. I walked down the street to an LBS and shipped it home for $35 via Fedex.
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Old 05-17-06, 05:32 PM
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I shipped a Cannondale R400, a light bike, from the UPS store and got ripped for $125 - they said the box weighed 45lbs! I was in a hurry so I had no time to verify, but I did ask the lady to re-weigh. I just shipped a Cannondale M200 via USPS which came in at 35 lbs and cost $49 with insurance and confirmed delivery AND 2-DAY SHPPING!

UPS STORES RIP YOU OFF! USE POSTAL SERVICE!
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Old 05-17-06, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
Yeeech!
Cutting my bike in half sounds like the biblical story of Solomon and the baby.
No thanks!
It depends on the bike. The S&S couplers have been around awhile and a lot of custom and higher-end stock builders build bikes with them (Co-Motion, Bilenky, and many others). I understand they can even fit them to carbon frames now. Co-Motion chooses special tubesets for their separable bikes that are different from the standard tubing. I suppose the butting profile might be specified differently where the couplers are fitted near the back ends of the top tube and the downtube. If the tubes were very thin, there might be a need for an inner reinforcement near the coupler braze.

S&S says that retrofits are possible, though, and many frame builders do just that.
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Old 05-17-06, 11:06 PM
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ok, just shipped mine home fedex: $45 for a bike box filled w/ a bike and enough other crap to pad it and bring it up to 55 pounds.


the downside is that apparently they don't insure packages above $100 anymore.

but i probably should have *****ed out the manager about that, it doesn't make any sense...
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Old 05-18-06, 12:24 AM
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I use a Trico Sport's Iron Case. Designed to fit UPS oversize 1. Up to 70lbs, ground charge is 50-60USD depending on taxes. Thats with $1000 of insurance.
About the same price as carry on, but much less of a PITA. Plus, this box is bombproof and has tens of thousands of miles on it. I've got my $300 worth.
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Old 05-19-06, 11:29 AM
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UPS never again! I shipped my Cannondale SR500 to New Mex from Wisconsin over two weeks ahead of the start date of a weeklong tour with Cycle America in '98. My bike arrived half way through the week of the tour. I was refunded my ~$60. I was able to borrow one of the staff girls bikes and was able to ride. I'll fly or drive with my bike next time.
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Old 05-19-06, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by ZachS
ok, just shipped mine home fedex: $45 for a bike box filled w/ a bike and enough other crap to pad it and bring it up to 55 pounds.


the downside is that apparently they don't insure packages above $100 anymore.

but i probably should have *****ed out the manager about that, it doesn't make any sense...
I suspect that the liability limit is $100 unless you purchase additional insurance. However, before you pay extra for insurance, be sure you read and follow the packaging guidelines as published by the carrier. If you don't do that, a damage claim is likely to be denied.
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Old 05-19-06, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by supcom
I suspect that the liability limit is $100 unless you purchase additional insurance. However, before you pay extra for insurance, be sure you read and follow the packaging guidelines as published by the carrier. If you don't do that, a damage claim is likely to be denied.
that's what it was. the guy at the counter dicked me over because he was lazy or stupid or just an *******. but I had a nice conversation with his boss yesterday.
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