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Vancouver, BC Canada Tourers! Any good bike shops that I can ship my bike to?

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Vancouver, BC Canada Tourers! Any good bike shops that I can ship my bike to?

Old 07-08-10, 03:28 PM
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lshobo
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Vancouver, BC Canada Tourers! Any good bike shops that I can ship my bike to?

Title pretty much explains it. I was gonna do a cross-country tour this summer but postponing it until next year. Instead, I'll be riding from Vancouver to SF with a couple of friends.

We've figured that the most practical way to get our gear there, or at least our bikes, is to ship it all to a local bike shop about a week and a half before we actually fly there. Then we can drop by and pick up our bikes upon arrival.

Has anyone ever done this? Does anyone have any good leads on bike shops in the Vancouver area that would be cool with this? We'll mention them on our blog!!!
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Old 07-08-10, 09:22 PM
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Mighty Riders on Broadway is a great shop, 604 879 8705, there are lots of shops in Vancouver, though. They are close to a skytrain station that you could use to get from the airport.
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Old 07-08-10, 11:02 PM
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My personal favorite is Bikes on the Drive for good old fashioned knowledgeable customer service without attitude. Dunno if they can help you out but worth a call. (604) 215-7433

They are a bus ride away from a Sky Train station or a decent stroll (but not with luggage).
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Old 07-09-10, 01:56 AM
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Yeah or you could also try Jett Grrl Bike Studio or Dream Cycle both in East Vancouver. They both have websites and are very down to earth people unlike Mighty Riders where more than a few people have walked away in disgust...okay maybe it's just me but I find MR to be kind of holier than thou and unreliable.

Anyways good luck, I've never heard of a bike shop doing this but it's worth checking out.
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Old 07-10-10, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for the tips, guys.

Was also thinking about contacting MEC in Vancouver and seeing if they'd be cool with receiving our bikes. MEC seems similar to REI here, and the people at REI in my experience are pretty cool, so hopefully...
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Old 07-11-10, 09:38 AM
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That's a smart idea - MEC has a bike service department in the Vancouver store - you might try calling and asking for that department and speak with one of their folks. Certainly they've got some warehouse space!

At Bike's on the Drive I'd ask to speak to Autumn. She'll be able to tell you straight away if they can meet your needs. Recently I had these folks do a bunch of upgrades to a 26 year old Miyata touring bike that I've owned since day one and I'm very impressed with the time and attention they took to working with me and doing the work on the bike. The bike is happy too.
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Old 07-11-10, 12:23 PM
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Start in Victoria BC...you'll get a much smaller more pleasant city to start in and you can avoid Vancouver traffic by taking one of two ferries...either to just south of Vancouver or to just south of Seattle.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:21 AM
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Victoria is certainly a pleasant city to ride in and visit... our family makes an annual pilgrimage there by bike and we'll be there next week. Vancouver has its own delights as well. Doing both is certainly an option!

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Old 07-12-10, 02:28 AM
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Our Community Bikes could be an option, OCB is filled with friendly and helpful people.

MEC is a good idea since it is close to the Skytrain on Cambie.
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Old 07-12-10, 11:17 AM
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Is this typical? Shipping your bike to a commercial shop? Anywho, have you considered that shipping from the US could trigger duty and custom inspection problems for you, and the potential recipient of your bike? Sounds like a nightmare, I wouldn't personally want anything to do with. While if you bring the bike by plane you are pretty much in for the shafting on luggage, but no real reason why it should be any worse inspection wise than for any traveller. Parcel inspections and personal chatels can attract different attention.
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Old 07-12-10, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
Anywho, have you considered that shipping from the US could trigger duty and custom inspection problems for you, and the potential recipient of your bike?
If it were me, I would not want to mess with shipping it across the border into Canada because of potential delays, customs issues, etc. Probably would be ok, might not be.

In any case ,depending on your travel plans, you could just as easily ship your bike to a shop in Seattle and start the trip from here, or, if you wanted to start closer to the Canada border, up to Bellingham.

There are a ton of shops in Seattle that are worth checking out -- there is a bike shop called Speedy Reedy that offers this service all the time because they cater to triathletes who ship their bikes in and out of town all the time. Also try -- Montlake, Recycled Cycles, Gregg's, Elliott Bay, Counterbalance....
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Old 07-12-10, 12:08 PM
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There are luggage forwarding companies that do all the required paperwork and shipment, offer insurance, and other services - for a fee. For example http://www.luggageforward.com/ charges 149 to ship a bike one way (US only) and 349$ for US to Canada. Others charge upward of 500$.

Depending on the airline, flying with it ought to be cheaper and less hassle when it comes to customs.
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Old 07-12-10, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mwatkins View Post
There are luggage forwarding companies that do all the required paperwork and shipment, offer insurance, and other services - for a fee. For example http://www.luggageforward.com/ charges 149 to ship a bike one way (US only) and 349$ for US to Canada. Others charge upward of 500$.

Depending on the airline, flying with it ought to be cheaper and less hassle when it comes to customs.
I think you could ship a bike yourself (UPS) to a US bike shop for under $100.
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Old 07-12-10, 01:25 PM
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Hmm. Interesting food for though. I didn't realize shipping to Canada might trigger a whole host of customs issues.

Yes, bringing it on the plane would certainly be easier and cheaper, but I don't trust baggage handlers too much. I picked up a second-hand, decent case for a good price and am not too worried about it, but my friends more than likely would only have a cardboard bike box. Even if we did bring cases, we would still have to ship the cases back to our respective homes in the US. Less hassle than shipping a bike maybe, but still...

Seattle does seem like a logical and practical starting point, but for some reason, we have had our heart set on setting off from Vancouver. Although Victoria does seem like an attractive alternative. We also do have a friend in Vancouver, and this trip would afford us the opportunity to visit them.

We'll marinate on these suggestions and opinions. Thanks...very helpful for sure.
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Old 07-12-10, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by lshobo View Post

Seattle does seem like a logical and practical starting point, but for some reason, we have had our heart set on setting off from Vancouver. Although Victoria does seem like an attractive alternative. We also do have a friend in Vancouver, and this trip would afford us the opportunity to visit them.
You can get up to the border quite easily from Seattle.

Options would be:
1. Take a shuttle direct from the airport up to Bellingham, that puts you right close to the border and you could cycle on to Vancouver or have your friend pick you up.
2. You can take a high-speed ferry service, the Victoria Clipper, from downtown Seattle to Victoria. Bikes are $10 extra.
3. You can ride up to Victoria -- ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, then ride to Port Townsend, ferry to Whidbey Island, ride to Anacortes, ferry to Victoria. Alternative is to ride to Port Angeles and take ferry to Victoria.
4. Our you can just ride from Seattle to Vancouver -- it's a two-day ride; look for a ride at www.cascade.org called "RSVP - Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party" -- it's a big ride each year. Just follow that route to Vancouver.
5. Amtrak from downtown Seattle to Vancouver, the Amtrak station in Vancouver is right downtown.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
2. You can take a high-speed ferry service, the Victoria Clipper, from downtown Seattle to Victoria. Bikes are $10 extra.
lshobo - if you can find an acceptable way of getting all bikes to Seattle, the above mentioned route might be just the ticket. Take the Clipper to Victoria, visit a day or so (nice cycling, many points of interest) and then when ready to go to Vancouver you can ride north along the Lochside trail to the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay. Scenic / fun. If your schedule permits I'd highly recommend going to Victora *and* Vancouver, assuming you plan to take some time to take in the sights.

Check the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trail brochure (pdf).

The ferry to the mainland is 13.70 for adults plus 2.00 for your bike; unlike cars, bikes always get on, front of the line.

You'll disembark the ferry in Tsawwassen which is another 30K away from Vancouver proper. As you head north to Vancouver you'll encounter the Massey Tunnel -- bikes are not permitted to ride through but a free shuttle service exists (check the schedule) to move you and your bike under the Fraser River.

From there you can continue north through Richmond over the north arm of the Fraser River crossing a fairly new ped-cycle bridge under the new Canada line. Or, depending on the time of day and inclination, you can access SkyTrain service with your bikes. More information on Transit and cycling routes in the Vancouver area can be found at http://www.translink.ca/en/Cycling/Cycling-Routes.aspx

Even if you can't spend the time in Victoria, you might still like the ride - it'll be a longish day because of the ferries but the cycling distance - 60 - 80K depending on where your local Vancouver contact actually lives - isn't too onerous and much of it is fairly straightforward riding.

A longer alternative to this trip would be to ride north of Victoria to Nanaimo, take the ferry there to Horseshoe Bay and cycle through the popular Marine Drive route (hilly twisty coastal road but very scenic) in West Vancouver (which is actually north of Vancouver city proper), cross the Lions Gate Bridge south (good cycle access there) to Vancouver downtown.
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Old 07-12-10, 04:37 PM
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OMG, thanks BengeBoy and MWatkins for the extremely valuable help and information. I think one of these or a combination thereof might be the way to go.

I've come up with another possible option thanks to you guys. Do you think this would be fun/interesting/feasible/practical?

Drive small moving truck to Seattle. Bike from Seattle to Vancouver. Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria and ride the trails. Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, WA. Bike 101 in Washington around Olympic National Park and down to Portland, OR (touristy stuff). From Portland, head to the coast and down to SF.

It seems kinda fun. Will still get to see everything between Seattle and Vancouver. How is 101 around Olympic National Park? Doesn't seem like many services available out there. I have no problem flying as it would definitely be faster. Renting a small moving truck seems fine too - 3 guys & 3 bikes plus gear should be no problem. Three guys also to share the driving duties and split the costs (around $200-250 each total)

Also, aside from Massey Tunnel, would it be okay to ride through Surrey and bike on the Pattullo Bridge into New Westminster? Looks like it is okay in Google Street View...haha, but I'd rather hear it from locals.
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Old 07-12-10, 05:28 PM
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101 around Olympic National Park is OK. There will be some traffic, including trucks, but you will need to get used to that anyway going down the coast. There are not a ton of services, but enough to keep you going. You can look on Crazyguyonabike.com and find many, many journals of cyclists who have taken this route.

As long as you are flexible on your schedule, you should also consider making the San Juan Islands (off the coast of Anacortes, Washington, between the US and Canada) as part of your trip. You can ferry there from Anacortes or from Seattle. You could spend a day on San Juan Islands, Orcas Island and Lopez Island, or just two of the 3, and have a great time. Easy enough to schedule either on your way to or from Vancouver.
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