Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Bike box shipping and storing

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Bike box shipping and storing

Old 05-17-11, 05:22 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bike box shipping and storing

I am considering taking my first bicycle tour in a little less than a year. The hope is to fly into New Orleans and ride my tour bike over the next few days along the Great River Road to Baton Rouge. At that point, I would like to fly out of the Baton Rouge airport back home.

My only transportation will be the bike and my two feet. There is plenty of lodging along the way, and the roads are well mapped. I have until next March to save up for the needed bike accessories, the ticket, shipping costs, and the lodging. The only real problem left is what to do about the bicycle box.

I know the bike has to come and go in a box. The problem is that as soon as I arrive in New Orleans, I no longer need the box, and do not plan on returning to the city. Upon arrival to Baton Rouge, I will need a (the) box again to ship it out.

So, how do people normally handle this situation? Do you just buy boxes each time you get to the airport through the airline and throw them away after retrieving the bike? Or do you find a way to forward the box to the place where it is needed next? If that is possible, how do I turn around and ship a box immediately upon arrive to New Orleans towards an area in or around the Baton Rouge airport?

I have read about the pros and cons of cardboard temporary containers vs personal shipping boxes, and am not really committed to one or the other. How would you be sure you had easy access to bike boxes at the airports?
stevesheriw is offline  
Old 05-17-11, 06:26 PM
Senior Member
liamof's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Novato, CA outside SF
Posts: 54

Bikes: 2003 T800 Cannondale, 2015 Tournado Dehon break down touring bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Many Years ago I flew into Portland and flew out of Eugene Oregon, And did a week long coast tour between the two citys. If I remeber correctly I shipped the empty box with some assembly tools to the next airport. I can't remember the carrier (its been 20 years) but I think it was either Greyhound bus or Fed Ex, or some cheap airline. It didn't cost that much since its based on weight. It was nice since I put together my bike in the airport and sent the box to the next desination. It was at baggage claim when I rode up to the airport in Eugene. There were a few new holes in the box but it was worth it not to have to deal with it.
liamof is offline  
Old 05-17-11, 07:31 PM
bicycle tourist
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 2,306

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 479 Post(s)
Liked 265 Times in 179 Posts
For 1 way trips I've bought a new box at my departure point. In the US, I would just get it at the airport. In other countries, I've sometimes sought out bicycle shops.
mev is offline  
Old 05-17-11, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
yea, multiple choice.
I have made the return trip box out of a couple bike shop boxes..

KLM at AMS airport sells a big box, I liked riding from and to the airport
on the same paths the locals used to go to work there..

on a departure from SFO My recycled Amtrak box looked recycled ,
lots of packing tape to make it sound.
the staff wanted to do an inspection, but, when done,
gave me another box to repack in.
(many years ago)

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-17-11 at 08:07 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 05-17-11, 07:55 PM
Senior Member
pasopia's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 617

Bikes: soma double cross DC, giant reign

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I always just pick up a free cardboard bike box from a bike shop a couple days before I need to get on a plane. I've never had any problems. Since your trip is short, a few days before you arrive in each place just call some bike shops and ask if they will put a box aside for you.
pasopia is offline  
Old 05-17-11, 07:57 PM
Professional Fuss-Budget
Bacciagalupe's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 6,494
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 14 Posts
If I were you, I'd consider renting a bicycle in N.O. For such a short trip, that will make the process significantly easier.
Bacciagalupe is offline  
Old 05-18-11, 07:58 AM
Senior Member
BigBlueToe's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I've gotten a surplus box from a bike shop, but I had to call them a week in advance to make sure they had one that was intact and not in the cardboard recycle dumpster yet. It was free. On a tour down the Oregon coast I met four guys who had arranged with a hardware store in Brookings that sold bikes to save four boxes for them.

I have issues because my bike is so tall - it's a 62cm LHT. Two tours ago I took Amtrak and discovered that their bike boxes are about as big as they come. That's what I'll use from now on, when possible. I think they cost $10 new, and they often have used ones sitting around, for free I think. After my last tour I left mine at the station for the next person.

If I were you I'd call some bike shops in Baton Rouge and see what you can arrange. Or call Amtrak and see if they have a baggage section at their depot that has boxes.
BigBlueToe is offline  
Old 05-18-11, 08:13 AM
Senior Member
indyfabz's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,455
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18504 Post(s)
Liked 15,817 Times in 7,427 Posts
Depending on your airline, this might be cheaper and far more convenient:

Ship the bike UPS or FedEx to a local shop in your destination city. Have them assemble it. Arrange to have your bike boxed and shipped home by a shop in your destination city. Just make arrangements with the shops ahead of time.

We did this for a loop tour two years ago. Worked extremely well. The shipping was pretty darn cheap. Something like $45/bike each way from Philadelphia to Whitefish, MT. This may be because we had the LBS do the shipping and they get commercial rate that is lower than what the average Joe gets. You also don't have to deal with packing the bike yourself and getting it to/from airports. You land, get into town, go the shop, pick up your assembled and tuned bike and ride off. When you are done, you drop the bike off, forget about it and go have a beer.

Heading to Missoula in June for a loop tour and have already made similar arrangements with my home LBS and a local shop out there.

Several airlines (Southwest and now Frontier being exceptions) charge ourrageous fees for bikes. I think Delta is now over $200 each way.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-18-11, 08:14 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Belgium
Posts: 143
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
finding a box for free should not be so difficult before departure
on the way back it might be a little harder, just ask around
you don't particularly need a bike box either, plasma TV boxes work too, or just combine a couple of boxes
or in case of emergency you can buy a couple of rolls of plastic foil used to wrap food (easy to find), wrap around your bike many many times, it becomes very strong
wiiiim is offline  
Old 05-18-11, 08:44 AM
Senior Member
staehpj1's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 764 Times in 567 Posts
I generally fly with the bike to the start. I then discard the box and ride right out of the airport. I have done the return trip more than one way, but am most likely to pay a bike shop to pack and ship the bike home. Last time the total was $100 including the bike shop and shipping charges.

BTW I highly recommend either Southwest or Frontier. Some other airlines will charge as much as $200 just for the bike. If you can't use Southwest or Frontier it might be cheaper to ship to a bike shop. The last time the charge was $50 of the bike box and the bag with my panniers and stuff was free (it wasn't oversize or weight otherwise I think it would be $50 too).

To get panniers and gear to the start and home again I have used a couple different approaches:
  1. A suitcase from a thrift shop ($7).
  2. An expandable duffel bag from WalMart ($15) https://www.walmart.com/ip/Expandable...e-Bag/11069689
  3. A cardboard box.
If your gear doesn't fit in the suitcase or duffel you can use a smaller second one as a carry on. The WalMart collapsible ones come in a variety of sizes, are cheap and are readily available in most cities. They also fold into a small flat shape and can be carried easily on the bike. I prefer to not carry one for the whole trip, but it would be doable.

Last edited by staehpj1; 05-18-11 at 08:48 AM.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-20-11, 12:54 AM
Bike touring webrarian
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 2,071

Bikes: I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 120 Post(s)
Liked 94 Times in 53 Posts
If you aren't already a member, join warmshowers.org and couchsurfing.org and ask someone on the list in Baton Rouge if they will hold your bike box until you get there.

You will probably get a free place to stay in the bargain.

raybo is offline  
Old 05-20-11, 10:11 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thank you all for the advice. It looks like there are at least a few viable options. Now, all I have to do is get the gear together and figure out some dates.
stevesheriw is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
Tandem Tom
01-31-18 08:44 AM
Bicycle Mechanics
10-15-14 04:57 PM
04-22-13 01:22 PM
Classic & Vintage
02-10-12 08:07 PM
10-17-11 11:34 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.