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twerney 09-07-11 06:04 AM

Advice on one way tour: shipping before or after, what is best.
Hi, I am doing a tour either from CT to LA or the opposite. I am riding out or back for my daughters graduation. Those of you who ship bikes prefer ship prior or after your tour? My plan up to yesterday was to ride out and ship the gear back east. The problem is I am on a time restraint and would have to leave the North east in late March. My plan is to go south to SC then west. I am not sure if I want to have the hassle before or after the tour. Thanks Mike

SBRDude 09-07-11 06:25 AM

Boxing and shipping is a bit of a hassle, but not that bad. All things being equal, I would much rather start by not shipping it so that I know for sure all my stuff won't get lost somehow and delay the start of the trip. After that consideration, I would next decide which direction I wanted to ride and if I had a strong preference for one direction or the other, I would likely make that my primary consideration. If not, then just start from home and ship it back.

CCrew 09-07-11 06:29 AM

Also account for the fact that the prevailing winds are west to east :)

motobecane69 09-07-11 07:10 AM

you don't want to get stuck somewhere and miss your daughters graduation so I would say do it after unless you have enough money to cover you in a worst case scenario.

twerney 09-07-11 07:42 AM

Thanks, I know both points being considered, it comes down to worrying before or after. I have a Safari bike (navorro) I might check and see if I could ship the bike through REI. They might offer that service ship Store to store. I would hate to have things get lost . I really want to do this trip. Have you shipped your bikes before? I am guessing ground transfer is cheapest. Is this true?

valygrl 09-07-11 07:50 AM

Just take it on the plane with you in a cardboard box. Southwest and Frontier have reasonable shipping charges. Or ship it UPS of FedEx.

Shipping is the absolute last consideration for how to choose your tour - do you really want to screw yourself for route & weather for 2 months in order to avoid a small amount of hassle?

Sounds like starting in LA is a much better option -for weather, for not having a time constraint for completing your tour, for route, and *possibly* for wind.

SBRDude 09-07-11 07:56 AM

You can check out one of these services specializing in shipping bikes:

twerney 09-07-11 08:45 AM

Thanks for the link, I feel shipping first is best, I have to run the new dates by my supervisor but don't anticipate a problem. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier. I am mapping my own route I will just reverse it. To many things on the pro side of my list. Weather, campgrounds will be open in may , winds having more time (two weeks longer) Now I will have to research shipping. I think having the bike shipped to a bike shop makes sense if they will hold it for me. Many ppl feel ground shipping is safer easier, cheaper. I guess I will have to take off fenders, racks. being a touring bike might not fit into a case. Ok going for the shippiing first, thanks all.

indyfabz 09-07-11 08:56 AM

Originally Posted by CCrew (Post 13189824)
Also account for the fact that the prevailing winds are west to east :)

Depends where and when. E.g., in some states during the some months, the prevailing winds can be out of the southeast. Remember, we are talking surface winds, not the jetstream.

OP: Regardless of direction, one option is to use local shops. Have a shop at either end professionally box and ship your bike to a shop at the other end, where it can be assembled and tuned and ready to ride. If you have stove, put it in a ditty bag and have the shop pack it along with your bike to avoid any problems with the TSA. We have used shops for two loop tours far from home and it has worked fine. The extra cost is worth it to us. The bikes are ready to ride when we arrive. At the end of the tour, we drop the bikes off and relax before flying home. Boxing a bike for shipping at one end and having it reassembled at the other end is going too cost you what? $75-80 max (plus shipping)?

Cyclebum 09-07-11 09:07 AM

Ride east, after your daughter's big event. Store to store shipping would be great if REI can co operate. If not, Fedex or UPS to a receiving bike shop. Check with you local bike shop to see if they provide packing/shipping service. That may be the least hassle option.

Least expensive option would be you pack it and fly SW to LA. Bike should go for $50 if you can get it in 80'' box, l+w+h. It can be done. For standard bike box, best call and see what their practice is as it's not addressed in the rules/regs.

pdlamb 09-07-11 11:04 AM

I chose to ship after the trip; others argue for riding home. In your case, I'd ship before the trip and ride back, for two reasons. First, you've got the hard stop of her graduation past you, rather than looming. Second, you wouldn't need to worry about pass closures and late winter storms as much by leaving later. Of course, you could argue that one either way.

That assumes you can modify your route eastbound to come further north. If you're going through SC, summer heat is going to be a b**** compared to the spring.

Headwinds are against you either way. There's only a difference if you ride at 30,000 feet.

Cyclebum 09-07-11 11:20 AM

Originally Posted by pdlamb (Post 13191064)
Headwinds are against you either way. There's only a difference if you ride at 30,000 feet.

Right you are. I joke that when two cyclist meet, each will have a headwind.

BUT, experience has been that westerlies tend to be stronger than easterlies, and the odds are better for westerlies, at least west of the Mississippi. All you gotta do to to confirm this is look at which ways the few trees in OK and KS lean.

I'm gonna take a tour where my direction each day will depend entirely on which way the wind is blowing. Call it the "Thar He Blows" tour.

fietsbob 09-07-11 11:46 AM

It's Common to receive Boxed Tour bikes here , the LBS assembles them ,
( unless box is labeled not to, then It's a DIY project upon arrival)
and the traveller arrives with their stuffed panniers .
Eastbound, along southern tier should be OK in March..
You cross desert, LA is built on one, so prepare to carry abundant water.

twerney 09-08-11 05:46 AM

Thanks all, I appreciate the shipping and direction help. I talked this over with (level headed) GF.. She reminded me of my original plan with my daughter. years ago (before I even knew what college she might attend) I told her if she is out in Cali I will ride out for her graduation. Seriously. So about two years ago I remebered that and started planning. I have not toured on a bicycle in 30 years, back in the late 70s early 80s. So I was reminded of my original plan and agreed I will stick with it. Even though going west to east is a better choice. I called REI. They will box it up but not ship it. I will call some bike shops out there and ground transfer it back East. I like a challenge and this will be one in march. I bought a hefty tent for weather. I need some cold weather gear. Much planning to I need to cover some ground being still employed going on limited leave(two months) I did triathlons before gearing up for this ride. I have a navarro safari 30lb bike. I have difficulty cruising at 15mph with out packs. I have all day to ride and going alone (unless anyone is riding then) I will cruise. thanks all.

valygrl 09-08-11 06:58 AM

Seriously, I think your daughter would prefer you to have a great vacation than to arrive at her graduation stressed, cold and miserable. Talk to her about it.


indyfabz 09-08-11 08:04 AM

Originally Posted by valygrl (Post 13194852)
Seriously, I think your daughter would prefer you to have a great vacation than to arrive at her graduation stressed, cold and miserable.

Starting in March and leaving only two months for the trip, might he have pass trouble out west? Sounds like daylight might be an issue, at least early on.

pdlamb 09-08-11 10:18 AM

Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 13195150)
Starting in March and leaving only two months for the trip, might he have pass trouble out west? Sounds like daylight might be an issue, at least early on.

Heading for SC, it sounds to me like he'll be close to the Southern Tier. I wouldn't expect trouble by mid-April, unless for some reason OP's route takes him further north.

twerney 09-09-11 05:52 AM

Thanks, Valygrl, I thought about the stress, I will have it either way, well during graduation I would be kind of stressed about the trip not having done one in years. I also would be stressed if things were damaged or lost during shipping and have to run around dealing with all of that. I have the same amount of time either way, but agree indyfabz, that daylight will be an issue early on. so trying to get 90 mile days in might be difficult. I am planning on going through Tenn, Ark, north Texas NM I feel after SC I should be ok. (tornados) as far as cold temps. I worry about the first 10 days or so. Going east would be much more comfortable I would want to get back by July 4th week. leaving Cali May 13th. Ok this is not firmly set yet, I will give it more thought. Thanks.

SBRDude 09-09-11 07:58 AM

I agree that there are headaches and stresses with whatever decision you make. As such, do what your heart tells you and what makes sense to you.

twerney 09-14-11 05:42 AM

Having 6 months left I am entertaining all options, My latest is to travel to SC Charleston and ride x country from there. This gives me a cushion with time , better weather and should be plenty of time to explore things. Instead of the 70-90 miles a day I can get by with 60-70. The draw back is shipping the bike twice, I might rent a car and drive to SC.

SlimRider 09-14-11 09:58 AM

Hey there Twerney!

IMHO you'd be much better off riding east to west via a southern route, if you start in March. Also, touring doesn't necessarily have to stress you out. Just plan your trip well and keep pace. Leave yourself a few days extra to get there. Once arriving close to LA (say 40-60 miles), get a hotel room and chill out for a day before the LA drama.

Practice disassembling and reassembling your bike a few times, before boxing it. Box your bike and fly it back with you on your flight. You can take a Taxi van back to your home or you can ride your bike back home. Make certain that you have contacted some bike shop (possibly REI) ahead of time, to make box reservations. You don't want them to tell you at the last minute that they don't have any boxes available to you.

Water is vital on all tours, especially on this one!

Good Luck!
- Slim :)

twerney 09-17-11 11:52 AM

Thanks slim rider I finally gave up and decided not to push it, I will start in SC and go west. Looking fwd to this tour, I haven't toured on a bike since around 1985. I got most of the gear working on a route. Going up to Tenn through the hills into Ark. looks real nice. having the extra time really helps

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