No matter the means of transportation, it can be an ordeal to ship a bike from one place to another. Whether you’re driving, flying, or shipping by rail — there are always moments of doubt and worry. So what is the best way to ship a bicycle? If you know the answer to that, you can rest easy.
When you ship your bike, there are two options: an airline or a freight carrier. But there’s always the risk of damage like dinged wheels, bent stems, compressed tubes, loose screws, or dented frames. They can be a serious threat even if you’re just shipping across town. That’s why you need to choose a shipping method designed to handle fragile and high-value goods.
Shipping a bike can be a pain. While some might prefer to drive their new wheels home, many cyclists choose to ship their bikes. But shipping is not always easy, especially when the bike weighs more than 30 pounds. With various shipping options and different companies offering services, it’s hard to figure out what your best option really is. But by following these three steps, you’ll have your bike in its new home with no issues.
Bike Shipping Container
Before we dive in to answer the question, “What is the best way to ship a bicycle?” it’s important to know first the type of bike shipping container you should use to store your precious bike.
Whether it’s a softshell case, a cardboard box, or a hard shell shipping container, you want to be sure that your bike is kept safe. It might not look like much at first; an almost boring cube. But when you’re packing up your bike and shipping it thousands of miles away to the adventure you’ve been dreaming about, you want to know that it’s in good hands with the right storage.
For budget-conscious cyclists or those who travel with their bikes infrequently, a new or lightly-used cardboard box like K-9100 Compact AIRCADDY container is the cheapest way to ship a bicycle.
Just make sure to only select boxes from reputable sources like ShipBikes.com and BikeFlights.com as they can break down and lose their protective qualities if left out in the weather for long periods of time.
Cardboard boxes are extremely cheap and easy to find, but they aren’t as protective as shipping cases. It’s important to pack your bike carefully if you go this route. Since every inch of space in the box is precious, you will need to make sure that your bike is properly padded and secured with plenty of bubble wrap or foam pads.
For frequent travelers, purchasing a soft case like EVOC’s Bike Travel Bag Pro is a better option than a hard shell. It comes with built-in foam padding, which provides a nice level of protection without the added weight of a hard shell.
A hard-shell case with durable armor and built-in padding will keep your valuable bike protected from harm. Another advantage of hardshell cases is that they can be locked, preventing theft during transport. Thule’s Round Trip Sport Bike Travel Case offers these advantages.
If you are flying with your bike, a hardshell case or a cardboard box is a good bet. Many airlines prefer these types of cases, as they’re easy to move around on the loading ramp and in baggage holds.
Of course, you should know how bike packaging is done properly as this is key to figuring out what is the best way to ship a bicycle.
It’s one of the most repeated mantras in the cycling world: protect your bike. Whether you’re transporting it on a plane or ferry, driving it across the country in a van, or packing it up for a weekend trip, you need to create a safe space around it to protect from far more than just the elements.
So, after you have your preferred case, it’s time to pack your bike. When cases are designed well, it is easy to load your bike securely and without damaging it. Each case has its own practices for packing a bike safely and keeping the bike in good condition during transit. Follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging your property during transit.
Wrapping your bike in the foam blocks provided and placing them in the case with care is important to make sure that your bike is secure and protected before you start driving down the road. You don’t want to get halfway through your trip and realize that you forgot something or made a mistake with the packing. Don’t be caught off-guard.
Packing a bike is always a challenge, especially if you’re a first-timer. Follow this handy video for an easy step-by-step guide to dismantling your bike without breaking your Seatpost, derailleur, and pedals. Remember: always keep your bearings lubricated!
Before closing your case, make sure that all of your parts are well cushioned with protective pads and/or bubble wrap. Pay special attention to the corners of your bike, as they tend to be the weakest points in a travel case. A quick shake can tell you if your packing was successful — If something is making a noise, double-check that everything’s in properly and then re-pack it.
What is the best way to ship a bicycle? Using a bike shipping service, flying with it, or taking it to carriers like UPS or FedEx?
If you don’t want to haul your bicycle around in the car (plus bike racks are inconvenient and often hard to come by, especially in New York City), flying with it is a tempting option. The cost of checking a bike on most airlines is upwards of $150. There won’t be any guarantee that your precious cargo will arrive without harm.
If you’re checking your bike in, you should know that international airlines also carry a higher risk of bike loss. They often transfer bikes to smaller carriers or local haulers, who may not have the specialized tools and equipment needed to handle them properly, which could result in your bike being lost.
For some, delivering a bike via ground shipping is ideal. BikeFlights offers competitive shipping prices but also makes sure that the bicycle gets delivered on time. BikeFlights offers its customers up to $500 in refunds for any late or missing deliveries. For riders who are specific about when they want to ride their new bike or who get anxious waiting for an item that has been shipped, this is the best solution.
Using BikeFlights for shipping your bike, you can get a quote and book shipping in just a few simple steps. Enter your starting point (for example, New York City) and destination (for instance, San Francisco), and their shipping calculator will show you options of carriers, prices, and the day you can expect it to arrive. You can also track your shipment using their website 24/7.
When you’re entering a delivery date for your bike, you can choose between “Delivery By” (if the deadline is firm) or “Ship By” (if you have a flexible due date). Once you’ve input your quote, BikeFlights can make sure that a licensed and insured courier will pick up all the way to its destination, through its convenient shipping system. Shipbikes.com is also an alternative if you’re looking for a variety of shipping options.
If a bike shipping service sounds like a no-go for you, you can always go with FedEx or UPS, which are the cheapest way to ship a bicycle. They’re also better for transporting bikes than any other option out there. FedEx offers doorstep pickup and delivery options, and its rates are usually affordable, though UPS’s rates can be even better.
Packing and crating your bike for shipping can be a stressful and grueling process. This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of experience in the matter. To minimize the damage risk, pay a little extra to protect your bike when sending it through services like BikeFlights. This bike shipping service offers premium protection and insurance for all shipments. This will help you ensure that your bike arrives in good condition and on time — and keep you from panicking while it’s in transit.
You have a lot of options when it comes to shipping your bike. If you’re looking for the answer to “What is the best way to ship a bicycle?” and by that you mean the cheapest way to ship a bicycle, checking your bike as baggage is one of the most economical ways to do it. Some airlines allow you to check a bike for free. There are other airlines that have fees in excess of $150 per leg.
Each airline’s policies are different, and some might not even allow bikes at all. Your best bet is to call your airline before you book a plane ticket. You need to make sure that they will fly with you on the plane. Some airlines require only that bikes are fully assembled and packaged in plastic bags. There are others that will not accept bikes without additional protection.
If you’re not going to be on the flight, UPS and FedEx also both provide shipping options. They ship to almost every location in the world. There are also services like bikeflights.com and ShipBikes.com. These two can get your bike to its destination for a lower price than the big carriers.
So that’s it!
What is the best way to ship a bicycle for you? Do you find it the cheapest way to ship a bicycle? Comment down below.