How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Bike?

Not every trip is just a car ride away. Sometimes its much easier to ship your bike.

So…

How much does it cost to ship a bike from spot to the next?

Well, it depends on how much where you are going and how much you are willing to spend.

In this guide, I will help answer all your questions and give you some great ideas to get you started!

What is the Cost To Ship A Bike?

The cost to ship your bike depends on where you’re shipping your bike to and which shipping company you choose. Many shipping companies require you to pack your bike yourself.

You can buy a bike box and other shipping supplies like bubble wrap and packing tape from the shipping company you’re using to ship your bike. If you’re using a bike box to ship your bike, choose one that fits your bike.

They come in all sizes.

Bike boxes aren’t expensive and they’re sold on many online sites. But you may prefer something sturdier, like a soft bag, a wooden crate or a bike travel case.

Bike travel cases protect your bike the best. They are expensive, but if you travel a lot with your bike, it might be a good investment. 

Shipping costs:

  • FedEx- $50 to $150 depending upon where you’re shipping your bike. Insurance will cost you more. 
  • UPS-You’ll pay somewhere around $100 to $130. This doesn’t include insurance costs.
  • ShipBikes-This can be a low-cost way to ship your bike. All they ship are bikes, so they know their stuff. You may need to pack your bike for shipping or they may offer this service for a fee.  Costs run around $70 and up.
  • Bike Shipping Services-This service picks up and delivers your bike to your destination. No packing up your bike. This service isn’t cheap, but it’s convenient. The cost depends upon how soon you want your bike. For instance, a bike shipped from Washington DC to Dallas, Texas costs $174, for a one-week delivery.
  • BikeFlights– Good rates. Shipping bikes is all they do. You can buy a shipping box, print and arrange to ship all in one website. 

Whether you choose a more traditional method of shipping your bike or a bike shipping company, your cost depends on the size of your bike, the destination and the service you choose.

How To Pack A Bike For Shipping

how to pack a bicycle

Every shipping company has similar directions on how to pack your bike. Here’s a general rundown on how you must pack your bike. 

Steps For Packing Your Bike For Shipping Include:

  • Remove the handlebars, wrap them in foam to prevent scratching. They sell cushion wrap foam online. It will keep the parts of your bike from getting scratched up.
  • Remove the saddle and front wheel. Wrap the seat in foam wrap.
  • Remove the pedals and wrap them in bubble wrap.
  • Remove the front brake or you can loosen the brake cable.
  • Place a fork spacer between the front forks to keep them from getting bent during shipping 
  • Remove the front wheel. Put a large piece of foam wrap on the right side of your bike’s frame. Put the removed wheel against the foam wrap. Tie the wheel with bungee cords to the foam wrapped bike frame.
  • Let the air out of your back wheel. 
  • Give slack to the cables by shifting gears.
  • Remove the rear derailleur and wrap it with foam. Tape or tie it to the back wheel. Wrap all this with foam. 
  • Wrap any exposed area of your bike’s frame with wrapping foam
  • Place your bike into the box. Place any parts you removed from your bike into the box. Stick a piece of paper inside the box with your destination’s address in case the box gets opened. It’s unlikely, but a good idea to be on the safe side. 
  • Be sure there is no rattling or bulging on the sides
  • Print out the shipping label if using FedEx or UPS. Tape it to the box.
  • Take your bike to the shipping company’s facility to be shipped. 

What Happens When My Bike Arrives At The Destination?

Many bikers choose to have their bike shipped to a bike shop at their destination rather than to a private address or a hotel.

Bike shops are safer than having your bike sit out on somebody’s front porch or a hotel storage area. Bike thief is common. 

Besides safety, one advantage to a local bike shop is that they can reassemble your bike for you.

This will cost you extra, but it’s a worthwhile price to pay for this convenience. You may want to call ahead to the bike shop to let them know your bike when your bike will arrive.

So by the time you get to your destination, your bike will be ready for you. If there isn’t a local bike shop in the destination you’re headed to, be sure to notify the residents or hotel where your bike is headed. 

Ask them to call or text your when your bike arrives.  If your bike is shipped to a private address or hotel,  it will be up to you to reassemble your bike.

Be sure to pack your bike tools in the bike case or shipping box with your bike. Shipping services won’t cover damage to your bike if it’s not packed correctly.

But…

bike shipping companies like BiikeFlights, offer good protection if your bike gets damaged during the shipping process.

Whichever company you choose, check on their insurance policies and shell out the money for the best possible coverage for your bike. This will give you peace of mind that your bike will arrive safely.

How To Ship Your Bike From A Bike Store

Check out your local bike store to see if they ship bikes. It’s a no-stress solution.

Take your bike to the bike store. For a fee, they will disassemble your bike, wrap it up and box it for shipping.

You can have them ship it to an address or to a bike shop at your destination.

This is convenient since you can have the receiving bike shop assemble your bike for you. When it’s time to go home, you can repeat the process in reverse.

Many bikers prefer this method of shipping their bike, but it will cost you more. 

How To Take Your Bike With You On A Plane

How to Take a Bicycle on a Plane

You may prefer to take your bike with you on the airplane. Most airlines allow you to check your bike.

I have written a more in-depth guide all about taking your bike on plane click here to check it out!

Each airline has its own size requirements whether you use a cardboard box, hard bike case or a soft bag.

They will store your bike in the cargo area, so it’s important to choose a box that protects your bike from damage.

Here’s what you’ll pay if you bring your bike depending upon the airline.

Domestic airlines:

  • Alaskan-$30 to take your bike as one of your checked bags. They will store your bike in the cargo hold.
  • United-Standard price for a bike packed according to the airline’s requirements is $150 
  • American Airlines-Standard checked bag to the destination up to 50 pounds is $150

International airlines:

  • British airlines-You can take your bike as one of your checked bags. Call the airline’s contact center 72 hours before traveling to let them know you’re bringing your bike with you. You must tell them what kind of container your bike is in and what it weighs. Because there’s limited space on the airplane,  you’ll be more likely to get your bike on board if you contact them ahead.
  • KLM- This airline has a size and weight requirements. You must call ahead to confirm you’re bringing your bike. They only allow three bikes per plane, so the call is important. Cost ranges from $100 to $150.

You might want to research your airline’s requirements.  Airlines policies are forever changing. So, even if you’ve traveled a year ago with your bike, it might be worth calling the airline. Many bikers tell stories of arriving at the airport only to find out they didn’t follow all the requirements and couldn’t take their bike with them. 

Here are some questions you might want to ask when you call the airline:

  1. What kind of bike bag or box does this airline require? Are there any bike bags they won’t allow?
  2. What is the cost to bring a bike?
  3. Where will your bike be stored?
  4. What is the cost if it’s overweight?
  5. Do you need to call ahead of your flight date?
  6. What are their weight requirements?
  7. What are the dimension requirements? 
  8. Will your bike get put on the luggage carousel for pick up? (Many bikes are damaged on the luggage carousel from getting caught) Is there another way to pick it up? 
  9. Do you need to purchase special insurance if you bring your bike? 

Be sure your bag fits the airline’s weight requirements, otherwise, they’ll charge you extra money for being overweight.

Sometimes they won’t allow an overweight bag on the plane.  Here are some pros and cons of different traveling bike travel bags. 

Cardboard boxes

Pros: These bike boxes offer some protection. Cardboard bike boxes aren’t expensive. You can fit all the parts of your bike inside the box.

Cons: Airlines often stack these boxes on their sides which can cause damage to your bike.

Soft Bike Bag

Pros: Your bike has more protection than a cardboard box.  You can put everything inside the bag. 

Cons: Because baggage handlers can’t see your bike so they are often less careful in how they handle the bag. 

They will probably send your bike down the conveyor belt onto the plane, they sometimes they fall off.

Bags are more expensive than a cardboard box. You must take your bike apart. 

Hard Bike Case

Pros: Indestructible, your bike will be very safe. Rare risks of damage. You can put everything in this case plus more.

These cases are not only hard to damage but hard to steal. 

Cons-The cases are large and hard-sided, so it’s difficult to find a place to store them once you arrive at your destination. 

The case is heavy, your airline may charge extra for the weight. Hard cases are very expensive, but if you travel a lot with your bike, it might be worth the expense.

How To Take Your Bike With You On A Train

Most local commuter trains or distance trains allow bikes. Commuter trains require that you arrive early and go through special areas for bikes.

They allow you on the train with your bike as long as you stay with it. Commuter trains often limit how many bikes per car.

For instance, the Chicago Transit Authority allows only two bikes per car. 

Amtrak offers both train side checking where bikes get checked and stored inside baggage cars and carry-on where bikes are stored in bike racks or areas inside the passenger coaches.

Most of the Amtrak charges as little as $20 or less to bring your bike. You can pay for your bike when you buy your ticket. 

Conclusion

Bringing your bike along on your trip is like bringing a good friend along with you. If you plan on doing a lot of riding during your vacation, it’s better to have your own bike rather than renting one.

You’ll want to research the safest and most cost-effective way to get your bike to your destination.

If you’re traveling across the U. S, shipping from your local bike shop might be your best choice.

But there are many other good shipping options out there. Bike shipping companies only ship bikes, so they offer great services at a reasonable price.

The other option is to bring your bike with you on the plane or train, so you won’t need to wait for your bike to arrive.

If you decide to do this, be sure to do your research on what your airline or the train requires for flying with your bike.

Whichever way you choose to get your bike to your destination, be sure to take time to relax and unwind as you enjoy the ride. 

Your comments are welcome!

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