(I did a few searches but couldn't find this discussed anywhere before -- if it has been, please let me know!)

At the end of the summer I'm moving to Oregon. I'm trying to figure out how to get my bike out there and would appreciate some advice. The way I see it, there are two issues: the boxing issue, and the shipping issue.

Boxing: My bike is less than a year old and cost a pretty penny, so rather than attempt to pack it myself or entrust it to the folks at the UPS store, it seems wisest to take it to a bike shop to be packed up by pros. Any recommendations about a place you'd trust to box up a bike well? I'm in the Lakeview area.

Shipping: I've got about three weeks between leaving Chicago and arriving in Oregon. Since I don't need the bike to get there right away (and wouldn't be there to receive it if it did), I'm considering sending it by parcel post, since that's pretty much the cheapest option. Are there any reasons why this is a terrible idea?

Any other suggestions, or things I'm overlooking?

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I've used BikeFlights and been happy with it. Dropped it at my LBS (Boulevard Bikes), filled out the form online and paid for it, and it showed up at the destination safe ad sound. Shop packed it, BF picked it up and shipped it via FedEx, I think. You can schedule the shipment whenever you like.

Just dropped a frame at FedEx that I shipped using bikeflights.com.  The rates are consistently good.  I think most shops can box your bike, though bikeflights will also show shops near you.  Not sure if there is some implicit relationship there or if bf just does a little Google Maps mash-up.

Any shop that sells new bikes will pack it for you, and sees FedEx/UPS trucks daily that can pick up your bike. You might be able to save a few bucks over Bikeflights by contacting the carrier directly, but the rate quote I pulled up just now seems pretty competitive. If you do choose to DIY, you can usually snag a free used box from any bike shop. Packing's not a terribly difficult task (plenty of tutorials online), and you then get to control how much padding you put in.

That said, I wouldn't entrust Parcel Post with a pet rock, much less your shiny bike; use FedEx/UPS Ground at the very least.

For my relatively lightweight move halfway across the country, I used FedEx for most of the heavy lifting and took most of the rest, including two bikes, with me on Amtrak.

I have shipped a frame, a wheelset, and a complete bike, the latter a very nice vintage Bianchi, long distances (CA and NY respectively) very satisfactorily via FedEx *Ground*.  Shipping the Bianchi to NY was only about $35.00, though that was a few years ago and I know rates have gone up. It only took a couple of days to get there. UPS rates were stratospheric as the box size puts it into 'dimensional weight' category, and you end up paying as if it weighs 2x or more what it really does.

I packed all these myself, for the frame and the Bianchi I used pipe insulation around all the tubing, removed the wheels and attached them to the frame with cable ties (well padded), cut all cables so the bars could be removed and stowed sideways, and put chunks of styrofoam in the 'hollows' to stiffen the box sideways.  There are plastic bits that bike companies ship frames with that go in the F&R dropouts to prevent them getting bent inwards, and you may find them in a bike box.  

Any friendly bike shop should be able to supply a box, either on the spot or if you tell them you'll need one, within a few days.  The always-helpful guys at Iron Cycles gave me the boxes for all those shipments.  It took some time to do the packing right but it worked out very well.   

How is the rest of your stuff getting to Oregon?

One suitcase is coming with me on a plane; the rest is getting mailed. (i.e., bringing the bike on a car/bus/train is not an option, and mailing it has got to be cheaper than taking it on a plane...)

Tricolor said:

How is the rest of your stuff getting to Oregon?

A great option that doesn't get a lot of press is Amtrak.  My friend Toby shipped his bike from here to (I think) Portland for $50.  Also, in terms of packing, there's a rad box called an Aircaddy (http://www.aircaddy.com/index.html) which greatly increases the safety of your bike while it travels, and requires VERY little dis-assembly.  If I were shipping a bike across the country, that's what I would use.  If you take your time and follow the instructions carefully you can EASILY pack your bike yourself and know it's done right. 

It's a bit of a crap shoot.  I've had frames arrive with no damage by USPS, and had one absolutely destroyed by UPS.  Despite being insured, they would not compensate at all for the damage.  They claimed that the box did not meet their standards.  If you read what they require (double boxing with 2 or 3" of foam between the box walls, able to withstand 200 psi pressure), no manufacturer's bike shipping box meets their standard.  I will never ship a frame/bike with UPS again.   I would do as Al suggested and pack it myself.  I've recieved bikes packed at bike shops that were not nearly as nicely done as I would do myself.  Go to a Trek dealer and see if you can get a box from a Domane, it's a very nice box.  I've never had a damage problem with FedEX, but I'm sure it happens occasionally.  I've heard that shipping by bus is actually a good option for cost, but I don't know much about it.  If you're taking the bus or train to Oregon, I would look into shipping the bike the same way.

this may seem to be stating the obvious - but make sure the bike is insured (by the shipper) for at least the full amount - included add on accessories, etc.


Also - In the (unlikely) event that something were to happen in transit; and it ends up being a hassle dealing with the shipper or their insurer (surely the last thing you need to be doing when arriving in a new city) do you have renters insurance ? can you extend the policy to cover damages until you are all set up in your new residence (with a new policy). I know renters insurance is cheap. it may be worth the peace of mind to look into this also for a very nominal fee ?   (my renters' insurance is around $109 per year)


Ironically. my oldest son (Matt) is moving from Chicago to Portland sometime in October. I am driving the moving truck ; and I know he has at least two bikes (small world).


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