3 Options to Consider When Traveling With Your Bike

Part 1: Fly, Ship or Rent

  • Travel From the Airport: Most airports have a variety of cab options, so getting a cab from the airport is probably less of an issue. The option of getting on buses or trains at either end of your journey pretty much disappears with a bike, particularly if you're traveling alone. Remember, even if you've rented a car there is usually a shuttle to get to the car rental location. You may have to lug a bike box on and off the shuttle bus too.
  • Possible Bike Damage: In my experience, this is actually less of a risk than many people imagine. I've traveled all over the USA and Europe with bikes in cardboard boxes, hard boxes, soft bags etc. and never had any damage to my bikes. Others, however, may have a different story. How you pack your bike can have a major influence on limiting the risk of damage.
  • You'll Need a Bike Bag or Box: If you don't already have one you'll need to acquire a bag or box to transport your bike. Prices range from $200 to $1200. Remember there is the option of borrowing or renting a bag or box if you're not going to travel that often.

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Shipping Your Bike

There are two options when it comes to bike shipping. Either ship it yourself using FedEx, or use a specialty bike shipping company. As with the flying option above, you'll have the luxury of having your own bike right from the moment you arrive.

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Here are the difficulties you may encounter by choosing this option:

  • Cost: The cost to ship your bike usually depend on the size and weight packaged bike, the distance you're shipping it and the declared value. I find this website very useful to estimate shipping costs (and compare to airline fees).
  • Hassle: Finding a box to ship it in will be one of your largest obstacles. Usually a local bike store is your best bet as they have lots of cardboard boxes that new bikes are delivered in. Providing you pack the bike carefully this is a very safe way to transport a bike. Disassembling and reassembling multiple times will likely cause you stress as well, but probably isn't as difficult as you might think. The larger challenges are finding a reliable address to ship it to and a drop off location to send it back home.

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