3 Options to Consider When Traveling With Your Bike

Part 1: Fly, Ship or Rent

  • Shipping Time: Although you'll have your bike the moment you arrive you may be without your bike for up to a week before you travel while it is being transported. You may also have this problem at the end of your trip too while it is being returned to you. 
  • International Shipping: International shipping is possible, but it can be expensive and there is a risk that your bike may be held up at customs.

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Renting a Bike

The upside to this option is that there won't be any of the hassles with travel that you'll have with the other two choices. So depending on what kind of bike you are able to get and at what price, this could be a very good or a very bad option.

  • Cost: The cost of renting a bike depends on the quality of bike you're looking at. Average costs are around $300/week or $60/day.
  • Hassle on Arrival: Unless you're having the bike delivered to your hotel, you'll need to find a way to get to the bike store to collect it.
  • Using a Different Bike: Sometimes renting a different bike can be an upgrade to your own bike. More often than not it's not as nice as your bike at home, it may have a different gear set up, an uncomfortable saddle and could be heavier than you are used to (particularly important if you're riding up some big hills). However, you can do a lot to avoid such surprises. Speak with the rental company in advance and tell them what gears your bike has at home so they can provide the right bike for you. Take your own saddle and pedals with you and remember to always use your own helmet.

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Cost Comparison

Below is a cost comparison based on shipping a bike package weighing 50 pounds when packed in a cardboard box measuring 50 x 7 x 30 inches versus flying with the bike versus renting for a week. A journey from West Coast to East Coast has been used. Bike values of $3000 and $8000 have been compared.

Traveling Chart 2 

Next: In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss how to correctly pack your bike for shipping and transportation.

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