Most people go to Cancun, Park City, Bali or some other luxurious sounding location . Well, I live at the beach...and I grew up skiing and my passport is expired (note to self). So, I have chosen to go somewhere much less exclusive for the average corporate workers ideal vacation. Back to my "hometown" in Colorado. A quaint little town, nestled high up in the mountains that are covered in wildflowers - also known as the last great ski town...Crested Butte. Sounds exciting, eh? Now, take a stab at what I am going to do while I am there? If you guessed ride bikes - you're correct.
Where am I going with this?
You see, this is a two part trip. One part road bike, One part mountain bike. Bikes are expensive to travel with. If you have flown with a bike before you know how much of a pain in the ass it can be - especially if you are a mini human like myself. Back when I was racing, my hard Thule bike box was my travel side kick - I mastered how to pack my entire bike and wardrobe in that gigantic box (I want to thank all my years of ski racing and traveling across the US for those skills); I could have probably fit myself and entire shoe collection in there too. That's a joke, I have like 1000 pairs of shoes.
About a month ago, once I realized I was beyond limited with space and a place to live - I decided to sell the box - thinking that I would eventually buy myself a nice Biknd case down the road. What do you know, literally a week later I would commit to a race in a different state that I would need to fly to. #dumbdumb. Luckily, I am blessed to work for an action sport company and quickly was offered the usage of another hard case. We FedEx'd the small house-sized box to Boulder - I kid you not, 2 of me could have fit in the box WITH a bike.
So, here I am again. Trying to figure out how to get two bikes to another state - trying to avoid using a hard case once again. I am scrabbling to check rates, find boxes, maybe a soft air bladder case, figure out how to trick the airlines and make it so I don't have to pay. So, literally for the last 24 hours I have reached out to everyone under the sun that knows anything about shipping bikes.
Let's start here...
A lot of people don't actually know how to pack a bike. John Bain for Waterbear Cycles does a great job of walking you through the process in his two part video:
There are several different ways you can ship: the good ole' fashion cardboard box (which people are currently raving about), a nice soft case (which if you are buying new can run you up to $600+) or a hard case (if you are going to spend the money on this, I highly suggest making sure it has wheels).
Honestly, everyone has their own opinion about each type of case - some people swear by a cardboard box, while I was a big fan of the bomb proof plastic hard case. The best part about a cardboard box? Most bike shops have them laying around and are more than willing to give them to you...or they want $10.
If you plan ahead you can ship your bike through one of the fantastic shipping bike shipping sites - such as the following:
- Ship Bikes: http://www.shipbikes.com/
- Bike Flight: http://www.bikeflights.com/bicycle_shipping.aspx
- Good Ole' FedEx: http://www.fedex.com/us/
- Luggage Forward: http://www.luggageforward.com/?cbd=undefined
Of course, if you are like me you want to ride your bike up to the very last minute and then you see the fee's to have a bike sent via overnight are sky-high. So, then you probably default to the idea of flying with it... Oy Vey - will you ever learn?! The idea of riding 100 miles on not your own bike in just not appealing and you have also convinced yourself that you will ride those skinny tires more during your vacation - although you will be surrounded by some of the BEST mountain biking a ski town has to offer - sound familiar?
ShipBikes.com offers a really handy tool that lets you look up the price of flying with a bike (in a bike caddy) - at least it gives you an idea of what you could potentially be paying, check it out here.
You better hope that you have a small frame and you can fit it in a box that is under 62 linear inches and under 50 lbs. Carbon fiber er'rything? Yessir! I don't want to brag or anything, however, my 47cm frame could essentially smush into an empty Oreo box. Essentially, if you are flying ANYTHING but American, United and Delta you are looking at being home-free of charges - don't quote me on that. If you are flying American, United and Delta you better have your credit card ready because you are looking at about a $100 charge. HOWEVER, after looking into the further I found out that if your bike luggage is under a certain size and weight you will just be charged for standard luggage fees. Now, if you ask me $25 seems a lot better than $100 to me. Check it here, click me!
Have no fear, I will be the Guinean Pig on this one - unless my boyfriend does a really good job at convincing me not to bring my road bike. But, little Delilah the Domane is the love of my life and I hate being away from her.
As for a mountain bike - I ride a small frame on a trail bike. Let's be real - I know that I am not going to be able to get that into a box that fits the requirements that have been posted. So, yet again - I am trying to improvise/hope that some magic happens allowing me to either borrow a bike or find an inexpensive way of transporting it. If you are in the same vote, I highly suggest that you take advantage of one of the bike shipping companies listed out above and use the 3-day ground service. It is highly affordable.
Here are some helpful articles that I found when it comes to traveling with two wheels:
So, hopefully you find this helpful. I will let you know how the traveling goes/continues...