How to Ship Your Bike
Having your own bike can make the trip a lot easier and cheaper — once you’ve mastered the art of shipping it. “My biggest fear with carbon bikes is opening up the box to find a broken fork, top tube or even just a bent rear derailleur,” said Jimmy Phillips, founder of The Domestique, which runs personalized tours for cyclists in New York and California. “I like to use cardboard boxes and extra bubble wrap, and have even purchased those pool noodles to reinforce protection around tubing, bars, and seat post.” Although Phillips counts on cardboard for protection and affordability, he admits it can be bulky and hard to handle at the airport and in transit. “I recently started using the Thule RoundTrip Pro. It comes with a bike stand and it's small enough to tuck away under your bed," he says.
Lentine Alexis, a competitive cyclist and Skratch Labs chef, has it down to a science. “I typically pack my helmet and kit bag in my bike box, then I can just carry-on the rest of my luggage in a backpack. This leaves my hands free for pulling my bike box through the airport and in my destination. I pack rubber gloves, Ziploc bags, electrical tape, and a torque wrench in my bike box for disassembling and reassembling.” If you’d rather a professional handle the job, head to your local bike shop to pack everything.
If you don't trust baggage handlers, you can use Bikeflights to ship across the country. Or if you just want to avoid the airline's bike cargo fee, which can range from $75 to $200, invest in an inconspicuous bike carrier such as the Trico Sports Iron Case or Aerus Biospeed case.