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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151

    touring travel questions

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    Hi, I am going on my first loaded tour in august and have some basic logistical questions.

    1) cheapest way to get bike from SF to Edmonton Canada.

    --Has anyone shipped a bike into canada? I am hearing pretty expensive estimates for this.

    If shipping is very expensive, I'll check the bike on the flight (will be pricy)

    2) what do I do with my bike box? I am doing a point-to-point trip, flying out of a different destination.

    --I can use a cardboard box, toss it in edmonton and get a new one at the end destination

    --I have a conventional hardcase bike box. Has anyone had experience shipping this type of box ahead to another destination. Any suggestions on where to ship to and how to find someone to receive/store the box?

    3) what do you do with your airplane luggage. I assume I need some sort of duffel bag to check my copious loaded touring luggage-- panniers, sleeping bags, etc. What do you do with the duffel bag? Ship it ahead, and if so any tips on who to find to receive/store it? Or toss it and buy a new one at the end destination.

    Thanks for any help with these basic questions.
    NM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,559
    At least in the U.S., it is common for long distance hikers to mail things to themselves, to be held at the local post office until picked up. I believe it gets addressed:

    Your Name
    General Delivery
    Town, State, Zip

    Note: hold until DATE

    So maybe you can just mail the bike box ahead to a post office at your destination.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    the west, in the mountains
    Posts
    15

    fun times

    happy to hear you are gonna do a tour, i love to tour, it is the ONLY way... i have just packed up my bike to ship tommorow (via plane) the bike box is a carboard box from the LBS and i just padded it down with lots of bubble wrap and old t-shirts. the cost on southwest airlines is 50.00 which is way cheaper then UPS at 148.00. call your airlines and find out there requirments, southwest has been very pleasing to work with on this.

    instead of using a duffle and either tossing it or sending it one, just use another card board box. CHEAP!

    make sure you keep them both open until you check in then tape it up (i always bring my own duct tape and do it myself, that way i know for sure it got taped up REALLY REALLY GOOD.

    have a great tour, enjoy every moment even the suckkieeee ones! happy day, happy happy day

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151
    Thanks everyone. The cardboard box suggestion is a great one (rather than tossing or mailing ahead a duffle). Since I am going to canada, it seems that shipping ahead can get kind of expensive, as a customs duty will be charged when the bike is shipped into canada. So I will be checking the bike in a cardboard box. Wish me luck that the NTSA does not decide to inspect my box and wreck my careful packing job!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The Windy City
    Posts
    277
    just shipped my bike from Chicago to Kalispell, MT for a tour.. and then back.

    Out was initially $67.00 one way via UPS... and $75.00 back via FedEx... however UPS came back with a surcharge this last week and wants another $45.00, yikes.

    My bike box is the standard bike size box (hard case) that you get at Performance... but I guess now days it's considered "oversized" by UPS... didn't used to be, but now it is.

    Oh yeah... UPS held on to it until our tour SAG guys picked it up... then the SAG tour group delivered all our bikes to our first campground the first day. The service all around was great.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,061
    How did you like Kalispell? Did you do Glacier National Park? We went on a hiking vacation there, and I've silently hoped to return on our bikes
    "Well-behaved women seldom make history." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    '09 Trek WSD 2.1 with a Brooks B-68 saddle
    '11 Trek WSD Madone 5.2 with Brooks B-17

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151
    To follow up on my shipping question related to my point-to-point loaded bike tour, in case this info will be of use to anyone:
    I ended up flying into Edmonton w/ the bike in a cardboard bike box that I picked up at a local shop. 100 dollar bike surcharge on united + 25 bucks for extra luggage. I included some of my gear in the cardboard bike box, packed some of the gear in a cardboard box, and carried two panniers onto the flight. We took greyhound from edmonton to Jasper (75 dollars to bring the bike). After building up bike in Jasper (and recycling the cardboard boxes), I rode from Jasper to Banff via the Icefields parkway and golden triangle. I packed up my bike and gear in new cardboard bike box and cardboard box procured in Banff (there are several bike shops in Banff and I had prearranged with one of them to get a box). Took the shuttle to Calgary airport (~50 bucks extra for the bike), then returned home via Air Canada (only 50 bucks for the bike + 25 bucks for extra luggage surcharge).

    The travel logistics worked just fine, and my bike was fine in the cardboard boxes. It was pretty expensive to travel this way with the bike due to usurious bike surcharges. But shipping from the US into Canada was unworkable due to customs issues.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,981
    Gee Nadia, just reading what you had to do to have your own bike elsewhere for vacation, was like reading a delivery marathon.

    How many days did you vacation in total in Canada? Hope you saw some beautiful scenery on your bike rides while vacationing.

    I have rented bikes in various cities/areas of North America just to avoid such hassles. However over the years, I've become abit more wedded to cycling one of my own bikes.

    Here's what actually happened with transport of my bike for last weekend since I had no vacation days left to cycle from Vancouver to Kelowna and back which would be a 800 kms. round trip.

    So my bike was transported for free by a biz partner of my sweetie where the trio of guys was going to this same area..3 days in advance of me getting there by bus.

    Unfortunately during their car ride, my bike was not strapped tightly onto the carrier rack. It fell partially on a high speed major highway where a large back chunks of my saddle were gouged out. I now have duct tape rounded out the holes ...until I get a new saddle.

    And then upon returning to Vancouver, it was discovered that Greyhound bus in Kelowna didn't offer any bike boxes for sale. (other city locations do offer). So my bike was transported on the pure generosity of a conference attendee from Vancouver who was a reporter/journalist that my sweetie met this guy in Kelowna. By this time, I had already returned to Vancouver by bus, to return to work so I wasn't around to solve problems about my bike transport. The journalist probably did it with knowing abit about my sweetie, because this same journalist interviewed him for a story a year ago (related to cycling and urban design).

    It was sheer luck...my bike is back now and. to have a partner who understands the value of transporting a bike in order to enjoy a cycling vacation at its best.

    By the way, he bought and uses his folding bike (a 3rd bike of his now) to avoid the delivery charges. He has been lobbying me to get a folding bike....
    Last edited by shootingstar; 10-18-2008 at 04:10 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151
    My trip was about 2 weeks & it was super scenic! Lots of glaciers and wild animals. It was point to point, so renting a bike was kind of impractical as I'd have had to return it to a starting city several hundred miles away from our final destination. It actually was not as horrible as it sounds! Just kind of expensive. But the entire trip cost under 500 bucks, excluding airfare, because we camped and did not eat out much. So in the scheme of vacations, it was still pretty inexpensive!

    My friends actually have touring bikes with couplers (so, they break down into standard sized luggage), but they also elected to ship in cardboard bike boxes rather than break down their bikes. The issue being the point to point trip (in their case, from Jasper to Montana). They were unable to arrange economical shipment and storage of their bike suitcases

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    bay area, ca
    Posts
    30
    I admit I'm not speaking from actual experience, but I've had friends take apart their bikes and box them in the kind of cardboard boxes that bikes come in when originally shipped to a bike shop (can be purchased from most bike shops or picked up from their recycling bin behind the building). and then pack their clothes around the bike instead of using packaging foam and cardboard, although I guess you have to be careful about getting grease on your clothes. Then they use that as their check in luggage (without any extra charge or so I've heard) and then their standard carry on. There is a bike shop in Saratoga that rents bike boxes for about $30 a week (but it's not advertised, you would have to ask about it specifically), i wish i could remember the name of the shop, but i don't know if that would help in this situation. If you work for a business that has a location near where you're going, you can try doing a store to store shipment, which can be free or very inexpensive, but I'm not sure how many companies are willing to do that.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    35

    bus or train

    If you can do without the bike a few days, shipping it ahead via Greyhound is much less expensive, and you don't have to be on the bus. But where possible, I take Amtrak and take my bike with me. Some trains have bike racks so that you don't have to disassemble. The ones that require you to box it up have nice large boxes that require very little disassembling. The boxes stay upright on the train and don't get thrown around like they do on planes.
    Becky

    "To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,645
    right now, FedEx is the cheapest at least from Seattle to Phoenix and back. It was only 40 dollars for 2nd day air in a big bike box.
    I am kind of surprised to hear about Southwest, because in November they quoted $150 for one way for a bike in a bike box from Seattle to Phoenix, so you can see Fedex won.
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

 

 

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