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Shipping/flying tri bike advice
CREATED: 05/19/13 by kromatog REPLIES: 10
kromatog's ravatar kromatog    JOINED: 6/28/12    POSTS: 30
Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/19/13 9:35 AM

Any suggestions on shipping a tri bike to an event? Going to the Kansas 70.3 in June. Tri Bike is not working that event. What type of carriers work? Flying with you vs shipping. Any experience with Fed Ex and bikes? Anys thoughts would be appreciated

jbrez's ravatar jbrez    JOINED: 1/30/11    POSTS: 303
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/19/13 2:24 PM

If you're pretty competent in your bike building, you could probably get a box from any LBS and just package it up and ship it via fedex. Otherwise, you'll want to borrow/rent a bike box and check it on a plane.

I've always carried my onto planes, but always lied about it being a bike to not get gouged with the $150 "bike fee".

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1481
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/19/13 6:20 PM

I fly my bike on the plane with me to everywhere that I go ... Statesside as well as international. Unlike Jason, I'm not good with the wrench. My bike box requires minimum disassembly of the bike.

Just go to a local bike shop. They usually have several types of bike cases that you can choose.


JayC101's ravatar JayC101    JOINED: 2/27/11    POSTS: 105
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/20/13 7:09 AM

I would recommend taking it on the plane with you. Generally it only cost between $50 and $100 extra to do so.

If you don't have a bike case then you can see if someone can let your borrow theers or rent one from someplace like Bonzai who will also disassemble and pack it for you if you don't know how. That is what I did for my 70.3 in Hawaii last year and then had a shop put it back together. Eventually I went on and bought a hard case and had friends show me how to do the hole disassemble and reassemble thing, but if its a one time thing the renting and having the bike shops do it worked well.

claudiabl's ravatar claudiabl    JOINED: 12/25/10    POSTS: 34
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/20/13 9:40 AM

Recently I bought a hard shell bike box that requires very little adjustments. The downside is that the box requires a certain size car and rental car for transport, yet it is the legal limit for airlines and shipment. I purchased it from All3sports, and bought a box that can also be used for my 29er. If I had to do it again, I would purchase a hard shell that required the bike disassemble and just learn how to disassemble and reassemble.

Certain airlines are cheaper than others, and some do not charge extra fees outside of the fee for extra baggage (e.g., frontier).

ballstoncyclist's ravatar ballstoncyclist    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 496
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/20/13 11:03 AM

In the last few months I traveled a lot with my bike. Cars, planes, train, buses, name it. had not problems. I used a biknd helium box and had no problems at all.

chris913's ravatar chris913    JOINED: 9/23/10    POSTS: 149
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/20/13 1:00 PM

I am mechanically-challenged. The last time I didn't use TBT, I rented a case from Freshbikes, had them pack the bike, found a LBS at my destination & shiped it directly to them & had them reassemble for the event. Same process in reverse. It worked out great but was definitely more expensive than the typical $300 TBT fee. I think Freshbikes will credit you the rental fee if you end up buying the case so not a bad way to try it out.

mjraugust's ravatar mjraugust    JOINED: 12/15/11    POSTS: 219
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 5/20/13 3:05 PM

Folks on the forum last year were very helpful when I was considering doing my first non-drivable race last year , so I will summarize what I learned:

1) Some members will rent or lend you their hard bike case for cheap.

2) If you ship or check your bike always bring your shoes, pedals, helmet with you as carryon.

3) The cheapest reliable option is to go to your local LBS and ask them for an extra cardboard bike box then ship it back and forth to yourself via UPS or FedEx. The LBS might even be willing to help you dissassemble and pack it for free depending on the shop and how well you know them.

Tri-bike transport super expensive and not universally available.

Tr-bike rental is the same deal

REI also will ship bikes for cheaper, but again not always available.

Hard cases: are expensive and only worth buying if you will fly to a bunch of races or plan on renting out your case.

Soft cases: lots of people use them without issue, but I would still be nervous about it.

So while I ultimately did not wind up racing Rocketman and did Monticelloman instead, if I ever do decide to fly to a race I will probably rent a hard case from a club member or do the cardboard bike box shipping option depending on my hotel plans and if I will be renting a car for the race.

kbarber's ravatar kbarber    JOINED: 9/7/12    POSTS: 10
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 6/11/13 11:31 AM

Has anyone used a shipping company internationally? I'm doing the HI in Australia and would prefer to ship my bike there instead of taking it on the plane with me. Thanks.

asovonick's ravatar asovonick    JOINED: 6/3/09    POSTS: 213
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 6/11/13 11:45 AM

Hey, so I've been back and forth to Prague 4 times in the last 7 years and 3 of those times I've brought a bike on the plane with me in a sturdy bike box. International airlines are a lot more accepting of bikes as your free piece of checked baggage. I know most domestic (read: American) airlines or flights charge at least $100 and most at $150 (and that's only one way) unless you are on a budget airline. For the person who just posted before me about flying to Australia for a race, I know Qantas is one of the airlines that doesn't charge for bikes. That's pretty nifty savings. I've never considered shipping because it's a lot more expensive than flying with it (and for me being married to a Czech, the bike box is a worthwhile investment), especially if you can rent or borrow a box.

The downside and one that I've experienced is if you have connecting flights and have a short layover, the bike box might not get to your flight on time. I suppose this is a risk for anyone with a connection but I reckon the bike boxes are more enticing for TSA employees to rummage through. They've kept everything in order though, so that's cool.

-Andy Sovonick of Gaithersburg

kbarber's ravatar kbarber    JOINED: 9/7/12    POSTS: 10
RE: Shipping/flying tri bike advice
POSTED: 6/11/13 11:49 AM

Ok thanks. I'm going to be traveling around Australia for 10 days before the Tri so would prefer to ship so that I do not have to carry around my bike!

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