Any advice on traveling with a tri bike is greatly appreciated!! I'm traveling on April 10 for the Nautica South Beach tri. I've never dealt with having to ship my bike before and so far these are the costs:
$50 disassemble bike
$120 ship bike to SoBe
$100 reassemble bike
$50 disassemble bike
$120 ship bike home
$100 reassemble bike
Total - $540 = crazy!!
Does anyone have any advice for me on getting my bike to SoBe? I've watched some youtube videos to learn how to take the bike apart and put it back together, but I'm not sure I trust my own handywork.
Do you already have a box for shipping? I believe TriBonzai in Falls Church has bike boxes for rent for around $35 or so. And, do you have some basic bike tools?
It is very simple to disassemble your bike for shipping: all you need to do (usually) is remove the pedals, remove the bars, usually remove the seatpost/seat, and of course the wheels. You're not messing with the cables or drivetrain, so it is just loosening some screws.
As far as shipping costs, depending on how much your bike is worth, you could fedex it for cheaper than $120 (the more you insure it for, the higher the price obviously).
Let me know if I can help you - $540 is outrageous and our sport is expensive enough as it is!!!!
x2 on what Step just said.
I think that you are either overthinking this or someone is trying to sell you services that you may not need. I am not saying that it's wrong or anything like that but if everyone of us has to go through all of what you described and pay $540 everytime that we do a race that require flights then some of us needs to introduce me to a sugar mommy.
I have a tri bike that I take to races that require flights. If I have to assemble and disassemble a bike for every race .... let's just say that I am one of those people who will end up with more screws and cables then when I started :)
I know that there are some bike boxes/carrying cases that require you to pretty much disassemble the whole bike. People do this to avoid airline surcharges. There are others like me who have big bike boxes that require some airline surcharges. I pay $50 each way on Southwest and the amount of work required for me to assemble/disassemble the bike is minmum. My bike box has wheels so moving it around the airport is not a problem. It's also small enough to be able to put in a small car (i.e., no need to rent an SUV on the end of the flight).
This is litterally what I do. Noticed that it requires no cables or any other components to be removed or altered. Disclaimer: this is dependent on the type of bike box that you use. This is for mine.
1. Remove 1 screw from the seat tube to remove the seat post. No need to remove the seat.
2. Remove 1 screw from the top cap to remove the spacers and handlebars so that I can turn it sideway for packing
3. Remove the front and back wheels. No screws involved ... just remove the skewers
4. Remove the pedals. Sometimes after races when I am really tired or lazy, I won't even remove the pedals.
5. For the gaps that are in my box, I stuff it with a pump, bike helment, nutrition products and some old clothes. I do this to minimize the movement inside of the bike when it gets thrown around by baggage handlers.
Where are you located? I'd be happy to show you how to break down and pack a bike. You could still have it assembled for you if you are nervous about that, but it will at least cut a hundred or so off that quote. Also, you can check a bike with you on the plane for usually way less than $100.
Connect with me offline matthew DOT longley AT gmail DOT com.
Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I did check with Bonzai and it's $35 for a week so that is probably what I'll do, good suggestion. @Tuan, I heard that TSA goes through the bike box and doesn't pack it back up right. Have you had any problems with that? I would be super bummed if my frame got cracks in it because of that. I think I found someone who will help me out, Thanks for the help :)
I have never had any issues with TSA in all of my bike travels. I've even carried my CO2 cartridge in my bike box and had never had them removed. The TSA agents may act differently at different airports so I will give one example that I saw. It may not be indicative of all airports. When I did Ironman Florida last year, I flew out of Tallahassee. It's a small airport so TSA does all of the bike inspections out in the open but behind some ropes. Everyone could see what they were doing.
They would first x-ray the box. They then opened the box and swab different items in the bike box for onsite testing. It looked like they tried to avoid taking things out if they could. Now, if they saw something suspicious in the x-ray then they would take out the items to see what it was. If you want to minimize the chance of them pulling things apart, don't put the CO2 cartridge in the bike box.
At IMFL, there were lots of people flying out with bikes so those inspectors were quite versed in looking through bike boxes with great care. That's something important to remember. You are not taking your bike to a remote vacation by yourself. You are taking your bike through a place where lots of other athletes are doing the same at the same time. This means that whatever triathlon gear you have, those TSA agents have seen them. I would personally be more concerned about baggage handlers throwing thing around than TSA doing damage.