Ship a Bicycle: A Straightforward Guide to Bicycle Shipping

Ship a Bicycle: A Straightforward Guide to Bicycle Shipping

If you’re searching for the best way to ship a bicycle, you’re in the right place. It isn’t as complicated or expensive to ship a bike as it used to be. As the old saying goes, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. In this guide, we’ll share insider tips to help you ship a bicycle with FedEx or UPS with the fastest possible service for the best possible price.

So, whether you’re on your way to a bicycle tour in the Ozarks, shipping a custom frame to a client in New York, or planning to ship a bike to Hawaii for a triathlon — we’ll equip you with the knowledge to coordinate a successful and affordable bike shipment.

To start, we’ve organized this guide into two simple parts:

  1. How to Ship a Bicycle
  2. How to Pack a Bicycle

In part 1, How to Ship a Bicycle, we’ll cover popular shipping methods, different types of bicycle shipping services, cost to ship a bicycle, shipping to a race, and bicycle insurance.

In part 2, How to Pack a Bicycle, we’ll dive into bicycle packing services and bike-specific boxes.

Ready? Set. Let’s go.

How to Ship a Bicycle

There are two basic methods you can use to ship a bicycle: A traditional shipping carrier such as FedEx or UPS, or checking your bike as baggage with an airline, if you’re flying.

Best Way to Ship a Bicycle

Most cyclists prefer to ship a bicycle through a traditional carrier service, even if they’re flying to the same destination. When you factor in baggage fees and the hassle of TSA inspections, it’s hard to beat the cost and convenience of packing a bike in a cardboard box and shipping with FedEx or UPS.

The key to affordable bike shipping is that your package does not exceed domestic size restrictions. If it does, you will incur a substantial oversize surcharge. For FedEx and UPS, this means your package needs to be no greater than 130-inches length plus girth.

Bicycle Shipping Services

The main benefit of using a bicycle shipping service, as opposed to going directly to a FedEx Office or UPS Store, is that a bicycle shipping service will be able to offer you a discounted rate on FedEx or UPS shipping. Some bicycle shipping services specialize in ground shipping (3-6 day delivery) and others specialize in expedited or express shipping (1 day delivery). As a cyclist, you may favor one over the other depending on your situation.

Overnight Service

Our company, Overnight Bikes, specializes in the fastest bicycle shipping services. Through our innovative membership model, we are now able to offer avid cyclists and industry professionals $99 flat rate shipping on priority overnight delivery within the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska.

If you’re shipping a bicycle to a race there are obvious benefits to next day delivery. Namely, keeping your bike in your possession for an extra few days leading up to a race gives you more time to train so you can be at your best right before you compete. Now that’s a competitive edge!

Industry professionals, like custom bicycle frame builders, who routinely ship bikes worth several thousand dollars, highly prefer one day in transit compared with 3 to 6 days. Simply put, faster shipping means less likelihood that damage will occur.

Ground Service

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to ship a bicycle and price is more important than speed, ShipBikes.com and BikeFlights offer competitive rates on FedEx and UPS ground delivery, respectively.

Each of these services offer scheduled pickups and up to a thousand dollars of damage protection, for an additional charge. Assuming your package does not exceed FedEx or UPS domestic size restrictions, you can estimate ground shipping to cost between $65 and $85 depending on the destination (pickup and insurance not included).

Shipping to a Bike Race or Event

If you are planning to ship a bike race or group ride, it’s a good idea to ask the event organizer if they have a suggested ship-to location. Alternatively, you may also consider shipping to your hotel, carrier holding location or local bike shop. If you ship a bike to yourself in care of a carrier location or local bike shop, plan to have your ID present for pick up.

Ship a Bicycle to Race

Insurance

FedEx and UPS do not offer insurance coverage of any kind. Regardless of the declared value of your shipment, the carrier’s liability for loss or damage will not exceed the repair cost, depreciated value or replacement cost, whichever is less. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get a proper insurance policy before you ship a bicycle.

Velosurance offers a stand-alone, multi-risk cycling insurance policy aimed at providing protection for accidental damage, theft, loss in transit, etc. This, or a comparable rider on your existing homeowner’s policy is recommended for avid cyclists who may also benefit from crash damage, theft, or medical coverage. An umbrella policy is also ideal for industry professionals like handmade bicycle makers.

If you are shopping for instant insurance coverage at the time you’re ready to ship a bicycle, you might also consider InsurePost, which offers up to one thousand dollars in coverage for about $5 per shipment.

How to Pack a Bicycle

Your local bike shop, FedEx Office or UPS Store will be happy to pack your bicycle for you. The benefit of having a professional pack your bike is the confidence and peace of mind that comes with knowing it will be done well.

Pack a Bicycle

Packing Services

Contact your local bike shop, FedEx Office or UPS Store several days before your bike needs to be shipped to ask about packing services. If you are using a bike shipping service like Overnight Bikes, you can print your shipping label online and provide it when you drop off your bike. Remember, the key to affordable bike shipping is that your package does not exceed domestic size restrictions (130-inches length plus girth). If it does, both FedEx and UPS will apply a pricey oversize surcharge.

Bike-Specific Boxes

You can get a bicycle-specific box from several sources. FedEx offers a bike box that measures 54″ x 28″ x 8″ (126-inches length plus girth) which is large enough to fit most bicycles. Using a FedEx bike box can streamline the entire process because it affords you the simplicity of dropping your bike off directly at FedEx Office.

Be sure to check with your local FedEx Office, however, about disassembly requirements because you may have to remove your pedals and handlebars before they will pack it. If you’re an Overnight Bikes member, you can prepare your shipping label online and provide it when you drop off your bike.

In addition to a FedEx bike box ($25), the eBikeShipper from ShipBikes.com ($40) , as well as the Coroplast bike box from BikeFlights ($200) are suitable for safely shipping bikes of many types.

If you’re hoping to get your hands on a free bike box, check with your local bike shop. Ask if they have a box that measures 44″ x 11″ x 32″ (or less) because this is the maximum size that meets FedEx and UPS domestic size restrictions of 130-inches length plus girth.

Ship a Bicycle

As we’ve covered in this guide, you have several options to ship a bike:

  • A bicycle shipping service (most popular)
  • Through an airline as a checked bag
  • Direct with FedEx or UPS

We have also outlined several sources for bike boxes and packing services. Shipping carriers and various online sellers offer bike-specific boxes. Bike shops may also have leftover boxes and may be willing to pack your bike for you, provided you give them advance notice. And last, but not least, it’s a smart idea to get insurance coverage for the replacement cost of your bike prior to shipping it.

Now that you know how to coordinate a successful and affordable shipment, you’re ready to ship a bicycle with FedEx or UPS with the fastest service for the best price. If you have any questions about Overnight Bikes or our bicycle shipping service for cyclists, let’s chat.

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