Selling your bike online can be a great way to reach a broader market. Doing so allows you to reach more people, and hopefully get more money for your bike. However, there is a cost to ship your bike that must be considered. In this guide on how to ship a bike I share four easy steps to make sure your bike stays safe on it’s journey.
Shipping a bike is not just for cyclists selling a bike online. When riding events I enjoy riding my own bike. I also enjoy travelling. Depending on the airline I am flying, there are times I will ship my bike rather than fly with it. Whatever your reason, don’t rush the process.
Here are four easy steps on how to ship a bike that, when followed correctly, will guarantee safe delivery of your bike.
Step One: Disassemble Your Bike
The first step to ship your bike is to disassemble it. Start by taking your pedals off. Next, you will remove your wheels. It is highly recommended to also remove your disc brake rotors to prevent bending and damage.
Next, take off any frame attachments. Bottle cages, racks and mounts all need to be removed. Then remove your handlebars while leaving the stem attached. Put the stem bolts back into the empty stem once the handlebars are removed.
Finally, remove your seatpost and rear derailleur. Use bubble wrap to protect each of the components you removed. Then place them all in an accessory bag. Your bike frame must be wrapped in foam, and don’t forget to put spacers in place of quick release skewers and thru axles.
Step Two: Pack Your Bike For Shipping
The easiest way to pack your bike for shipping is with a kit. The best bike shipping kits come from Bike Flights. Each kit includes everything you need to safely pack your bike.
The only item not included in a BikeFlights shipping box is a wheel bag. Whether you use a BikeFlights shipping box or not, a wheel bag is a must have item. BikeFlights sells wheel bags, but cheaper models like this one are available on Amazon.
Wheel bags have a heavy duty exterior and a foam padding interior. Carbon bike wheels are susceptible to damage when shipping, but a wheel bag reduces the risk of damage. There is room in the wheel bag for the removed disc brake rotors, too.
Step Three: Shipping A Bike
The easiest way to complete shipping is using the carrier pick up option. Some package carriers charge a fee for this service. For example, to request UPS driver pick up the fee is five dollars. Drop off is always a free option.
Costs vary depending on the weight of your bike, and the distance your bike needs to travel. As of May, 2022 ,the cost to ship a 23 pound road bike from Utah to Illinois is $150 for ground service or $650 for overnight air.
To order the shipping label get on the BikeFlights website and enter your box dimensions and final weight. It will generate a printable shipping label for you.
Step Four: Tracking and Unpacking
Always make sure you get the tracking number off your label or receipt before shipping the bike box. Tracking information tells the recipient when to expect the bike, and it provides piece of mind to the shipper. With your tracking number it will be easier to file an insurance claim if the carrier damages your bike. A tip worth remembering, take a picture of the shipping label so you don’t lose tracking information.
When unpacking your bike it is extremely important not to use sharp objects. Sharp objects used to cut the bike out of its packaging will cause damage to your frame. Instead, take your time by unwrapping the foam and packaging from the bike frame rather than cutting through it.
Make sure you also ship, or take with you, your tools to reassemble your bike. I shipped my bike to my sister for an event and didn’t take tools. It turns out my sister, a non-cyclist, didn’t have a set of allen wrenches. A good multi-tool has everything you need to reassemble your bike.. Slip one in the packaging, or take one with you just incase.
There are occasions when shipping your bike won’t make sense. Traveling to Hawaii, for example. In those rare scenarios read How To Fly With A Bike.