January 10, 2014
Unless your bike tour begins close to home, transporting your bike can be one of the most difficult tasks in preparing for your journey. Flying with bikes can be outrageously expensive and shipping can cause all sorts of headaches in regards to where you're going to send the bike, and whether or not it will arrive on time. If you're struggling with these issues, you might want to turn your attention to BikeFlights.com.
BikeFlights.com is a full service bicycle packing and shipping service. They have an excellent range of bike boxes available for purchase, and their website has a great online shipping calculator that helps you find the best rates for your selected dates, print shipping labels, and schedule pickup. If you have any questions they have a great staff available for personal one-on-one assistance. Their services are low pressure and they offer free changes to your shipping itinerary and full refunds if your trip is cancelled.
Members of Adventure Cycling Association receive 10% off cases from BikeFlights. If you're not an Adventure Cycling member, you can be entered into a raffle for a Serfas Bike Transport Case if you join by 5:30pm MST on Sunday, January 12th.
Photos by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.
I usually fly out with the bike on the plane so I'm ready to go from the airport (cardboard bike box) and use bike flights to ship home. Works great for me!
Jakarta to London Bikeflights 1500 USD no storage either end Etihad same route Cargo option using an agent storage either end untill collection 500 USD , Bikeflights are NOT cheap and DO NOT offer a better service that would account for the dissparity ALLWAYS consider the airline or the airline cargo handling agents and invest the extra money on a good hard case bike box if using flights regularly
I chose Bike Flights because of their experience working with high end carbon bikes, and the recommendation of other riders. Disaster still befell this triathlete.
It was extremely traumatic when my bike arrived with a puncture to the carbon frame (the bike case was probably opened during transit by a careless TSA agent and re-packed with the rear wheel gear cogs pressing up against the frame!). It was a devastating find just days before my A race for the season.
Mary at Bike Flights suggested I get a beer, and give her a call the next day after she reviewed the claim I submitted. Long story short, Bike Flights did honor the extra $6,000.00 insurance purchased before shipping my bike, provided fair compensation (as well as a fair amount of therapy to this stressed triathlete).
Would I use Bike Flights again? Yes, I would, however, I would ask my local shop to prepare for the worst. and clearly mark carbon frames and wheels as fragile (e.g. "FRAGILE CARBON MATERIAL") and metal components, like gear cogs as dangerous to carbon (e.g. red tape with perhaps "DAMAGING TO BIKE FRAME" or something similar).
Thanks Bike Flights for taking care of me in a desperate situation (Bike Flights also offered to provide a rental bike for the triathlon). I hope this helps others shipping your bikes.
I used bikeflights several times in 2014, and always found them to have excellent service. I particularly appreciated that i could send a 65# box, insured for $2000 for only $110 from CA to Montana, guaranteed in 4 days, also to Florida, same price, in four days, and again to Arizona.
It is SO MUCH EASIER to send the bike ahead. No dragging the box through airports, no keeping the weight below 50 pounds, no TSA opening my box and moving carefully packed parts. No trying to shove the box in a rental car. I send it to my hotel, to arrive a day before me. Then I call the hotel and check that it got there intact. So far, always good. The airlines have been far rougher on my boxes. I have had bikes not arrive with me at least 3-4 times when I fly with it. I have a recumbent, and a huge box.
The only issue was a mistake that FedEx made. They for some reason, know only to Fedex, sent my box back to AZ when I sent it home. I was tracking it, saw it got home (to the local Fedex center), went to pick it up, and no bike! I needed it immediately for a local ride, and Fedex overnighted it back. I talked to FedEx, not bikeflights on this.
I also sometimes use shipbikes, basically same service. Sometimes one os cheaper, sometimes the other. I find them both to be outstanding.
To those of you who have had issues, we're sorry. We at BikeFlights.com strive for the best customer service. Our goals are set by your expectations, and we obviously fell short.
We've checked our records and believe we've taken care of any issues for those of you who've commented (as best we can tell from your screen names), but if any of you have outstanding issues, please contact us immediately and we will take care of you.
We're not perfect, but are continuously improving what we do and appreciate your feedback. In the past few months, we've added customer support staff and changed insurance providers to expedite our claims process.
We have thousands of satisfied customers worldwide and we invite you to try shipping your bike again in the future with BikeFlights.com.
BikeFlights.com Support Team
Customer support hours: Monday - Friday, 10:00 am to 10:00 pm EST
This guys are always attending the same two people over the phone. I hate them but they are incompetent and stupid. You have to do nothing. They will run out of business soon. I HOPE!
Bikeflights.com is a terrible company. If your bike is damaged during shipping Bikeflights will ignore all claims. They do not respond to emails or phone calls. You can submit the proper paper work but they will not respond. I urge everyone to stay away from Bikeflights or use at your own risk. If your bike gets damaged you will be screwed.
Just went to check and see if this was the same company "recommended" by Adventure Cycling. It is.
TWO MONTHS ago a customer had us pack his bike for bikeflights to send to Germany. And then repack as they gave him wrong dimensions. About a month after all that the wheel box showed up at our store, with no contact from bikeflights. In another week the frame box arrived too. I emailed bikeflights and our customer, and was asked to hold boxes for 48 hours. Now a week has gone by ... This customer has spent way over $500 for packaging, shipping, repacking, shipping, handling and now 2 months later bike is where it started!
I strongly recommend you do NOT use this bikeflights.com service. Although it appears cheap at first, you get no customer service of any kind and they ignore damage claims. My bike was damaged in shipment and I did necessary work to submit damage claim and even spoke to someone (after calling numerous times at multiple times of the day) and they agreed to process the claim with Fedex. That was over 2 months ago and I have not received any response to multiple emails sent to their claims mailbox. Bottom line... you better hope you bike is not damaged in transit, or you will get no remedy whatsoever!! Use at your own risk!
So, what would you suggest in this particular situation to a buyer if say the buyer used PayPal to pay for an item? In other words, should the buyer file a claim via PayPal to receive his/her refund?
This is not something that comes easily to me as I don't like slamming people, everybody and every business has a off day
or off job..
That being said..... using BikeFlights to start my trip last year in Jasper, AB was the single worse consumer experience in my life, and I'm 55 years old.
I will add this caveat. There seemed to be guys at BikeFights who were very good and helpful. If I understand what happened in my case correctly, all the international shipments goes thru one guy, and he is apparently incapable of getting anything done till the last minute or beyond.The last straw for me was when my bike box was stuck in the Jasper bike shop I shipped it to because BF did not schedule a pick up by FedEx. After 6 days of trying to deal with this from the road I handed the task of straightening this out to my wife from home. She called and the BF guy gave her a bunch of attitude about how she wouldn't understand how complicated international shipping is. He might have saved his little speech if he was aware that my wife is a seismologist who has spent the last 22 years shipping 10's of thousands of dollars worth of seismic equipment to Pakistan, Tibet, and Mongolia and back to conduct her research, and it wasn't too much to ask BF to do what they were paid to do and get my bike box out of Jasper.
For the record, after multiple emails & my wife's phone call, 10 days later the box was picked up in Jasper to be shipped to the terminus of my trip in Denver. I managed to ride the 1800 miles and get to town before the box arrived.
Are they the actual shipper or just middlemen? I like the idea of shipping the bike but what does one do with that $200 box when they are touring the country side?
I think this column and the implied cost advantages of shipping with BikeFlights.com is misleading. The only time you can really save, based upon the calculator, with BikeFlights is using FedEx ground within the US. Any faster method is far more expensive than even the most expensive of the US airlines for round trip travel. Moreover, I've checked a single bike in Pika Packworks case on United to Italy and was not charged. And I declared that it was a bicycle. Not everyone will have that experience. Moreover, unless you're wed to one airline, there are several US carriers who have reasonable--$50--fees each way. I'm not saying there that shipping a bike is a bad idea, but it's far from a hassle to check it on a plane. You will have to box it no matter what and at least it flies with you.
Totally agree. BIKEFLIGHTS just uses Fed Ex and a number of different carriers anyway
They never sent our labels and documentation so we were unable to ship our bikes for our trip and haven't refunded our $650 they took from us
DO NOT USE BIKEFLIGHTS. Box your stuff and use fed ex or your airline so your stuff is there when you land. It's only about 10% more and they won't steal your money
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I'll never use Bikeflights again. The Evoc Pro bag that I shipped my bike with them in was significantly damaged when I got it back. Better off using the airlines I think.