Unless your tour begins at your front door (and kudos to you if it does), every logistical fork in the road begins with a single question: “What bike am I going to ride?” While rentals might an option, there’s something about bringing your own trusted steed. Click here and download Adventure Cyclist's comprehensive guide on how to travel with your bike.
Shipping by Air
If you are considering bringing your bike along on a flight, the following links to the shipping pages of a few major airlines may be of use.
Due to the risk of damage and rising costs associated with checking bikes on planes, ground shipping is becoming ever more appealing. Here are some services that will help you get your bike from point A to point B safely.
Bikeflights.com offers some of the best prices when it comes to shipping your bike, with leading customer service. Find a better price, and they’ll match or refund you the difference. Not sure how to pack your bike? They also have online resources to help you safely and securely pack your bike. If you need a box to ship your bike, they have a several types for sale as well.
Ship Bike is a safe and convenient way to ship your bike anywhere in the world. You can purchase and print your postage labels straight from their website, and either schedule a package pickup, or choose to drop your bike off at a FedEx location near you.
FedEx has competitive shipping rates, and business locations throughout the country where you can drop off or receive your package. For an additional fee, they’ll ship and deliver straight from your door.
UPS can cost a touch more than FedEx, but they offer excellent reliability. They also have a good network of UPS retail locations through the country where you can ship and receive packages.
Amtrak is improving bicycle accommodations all the time. In some cases you no longer need to box your bike! See our Multi-Modal page for the latest updates and helpful tools for planning your next bike trip using Amtrak.
When it comes to the all important case, a cardboard bike box from the neighborhood bike shop can work, especially if it's packed well. The more often a cardboard bike box is used, the less effective it becomes, so keep that in mind. Consider this option if you're (a) frugal, or (b) arriving and departing from different airports and need to ditch your case.
For maximum protection, a hard shell bike travel case is hard to beat. They often include foam padding on the inside, and will prevent objects from puncturing through your box in transit. However, with great durability comes great weight. When using a hard shell bike box, consider the weight of your box and that of your bike to avoid excess weight fees.
Like hard shell bike travel cases, a soft shell case will provide excellent protection, but without much of the weight. These often include molded plastic padding where your bike needs protection the most, and durable tear resistant fabric elsewhere. They are also easy to store when not in use.
Here’s a list of some companies who offer hard and soft shell cases. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 on up.