Boxing & Shipping

I found shipping my bicycle to a bike shop in San Diego, and having it reassembled and ready to go when I arrived, was much less stressful and less expensive than taking it on the plane with me.

After inquiring at several of my local bike shops about having my bicycle packed for shipping, I found that the price varied significantly from shop to shop. One shop wouldn’t even box my bike for me. They did, however, give me a bike box and all the packing material that came with a new bicycle so I could do it for myself.

Let’s face it, we love our bikes and I am no exception. So I chose to pack my cherished 1998 Trek 5220 myself to ensure it had a safe journey across the country with FedEx. I also used BikeFlights to make the shipping arrangements. I don’t know why, but it was less expensive using them than making the shipping arrangement myself with FedEx. If you choose to pack your bike yourself, BikeFlights also provides packing instructions that I found very helpful. All I had left to do was to leave my boxed bike in front of my garage to be picked up.

Tip: Put small parts in a separate box so they cannot fall out of the bike box if it is damage.
Tip: Use the smallest practical box for your bicycle. I used a 56x9x31 (LxWxH) box. Had I used a standard road bike box, 54x9x29, the shipping cost would have been considerably less expensive.

Ken Whittaker


Original post February 7, 2015
Updated April 14, 2018


Ready to Box

The next step in preparing to cycle across America was to get my bicycle ready for shipping to San Diego. I won’t bore you with a lot of the details but I will share a few tips. First, thoroughly clean your bike before shipping. Clean the chain, drivetrain, frame and wheels. If you’re not sure how to properly clean your bike, Bicycling Magazine provides “A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Bike” online.

Cleaning my bike gave me the opportunity to closely inspect it. This increased my confidence that my bike was ready for the journey we were taking together. After the cleaning, I inspected the brake pads and remove any objects embedded in them. Finally, I lubricated the chain, cables, derailleurs, and shifters.

With a clean and lubricated bicycle, I was it ready to box it.

Ken Whittaker


Original post February 7, 2015
Updated April 13, 2018