Due to some health issues with the parents, I needed to spend a few weeks in Minnesota last month. During this time, I had to not only keep up my fitness for my Bolivia ride but I also needed a way to stay sane during days otherwise filled with parental care — a bike was a must. I’ve always wanted to try Bike Flights and as the price to ship my bike to MN was cheaper than flying with it, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Signing up for Bike Flights is easy enough. To create a profile, the site asks for basic information. You can take it one step further and keep a credit card or paypal account on file for payment, store often used addresses, and save the different bike box details you plan to use going forward.
Creating a shipment is straightforward as well. Simply choose how many bikes you want to ship, the type of bike box (either enter the dimensions and weight yourself or choose from a huge list of presets and your saved options), where and when you’re shipping (one way, multi-city, or return).
The Bike Flights shipping generator will then show you a couple shipping options to choose from and the associated price. Once created and paid for, Bike Flights will email you the shipping labels when it’s time to get your bike ready. That’s it.
You can cancel or change your shipment at any time prior to the shipment at no cost. You can also add on declared value insurance during the shipment creation if you are worried about damage or loss of your bike.
For those that have no experience with packing a bike, Bike Flights offers some obnline tutorials or can steer you in the direction of a local bike shop that would be happy to pack up your bike for you. You can even buy packing goods from the Bike Flights site if you don’t have any at home.
I shipped by bike in my Thule RoundTrip Transition bike box and all I had to do was attach the labels and drop it off at FedEx. On the way back, FedEx picked the bike box up from my parents house in Minnesota. My bike showed up in one piece and it was so nice not to deal with flying with my bike — I can attest is a HUGE pain in the ass, especially when traveling overseas.
Bike Flight’s customer service is great. As I was going to be without access to a printer in Minnesota, the team printed my return FedEx labels for me even though it was way before the 10-day, pre-shipment timeline.
While Bike Flights does charge a small premium over what you would pay if you simply went through FedEx, they make the whole process go a million times smoother.
My only issues so far have been that I can’t see my current/past orders for some reason and any and all changes have to be made through customer service. The more you can be the master of your own universe online the better, in my opinion.
Also, it would be great if Bike Flights eventually compared all the differet shipping options instead of just using FedEx — UPS, DHL, USPS, etc. Not sure how wildly the prices would differ but it’s nice to have options. For example, I’ve previously shipped a bike to Iowa from California for around $50 with USPS (it cost me $100 each way to ship my bike to Minnesota this time).
If you often travel with your bike and don’t want to deal with the hassle of flying with your bike box, check out Bike Flights. The best value for money seems to be within the United States. I wanted to ship my bike home from Salta, Argentina later this month but it was going to cost close to $1000.