How to Ship a Bicycle by Plane

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You can't live without your bicycle, as it is your means of transportation and you have to take it with you on your next trip. The only problem is, you're flying to that destination. There are easy ways to ship a bicycle by airplane these days so that both you and your bike will arrive at your destination together.

Things You'll Need

  • Shipping box or hard bike case
  • TSA-approved lock
  • Ask the airline how much it will cost to ship your bike and what the rules and regulations are for shipping. Do you need to ship it in a hard case or can you use a cardboard box? Ask if there are maximum sizes that can be shipped. If you decide to go this route, tell the airline representative you will be shipping your bike as one of your pieces of baggage.

  • Measure your bike and see how big it is, because you are going to need a box or hard case to pack it in to get it on the airplane. For boxes, you can get them at your local bike store for a small fee. Hard-sided bike suitcases will cost upward of $350, but you will have it forever and you can also purchase a collapsible one as well. You might also consider what is called a triangular box; if you get one of those, you don't have to disassemble your bike.

  • Disassemble the bike, if needed and depending on the size of the box. Perhaps you will only have to take off the wheels and the handlebars. You might also have to take off the seat and the pedals to fit the bike into the case or box. If you have decided to go with the triangular box, then all you need to do is use the quick release on both the front wheel and seat. The bike will be held with the tie-downs that come with the box.

  • Add some padding if shipping the bike in the cardboard box. This is in case the bike parts move around. You don't want anything to accidentally poke through the cardboard or get lost.

  • Lock the box if you use a hard case to ship your bike. Use a TSA-approved lock, which you can find at any bike store.

  • Check your bike in at the airline counter and when you get to your destination you will have to pick your bag up in the oversized baggage area.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask the airline what the extra cost will be for shipping your bike when you make your ticket reservation.
  • Don't use a cardboard box that is not completely sturdy or it might fall apart while baggage handlers are moving it around.
  • Pay attention to how you disassemble the bike so you can put it back together properly.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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