Sometimes the only way to get a bike from point A to point B is to ship it. If you sell a bicycle online and want to go beyond the pool of local buyers, knowing how to ship a bike with UPS is imperative. Thankfully, you can run through the process with very little cost, aside from the actual fee UPS imposes for their delivery service.
Things You'll Need
- Bike box
- Packing paper
- Packing tape
- Extra cardboard (optional)
Go to a bicycle shop and ask them if they have any extra cardboard bicycle boxes. Most shops consistently receive and build new bikes. This beats the relatively expensive alternative of buying a hard-case box designed to transport a bike.
Bring the box home. Line the bottom of it with about six inches worth of newspaper or packing paper.
Determine the parts of the bike you need to remove or disassemble to get the bike to fit comfortably and safely in your box. This varies depending on the type of bike you have. In almost every case, you need to remove the bicycle's wheels.
Place the wheels inside the box along the sides. Remove the pedals. Ship them separately or packed tightly at the bottom of the box.
Remove the handlebar from the bicycle's stem. The stem is the portion of the bike above the fork that holds your handlebar. Leave the brakes and shifters on the handlebar so that the brake and shifter cables remain attached to both the handlebar assembly and body, or frame, of the bike.
Turn the handlebar so that it rests parallel along the frame. Take packing paper and wrap it around the various tubes of your frame. Tape the packing paper so it does not slip off. If your bike box came with cardboard inserts, use them to hold the bike in place or use a combination of extra cardboard pieces, newspaper and packing paper to keep the bike tight in the box. You basically want to prevent it from moving while in transit. When most bikes are shipped from the manufacturer, cardboard inserts do this job just fine.
Place the frame with the handlebar in the box between the wheels. Close the box. Seal it with packing tape.
Bring your boxed bike to a UPS store or UPS customer center in your area. You can also go to the UPS website and execute your shipment there.
Tell the UPS clerk or input the data at the UPS website regarding delivery information for your bike. You will need the destination address, weight of the package, dimensions of the box and value of the item. Most bike boxes measure somewhere in the neighborhood of 51 inches long by 7 inches deep X 31 inches high. A 50-lb. box at those dimensions traveling across the country--from Santa Monica, California to Niagara Falls, New York--via UPS ground produced a price quote of $61.31 in 2010. UPS estimates the box will be in transit for five days.
Tips & Warnings
- You can get your bike there faster, but it will cost you. UPS Three-Day Select service brought the cost of the shipment in Step 9 up to $143.22. Next day services started at around $260.
- Hard-case bike boxes are another relatively expensive alternative. Tack on another $50 to $200, depending on the quality of the box you buy. You will still need to disassemble parts of your bicycle.