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Best, Cheapest Way to Ship Bikes and Skis

January 31, 2015

I think that most people don't know how to do this, or they get burned when letting others do it for them.

The best, cheapest way to ship BIKES is FedEx Ground 3-Day. You can ship a bike box with bike plus maybe 30 lbs of luggage, etc., for about *$45* across the USA.

As for SKIS, there's only one way to go: USPS Priority. You can ship skis across the US for about $10-25 this way. XC skis go for $12-18. Downhill for $25.

When you see Sellers charging much more, send them the link to this report. Of course, a Handling charge is always appropriate. And if the items are new or exotic there may well be reasons for extra cost. I'm typically sending cheap, used gear.


So here's how to do it...

Let's Start with SKIS:

Use the *free* USPS Priority "tubes" which are 36" long and triangular in shape. Tape three of them end to end, overlapping as needed, to fit the ski length. It takes me 10 minutes of taping fuss. You have 108" to play with in length plus girth. That works at least up to 215cm skis. You can request bundles of them to be delivered to you from their online shop, or get them a few at a time from your local PO. If you or your seller have an eBay Store there's more magic waiting: when they process such a shipping label eBay gives a whopping *70%* discount for a cost of about only $5-10. I haven't figured out why. Now, with 3-pin XC bindings I need to unscrew, bag and stuff them inside. Lastly: this triangle box is STRONGER by far than a long skinny rectangle: it keeps skis safe!

How to Ship a BIKE:

Now, this box size is one that requires breakdown of a bike. It's about 54" x 29" x 8" (ballpark, as I recall). It's the common Trek roadbike box. I get them for free from a local bike shop. Weight isn't the issue, it's size.

Use the online label maker. You'll see that at some point changing a dimension by 1" will bump the price up a lot. Be careful! Don't overstuff your box and make it wide in the middle.

It takes a half hour to prep such a shipment. The bike needs to have its handlebars/stem loosened and turned. Wheels, seat and pedals removed (sometimes crank, sometimes rear derailler needs loosening). You then ziptie foam pipe insulation to the frame-tubes. Put the parts in a bag that you ziptie to the frame. Ziptie the wheels to the frame in the only way that works (lift bike in and out a few times to see how the wheels have to go). Lastly, you need to protect your wheel axle/QR ends and you need to insert spacers in the front and rear dropouts to protect from squeezing/crushing. These wheel/dropout protectors are also available free from your LBS. (Now buy something from them.)

There ya go! ...You're welcome.

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