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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm a dental student and i'm going on rotations in montana on an indian reservation [flathead] this summer [july-august]. i'd like to bring my bike out there.

what's the best way to do this?
- fly the bike with me? i don't have a UCSF license, i only have the collegiate one
- mail the bike?
- forget bringing the bike and rent one while i'm out there?

thanks.
 

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Ground transport

maclover said:
i'm a dental student and i'm going on rotations in montana on an indian reservation [flathead] this summer [july-august]. i'd like to bring my bike out there.

what's the best way to do this?
- fly the bike with me? i don't have a UCSF license, i only have the collegiate one
- mail the bike?
- forget bringing the bike and rent one while i'm out there?
You should consider various ground transport options. UPS tends to be pricey, but FedEx gets good reports. DHL and USPS are out there too. And, if they serve the area, using Greyhound or Trailways can be cheap, though unpredictable as far as delivery time. Flying SOMETIMES works for free if you tell the agent that it's "sports equipment" or "a display" but often as not you'll be hit with the $80 (or whatever) charge. If you do a search, you may find some threads on this topic as it has been covered several times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
how big will the package be?

this would be my first time shipping a bike.

will bike shops let me have one of their bike boxes?
how big will the box be, I have a 56cm specialized bike?
 

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maclover said:
this would be my first time shipping a bike.

will bike shops let me have one of their bike boxes?
how big will the box be, I have a 56cm specialized bike?
Flying with a bike is not a big deal. Yes, you will have to pay a $50-80 surcharge each way. But, you don't have any time at either end without your bike.

If you decide to ship your bike, the size of the box is very important. The standard cardboard bike box hovers just around the point where ground shippers charge extra based on dimensions as opposed to weight. (Go to the FedEx or UPS website -- you will see what I mean) Talk to the people at your LBS -- they probably ship bikes (or receive them) all of the time and they can help you with the shipping issue.

Finally, whatever you do, take your bike. Rarely can you find a good rental bike and you really want to be on your own bike if you are going any techical riding (like descending at high speeds).
 

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If you really like your bike, you might want to consider buying a TriCo Iron case (or something similar). I have the TriCo (that I purchased used for $150) and a Performance case (maybe $200 delivered). $150 won't even replace my handlebars, so it was money well spent.

On the other hand, I flew with my beater bike using just a bike box with no trouble.
 

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I have flown and mailed one. Both went smoothly. FedEx was the cheapest but the box was a little damaged. The airline took better care of my box. I boxed it as was to be mailed and insured it for the total amount. My old man almost freaked when he found out my bike was worth 5 grand. The airline put so many fragile stickers on it I could see while they were loading it. It was the last thing that went on the plane. I was happy.
I would go this route again.

Now, on to more important things. Be sure you have the correct gearing.
I see you are in NC. The hills/mountians in Montana are a different animal.
Be sure to take you bike up to Glacier National and ride the "going to the sun road".
The prettiest ride and drive I have ever done. Glacier is my favorite place on earth. I want to be spread there when I die.
You will love the rockies in Montana.
Do your best to do some back country while you are there.
My favorite short hike is a weekend trip/hike to Elizabeth Lake on the NorthEastern Side of the park. Take the sun road through the park.
Also, do your best to get up to Waterton Lakes in Canada.
If you like to fish, the mountain likes are full of rainbows. Good food. Poached is the easiest in the back country.

Damn I wish I was going with you. The longest I have ever spent was 2 weeks back country in Glacier.

Enjoy.
 

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Have you asked for excess baggage fees?

I'll assume this is part of an internship. Have you asked to see if they will cover an excess baggage or shipping fees? It will help if you can show them the advantages of bringing your bike as well. It never hurts to ask.
 

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I've flown back and forth to Europe with bikes. Sometimes the airline tries to charge but generally I wasn't charged. You can check with the airline but even then you might get different answers. I just used bike boxes from LBS and packaged the bike carefully and taped the box up extensively. No damage yet.

However I usually just take the beater/commuter so I'm not too worried about damage or loss.
 

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Have you considered taking the bus or train? They used take a bike box for about $0-$10 last I knew. It's scenic and an interesting way to travel. Reduced CO2 production as well. It takes 2-3 days to go from coast to coast. Train seats are more spacious than bus seats (similar to first class in an airplane) and you can walk around or go to the lounge car. Sleeping in the seats can be uncomfortable however. Amtrak runs through Glacier NP. Amtrak and Greyhound web sites have the routes and prices.
 

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if you go the shipping route you cal see if your LBS will ship to a bike shop in your new area for you. They sometimes get better shipping rates for shipping business to business and that way your lbs can pack your bike for you.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
Flying SOMETIMES works for free if you tell the agent that it's "sports equipment" or "a display" but often as not you'll be hit with the $80 (or whatever) charge.
Still amazed at how successful the "sports equipment" line has worked for me. It was one thing using it when i traveled with a padded bike bag, but i flew this week (international) with a Trico Iron Case, and managed to avoid the fee once again.

I was sure it wasn't going to work, considering the scale of the case, but it did, although this time i was pushing it. The agent asked 'is there a bicycle in there?' and i replied 'sports equipment'. I'm pretty sure she knew the deal, but couldn't be bothered. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
if i decide to just take the bike on the airplane and pay the 50-75$ fee, can I just not box it and leave the bike together?
 
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