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Discussion: Shipping bikes internationally?

in: Adventure Racing; General

Apr 17, 2017 2:30 AM # 
StrongMachine:
Can anyone make a recommendation for shipping a bike internationally? I'm doing several stops before the race so I can't check it on my flight.

BikeFlights is looking like $450+ to Spain...are there any cheaper options?

Thanks in advance!
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Apr 17, 2017 7:21 PM # 
legendaryrandy:
Rent one there.
Apr 19, 2017 2:01 AM # 
StrongMachine:
Radio silence...I'll take that as a "there are no good options."

I'm going to go with BikeFlights. I'll let the world know about my experience after I get back (hopefully with intact bike).
Apr 19, 2017 4:15 AM # 
Bash:
All the best!
Apr 19, 2017 12:22 PM # 
JayXC:
I would be tempted to do as Randy suggests. We rented bikes for the APEX in Switzerland a few years ago and it worked out well.
Apr 19, 2017 1:11 PM # 
veinbuster:
A friend of mine who travels a lot always rents. He takes his own seat and pedals and a cheat sheet of his setup to the millimetre: seat height, seat nose, bar height, reach and takes the time to set the rental to his known setup. The bikes are not usually quite as good as his own, but for him the travel goes much more smoothly. He generally does 3 away trips a year of about a week each.
Apr 19, 2017 7:28 PM # 
Carbon's Offset:
I believe I went with BikeFlights when I did it once. They were pretty good to deal with. The cost was about the same as flying with the bike, but it was nice to not have to lug it to and from airports.
I believe that was just for shipping the bike from Italy to Sweden between two trips. Bringing it back overseas to North America, it was cheaper to fly with the bike.
Apr 21, 2017 2:56 AM # 
StrongMachine:
Thanks all! I was tempted just to rent a bike, but my time to organize it before the race would have been very limited, and the language difference was an added barrier.

Also, our teammate at ITERA in Ireland last year had extreme difficulty finding a decent bike, even in the supposed outdoor mecca of Killarney. I didn't want to have a repeat of that experience.

Bike ships tomorrow...wish me luck with that (and I suppose the race too).
Jul 3, 2017 5:20 PM # 
StrongMachine:
OK, almost forgot about this, and don't know if anyone is actually interested, but for the bike shipping update:
I used BikeFlights to ship from Portland, Maine to Galicia, Spain. Cost was ~$450. I shipped the bike in my CrateWorks box and was able to drop it off at FedEx. I sent it two weeks before the race. About a week later, I was informed through BikeFlights that it had arrived in Spain, and then 24 hours later I got another email saying that it was being held by Spanish customs. This was confirmed by Galiorient, the race organizers for Raid Gallaecia, who were the recipients of the box. What followed was an increasingly stressful week of communications between BikeFlights and Galiorient. While BikeFlights was attentive to my concerns that my bike wouldn't arrive before the race, they seemed pretty helpless to actually force any action out of Spanish customs. Pablo and Victor from RG, however, were able to get someone with some authority on the phone and manage to get the bike out of customs with arrival on the day before the race. They said the spent hours on the phone, which I felt really badly about, considering they were in the final week of prep before directing an ARWS race. Huge, huge thanks to them, and a big warning to anyone shipping bikes internationally that it is a dangerous course of action.

Flying home with the bikes was no picnic, either. I spent hours on the phone with Lufthansa, which claimed that the flight's bike quota was full. Since airlines won't allow you to travel separately from your bags, that would have meant either leaving the bike or skipping my flight. However, when I showed up at the airport with the bike, they checked me in without a problem. It cost me 150 euro to get it home. Long story short, getting bikes to international races is not easy.

ARWS recently posted a video of the Estonian ACE team in China explaining their tricks of how they fly with bikes and I think that's the way to go. Check it out here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j73vp3eTlQM

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