Shipping a bike for a poor college kid

Dear Lee,
I am in somewhat of a predicament. I am traveling to Oregon by plane for a ten week internship. I am curious about what is the best way to fly with your bike? I want the bike to arrive safely but I don’t want to spend unnecessary money to do so. this is because I am a poor college kid that most likely can’t afford the excess baggage fees that can come with flying.

love the website, books and the pumptrack I’m building in my back yard! thanks, cheers.


Funny you’d ask this today. I’m about to fly with my Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 to Arizona for high school coach training and some public kung fu clinics.

I use a bike case and bring my bike on the plane. Southwest is $75 each way. This is neither cheapest nor most convenient, but it lets me teach on my bike right up until I have to pack for the flight.

The cheaper way to go, which actually might be more secure:

• Get a cardboard bike box from a bike shop.

• Pack your bike in the box. Take your time. Pad everything.

• Use FedEx ground. Send the bike to your new home or to a bike shop (rates are lower to businesses than residences). With FedEx you can get insurance in case the box is lost or damaged. If the airline loses or breaks your bike, good luck recovering the replacement cost (especially with a beautiful S-Works!).

Get a great deal: I built and ran the site SYR is supposed to be only for shipping reptiles, but you can ship whatever you like, and you get a nice discount off retail. Check out and get a free quote. If you like, you can add insurance.

Have fun in Oregon!


Know more. Have more fun!

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1 reply
  1. Brian says:

    Some others out there advocate doing the following:

    1. Get a hockey bag from a second hand store.
    2. Take your bike apart.
    3. Pack it in a hockey bag in layers, with towels between each layer.
    4. Check your bag. If the airline asks, it’s sporting equipment. It likely wont exceed the weight limits, but check that before you go.
    5. Consider curbside check-in. They expect a $2 tip per bag. More incentive to give you less trouble.
    6. Don’t forget to bring your tools, or rent space from a collective shop – There are likely a few near you in Oregon. They will even give you space if you volunteer (assuming you know what you’re doing).


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