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How to Box and Ship a Bike

by Levi Bloom on April 29, 2005

There comes a time in every cyclist's life when they must ship their precious steed somewhere new. This is not exactly reliable thanks to the dedication of today's postal workers, but if you box your bike correctly, and luck is on your side, your bike may arrive at its final destination in good shape.

What you need:

  • A bike
  • Bike box
  • Newspaper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Packing tape
  • Fork block
  • Allen wrench
  • Pedal wrench

bike box

Step 1: Get a box.

The easiest way to get a bicycle-specific box is to go to your your local bike shop and ask for one that will fit your bike. Most shops have extra boxes sitting around that they'll give you for free, and they might even give you some padding and accessories like a fork block or extra cardboard if you're a good customer.

If you can get a Cannondale box, so much the better. I find their boxes to be the most secure. (Although you do have to remove both wheels when using this style box.)

Be sure to remove any old shipping labels from the box and/or use a black permanent marker to cover any confusing markings.


Step 2: Wash your bike.

Clean off your bike; you don't want to be messing around with a dirty bike.

While you're at it... If your bike has gears, shift to the largest rear cog and chainring before boxing the bike. And deflate your tires a little bit.


bike disassembled for box

Step 3: Remove parts.

Remove the handlebar, pedals, seatpost, and front wheel. Then stick the fork block in the front fork dropouts to protect them and prevent them from poking through the box.

Turn the fork and stem so they are facing backwards, and put the handlebar parallel to the frame.

If you are using a Cannondale box like the one pictured, you will remove both wheels and place them on one side of the box, with the frame on the other side of the cardboard divider.


Step 4: Packing materials.

Wrap all the tubes with paper, bubble wrap, and/or cardboard tubing to prevent scratching. Be sure to pad around the brakes and derailleurs.


Step 5: Secure the bike.

Attach the handlebar and other parts to the frame securely with tape and be sure to pad them, too. Small parts such as pedals can be put in a small box and then put in the bike box.


bike in box

bike in box

Step 6: Put the bike in the box.

Now hopefully the bike and parts will slide nicely into the bike box. Be sure you have taped everything securely so that nothing rattles inside the box. Good luck :)


Step 7: Ship it.

Pay UPS about $20-40 so they will ship it to your destination in 3-5 days!

 

Final tip: I'm not sure if I should recommend writing "FRAGILE" on the box or not. That may lead some unscrupulous individuals to purposely beat up your box. ;)

 

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