UPDATE: Solved -> https://www.warmshowers.org/comment/27368#comment-27368
Hi, my fellow cyclists,
it's that great time again: I get to go on a long trip soon :D
Short version: I want to send my bicycle from Germany to the USA and pick it up there. Any tips?
This time I'm planning a few weeks together with my wife in SE Asia without the bike. After that she has to go back to her studies :P and my plan is to ride across the USA from West to East.
So my current itinerary is something like Munich -> Bangkok (with a stop-over in Kiev) and then from there to the US (probably with stop-overs as well). Like everyone else on this site, I hate the hassle of flying with a bicycle. Especially when I don't need it for a few weeks and I have to bother storing it.
So my idea was to ship my bicycle + baggage ahead and pick it up when I arrive. I saw that DHL offers a 31kg package for ~100 USD which sounds amazing. My question to you is if anyone has better suggestions? How about customs, is that something I have to worry about when I ship my own stuff to myself? Where do I send the package to, because timing the arrival is probably hard?
I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks and have a good one :D
Michael, That price seems like a pretty good deal. While I don't think you will need to worry about customs, to play it ultra safe, would take pictures of you with your bike at home in Germany at an identifiable place and time that can be looked up online. I would also bring a receipt if possible for the bicycle showing it is already yours and fully paid for. Have a buddy make up a fake sale if need be.
Finally, I would actually suggest the best suggestion is for you go over on CrazyGuyonaBike.com and see if you can find some German/European riders who have already shipped the bike and find out what their outcome was.
Hope you have a great trip, John
You can usually ship to a bicycle shop and they will hold it for you. Just be sure to contact them beforehand.
That would be really convenient, but is customs not going to be an issue?
Should not be. Just be sure to put on the shipping form that it is not for resale. Also, list yourself as the recipient c/o (care of) the shop.
Why not to contact US Custom and ask?
I hope it is not too late for you to see this. We have just made arrangements in reverse: Denver to Frankfurt for a summer tour. Everything we looked at was very expensive. Finally found that the best price for us was to fly Icelandic Air and bring the bike as baggage. It is still more than you are quoting. I would go for it and find a bike shop to store it.
Good news: The trip went well and I shipped everything for the lowest price I could find via DHL. I shipped my bike and all my gear. The first package was 30kg (66 lbs) for ~100 EUR (110 USD) and the second package was 20kg (44 lbs) for 75 EUR (83 USD). Taking everything on a direct flight is cheaper, but my travel plans did not allow for that.
Bad news: The package took way longer than expected and got stuck once DHL handed it over to USPS (probably in customs). The package arrived 3 weeks too late, but luckily I had an awesome host who borrowed me one of his bikes, so I could tour nonetheless.
So all in all this is an option worth considering if you are willing to wait for some time and if you don't mind completely taking apart your bicycle (max. size 120x60x60cm).
Interesting, but daunting.
In my eyes, the big problem with transporting your bike on a plane to the States is the situation when you have a stop and have to change the plane to get to your destination. You must go through the immigration and custom procedure at your first stop, which means your luggage will not be transferred to the other plane and you have to check in it again, and you have to obey the rules and condition of the other airline. Often, to find suitable combination of airlines is a difficult task, and even impossible... And what if the custom destroyed your bike box to see what inside it?
My solution to avoid the hassle in question is to buy a bike while in the States. Or, to buy it on the net (while you are still at home) and get it delivered to the address in the States you would choose. For instance, to a Warmshower´s member. I did it twice.
I considered doing that, but I want sure if I wanted to go through the hassle of selling the bike afterwards. I figured I'd but a Surly LHT or something used for ~1000$ and bring all my gear with me (about 100 USD for long distance thoughts to the US).
I figured I'll lose about 300-400$ when selling it, but finding a buyer will probably take time and is bit even guaranteed.
How did you solve that problem?
I bought the cheapest bike possible, an everyday city bike on Walmart, just for the purpose of the trip. Afterwards, one of them I sold to my host for 50$, the other one I simply abandoned at the airport.