If you want to know how to ship a bicycle for your next trip, then this is for you.

As you can imagine, we have taken our bikes abroad many times and so we’re aware there are a confusing array of different options for bicycle shipping. We hope this article simplifies the options and process for you!

Whether you are considering which bike shipping service to use (should you ship a bike via UPS or use another provider like Bike Flight shipping?), want to know what sort of bike shipping cost you can expect to pay or are wondering about packaging for bike shipping, we hope you’ll find this is your complete guide to shipping a bicycle.

Read on to find out the main options for shipping a bike, how to pick between the bike shipping companies and what to do to get your bike ready to go. The answers to all the questions you want to ask – plus a few you haven’t yet thought of – are covered below! If not, drop us a line.

Got an e-bike to move? It’s a bit different. Read this article on e-bike shipping!

This article includes details of products and/or services that we have used ourselves or which we would consider using. Some are paid features or include affiliate links where if you click on a link and make a booking or buy something, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please read our disclosure policy for further information.

Shipping a bike: the three options

If you’re wondering what is the best shipping method for bicycles going long distances, there are three main options to consider.

  • You can send a bike the DIY way, via a carrier like FedEx.
  • Alternatively, use specialist bike shipping companies who will be experts in posting a bike.
  • Thirdly, you could fly with your bike instead.

Let’s take a closer look at these three methods to ship bikes – including the pros and cons of each.

Use a parcel courier

The first option for how to ship a bike is to use a regular parcel carrier service. For this method, you’ll need to supply a bike shipping box, and parcel your bike up so they can courier the package for you. If you’ve ever ordered a bike online, then you might have had a bike delivered to you this way.

Pros:

  • Low cost option
  • Lots of carriers to choose from
  • Many companies deliver all over the world

Cons:

  • Insurance may be limited or unavailable
  • Not specialists in transporting bikes

The specialist way

Another approach is to ship a bicycle via a specialist company. The big “sell” here is that these companies are specialist in handling bikes. So your bike should be in good hands, and with a bit of luck it’ll arrive at your destination in the same number of pieces as it started!

Pros:

  • Full insurance cover can be included
  • May make more sense, cost-wise, for expensive bikes

Cons:

  • Might cost more

The airborne way

The third option is to get a box for bike shipping and take it with you when you fly. The cost of doing this can vary, and of course it’s never guaranteed that your bike will end up on the same plane as you.

Pros:

  • Can be convenient when you’re flying anyway

Cons:

  • Bike box may not be lockable
  • You need to get the bike to the airport in good time
  • You may have to pay for oversize luggage and might need to arrange this directly with the airline

Which is the best shipping company for your bike?

If you decide to book a bike ship via a specialist, then the next step is to decide which company to use.

We’ve compared a few companies below and you’ll also find some questions to consider when choosing. All the information below was correct as of April 2023, but is subject to change at any time.

Company Max dimensions (packaged) Max weight Worldwide?
Bike Flights 122cm (L) x 76cm (H) 23kg Yes
Send My Bag 150,000 cm³ 30kg Yes
Bike Delivery 160cm (L) x 120cm (H) 30kg UK
Send Bike 190cm (L) x 112cm (H) 30kg Yes
Sherpr Contact Sherpr 30kg Yes

Bike Delivery

bikedelivery.co.uk

Bike Delivery can transport your bikes all over the UK. You will need a fully structured box for shipping a bike, and to follow their recommended steps for packing the bicycle securely.

Liability cover is included and a next day service offered. As they ship thousands of bikes each month, Bike Delivery should have the experience you need when sending your bike somewhere else in the UK.

  • Bike specific or general luggage courier? Bike specific
  • Uses DHL/FedEx? Not stated
  • Prices include insurance? Yes
  • Can supply bike box? No
  • Express shipping available? Yes – next day service
  • Any other notes? Comprehensive packaging requirements guide supplied on website

Bike Flights

bikeflights.com

Bike Flights has the buying power to offer a competitive shipping a bike cost. International delivery is available, and the cost of shipping a bike is calculated according to the weight and dimensions. The company uses recycled packaging and promises carbon neutral deliveries.

Bike Flights say they employ cyclists to ensure staff really understand what goes into running a worldwide bike delivery service. If you like, you can also buy a bicycle shipping box from them.

  • Bike specific or general luggage courier? Bike specific
  • Uses DHL/FedEx? Not stated
  • Prices include insurance? Yes
  • Can supply bike box? Yes – 4 sizes
  • Express shipping available? Not stated
  • Any other notes? Employs cyclists, uses recycled packaging and carbon neutral deliveries

Send Bike

sendbike.com

Send Bike allows you to use your own bike box for shipping, or you can buy one of theirs. You can book the service online at any time of the day or night. They send all sorts of bikes, and even offer Ready to Ride bike shipping boxes. This means your bike doesn’t need dismantling, and it can be used for storage at home too.

Like some other companies, Send Bike uses DHL and FedEx bike shipping services to transport your bike.

  • Bike specific or general luggage courier? Bike specific
  • Uses DHL/FedEx? Yes
  • Prices include insurance? Yes
  • Can supply bike box? Yes – standard, large or Ready to Ride boxes
  • Express shipping available? Not stated
  • Any other notes? Unique Ready to Ride boxes means your bike can travel without being dismantled

Sherpr

sherpr.com

Sherpr is a general luggage delivery service rather than a bike specialist. A courier can collect your bike and it will be sent where you want, when you want. Anywhere in the world.

Sherpr can supply a one hour collection window. They can also collect from your home or workplace. If you have other stuff to send as well as the bike, this could be the ideal option. Again, Sherpr uses bike shipping via FedEx, TNT and DHL.

  • Bike specific or general luggage courier? General
  • Uses DHL/FedEx? Yes
  • Prices include insurance? Yes
  • Can supply bike box? No
  • Express shipping available? Yes – Priority Express for some destinations
  • Any other notes? One hour collection time slots

Send My Bag

sendmybag.com

Like Sherpr, Send My Bag transports all sorts of items – including bikes. They promise prices that are cheaper than flying and faster than sending by sea. Complete relocations are possible, and as they claim to work for professional sportspeople they should be used to dealing with bikes.

Bikes should be packed into a freight approved case, and sufficient packaging added to protect every part. Especially those parts that could protrude from the box.

  • Bike specific or general luggage courier? General
  • Uses DHL/FedEx? Yes
  • Prices include insurance? Yes
  • Can supply bike box? No
  • Express shipping available? Yes – for EU destinations; express only for UK to US
  • Any other notes? Can deal with an entire relocation as well as bikes and luggage

Send My Bag is also mentioned as one of our favourite cycling apps: read the full article here.

Questions to ask when choosing between shipping companies

Here are some considerations to help you choose which company to use.

How much does it cost to ship a bike?

The cost of shipping a bike will vary according to the dimensions, weight, destinations and where it’s coming from. Different companies will also charge different rates.

As an example, in April 2023, Send Bike quoted £102.92 to send a bike from London to France. From the same starting point to the US, the price was £235.42.

What are the maximum package dimensions and weight?

Maximum dimensions vary according to two main factors. One is the company you use and the other is the countries involved. As a general rule of thumb, 30 kilos is a maximum weight.

160cm (length) by 120cm (height) are typical maximum measurements, as is 150,000 cm³. Again this does vary. A larger parcel may increase the cost to ship a bike too.

Can I ship my bicycle internationally?

Non-motorised bikes can be shipped internationally, just like any parcel. You just need to pick a carrier that offers an international service.

When sending a bike overseas, shipping a bike via FedEx or another reputable carrier is often part of the process used by bike transport companies.

Be aware that shipping e-bikes is a different matter and much more complicated. Read our article on that subject here.

Is there a packing service available?

You will need to pack your own bike. This applies whether you’re shipping a bike via FedEx or a specialist cycle carrier.

Full guidelines can be found on each company’s website.

Do companies provide packing materials?

Some specialist cycle transport operators supply packing materials. Typically these are optional extras you can buy on their website.

As an example, as at April 2023, Send Bike charges £23.99 for their standard bicycle box. It’s something to factor in when working out how much to ship a bike!

How long does it take to ship a bicycle?

If the time it’s going to take is critical, you might need to shop around and opt for an express service.

By way of example, according to Send Bike, a bicycle can reach France in 7 days and the US in 3 working days from the UK. These timeframes are given by the online system, which may be set up to give the cheapest rate. To France this is via an Economy service, and to the US by Express.

What is the insurance policy for shipping a bicycle?

Each courier company will have its own terms, conditions and level of cover. Make sure you check these carefully before committing.

You may be able to get extra cover via your travel or home insurance policies – but this can add to your bicycle shipping cost.

Can I track my bicycle during shipping?

You should be able to track your bike during its journey. Simply enter the tracking number in the box on the carrier’s website, just as you would when tracking a parcel. It’s pretty much the same in this respect when you ship a bicycle.

How do I arrange pickup and delivery for my bicycle?

In most cases the bike can be collected, and dropping it off at a designated point may also be an option. A date, location and maybe even a time for pickup and delivery will be decided as you work through the booking process. If you have specific needs, you’ll need to be careful to choose a company that can meet them.

Once you accept a quote for the bike shipping cost, then how it all works will be explained when booking.

What to do when shipping a bike

Once you’ve decided on which method to use and (if you go for a carrier), which company you’ll use, here are the next questions you might have.

Do I need to disassemble my bicycle before shipping?

You can buy a Ready to Ride bike shipping box via Sherpr, but in most cases you’ll need to take your bike apart before it can be shipped.

How do I properly package my bicycle for shipping?

Where these exist, the key is to follow the shipping company’s packing instructions to the letter. They may state the sort of box to ship your bicycle in, as well as how to pack it. Typically you’ll need to dismantle it, protect it with bubble wrap and other packing materials and tape it up securely.

There are some tips for how to pack a bike for shipping in our article on flying with a bike.

What info to provide to the shipping company?

Again, what the company needs varies from business to business and the key is to provide them exactly what they need.

However, whether you choose to ship a bike via FedEx or use a specialist cycle shipping company, they’ll need to know a few basics. The pick-up and delivery locations, of course, and the dates, plus the dimensions and weight of the packaged bike.

How can I label and track my shipment?

When you ship a bike you can track it via the bicycle shipping service website. Enter the tracking number you’ve been given in the appropriate place, and you can find out where your bike is.

Are there any customs or import regulations when shipping a bicycle internationally?

Sometimes there are customs issues when shipping bikes. These can add both time and cost to the process. Whether there are likely to be issues depends on the value of your bicycle, the intended use and the country. In many cases, an average bike being sent for personal use will not require any paperwork or payments.

If in doubt, ask the carrier for advice before going ahead.

What to check and inspect upon delivery?

Check and inspect your bike very carefully as soon as it’s delivered. Make sure you don’t sign to say you’ve checked it if you haven’t yet!

If there are any issues, take photos straight away and gather any other evidence – such as keeping hold of broken parts or packaging. You’re likely to need these when making a claim for damage caused by national or international bike shipping. Also check the terms and requirements of the courier company you used.

What should I do if my bicycle is damaged during shipping?

Though shipping bicycles is normally straightforward, if your bike is damaged you’ll need to think about gathering evidence immediately.

Take photos of any damage, and retain any broken packaging or parts. If the collection location is staffed, let someone there know straight away. Failing to take such steps could invalidate any claim.

You also need to check the requirements of the courier company concerned and get in touch with them. You can usually do this via their website or by phone. Again, do this without delay to avoid unnecessary complications!

Do you have any other tips for shipping a bike?

Here are our key takeaways from our many years of experience in taking bikes abroad:

The first tip is to be prepared when shipping a bicycle. Follow the instructions to the letter! For example get a bike box that is permitted by the carrier you’ll use – and don’t forget to check the dimension requirements. Their website is also likely to give packing instructions.

The next step is to take time in packing your bike for shipping. Gather the tools and extra packing materials you’ll need. Useful ones include an Allen key, an adjustable spanner, bubble wrap, foam tubing, packaging chips and cable ties.

And finally, don’t forget to keep copies of any documentation – and take photos of your unboxed and boxed bike from all angles before saying goodbye to it!

Shipping a bike: final thoughts

We hope this guide to how to ship a bicycle has helped you decide on the best luggage shipping service for your bike – as well as answering all your burning questions.

If you have any tips, comments, feedback or suggestions, please do let us know in the comments!

And remember, if it’s an e-bike you’re shipping, there’s a lot more you need know. Read our article on e-bike shipping to find out.

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

Last Reviewed: 01 December 2023

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