TRANSPORTATION FOR YOU AND YOUR BICYCLE
The two most common options are (a) to ship your bike to the start of the tour or (b) transport your bike with you by plane, train, or automobile. If you decide to ship your bike, send it to the recommended bike shop at the start of the tour. For each tour, we select a local bike shop to manage this. They are able to provide several levels of service for you. They can assemble your bike before the ride and ship it home afterward for a reasonable fee. They can also simply accept shipment if you plan to assemble it yourself. Your best bet is to take your bike to your local shop and have them ship it to the appropriate place.
The other option is to take your bike with you, no matter what transportation mode you are using to travel to the tour. If you plan to take your bike on an airplane, the airline typically will charge an additional fee to take a bicycle. Please check with the airlines or travel agency directly for details.
AIR VS. GROUND
Expect to pay up to $200, each way, to have your bike accompany you on your airline flight. FedEx, UPS and similar services will ship your bike for considerably less, but you’ll need to plan ahead to utilize this option. Most of our trip start points will accept delivery of and hold your bicycle until you arrive. Consult the shipping information in your tour itinerary and call ahead to make arrangements for shipment. Regardless of transportation mode, we advise insuring your bike against damage or loss.
Don’t wait to pack your bike an hour before your (or its) departure. Plan to do this at home several days prior, and expect the process to take a few hours. Many seasoned cyclotourists use padded carriers or hard-sided cases to ensure that their bikes are well protected during shipment. Such carriers may be purchased (or possibly rented) from local bike shops or mail order suppliers. Please consult your tour information packet to see whether storage will be available for your bike case. At the very least, you’ll need to pack your bike in a cardboard bike box, which usually can be obtained from your local bike shop at little or no cost. Typically, you’ll need to turn or remove your stem/handlebar assembly and pedals, lower or remove your seatpost/saddle, and take off (at least) your front wheel. Place your bike in the carrier or box along with your wheel(s). You may also elect to pad your frame with bubble wrap, pipe insulation or towels, remove quick release skewers from wheel hubs and partially deflate your tires – all of which protect your bike from jostling during shipment. Close the carrier/box securely with straps or tape, and it’s ready to go.
For additional details on packing your bike, see this listing on our website: http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/boxingbike.cfm
Joyce says: To be safe, ship your bicycle 10 days in advance. Even if you choose an overnight or three-day shipping option, allow two or three extra days for the bicycle to arrive. No shipping company has a perfect record!
AFTER THE TOUR
Most of our tours begin on day one at 4:00 PM and generally finish late afternoon on the last day. It is recommended to book flights home for the day after the tour ends or later.