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Packing Bikes for Movers to Transport

Old 10-19-21, 05:40 AM
  #1  
Phil_gretz
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Packing Bikes for Movers to Transport

My wife and I have seven bikes to pack for movers in the next five weeks. I'd prefer to not to break them down and box them in traditional bike shipping boxes, as each one is quite a bit of work. I've heard of roll-in boxes that airlines (used to) permit that required very little modification to the bike.

So, has anyone recently come across this method, or is there another way that I'm overlooking? Are there any suggestions aside from allowing movers to touch the bikes themselves or breaking down to pack into traditional bike box techniques? I'd really appreciate any input that you fellows may have. PG
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Old 10-19-21, 06:18 AM
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There are boxes that require minimum break down of the bicycle.
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Old 10-19-21, 06:52 AM
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Doesn't (didn't) Amtrak sell bike boxes that are larger than the normal airline bike box?
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Old 10-19-21, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Doesn't (didn't) Amtrak sell bike boxes that are larger than the normal airline bike box?
Yes, they do! Thank you. I phoned Amtrak and they sell the boxes only a few miles from my home, $15 is the listed price per box.
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Old 10-19-21, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Doesn't (didn't) Amtrak sell bike boxes that are larger than the normal airline bike box?
I was going to suggest that. Union Station in D.C. might have them for sale.

The last time I used one of them you had to remove the pedals, turn the stem and bars and lower the seat (for larger bikes). Note the boxes cost $15 each from Amtrak.
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Old 10-19-21, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
There are boxes that require minimum break down of the bicycle.
Thank you, Rick. This is a terrific option for multiple uses of the box. My trip is one way, and seven bikes would cost over $1000 just for boxes. That's a bit too much for this move. It's a good idea for others who may find this thread, though.
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Old 10-19-21, 07:41 AM
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How far is the move? Check into renting the smallest UHaul and a pull behind trailer for an auto. Pack the bikes/stuff in, drive it yourself and pull your auto behind. I have a Chevy Express 3500 Ext. wheelbase van. Probably get 10-15 bikes in it easy. Seems like your moving from Northern VA to Fredericksburg. Is that correct?

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Old 10-19-21, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
How far is the move? Check into renting the smallest UHaul and a pull behind trailer for an auto. Pack the bikes/stuff in, drive it yourself and pull your auto behind. I have a Chevy Express 3500 Ext. wheelbase van. Probably get 10-15 bikes in it easy. Seems like your moving from Northern VA to Fredericksburg. Is that correct?
Unfortunately, no. We're moving from Northern VA to San Antonio, TX. We will be driving one car down, but its contents are already decided, and they don't include bicycles or a trailer. Good thinking, though.

If we were moving to Fredericksburg, I'd rent a small u-haul truck and drive everything myself over a period of a few days.

It'll be a three day drive for us, because more than eight hours is too much "car time" in any one day. Although I have a hitch rack that can carry two bikes, there are negative consequences (adverse aerodynamics) or risks (damage or theft) to hauling them long distances.
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Old 10-19-21, 11:30 AM
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Get yourself a couple of pallets. Mount some roof rack carriers on the pallets. Make room on the moving truck for the pallets/carriers. Secure the pallets in the moving truck. Mount the bikes on the carriers.
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Old 10-19-21, 11:45 AM
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We're not hiring an entire truck, as we're downsizing the contents of our home significantly. The former model of a home move (the one we've used for the last 50 years) no longer is cost effective. Movers employ a variety of techniques for what is called a "snap move", where they estimate your volume and arrive with the appropriate container, which is a modularly sized, lockable unit, a few of which may fit on different truck sizes. Smaller modules or "pods" may be self-packed and taken by fork lift and flat bed, or may be packed same day by the movers. The size of pod determines the cost, as long as it's within the weight limit for the pod.

At any rate, there isn't free space on a truck for floor mounted pallets with bike racks mounted to them. Interesting concept, and it would work if I purchased an entire truck with available space.

We're trying to optimize the volume for the lowest cost. Hence, jettisoning most of our books, most of our [work] clothing, much of our furniture, all of our formal dishware and stemware, nick knacks and anything that isn't absolutely essential to our retired life. It's freeing, really.
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Old 10-19-21, 12:17 PM
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It didn't have to be on the floor. It could sit on something close to the ceiling. I'm thinking the only option is a small trailer behind the vehicle with the bikes on it. Or another vehicle one way and a return ticket for the other driver. Maybe a Smartbox just big enough for the bikes that you pack yourself. In August, I shipped a bike with Shipbikes from Richmond to Wichita Falls, Tx and back. It was $81. and change each way.
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Old 10-19-21, 12:19 PM
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I did a lot of digging on the best way to pack up my bikes for a move (happened in May) that didn't involve a lot of disassembly. In the end the cost:benefit wasn't there for larger boxes, so I went with standard bike shipping boxes that required seat post, wheels, pedals, and handlebar removal. Took some time with 8 bikes to pack, but on the positive side the bikes came out on the other end unscathed and it gave me a chance to clean and do some maintenance work.
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Old 10-19-21, 12:23 PM
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Would taking the wheels, pedals and saddle including the seat post off of each bike be too much work?

When you do that they'll fit in a surprisingly small space. I recently took three road bikes to Colorado inside a Sante Fe Sport and only had to drop one rear seat. So there was room enough for the bikes, 3 people and baggage for 10 days stay.

Depending on your vehicle, you might get all seven in there if you are only one or two people with light baggage. I know I could get all seven in mine. Though the wife would be complaining because she couldn't spread and organize the water and snacks for traveling on the backseat so she could easily grab them from the front..
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Old 10-20-21, 05:03 AM
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7 x $15 is not $1000. Movers are great packers and I would put on the truck, in or out of boxes with special instructions to the driver.
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Old 10-20-21, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Peruano View Post
7 x $15 is not $1000.
He was talking about the link in post #2.
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Old 10-20-21, 07:07 AM
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6 years ago we had a moving company move us about 500 miles. We had 7 bikes.

I stuck the 2 most fragile/valuable ones on the back of my car and just let the movers deal with the bikes as they saw fit. The just laid them on top of everything else, and wrapped in blankets where needed. They came out fine other than one brake lever that got damaged because the cable was too short and at some point the bars got turned too far. That was my own fault, really. I should have disconnected that cable from the lever…. or better yet, replaced the cable with a longer one when I went with wider and taller bars on that bike.

Anyway, a new v-brake lever was way less time and money than packing up 5 bikes in boxes.
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Old 10-20-21, 07:27 AM
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Phil, maybe you're looking for something different, but: last time I moved, I went to a bike shop and they gave me a few boxes -- the ones that their new bikes arrive in, directly from the mfrs. All I had to do was remove pedals, then loosen stems and turn handlebars sideways. Can't recall, but I might have had to remove front wheels, too.

It worked well, and didn't require much effort. And the boxes were free.
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Old 10-20-21, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Peruano View Post
7 x $15 is not $1000. Movers are great packers and I would put on the truck, in or out of boxes with special instructions to the driver.
You get an A for math, but a D- for reading comprehension….

Not all movers are great…. I spent a large portion of my life in a career that required frequent household moves. Each time, something valuable was either lost or destroyed by ham-handed movers.
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Old 10-28-21, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Unfortunately, no. We're moving from Northern VA to San Antonio, TX. We will be driving one car down, but its contents are already decided, and they don't include bicycles or a trailer. Good thinking, though.

If we were moving to Fredericksburg, I'd rent a small u-haul truck and drive everything myself over a period of a few days.

It'll be a three day drive for us, because more than eight hours is too much "car time" in any one day. Although I have a hitch rack that can carry two bikes, there are negative consequences (adverse aerodynamics) or risks (damage or theft) to hauling them long distances.
I was confusing you with another BF member, SJX426. I think he moved from NOVA to Fredericksburg in the last year or two.
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Old 10-28-21, 10:30 PM
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I don't have 7 bikes, but DOD has moved me (lowest bidder) several times and I never boxed my bikes. I did my own disassembly and wrapped the tubes in bubble wrap and protected the rear der with heavy cardboard. Watch/help them place your bikes. My moves were "containerized" (wood boxes designed to fit in a shipping container for overseas) but even if it is a "moving truck" you should be OK if you supervise how they get placed in the truck.

I did one time have to go from Hawaii to Mare Island CA for some school and I couldn't afford a rental so bought a dept store bike from the exchange to get around. When the school was over DOD would ship it and I didn't know what to with it so I shipped it. I feel kind of bad that taxpayers got ripped off because when I got the bike about six months later, it was packed in a crate that I suspect cost 3x what the bike was worth to build.

scott s.
.
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Old 10-29-21, 08:38 AM
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Moving is stressful. Extremely so. Movers rely on that. Think of who they hire. Think of who would want to do that work.

You could get lucky. You might have a great moving crew. It happens. The same moving company has crews you don’t want touching your bikes.

For a crosstown move do it yourself. For a long distance move build crates. Strong ones.
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Old 10-29-21, 08:41 AM
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One other thought. If you do get a good group of movers tip them. Tip them heavily. What they get in their paycheck is not enough to keep anyone good working at such a demanding job. Tip the good ones so the next customer has a chance of getting the good guys.
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Old 10-30-21, 02:15 PM
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How much work is it to remove the pedals, front wheel, and the handlebars from a bike? It takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to break down a bike and add padding for shipping. I use the tubing for copper pipe insulation that is sold at building supply stores and secure it with cable ties. I pay $5 for a box from the local bike shop.

Or you can pay $1000 for two custom crates that will be very heavy and you will not get anything when you sell them at the other end of your move. The advantage of the wood crates is that it will be better able to protect the bikes should the movers put something heavy on top of it.

With professional movers they can put a platform 5-6 feet above the floor of the trailer at the front and this is where I would want to put the bikes. It might even be possible to loose wrap them with thick cargo blankets. Last time I moved the company used one set of men to load the trailer and then hired a driver to take it across the country and then a third set of men to unload it. Both the loaders and the unloaders need full time adult supervision or items will get damaged as these are often not experienced movers but scabs hired for the day.
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Old 05-24-22, 01:29 AM
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Read reviews on Yelp before making your final decision on movers
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Old 05-24-22, 07:42 AM
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foam pipe insulation for scratch resistance

When I shipped my recumbent trike (has S&S coupler for disassembly) by plane I wrapped the frame tubes with foam pipe insulation to keep it from getting scratched since all of the parts fit in a scavenged (free at LBS) bike box. The stuff is cheap and really effective.
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