Bike Travel Tips

1. Those free shower caps they give away @ hotels fit nicely over your helmet and make great rain guards.
2. If you're taking your own bike with you on a trip, don't buy a special box to put it in. (for flying) Many bike shops and outdoor stores such as REI give away free bike boxes if they have any in the back room.

Bike Health Tips

bike renting vs. bike shipping

So you're going on a bike trip across the country and you face one of the dilemmas:

Bike trips are fun but take some planning.

Do you rent a bike or ship your bike there?

Of course that depends on numerous factors:

  • Are you inexorably attached to your bike?
  • Is your bike custom fitted?
  • Are you a bike snob?
  • Do you like trying out new bikes?
  • What are the financial advantages/disadvantages?
  • How do you get your bike from point A to point B?
Normally, I enjoy renting bikes on my many biking trips. I like trying out new ones, meeting the rental company owners, and helping out the local biking economy. Besides, in many cases, renting is cheaper and way less of a hassle than shipping your bike or taking it on the plane/train. Let's take a look at the pros & cons of each option:


taking on plane/train

sometimes cheaper

sometimes expensivesometimes cheapersometimes expensivesometimes cheapersometimes ex-pensive
meet localsshop not availableuse your own custom fit bikecan be a hassleuse your own custom fit bikecan be a hassle
serviceyour bike style not available
possible bike damage
possible bike damage
try new bikes & stylesbike not custom fit

ability to get bike from point A to B if it’s a one way trip
convenienceability to get bike from point A to B if it’s a one way trip

Getting bike and/or box to airport

Some airlines/trains won’t take bikes
On my upcoming trip to ride the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath trails, I decided to ship my bike rather than rent one. Since my ride will be over 300 miles one way, renting just wouldn't work. Here are the factors that went into my decision:
  • If I rented a bike in Pennsylvania, it would have cost me more than the rental charge to get the bike back to Pennsylvania from Washington D.C.
  • Taking the bike on the plane was a hassle because I would have had to get the box to the airport both here in Colorado and at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. That would have been really hard in D.C.
  • I'm taking an Amtrak train from D.C. to Connellsville, PA, and Amtrak wouldn't allow me to take a bike off the train at Connellsville.
  • Once my trail trip is over, I'll spend another five days in D.C. I'd like to have a bike available to try out some of the D.C. paths, but it would cost a lot to rent a bike for ten days.
  • The (little bit of) money I could save on shipping rather than renting would allow me to buy bike luggage for the trip.
So I made the decision to ship my bike. Then I researched the cheapest way to do that. For shipping alone, UPS would charge $133 with only $100 worth of insurance. For $100, I found out the REI will box my bike and ship it; and they include $1000 worth of insurance in that price.  In addition, if I shipped it to another REI store, they would reassemble my bike for free. (I won't be taking that option on the trip there, since I assume there's no REI store in Connellsville, PA. But I may choose that option on the way back and have them ship my bike to the Boulder, CO REI.)

I know, that's a lot of information, but I hope it will help you make an informed decision for your next bike trip. The bottom line is, sometimes it's better to rent and sometimes it's better to ship. If you've got an expensive bike and a hard case for it, the airplane/train method may be best for you. I was able to save over $100 by checking around, so carefully weigh the options, then have a great bike trip.

Bike storage tips

Whether you like to store your bike for the winter or you just have too many bikes to keep in a limited storage space, here are some storage tips. For more tips visit the trailsnet blog and watch a video to see these tips in action:
- Utilize wall rack systems that include shelves for bicycle accessories.
- Install a pulley system in your garage or storage shed so you can pull your bike up out of the way.
- Sometimes it helps to remove your front bike tire when storing.
- If you end up w/ too many bikes, consider selling one on Craigslist.
- See three different types of wall/ceiling storage devices on
trailsnet blog.