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Shipping Your Bike Without Losing Your Sanity

by Kurt Dallow, MD

I was lucky enough to compete in the 2017 Xterra World Championships in Maui but that also meant I had to ship my bike. I had considered renting one in Maui but the rental fee was more than the shipping fee so that made the decision to ship it much easier.

This is the 2nd time I've shipped my bike to a race and like life, it is a learning experience.  First figure out if it is best to fly your bike with you, ship it to the race with a bike transport service (Cindy does that with her Ironman races here in the lower 48 states) or perhaps rent a bike at your destination.

I ended up flying my Moots 29er with me to Maui on Virgin Airways for $100 each way. That isn't too bad considering it was $250 to rent a bike in Maui. But you have to be comfortable breaking your bike down and packing it, which isn't as hard as you might think considering the number of excellent Youtube videos on how to do it. Most importantly, have a bike crate that is designed for shipping your bike. You can hopefully rent or borrow from a friend, or to buy one, plan on spending $200 - $400. But as we know, our bikes are a big investment so $450 over a number of years isn't too bad!

Plan on an hour (or more) to break your bike down and pack it. Don't wait until the night before you travel because it may take longer than you think. You can pack your race gear in the bike box as well, but be careful. You may be hit with overweight charges (like I was!). 

Depending on your bike, you might need to let the air out of your tires. Also, TSA might get nosy and do that for you, which can also drain any sealant from your tires, as we learned the hard way! 

Make sure you pack your tools to reassemble your bike. At the big races there is usually tech support that can help you, but they often have long lines so it's best to come prepared. 

If you have questions on how to pack your bike, your local bike shop is a good resource or email me at


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