Did you know that, according to Union Cyclist Internationale, there was a bicycle boom in the US in 2020? The biggest boom of this type since 1975, a recent poll demonstrated that 50% of Americans are planning to ride their bikes more often in post-pandemic times.

If you’re one of the many Americans who ride a bike and you’re planning on going on a trip with your bike to another state, you might be wondering:

“How do I transport a bike to another state? What are the different ways, and which one is best for me?”

It can be stressful to figure out which way is best, especially with so many options out there.

That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, we’ll review the best ways to transport your bike. Finally, you can enjoy riding your bike wherever you plan to go, riding free. Read on to learn more.

Transporting by Air

If you’re going to a far-off state, then transporting by air can be a good option. Because this is both a convenient and fast option, it’s also useful if you’re tight on time and don’t want to deal with having to wait for the bike to arrive via shipping, for example.

Because air cargo transportation is usually quite safe, you won’t have to worry too much about your bike getting damaged.

To do this, you can check your bike as your airline luggage when you’re flying. When it comes to air bike transportation costs, this will usually cost whatever checked luggage costs with the airline.

However, this cost can vary depending on what airline you’re flying with. They might charge you extra depending on the weight of your bike, for example.

You might also want to get insurance on your bike, just in case there are any issues with shipping that damage it.

Another air option is to ship your bike as cargo with an air freight company—like you might when transporting motorcycles safely.

However, if you have more peace of mind knowing that your bike is flying with you, you can stick to paying for a ticket for yourself and paying extra for the bike.

Transporting by Train

Transporting by train is one of the cheapest ways you can transport your bike. When doing this with Amtrak, there are two different bike transportation services available. The first is the carry-on bike service, which is when you travel with your bike like it’s carry-on luggage.

When you do this, you manage most of the transportation yourself. You’re the one who’s carrying your bike on the train and taking it off. You can also take it on or off any of the stations.

Even though the place where your bike goes varies depending on your route, Amtrak will provide you with a specific bike rack area where you can keep it. The fee is also pretty affordable, costing between $0 and $20.

Amtrak also offers the Trainside checked service. When you do this, Amtrak handles the transportation of your bike.

For this reason, you can only use this option if there are staff at the station who dedicate themselves to transporting your bike.

If you transfer trains, you’ll have to go to the baggage car so you can get your bike from the staff there. You’ll also need to do this at your final destination.

The cost is also between $0 and $20 for this service. Preparing bikes for transportation is easy since there are bike racks where bikes go.

Keep in mind that for both of these options you need to reserve a place for yourself as well as your bike on the train.

Transporting by Car

If you’re going to a nearby state or you’re planning on going on a long-haul drive, then transporting your bike car is another option. When you do this, there are several ways you can transport your bike: with a hitch, trunk, or roof rack.

The Hitch Rack

When you use the hitch rack, you install it on the rear of your vehicle. Pros include easy installation, simple loading, secure holding which protects your bike, and the fact that you can use the rack for additional trips later.

Cons are that you might have less access to the trunk, the rack can be expensive, your bike could be stolen, a rear end accident would cause damage, and that the rack can be quite heavy.

The Trunk Rack

The trunk rack is a cheaper option, and it’s easy to put your bike on it. However, you could easily damage your bike if it isn’t affixed properly, a rear end accident would damage it, you have less access to the trunk, and you could accidentally scuff your car paint.

The Roof Rack

The roof rack is a great option, as you have access to your trunk, it’s the most secure and stable way to transport your bike, and your car interior is completely accessible. However, it’s challenging to get the bikes up there in the first place.

Additional cons include that the wind resistance will lower your car’s gas mileage and you might have trouble getting your car to fit under low overhead areas (for example, your garage).

Transport by Bus

Another option is to transport your bike by bus. When you do this, you’re on the bus yourself and taking your bike with you in a box. Keep in mind that you will need to disassemble your bike and pack it away. Have you heard of a motorcycle shipping crate?

This is similar. All you need to do is pack up your bike in canvas, wood, or another type of substantial material so that it doesn’t get damaged during transportation.

When you take the bike with you this way, it usually counts as your first checked in bag. If you have additional bags you’re traveling with, you might have to pay an additional fee for them.

Some bus lines, such as Trailways, Arrow, and BoltBus, won’t charge you for traveling with your bike. However, if you switch to another line that does, then you’ll have to pay this fee mid-travel.

Fortunately, the highest amount you should expect to pay is $40, which applies for longer distance travel.

Transport by Bike Shipping Services

Just like a motorcycle transportation service specializes in transporting motorcycles, a bike shipping service specializes in transporting bikes. Usually, this service will cost starting somewhere between $60 and $174.

Note that you’ll have to pay extra for the disassembly of your bike as well as the box you’ll be shipping it in.

However, because these companies specialize in shipping your bikes, you can rest assured that they’ll handle the transportation professionally and safely.

This is a great option if you have a bit of extra money and want professionals to handle everything for you.

Transport by General Shipping Services

Another way to ship your bike is with general shipping services. Costs can vary here, too. With FedEx, you’ll have to pay somewhere between $50 and $160. With UPS, the cost would be somewhere around $135. However, these prices don’t include insurance.

Additionally, you’ll have to take the bike apart yourself. This means that there’s added effort and price to this option.

You’ll also have to buy a box. If you aren’t sure where to get started, this can be a bit difficult. However, a good trick is to call up a bike shop nearby. They might even allow you to have the box for free, so make a few calls.

Disassembling When You Transport a Bike

Because many of these transport options require you to disassemble your bike, we’ll quickly cover some tips on how to disassemble yours. First, you want to make sure you have a large amount of zip ties, bubble wrap, and padding. Then, remove:

  • The handlebars
  • The front wheel
  • The pedals

Now, wrap the bike body so that there isn’t any friction in the box between different parts. Any moving parts, such as the crank or rear wheel, should be secured with zip ties. As you put everything in the box, be careful so you don’t scratch your bike.

Need More Information?

Now that you’ve learned about the best ways to transport a bike to another state, you might need additional information. Maybe you want to learn more about how to transport other objects. Or maybe you want to learn about how to transport a car long-distance, or maybe you'd like to try our moving cost estimator.

Whatever information you need, we can help. At Nexus Auto Transport, we’re experts when it comes to long-distance transport. We also offer car shipping services. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us now.

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