Author Topic: Bike Shipping Recommendations.  (Read 411 times)

Bike Shipping Recommendations.
« on: 20 May, 2024, 03:52:16 pm »
Has anyone got any good reviews or price points for shipping bikes location to location?
I recently did some cycling in the Netherlands and left my bike at a shop in Utrecht to do onward travel without it.
I'm having it shipped this week to another EU destination by a company called Sendbike.com. It seems fine but its not cheap.
Its a situation that will probably crop up for us from time to time in the future so Im curios if others have navigated through the situation and have any good tips.
often lost.

Re: Bike Shipping Recommendations.
« Reply #1 on: 21 May, 2024, 02:38:23 pm »
There isn't really an easy way to do this, unfortunately.  Bikes are basically big, awkward but fragile parcels and it costs a fair bit to ship them around the place.

There are three European road parcels networks: DPD, GLS and FedEx.  Your bike will go on one of them.  Sendbike will have a pretty website and some logo-covered boxes but the core of their business involves being a reseller on behalf of carriers, a bit like Parcel2Go, SevenSenders, ParcelMonkey and loads of others. They will negotiate deals with one or more of the above to provide a service.  The core of the service will be transporting your bike from door to door. That bit is fixed.  But there are other elements, like customer service (or lack thereof), insurance, providing boxes and packaging materials, etc, which they can play around with and offer their own variations of in place of the carrier's default service.

Their business involves three main things:
- buying space on the carrier network/s in bulk at a price that is cheaper enough than the carriers would sell to you, after they have added their margin
- reengineering the variable bits of the service to increase their margin - which may involve saving money by giving lower service (I am not saying they do this - I don't have any specific knowledge)
- marketing their service cost-effectively.  I expect focusing on niches like bikes might help here.

You could try getting direct quotes from DHL, GLS/Parcelforce and FedEx to cut out the middle man. They'll probably be more expensive as you don't have any volume to justify a discount, but they might offer better insurance cover, and answer the phone if your bike doesn't show up.  Of course, most times your bike will show up undamaged and on time so this won't matter.  Or you could look for alternatives to Sendbike, ie other resellers.  But they will basically be doing the same thing, so there's no reason why they would be any better or cheaper.  There isn't anyone running a fleet of transit vans round Europe taking bikes from place to place!

I hope yours works out well!


Re: Bike Shipping Recommendations.
« Reply #2 on: 21 May, 2024, 03:37:07 pm »
Thanks Frank. We have done it once or twice before with no dramas (aside from the cost) and seems that as I suspected there isn't a way round it.
Living on a remote Island with little container traffic we are used to getting hosed for moving stuff around (including ourselves where BA being the only game in town take great delight in cleaning up)
We once bought a container of furniture for our house in France (furniture is  better value State side and we didn't want Louis 14th Rococo or Paris uber modern plastic chic that your bum doesn't fit on) and I couldn't believe how cheap it was to ship it. The whole container was a similar cost to me shipping a couple of large crated paintings to a client from here to Europe. That was before covid though.
often lost.

Re: Bike Shipping Recommendations.
« Reply #3 on: 22 May, 2024, 09:13:10 am »
Container prices depend on how many are going back empty in the direction you want to go.  I would guess that Bermuda would have a lot more full ones going in than out, so presumably rates are pretty good - or were you shipping from the US?  I expect rates will have gone up a bit since then!

Your story reminds me of the father of an ex who used to export high-end furniture from Italy to the US.  He said it was a great business for a decade or more but the market completely went away around the millenium as Far East imports, priced much lower, became available.  He closed down the business but had made enough money by then to retire.  Now the furniture goes the other way!