Did you know that in its earliest days, UPS actually started out on bicycles as the American Messenger Company? Originally founded in 1907, it wasn’t until 1913 that the company acquired its first automobile – of course a Ford Model T. In 1919 the company changed their name to United Parcel Service, and the rest is well, history.

Things have obviously changed substantially since those early days. UPS is now the world’s largest package delivery company operating in more than 200 countries world wide. Why does all of this matter for a bicycle related website? Because Bikeflights.com just announced that they are shipping through UPS.

Bicycles are expensive to ship. Even though they are often light, the boxes are big and push the dimensions of what’s considered oversize. Because of that, Bikeflights.com realized they could offer lower prices if they had a high volume of bike shipments. We’ve shipped a number of bikes with Bikeflights.com over the years, and the pricing has always been quite reasonable – though the bikes were shipped via FedEx.

Now, the brand is switching primary carriers to UPS. According to Vice President Sue George, that doesn’t mean that BikeFlights will no longer use FedEx at all, but that the switch to UPS will offer more benefits to their customers. Pricing should stay the same (or potentially lower) given that UPS has an increased reach to more countries and possibly better rates. They also have three times as many partner carrier locations for pickup and dropoff, and apparently better service for e-commerce customers.

Mostly, the experience with BikeFlights.com should remain the same, just that your bike will arrive in a brown truck rather than white. UPS services are effective immediately, though some features will be rolled out over the next few months.

bikeflights.com

21 COMMENTS

  1. quickly configured to ship my bike from Switzerland to Newzealand and back … it’s about the same as transporting myself in business class (including the bike), just takes 5 times longer.
    Nice try.

  2. UPS! absolute most dishonest carrier out there.. be sure to get lots of insurance and have ALL you paper work in order… if anything goes wrong they manage to put the blame on you !

  3. Crikey, this is spendy.
    Have been thinking about doing a tour in Europe.
    I may as well just pack my pedals and saddle and buy a new bike when i arrive.

  4. Went to BF to get a quote yesterday for a trip to the same destination I went a couple months ago…same box, same everything. No joke, cost was 180% higher. Residential pickup fee with UPS is now $16 vs. $5 with Fed Ex to boot. BF was great while it lasted.

    • I just did the same thing, checked the same bike, box, and destination. For me it was only $5 more than previous, and it’s been months, so that could be an increase in fuel surcharges across the board. I’ve heard at least one account of it being cheaper with UPS than FedEx, but I’m sure there will be outliers like yours.

    • Check USPS. I’ve been able to get frame boxes in under the size requirements for foreign shipping through the Postal Service for reasonable rates.

  5. I’m having a bad Bike Flights experience as I write this. Their web site messed up my shipping, customer service consists of (seemingly) one deeply overworked/flustered person who is getting hammered by problems customers are having (they acknowledge their web site is mangling orders), it takes hours to get a response via phone or email, no one answers calls (because they’re hammered), etc.

    This is my second time trying BikeFlights and while I like the idea and wish it worked, I kind of doubt I’ll be be back. It’s a shame because they’re answering a real need and I think it’s a small company and I always want to encourage small companies. But if my experience is common, well, ouch.

    This is sort of a no-fail business — if my bike isn’t where it’s supposed to be when I get there, it’s a disaster…

  6. It’s way more expensive now. Fedex was very lax on box sizes. UPS doubles the price when you hit 130 inches, which is basically the size of any bike box now.

    Bike flights UPS 53x8x29 – $55 MA to CO 55x9x30 $95. When it was fedex it was not like that.

  7. I bet fedex canned their deal, it was too good to be true for too long. The new UPS rates are on par with a normal no sweet deal UPS pickup account.

    I’ve seen UPS sweet deal prices it’s crazy the prices you get if you do huge volume.

  8. Was actually sad to see this news. UPS has cost me thousands of dollars in damage, mis deliveries, lost packages, etc. I switched to fedex for important things like wheels and bikes and usps for smaller items and have had almost zero issues, never once had anything damaged or lost with those two.

    Hope this works out for bikeflights, unfortunately I won’t be using them for shipping anymore.

  9. That is a shame, I used BikeFlights because they use FedEx. FedEx has been far more reliable and safer for my bikes with the added advantage of being able to ship to FedEx office locations for pick up.

  10. Went to ship a bike today… What was costing me $55 with FedEx is $125 with UPS. Idaho to Oregon.

    Major bummer. I’m out.

  11. TERRIBLE. THIS WILL STRONGLY HURT THE BIKEFLIGHTS.COM COMMUNITY AND INDIVIDUALS SHIPPING THEIR BIKES. TOTAL BUMMER. BAD MOVE SUE!

  12. Yesterday I got a quote of $90 from BikeFlights to ship a bike from Ohio to Colorado. Today, I got a quote for the same shipment and the cost is $117… wtf?

  13. I looked at Bike flights mid March–around $100 to ship my bike–awesome! I looked early April–now $300+. Goodbye bike flights…

  14. BikeFlights, Please consider giving your clients the option of which company they choose to use. You are going to sacrifice many loyal clients!

  15. shipbikes.com to all those interested. You’re welcome in advance. Bikeflights just borrowed the idea and created fake box sizes to undercut the competition.

  16. I just shipped my Scicon bicycle case to Seattle from Minneapolis for the STP. Used to use Bikeflights. Got a quote from Bikeflights on UPS. Almost twice as much as shipbikes.com using Fedex. (The same as Bikeflights used to charge last year when I did the same thing to the same places) NEVER USING BIkEFLIGHTS AGAIN! SPREAD THE WORD!!

  17. Wow. I just got massive sticker shock using bikeflights. I didn’t realize they’d switched carriers. I really want to support them since they’re a small, local company but they’re $40 more than shipbikes.com (who use FedEx)

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