Packaging materials for flying home with bike after tour.

Pharakesh

Warming-Up
May 14, 2013
4
0
1
35
#1
Hello All!

I will be finishing up my tour of Japan in Tokyo in a week or two which so far has been fantastic. I now have come to think of the rather daunting task of packaging and transporting the bike to the airport.

In England I just went to the bike shop and asked them for a cardboard box that they get the bikes in and then padded it with bubble wrap and added some cardboard braces and secured it with about a roll of ducttape and all was fine. Where can I get a cardboard box for the bike in Tokyo? Is it okay to just go to a bike shop and ask? Can anyone recommend somewhere that would have such boxes or will I have to buy something more professional? If I have to go for something more professional does anyone have any recommendations?

In terms of transport would a taxi accommodate me?

I wouldn't be averse to the option of selling the bike, a Specialized Tricross sport. If this ends up sounding like a better option what is the best way of selling the bike?

Any help gratefully received, thanks.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
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#2
Omiya SEO, although the last person who wanted to do this basically vanished after I arranged for them to get their bike packed, so they might have the hump with this at the moment.
 

Pharakesh

Warming-Up
May 14, 2013
4
0
1
35
#3
It's a shop with a packing service? How much do they charge and what do they do etc? I don't see anything in english on google with respects to location. Thanks for the reply.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,626
444
103
Japan
#4
Go to local bike shops and ask them if they have a box. Then do the same as usual and take the train to the airport taking your box with you, if you have too much luggage send your other bags to the airport by courier.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,859
1,446
129
...
#6
Any of the big bike shops will be happy for you to take away a box with you. I saves them getting rid of them after all. Go into any shop you see and ask.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#7
The packing tape and cardboard pieces have been working fine for me so far. My vote is for a simple rinko bag, packing tape and cardboard pieces. Touring on a bike implies that you probably don't mind a few scratches, bruises or nicks so this will work fine and you don't have a bulky box to hassle with, fits easily in most Taxis, Buses or Trains.

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By the way - most taxis or airport buses in Japan will not let you load a full size bike box. You'll need to send your pre-boxed bike to the airport by a special parcel service. Don't worry if your bike is packed like mine, a la 'rinko' , cause they accept that! (Yamato Bin) and it's cheaper than sending in a bike box! But - you can ALWAYS schlep your bike (rinko'd of course) and gear onto the Narita express. Good luck doing that with a full size case or box!!
 

Pharakesh

Warming-Up
May 14, 2013
4
0
1
35
#8
Thanks for all the advice.

Is it easy to get a courier to drop my stuff at the airport? Where do you pick it up at the at the other end? Also can I take the bike boxed on to the train?

Hmm, with respect to the rinko I have insurance that only covers a hard box or padded bike bag. Not sure that that counts.
 

zenbiker

Maximum Pace
Mar 4, 2008
799
220
63
Chofu
#9
The packing tape and cardboard pieces have been working fine for me so far. My vote is for a simple rinko bag, packing tape and cardboard pieces. Touring on a bike implies that you probably don't mind a few scratches, bruises or nicks so this will work fine and you don't have a bulky box to hassle with, fits easily in most Taxis, Buses or Trains.

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I've used the airport bus to both Narita and Haneda numerous times with a full sized bike bag without any problems!
Also each time I've just wedged the bike box in the rear of the taxi and got in the front.
By the way - most taxis or airport buses in Japan will not let you load a full size bike box. You'll need to send your pre-boxed bike to the airport by a special parcel service. Don't worry if your bike is packed like mine, a la 'rinko' , cause they accept that! (Yamato Bin) and it's cheaper than sending in a bike box! But - you can ALWAYS schlep your bike (rinko'd of course) and gear onto the Narita express. Good luck doing that with a full size case or box!!
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#10
If your insurance limits (or the carriers) don't cover it - then the lowest risk will be something like FarEast suggests. Also, those bike specific luggage are re-usable so if you travel often, then you don't have to deal with figuring out location based packaging so much which can be an advantage for 'no brainer' traveling. However storing or transporting the luggage may cause issues and more costs of it's own. For example, in Switzerland, a Taxi van charged 50EU MORE to handle a bike luggage than simply a bike-in-a-bag.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#11
When I consider how airports have managed to destroy various suitcases of mine during the years (e.g. on my most recent flight but one), I shudder at the thought of entrusting a bike bag to those people. Or does the thought of a bicycle change airport Hydes to Jekylls?

Two of the microcord household's frames (not entire bikes) came over from Europe as carry-on luggage; though that was in the 1980s, before front forks would have been interpreted as a potential murder weapon (and also, if that sounds too nostalgic, before people over 180cm tall could sit in cattle class other than with their knees jammed against the seat in front).
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,497
628
133
Kanazawa
#13
For a boxed bike (in your typical picked-up-at-the-bike-shop box), no, a taxi will not accommodate you.

For a boxed bike (in your typical picked-up-at-the-bike-shop box), no, that's not the usual way that bikes are taken onto trains. You might be okay, but you could as easily be refused boarding. Boxed bikes are quite a bit bigger than bikes in bags (which are normally accepted on trains). As suggested, use kuroneko or some similar delivery service and pick up your bike at the airport. Also, a bike boxed this way will probably exceed normal luggage dimensions, so don't be surprised if there are airline surcharges.

If you've been touring, then a bike with front/rear racks is not what is typically bagged/shipped here. Adding racks (and fenders, if you have them) will make any bag/box bigger and harder to deal with. Take them off, if possible, to make the final package as small as you can.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,497
628
133
Kanazawa
#15
Also, since you seem to be touring your way into Tokyo, then getting/buying a full-sized, dedicated bit of bike case/luggage may not be what you're looking for. There are of course trade-offs--final size vs. cost of the bag (vs a box), vs. whether it gets assessed excess baggage fees or not (a one-off fee might be okay, but if you're traveling regularly, maybe not).

You might also check with the airline that you're leaving Tokyo on. Their standards/requirements could make a difference in how you might want to pack your bike.
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#17
Currently a hard case very similar to a suit case although the team now has some new swanky semi-hard cases that compress down but protect all the important parts.
cool. I suppose the hard case must be small enough to not have to pay for oversize.... had my first charge for oversized luggage recently which, though not the end of the world, was kind of annoying.

Tell us more about the swanky cases when you have some info.... :)
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#19
The Heliums were pretty popular at the Haute Route last year. The idea of an inflatable protection panel is cool. The only thing I hate about travel cases is that you need to do something with them once you land and unpack. Again - that issue is non-existent with a simple rinko / cardboard packing. Even more suitable for traveling with bike is using a coupler connected bike. Then you can fit inside the carriers baggage allowance avoiding any surcharges.

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Pharakesh

Warming-Up
May 14, 2013
4
0
1
35
#20
When I consider how airports have managed to destroy various suitcases of mine during the years (e.g. on my most recent flight but one), I shudder at the thought of entrusting a bike bag to those people. Or does the thought of a bicycle change airport Hydes to Jekylls?
It was treated with more respect than I was. I am of the belief that it is the people who try to 'sneak' their bikes on to airlines as regular luggage that get it trashed. At the end it was waiting for me on a trolley and in perfectly fine condition. There are even good reports of people using simple plastic sheeting and getting a bike back. To be honest though, I've never had any trouble with any of my luggage and this is wild speculation.

If your insurance limits (or the carriers) don't cover it - then the lowest risk will be something like FarEast suggests. Also, those bike specific luggage are re-usable so if you travel often, then you don't have to deal with figuring out location based packaging so much which can be an advantage for 'no brainer' traveling. However storing or transporting the luggage may cause issues and more costs of it's own. For example, in Switzerland, a Taxi van charged 50EU MORE to handle a bike luggage than simply a bike-in-a-bag.
Yeah it just would not have been feasible to take a hard luggage and time wasn't such an issue so i assumed things would just work out. I've honestly no idea what people do with those massive hard cases. Especially if a taxi won't take them. I just assembled the bike at the airport and rode off.

Does anybody have any courier recommendations?