A bike adventure question for you

Those of you who are perceptive may have noticed a while ago that I mentioned an upcoming bike trip in Utah. It’s true! Come the end of this month, I’ll be flying down to Grand Junction, CO then embarking on three weeks through Utah: Arches, Moab, Canyonlands… there may even be some family bike adventure in there too! (Stay tuned for if I manage to meet up with my bitty bro, since we both independently planned Utah trips for almost exactly the same time frame:)

I’m beyond psyched. Like way beyond psyched. Like get-giddy-and-smiley, giant-goofy-grin-when-I-think-about-it psyched. My living room has spent a lot of time with this sort of thing:

utah trip planning

…as I try not only to figure out where I want to go and what’s feasible but also (Edward Abbey, I’m looking at you) what kind of flora and fauna I’m going to see, what new things are out there to learn in this crazy desert landscape.

So excited. So beyond excited.

Here’s my question, though. Since I’m flying down, I’m going to send my bike ahead of me to The Bike Shop in Grand Junction. How does that work with bags? Basically I’ve got my two panniers and then another bag that I’ll put on top of my rack–one bag, you might notice, over the allotted carry-on bag limit for a plane. I don’t really want to check my panniers, so I suppose I can carry those on and check the supplemental bag, but I’m wondering if any of you have any thoughts about this.

Has anyone ever shipped a bike ahead? What did you do with your gear? Any thoughts about best practices? It seems hard to really fit gear and bags into a box with my bike. Should I? Or is it better to take them on the plane?

Gosh. I’m so excited that even logistics stuff like this gets me all giddy. heh. But yeah, hit me up with any suggestions or thoughts. I’m planning to send my bike on the 18th or 19th, so if you have any burning thoughts, the sooner the better:)


  1. The one time I shipped my bike ahead (to VA from OR), I bought a duffel bag from an army surplus store. Put all my gear (panniers, sleeping bag, tent, clothes, etc.) in and checked it. Bike went via UPS. Worked fine. I mailed the empty bag back to Portland. I know some people who have used a large bike box and filled it with that stuff with success.

    • I wondered about that quasi-disposable duffel approach. I think mostly I’m just paranoid that checking my bags isn’t going to work out and I’ll be waiting in Grand Junction while all my shit flies to Guam or something. heh.

      But I suppose I could just get over it:) Thanks for the thought.

  2. I’d be more worried about the bike. Easier to buy gear if it gets lost on the slow boat to China (or Guam) than to replace the bike. Although, you could probably rent a bike. When I did Cycle Utah there was a person in our group who did just that after the airline ‘lost’ her bike. Sorry to give you one more thing to worry about. :)

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