Friday, September 11, 2009

The Countdown

With less than a week to go until I arrive in Tokyo I have gotten pretty much everything under control and in order. After the 24 hour scare relating to how i would get the bike there a solution that is reasonable has been found.

Initially the airline told me $390 for one way to bring my bike in the bike travel case. This wasn't going to happen, I didn't have that kind of money to afford that, let alone get it back home for the same amount...almost as much as the plane ticket it's self. In the interim I contacted the guys at to see if I could utilize their kick ass shipping rate through whatever company they ship globally with. They said sure and estimated it would be about $200, which is double my original estimation for the surcharge to bring the bike on the plane. So I figured this was the best option, but I didn't stop there. I looked into what it would cost to be SS Couplers installed on the bike. After getting an email back from the president of Waterford Precision Cycles (and Schwinn heir) I was directed to Bilenky Cycle Works, whom was previosuly featured in Cog Magazine's last issue. I checked out the price rate for the retrofit job and found that this would run me over $400. Plus, I really didn't have the time to have this done anyways as his shop is located on the east coast.

So, I stuck with the shipping option as my only solution. As I waited for replies from i pondered another idea and began measuring what my luggage would be like if I took the wheels, threw them in my wheel bag and then boxed up the rest of the bike after mostly disassembling it. I knew the box everything else would be in would be bigger than the allowed luggage dimensions, but not by much which might elicit only a smaller surcharge. I was also concerned about the time the bike would be in transit if i shipped it and needed to wait for a response from my friend in Japan about him receiving it. Plus with shipping it, I wasn't sure how I was going to get it home. I had decided i would have to leave it with my friend and work with him after that fact to get it back to me.

The next day, full of anxiety and uncertainty, I talked with my friend who needed to find out what his options were for receiving the bike, but he was certain he could get it back home for me for relatively cheap through the military. While I waited for response from him I called and talked with them. I had done some transit estimations with both UPS and FedEx and both of them could deliver the bike by the 18th is I mailed it the But if the bike got mailed the 15th it wouldn't arrive until the 24th...not cool. This had me worried, especially on top of Noah at talking about how customs might screw up the delivery date. Also, to guarantee they could get it there in time I would need to drive it to Appleton myself, which meant taking off of work. I decided to call the airline again and see if I could get a better rate.

This time I explained the situation and went over all the details of the case with the rep. This is how it was explained to me; the estimated weight of the case is over the 50lbs luggage limit, but under the 75lbs excess weight limit. To get in that 25lbs bracket there is a $25 upcharge. Then, since the dimensions are larger then the 62" allotted there would be a $130 upcharge for that. So I was actually looking at $180 only to bring the bike with one way. This still left me with how to get it back home, but that portion wasn't as important. I talked to the rep about the price I was quoted the day before and he said the only way he can see how that price would come about would be from previous rep thinking this was an additional piece of luggage beyond the 2 free pieces allotted. I asked him some more questions and was satisfied with his answers and changed my course again. Now the bike was going with me on the plane for $20 cheaper then the estimated shipping cost. While it is still more money than I initially planned on spending for the surcharge, it was still doable.

In other news TKBMA (the group putting together the race) have been busy this week getting everything wrapped up. The posted pictures of the order forms and some info packets...


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