My hobby is motorcycles. Riding them, buying them, collecting them, fixing them and admiring them. I have owned a few motorcycles for longer than I have been married. They’ve stuck by me through thick and thin, traveled with me all over the country and have always been good to look at. Seems the more they age, the better they look. I certainly couldn’t say the same for some of my past girlfriends.
But this relationship has not come easy. I’ve put a lot of work, dedication and dollars into them. Luckily enough, I have managed to secure an income that can support this expensive habit. I have a warehouse that I store all my bikes in. It doubles as a museum, workshop, garage and man cave. As chairman of my local bike chapter, we hold gatherings, meetings, cook outs and rallies here. I speak and meet with bike riders of all persuasions and we have a lively debate culture about all things associated with owning, collecting, riding, purchasing and transporting motorcycles. One thing that seems to be a common denominator with all of these subjects is the motorcycle shipping.
At one stage or another, you will need to have your motorcycle transported without you seated on your beloved saddle and feeling the vibrations of your engine. Whether it’s for repair purposes, purchasing, relocating or just having it shipped somewhere for you to meet and ride back, the services of a transport carrier is going to be used. Most of the time, it’s a really simple and seamless process. But very often a lot of unexpected hurdles have to be jumped in order to make this happen. We as consumers think that if we are shipping a bike, we expect a truck to be waiting to go to pick it up immediately and bring it to us directly, Do not pass go, do not check into jail, just get it here. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of shipping a motorcycle is that it’s not that simple.
Our bikes are a lot larger that an envelope or parcel. They do not fit into a satchel or the back of a UPS truck to be loaded into an airplane for overnight delivery before 10 am. They are large, unique pieces of equipment that are held very dearly in our heart and we expect them to be handled with kid gloves. The last thing I want to hear about is my bike being dropped while loading. So we have to have a lot more patience and be more reasonable when shipping a bike cross-country. A lot of logistics are involved.
One of the major gripes I hear is people saying, “My bike took so long to pick up”. Let me try and shed a bit of light on this example. We don’t all live in major metropolises that have an active influx of transport carriers in and out of the area. Trucks have to stick to specific routes to meet specific deadlines. Most big cities have a daily pick up or delivery schedule, but as soon as you start heading further away, the less likely you are to have a truck there on a daily basis. And then when the bike is in a really remote area, a truck is usually only dispatched out there once a week. Now you have to take the economics of the transport company into consideration. It would make no financial sense for them to send a truck miles out of the way, just to pick up one bike and to head straight back home. They have to get as many bikes into their truck as possible to make it viable for them and affordable to you. This all takes time.
The next misconception is the travelling time. I am just as guilty of this. If I’ve purchased a bike online, I want to get it as soon as possible. I really do dream of the bike arriving the next day even though I live in California and the bike I bought is in Pennsylvania. No such luck. There is no such thing as a direct route from one door to another. Let me go over the logistics of what it entails for a bike to ship. Motorcycle shipping companies have distribution centers in at least one city in each state. So a motorcycle will get picked up from the original location and then bring to the closest distribution centre. From there the bikes will make their way east, west, north or south. It’s not every day that they have a truck heading west, so it may sit for a couple of days at the terminal before they have a full truck to head to California. So you can see, it is not a direct route. The bike has to be moved with other bikes heading in the same direction. Generally, a cross-country transport in non-remote areas should take between 8-10 days. Of course that is all weather permitting, truck functioning schedule keeping calendar days. Sometimes it takes a bit shorter, other times a little longer. But rest assured, if you have chosen a reputable company, are reasonable and patient, the wait will be worth it.
I’m not saying you should wait a month for a bike, but I am saying take into consideration what is involved in getting a prized possession to you. The saying is “good things come to those that wait”. I have learned that to be very true in the motorcycle world.