USA – Take 2

So… plans for the next trip move along slowly.  I am travelling again to the USA and as I said I will be riding at the front of San Francisco Pride with my fellow American and international Dykes on Bikes members.  A group from Australia, DoB Queensland, are going to the states for the trip of a lifetime.

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Starting in San Francisco for Pride week then riding up Route 66 all the way to Chicago.  I am planning to fly over to SF and join in the Pride week celebrations, then ride with the Queensland Chapter up Route 66 to about midway then breaking off on my own making my way to New York then back to the UK.

I have a rough idea of the route… you can see it here….!20313155&lat=36.90743960026256&lng=-99.87263819630385&utm_campaign=trip&utm_medium=share&utm_source=copy&z=3.2430072421080727

I am hoping to visit some of the places I missed on the trip 2 years ago, including the Grand Canyon, and then plan to visit Nashville and Memphis followed by a leisurely ride along the Tail of the Dragon and Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia onto the Skyline Drive then down to try and visit Kitty Hawk again, arriving before it shuts this time!!

There are other interestingly named short ride routes around the Tail of the Dragon such as Moonshiners 28, The Devils Triange and the Diamondback, which, time permitting, I may also explore.

This website has loads of information –

I am planning to arrive in New York on or around the 23rd July so that I have a couple of days there; I particularly want to visit the Twin Tower Memorial, the Statue of Liberty and other famous landmarks.  I drop the bike and return to the UK on the 26th July.

Once again I have choices as to what bike I am going to ride.  After all the research I did for the trip in 2016 I know I cannot afford to rent a bike, I don’t have the funds to purchase and bring it back to the UK again so that just leaves one option… take one of mine.  So which one?   Well the Panhead is still not on the road and the problems associated with insuring a shed built bike are still there so thats out of the frame.  The V-Rod is just not a touring bike and would be too uncomfortable for long days in the saddle so the Fatboy is the bike I am taking.

In January I sent out a number of email enquiries to several shipping companies, (again), and, again, the responses were variable.  To cut a long boring story short I managed to narrow it down to about 4 companies and got quotes for shipping by air and sea direct to San Francisco/Oakland.  My only stipulation is that I must collect the bike on the 18th June…

The costs involved are all much the same so I am looking at approximately £2-2400 by air and £11-1600 by sea, quite a big difference.  These costs include clearance from the UK and crating, but do not include import customs clearance in the States, which I believe is between $60-300 depending on whether it is by air or sea and also the lowest is based on self clearance; this is something I need to look into a bit more and try and get definitive costs.

One of the main costs is the transit insurance, as of course if the ship sinks then I will have to be recompensed.  The costs vary between 0.45% and 2.2% the insurance value of the bike so if the bike is worth £10,000 then the insurance cover would be between £45 and £202 each way.. not cheap at all!!

The companies I have to choose from are Car Shipping, Motofreight, AutoShippers, AutoFreight and CFR Rinkens.

I have almost totally discounted shipping by air, it is just way too expensive. By sea means that I have to make sure the bike is dropped off in plenty of time to ensure, as far as possible, it will be there for me to collect on the 18th June.

The return is by sea, I have not even enquired about air freight as it is just so expensive and I’m not in any rush once I return to the UK, I do have the V-Rod to ride after all.

The return costs are again pretty much the same, however the return is handled by a US company so I can go direct to CFR Rinkens who I shipped the bike home with last time.  Car Shipping also use CFR Rinkens and the others have quoted without giving me the name of the shipping company as yet.

So decisions, decisions… I got quotes from Car Shipping, Motofreight and AutoShippers and decided to go with Car Shipping.  I had good communication with them at first and had agreed to book the return with them, (through CFR Rinkens), however when I asked about the customs charges for shipping to the States communication just stopped.  I emailed a few times with no response, a bit weird.  Then a friend on Facebook recommended I try AutoFreight so I dropped them a line and they have been brilliant. John Wood has been in constant communication and the price is good, so I have decided to go with them.  I am awaiting confirmation of the likely US customs charges before actually making the booking.  AutoFreight will crate the bike and ship both ways if I want, they provide transit insurance at 0.45% of the bike insurance value which is very good.  As they are crating the bike I can pack some things in the saddlebags like bike gear and a few tools which means I won’t have to take them on the plane with me.

So all systems go…. they have given me a choice of drop off dates either 16-18 April or 23-25 April for arrival in the States early June.  I better extract the digit then and get the modifications finished.. (see OMG, She’s Broken).

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