Once a bicycle, or frame set, or anything, is shipped, the fate, of the shipment, is absolutely out of the seller's, or buyer's, control, until the item reaches target destination, assuming that it ever does.

Do not let that last statement alarm.  Most shipments, and this is a huge majority, reach their final destination, unscathed.  However, now and again, problems do crop up.

As shipper, or receiver, it is a good idea to keep track of a shipment's journey, from here to there, or there to here, respectively.  Failure to do so, could lead to a lost shipment and/or significantly increased shipping costs.

Step one, to shipping successfully, is a proper packing job.  Step two is proper labelling.  Step three is insuring the shipment.  And, step four, is placing your carefully packed container, in the hands of people, who get paid to handle the package.

There are three basic shipping options available to me - Post Office, for global shipments, private courier for North American Ground shipments and the Bus for domestic shipments, of complete bikes, within the boundaries of Canada.  These shipping suppliers are selected based, primarily, on their prices quoted for shipping.

Different cities, and parts of the world, will have access to other shipping carriers and opportunities.  Use your best judgement, when selecting a carrier.

The box has already been prepared and the item securely packed inside.  The entire exterior of the package has been double checked, to ensure there are no staples sticking out, creating a safety hazard.  There are no flaps left unattached and there is no label?

Needless to say, the container must be labelled, both with target destination, a phone number (sometimes) and caution statements, for handling the box.  Generally, the label should be placed on the top of the box, be very clear and accurate and contain the word FRAGILE, simply because bicycles are - fragile.  It is also a good idea to indicate what side of the box is to remain UP.

Take the container, to a shipping service of your choice, and initiate the shipment.  You will have to fill out at least one document, and probably more, if the shipment is international.  The box will be weighed and measured, so do not think to fudge a measurement.  If you are the slightest bit oversize, in a measurement, it will be rounded up to the next inch or centimetre.  And that round up applies to each measurement.  Round up the length, say 52 1/2" to 53, and repeat for height and width (remember, height/width, are double since we are measuring girth).  The resulting shipping cost will be a higher, and sometimes MUCH (as in hundreds of dollars) higher.

The person, accepting the box for shipping, will help you fill out forms, and information sheets, for this and that, depending on what carrier service you employ.  Be careful, and accurate, when completing forms, particularly those that cross international boundaries.  Include the actual price.  Forget about sending a thousand dollar vintage bicycle, to a complete stranger, and then expecting the Customs people, in whatever country, to believe that the information, on the form, is true.

Ensure that the package is insured and, if possible, and it will be possible, ensure that the item, you are sending must be signed for, upon receipt.  Failure to insist on a signature, can result in your shipment being left, unattended, on someone's front steps, or leaning against an apartment door.  The carrier, and the employee driving the delivery truck, could care less, if you actually get the package, or not.  They only care that the package was delivered, where they we instructed to deliver it.

Ensure that the package, you are sending, has a tracking number, if at all possible.  In many cases, small packages sent via the least expensive means, will not have a tracking number.  Always keep your postal, or whatever, receipt.  If the item is damaged, or lost, only your shipping receipt will help prove that you sent an item.  It is the sender who will have to file a damage, or loss claim, with the carrier.

With the package under way, the next order of business is to contact the buyer, inform him, or her, that their purchase is on its way.  Include pertinent travel information, such as when the item was shipped, through which shipping company and include, if possible, a tracking number.  You might even be able to indicate probably delivery date.

After the shipment is handed over to the shipper, all one can do is wait!  The whole deal is out of, both the sender's and receiver's hands.  Neither has any control, what so ever, over a package, once it has been accepted by the courier service.  The only thing either party can do, is actually monitor the package's journey, and do so on a daily basis.

When the package arrives, look it over carefully, before signing for it or opening it.  If there is external damage, start taking pictures immediately, and continue with the picture taking, as the contents of the container are exposed and removed.  These pictures, and any notes made, will serve to help with any damage claim.

If the item is lost during shipment, the person has nothing to do, except inform the sender of the problem.  Only the sender can initiate a damage, or loss, claim.

There are as many problems that can crop up, as there are shipments.  Luckily, most and by most I mean almost all, reach their target destination unscathed.  So, fear not and buy, or sell, remotely.  The activity is fun, rewarding and, at times, profitable.