Shipping is expensive and getting more so all the time. With size of the package being so crucial to the cost, it is perhaps time to discuss making a packed bike a more compact package.
The first recommendation is something Brian Baylis told me years ago. When shipping a frame, remove the fork, wrap it (Brian recommended newspaper to wrap the fork in) and put it between the stays. This is about the smallest possible space you get a frame down to and also keeps the fork from producing a severe strain on the front end of the frame if a close encounter of the worst kind arises with the package and all the mysterious things that seem to so often impact shipped bikes.
Next, a seller from Poland sent me a bike and he had the package within the box right down to the exact length of the frame and fork for an entire bike. It was all trussed up like a turkey with the wheels on the sides and I will send pics of the package to anyone who requests it. This sounds pretty basic, but I was much impressed with his cleverness. Most anyone can think of ways to make the bike itself a smaller package within the box. Often when shipping a bike around the country where pricing is not quite so ruinous there is a huge amount of empty space inside the box. So much so, that saavy shippers like Lou Deeter will tie off the bike within the box to limit movement within the box.
Hope these hints will help some in lowering folks shipping expenses, and like I said above, I'll forward some pics of the Polish E-Bay seller's shipping package to any interested parties. I thought it was really clever.
Lansing, MI USA