So you have decided that you want to go cycling in another country with your friends. What are the best options out there in convenience and money. Land, air or sea! Furthermore, what to pack for a cycling tour.
Fly With Your Bike
The first option is you can fly with your bike as most of the Airlines do accept cycles as sporting luggage, also known as oversize baggage. But what sort of protection are you going to need for your bike on an aircraft? More on flying with your bike.
Hard Bike Box
We recommended that you go with a hard bike box to give maximum protection. Cardboard bike boxes and soft bike bags just don’t really protect your cycle enough. There are many options in the marketplace for a hard case to protect your bike
Pros Of Flying With You Own Bike
- Its your bike and it fits like a glove
- Less likely to sustain injuries as the bike is set to your preferences
Cons Of Flying With Your Own Bike
- You have to arrange storage of the bike box once you get there
- The transport at the other side needs to be able to accommodate your bike box
- If you destination hopping then you need to arrange transport of the bike box to your final destination, or plan your route in a circle
- You have to find storage at home for the bike box (unless you hired one)
Professional Bike Courier Companies
If you don’t want all the stress of travelling with your bike then they are companies that will ship your bike for you. They arrange everything for you and the costs could be cheaper than flying the bike with you
Pros Of a Bike Courier Company
- Less hassle
- Less cost
Cons Of A Bike Courier Company
- You still have to break your bike down for packing
- You still have to rebuild the bike once you arrive
- You still have to find somewhere to store your packing
- Will the bike arrive in time
Companies That Ship Bikes
Take Your Bike With A Specialised Company
There is another option, one such company does a regular bus route through europe and has specially designed trailers to transport your bike. You can get off at any destination and then return from another destination. Of course you have to go with the timetable the company gives.
- Take your own bike
- No need to dismantle the bike
- Pick from 20+ destinations to start and return from
- Long coach journeys
- Timed pick ups
One such company is Bike-Express and you can contact them here.
Travel To Europe On A Train
Yes it is possible on the Eurostar but do plan ahead.
If you’re determined to holiday abroad, it’s surprisingly easy to travel by train. From London you can get the train to Belgium and France and from there you can travel to Spain, Italy and Germany and other European destinations. Most train services provide facilities for taking your bicycle, but you do need to plan ahead.
An early Eurostar from London gets you into France for lunch and from there you can hop on the TGV high-speed train and be in Bordeaux or Avignon by evening, ready for a weekend of lovely cycling. More on cycling Europe on a budget.
Pros of Transporting Your Cycle on a Train
- You can stop at multiple destinations
- Create your own time table
Cons of Transporting Your Cycle on a Train
- It does take a lot of planning
- Usually you have swap trains and hop across cities to get connecting trains
Get the ferry
The glamour of travelling by water is another option, with ferry services from most big ports easily taking you to Holland, Belgium, France, Ireland and Spain.
You can book a ferry from the UK’s busiest port, Dover, from as little as £30 each way, which is certainly cheaper than most low-cost flights once you add all the extras and especially the massive surcharge for adding a bike to the flight.
Dover to Calais is the quickest ferry route from the UK to France, it takes about 1.5 hours and there are lots of sailings every day. It’s worth bearing in mind that the cost of crossings go up considerably during school holidays and bank holidays, so check the calendar before you book.
Taking your bike on the ferry can either be via car with your bike in the boot or on a rack, or you can cycle straight onto the ferry and leave the car at home or in the port car park
Cost Of Traveling With Your Bike To Santander
So let’s look at typical costs of getting you and your bike to Santander in Spain. Of course the sample prices are subject to changes dependant when you travel so do please check you own dates and prices.
Santander By Boat
- Travel time = 20 hours
- Ticket price = £318
- Car park charges =£182
As the trip is so long we recommend that you upgrade your ticket to a 2 bed cabin at a cost of £94. It is a reasonable price to get some privacy and some sleep.
Brittany Ferries do accept bicycles with foot passenger bookings for a small additional fee charge on routes between Portsmouth and Santander
Santander By Plane
- Travel time = 2 hours
- Ticket price = £98
- Car park charges = £110
The cost ticket includes 20kg for the hold and to carry the bike. That will be close and only allow you to carry minimal clothing. You may need to pay additional costs. Ryanair is the only company to fly direct to Santander and they do have some incredible low priced flights on certain days
Any sporting item weighing over the 20 kilos allowance will be charged for the excess at the applicable excess baggage rate per kilo. Note max weight is 30kg
If you do travel by plane then you need to think about storing your bike box whilst cycling.
Santander By Train
Well its not actually that simple to get a train to Santander by train, you can get a coach from London there, it is a long journey. This will include many changes of trains to get through France and eventually into Spain. What this space as we progress the train journey from London to Santander