One of the most common questions we get is how to get your bike abroad. Each option is suitable to different people. If you have a bike you are comfortable on, bringing your bike is better than renting. If you want total assurance your bike will arrive, a bike transfer will be better than flying with your bike. There are no perfect options, but here are your choices with their benefits & drawbacks:
For the Etape du Tour, the airlines and airports in the UK get overwhelmed every year when hundreds of passengers turn up with bike boxes. We do not have exact numbers but we estimate between 5-10% of riders have their bikes lost by airlines typically leading to a 1-3 day nervous wait.
How it Works – Depending on the airline, you may need to add your bike box when booking your flight. If you fly with BA, their current process is to ask you later in the year to register your bike box. Costs range from free (some BA flights), €80 for Aer Lingus, £80 for EasyJet and £120 with Ryanair. You will need a bike box – you can buy one or rent and ensure your transport at either side is big enough to fit your bike.
Total Cost – £0 to £120 plus bike box plus transport
Benefits – Your bike stays with you (hopefully).
Drawbacks – Possibility of the airline losing your bike, hassle of travelling with your bike box.
How it Works – Take out the risk of flying with your bike by using a bike transfer service. Sherpr offer 2 services, a door to door courier service where the bike travels boxed or you can send your bike un-boxed by using the collection points located around the country When you arrive at your hotel, your bike will be waiting for you. On the way home, the same process applies – your bike or bike box is collected from your hotel & delivered back to your house or collection point. Just make sure you tell the hotel to expect the delivery.
Total Cost – from £199 (use coupon code SBREAKS10 when booking with Sherpr)
Benefits – Bike can be send without the need for packing
Drawbacks – Cost, may still requires packing your bike into a bike box, have to take bike to collection point
How it Works – Sportive Breaks will have Giant Defy bikes with Ultegra and disc brakes for hire at the Etape.
Total Cost – From £139 for 3 days
Benefits – Easy, high quality bikes.
Drawbacks – Not your bike so may not fit as well as your bike. Cost.
While there are drawbacks and benefits to all options, our preference is to go for a door to door bike transfer. For the small increase in cost, you get a whole lot of piece of mind and no hassle getting to and from the airport. We recommend the cycling specialists at Sherpr who ship tons of bikes for sportives each year.