Flying in for your French motorhome trip and want to bring your bike? Here’s how to do it…
Airline policies restricting the amount of luggage you can take on a flight discourage you from bringing anything much beyond some spare underwear and a toothbrush these days. So, the logistics and cost of bringing your own bicycle on holiday discourages most clients from doing so.
However, if you, like most of the FMH team, love your own bike and your holiday wouldn’t be complete without it, we say BRING IT! Leave the toothbrush, underwear and other so-called essentials behind (you can always buy those when you get here!), wedge your Lycra shorts into your bike case, and come and enjoy some breath-taking cycling in France.
If you do bring your own bike, or indeed bikes, be prepared for the cost of doing that and a certain amount of inconvenience, but neither are insurmountable hurdles. Many of our clients do arrive with their bikes and enjoy a holiday of a lifetime.
We know that there’s nothing like hearing how to bring your bike to France from people just like you who have already done it. So, here are 8 top tips from FMH clients who have arrived via the Paris airports and brought their bikes along:
1. Make sure your bike is protected to survive the rigors of airport baggage handlers. Hard cases with good cushioning inside are best, although the latest, well-padded, soft cases should do the job too. While you are away, we can store your bike case inside our locked workshop, so don’t feel you have to use a case that you have to stow on your campervan – just leave it with us while you are away.
2. Book carriage for your bike at the same time as your flight, if you arrive to check in for your flight without having done so, the airline will charge a fortune to carry it for you. It might also be worth looking into shipping your bikes directly to us before your trip if you are not keen to carry them. We are happy to receive and store them for you until you arrive.
3. If you are carrying your bikes with you, allow extra travel time to get into Paris and to our depot, it is not easy to travel with both a bike bag and a suitcase on public trains! Ask us about direct transfers from the airport and/or consider using the airport shuttle bus rather than the train into Paris from the airport to cut down on stairs and walking.
4. If you are spending a night in Paris, en-route to our depot, check the hotel can accommodate your bike bag before you book. Paris hotel rooms can be tiny, and they often have very small luggage storage areas that won’t accommodate a bike.
5. If your bike is valuable and desirable, bring a fabric cover to hide it from an opportunistic thief. Theft is very rare here, but it is still best not to create temptation and covering your bike with a cheap fabric cover will shield it from prying eyes.
6. Bring a good bike lock so you can lock your bikes on to the motorhome’s bike rack, and also so you can lock your bike up while you’re out exploring.
7. Be sure to bring a basic tool kit and all the spares you might need so you don’t waste any of your holiday hunting for obscure parts in the event of mechanical failure or a puncture. (Although, if you are near any reasonable town in France, there will be a bike shop!)
8. Allow extra time to build your bike at the depot. Our arrival window is 14:00 to 17:00. Try to arrive as close to 14:00 as you can to give you time to unpack your bikes and assemble them before you set off.
If the cost and logistics are just too much to bring your own bike, don’t forget we are the only motorhome rental company in France to offer bike rental. At a very reasonable €4 per day, our bikes are road/mountain hybrids, are great for general leisure cycling (though not suitable for hardcore road cycling) and certainly better than no bike at all!
What are you waiting for? Saddle up and come and enjoy your very own Tour de France in 2018.
To help you plan your campervan-bike-fusion trip, read our information page all about cycling in France with some great resources for figuring out the cycle routes that might suit you best.