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Old 09-01-07, 02:50 AM   #1
christo.murphy
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Hiring good road bikes abroad should be easier

Hi
This summer I decided to do some cycling in France with my fifteen year old son.This presented us with a few problems. Ideally we wanted to take our own bikes but flying with bikes is no longer an easy or cheap matter. Bikes have to be bagged - fair enough but what to do with the bags at the other end? Also I have had bikes damaged in the past. I think there is a world-wide brotherhood of baggage handlers who see bikes as a personal affront!
I decided to hire a couple of bikes and therein lay the rub. I spent many hours on the internet trying to find shops that would hire good equipment. Not as easy as you would think. I finally did track down a place in Avignon - but the hire was quite expensive 20 euros per day.

It occurred to me that I am probably missing something. Perhaps cycling organisations, clubs etc already have reciprocal arrangements with clubs in other countries of which I am unaware.

Any thoughts or info?

Best wishes

Christo
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Old 09-02-07, 09:13 AM   #2
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Take a big lock and chain with you. Find a good strong tree within half a mile from the airport in a hidden location or further away in you jump a cab. Lock the box to the tree, cover it with shrubbery and ride away. make sure that you remember the spot [mark on map or GPS]. It would be very unusual if it were still not there when you returned. You could always leave a note attached with contact number explainining why it was there just in case. Friend of mine dumped his bike behind a tree near the airport while he went to Morrocco for a few weeks. Didn't expect it to be still there on his return but it had not been touched. most people will not be interested in an empty bike case. Leave it unlocked and make it look scruffy for extra security.

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Old 09-02-07, 01:29 PM   #3
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Empty bike case near an airport in the UK will attract the attention of the Bomb Squad and they take no chances- They just blow it up.
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Old 09-02-07, 03:59 PM   #4
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Hiring a good road bike is damn near impossible ANYWHERE. As a frequent traveler, I finally invested in a folding bike. It's a pricey solution, but my Bike Friday fits in a Samsonite suitcase, travels as regular luggage (no extra fees) and works extraordinarily well. I realize it's not the answer for casual travelers, but I highly recommend it--and it's a great backup bike/conversation as well.

www.bikefriday.com
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Old 09-02-07, 07:15 PM   #5
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Maybe it would help if you searched for places to "rent" a bike... (just sayin').
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Old 09-02-07, 08:21 PM   #6
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There was a good article in Natl Geo World Travler mag a month ago or so about a bike trip in Italy. A dream of mine. But the bikes pictured looked like NYC commuter bikes. Not my idea of a great ride around a great country.
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Old 09-03-07, 01:28 AM   #7
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hire, rent etc

Hi

Fair point - but I did, and also in host country languages as well but to no avail. I obtained the french address through an orgainisation called "Beyond Provence" who were very helpful. Just returned from Sardinia where road cycling appeared to be thriving amongst the (male) 50+ community. Found an excellent cycle "shop" - a room in the Hotel Villa Pozzi. The guy had plenty of bikes but spoke little english which complemented my awful italian. However he certainly was not set up as a commercial enterprise


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Old 09-03-07, 01:31 AM   #8
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my point exactly

Hi

Yes you're right - its easy enough to hire bike but my experience is that they are generally poor quality hacks that need complete overhauls

cheers

Christo
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Old 09-03-07, 04:51 PM   #9
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[Empty bike case near an airport in the UK will attract the attention of the Bomb Squad and they take no chances- They just blow it up.]

Thats why you take the cab further away and hide it! If you are in a civilised part of Europe it is usually possible to buy a new chinese Made MTB for 60 at the big hypermarkets. Stick your own tyres,seat and pedals on and away you go. Good enough for a couple of weeks and you can dump it or give it away near the airport on your return. I was also offered a nice 80s racer in really good condition for 40 at the flea market in Majorca recently. Lots of options.

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Old 09-04-07, 12:27 AM   #10
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Hi Big Jim

The idea of buying cheap bikes and kit them up did in the end seem the best option. But something seems morrally reprehensible about the fact that I could have bought two bottom of the range road bikes from decathlon for the same price I paid hiring a pair of only reasonable Treks. Unless there is a better option, and from my responses there does not appear to be I will plan next years jaunt around the idea of buying bike and giving them away on return.

Best wishes

Christo
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Old 09-04-07, 04:55 AM   #11
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Hi Chris
It depends if your holiday is all about the bike or not. If it is more about getting out there and seeing the country and it's people then you don't need the fastest lightest bike. Slower you go, more you see? Saying that though, with slicks and clipless fitted I've gone at a fair old rate on basic MTBs. I've hired MTBs and I now know I would have been better buying new and fitting my own slicks and clipless pedals. As long as you are prepared to spend an hour or so setting the bike up [which you end up doing with rusty hire bikes] there should be no problem. No worries about security, deposits etc. Plus the choice in hire shops is limited to what they have. I'm not an MTB rider but have used then for a week at a time on holiday with my own gear fitted and had a ball. If I do buy one I always buy basic, no suspension for a lighter bike. Hope you get sorted.

Jim
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Old 09-04-07, 06:01 AM   #12
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Have you thought about booking your trip at a "cycling" hotel? There are many in Europe, particularly in France and Italy.

A number f people last year from my bike club booked two hotels in Italy. The cost was about $100 a day and that included the room, all food (which I heard was fabulous) and the rental of a beautiful DeRosa, top of the line. I have some other friends that did a trip to France 3 years ago. I don't remember where they stayed but they almost booked a cycling hotel and really enjoyed their trip.
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Old 09-04-07, 06:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCIpam View Post
Have you thought about booking your trip at a "cycling" hotel? There are many in Europe, particularly in France and Italy.

A number f people last year from my bike club booked two hotels in Italy. The cost was about $100 a day and that included the room, all food (which I heard was fabulous) and the rental of a beautiful DeRosa, top of the line. I have some other friends that did a trip to France 3 years ago. I don't remember where they stayed but they almost booked a cycling hotel and really enjoyed their trip.
I went here http://www.belvederericcione.com/en/index.htm several years ago, and it was great. Among other sources, check out http://www.italybikehotels.it/en/ for additional options.
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Old 09-04-07, 07:57 AM   #14
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I wonder if, rather than renting a bike, it might be easier to arrange buying a used bike and reselling it after the vacation.
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Old 09-05-07, 03:20 AM   #15
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Hi

Well I never knew about cycling hotels and had I, that may have been the solution. I will certainly give it great thought for next year.
For me the holiday this year was about

1. Getting to the sun with the minimum of fuss - hence plane to South of France
2. Taking as little kit as possible so that we could do light touring, staying as B&B and hotels
3. Being on a good lightweight road bike - which for me is part of the fun.

In the end it worked out reasonably but as mentioned at 40 euros a day (two bikes) for two weeks, in retrospect it would have been cheaper and easier (no bikes to return) to have bought a couple of bikes and give them away at the end of the holiday. Somehow or other this seems a bit decadent however ..

best wishes
Christo
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