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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Rent Road bike in Italy/France or bring your own Bike?

    Not sure if Touring or Road cycling is the best forum for this, so it's posted in both.

    I'm planning a couple of European trips to cycle in southern France and Tuscany (Italy) in the next few years and can't decide if it is better to bring my own bike, or to just bring my pedals and saddle and rent a bike.

    Has anyone on bikeforums rented a bike in France or Italy and what were your experiences? I'm not planning to be part of a commercial bike tour, but I would like to rent something decent (say, equivalent to a mid-tier Lemond) for a couple of weeks?

    Bringing your own bike over has a lot of risks associated with it, but might be ok if you were just going to be in one spot for the whole time.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by bccycleguy; 06-04-06 at 11:34 AM.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
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  2. #2
    . botto's Avatar
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    bring your own bike.

  3. #3
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    If you bring your bike, rent a mini-van if you're traveling so your bike will be inside safer from weather and thieves.

    As for renting, I'd like to know too cuz we'll be there for two weeks next May.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
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    i just took my bike to france for a couple weeks and other than the airline charge it was great. just pack it and pad it well enough to be dropped from the plane and it'll be cool.
    honestly it would depend on how long your trip is. over a week or so and i'd say take your own ride. few days, rent something. most places i saw rented mountain bikes only.

  5. #5
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbruce
    i just took my bike to france for a couple weeks and other than the airline charge it was great.
    next time, when they ask what's in the bag/box, don't tell them it's a bike, tell them it's sports equipment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbruce
    just pack it and pad it well enough to be dropped from the plane and it'll be cool.
    buy a trico iron case, or a padded bike bag if you've got an alu/steel/Ti frame. getting it boxed up at your LBS works too, but makes the 'sports equipment' line a bit harder to pull off

    PS - a gratuitous shot of the Vosges Mountain range in France, where last years TdF first hit the climbs, near the German/Swiss border, taken last Saturday

    Last edited by botto; 06-04-06 at 01:34 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator BillyD's Avatar
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    I was over in Paris and Lake Garda, Italy last year. Didn't bike in Paris. Saw lots of Yankees in Italy with what I assume were their own bikes because I did a fair amount of research and all I could find to rent was mountain or hybrid bikes. Couldn't find anywhere that rented roadies.

    Lots of BF folks have done Europe. You've got 2 or 3 years to track them down.
    Where else but the internet can a bunch of cyclists go and be the tough guy? - - jdon
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  7. #7
    Macro Geek
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    I have travelled to France and Italy for solo, self-organized bike tours, and I have always brought my own bike. My feeling is that if you are going to be riding more than a few days at a time, it is best to have a machine that fits you well and that you are familiar with.

  8. #8
    Member Falcone Alpini's Avatar
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    Back in '94, a year out of college, I biked in Europe for two months. I had the LBS pack it up and I unpacked it when I got to my room in Paris. The airline allowed two pieces of luggage (this counted as one), had to perhaps pay a small fee. For the return, I arranged for a special box to be waiting for me at the check in counter at London's Gatwick - took off the handlebars and pedals and was good to go. My point is that even for a shorter trip, I'd think bringing your own would be pretty easy (and worth it, IMO).

    I am dreaming of a weeklong trip to do Alpe d'Huez or such in the next couple of years, and would definitely want to take my own bike over.

  9. #9
    Spit out the back tinrobot's Avatar
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    Bring a bike that fits you and that you know... your own.

    The airline charges for shipping will probably be less than the rental fees, anyways.

  10. #10
    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    I'll be going to Italy next summer for a few weeks. If all goes well and the dollar is strong compared to the Euro, I'm getting a Bianchi there

  11. #11
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    bring your bike. Its set up for you and if you are using it daily it will be much more cost effective.

  12. #12
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret
    If all goes well and the dollar is strong compared to the Euro
    don't hold your breath

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I assume you have done a web search. Rental shops I stop at locally, just having nothing I'd want to spend several weeks on. Too heavy and toe clips. My preference would be to bring your own bike. Downside. Airline neglect and mismagement of your bike. They won't insure for their loss.
    Try to find an insurance policy for air shipment? Almost each trip they have done some minor damage to my bike. I felt they were well packed.
    Still, I'd bring my own. Travel on European airlines, rarely do they charge for bike transport as long as you do not exceed the allowed weight limits.

  14. #14
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    Almost each trip they have done some minor damage to my bike. I felt they were well packed.
    do you use a hard shell bike box?


  15. #15
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I travel with a soft case for my expensive racing bike. But it works. On international flights they will generally check it through as regular baggage without any extra fees. The hard part is the taxi from the airport - I bring compression straps (the ones I use to tie down my motorcycle) so I can tie the bag to the roof. The soft bag helps there - it's MUCH easier to tie to a car roof than a hard shell case would be. I've travelled with my bike half a dozen times with this case (it's 17 years old) and never had a lick of damage to anything. Big foam rubber padding, heavy denier nylon exterior. Made by a company called Athlon Products (I can't tell you if they're still around).

    But yes, bring your own bike. Hint: be sure your homeowner's insurance has it covered if the airline LOSES your baggage, since their liability limits are very low ($1400 or so on international flights last time I checked). Also, direct flights (vs. changing planes) reduces your chance of lost baggage by 60% or so. That being said, depending on the airline, your chances of getting your bike to and from your destination without it getting lost are at least 99.5%.

    It's a BICYCLE, so it's pretty hard for the luggage gorillas to damage, particularly if it's packed properly in a good case (soft or hard). Remove the pedals, turn the handlebars 90º (see photo above). I also add bubble wrap around the rear derailleur/hangar/wheel axle ends/main tubes. On international flights, I tell them it's a bicycle, not sports equipment. Haven't been charged yet. I think domestic airlines do charge a fee each way.

    One advantage to the big bicycle case: I can fit all my bicycle paraphenalia in there (floor pump, helmet, shoes, some clothing) so my regular suitcase isn't as full. It's all cycling related. If they lose my bicycle I won't be doing much cycling @ my destination anyway. So far so good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the Greek trip this summer....

  16. #16
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Botto. I now have one, but when I took my bike in the past I used a traditional bike box. But, it was so well packed. I used a sleeping bag and styrofoam to stregthen the box. It was pure neglect.
    Besides another worry. In case they loose your bike. They have an upper limit on what they pay out. No where near the value of the average bike.
    I'd still take my own bike.Just not your best bike. and. I knew a friend who went with a group to do the Hawaii Ironman race. Several racers on the plane took their own bikes. One racers bike was ruined even within a hard case. Hard to believe, but he swears it's true. Saw with his own eyes. SO much weight put upon the case, it collapsed. He thought.

  17. #17
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    We just got back from Tuscany. I took my shoes/pedals and we rented in Lucca. The shop specialized in Bianchi so I was looking forward to trying one out. NOT! My rental was a Trek 1200 and I don't even know what they gave my wife. She was disappointed she did not take her pedals, too. The price was certainly right, $8 per day. If you are going for more than a week I would recommend you take your own bike. (but then again I was happy to have a triple for those damn hills ) It made me appreciate my bike even more when we got home though. (Orbea Onix) The riding is fantastic and scenery is outstanding so take your own and not be uncomfortable/fiddling with a rental that you can't get to fit just right.

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