Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    BNB
    BNB is offline
    Member BNB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    San Diego
    My Bikes
    Trek 5200, Specialized Ruby, Cervelo TT, Trek MTB, GT MTB, Cannondale Tandem
    Posts
    48
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Travel to Italy with Tandem?

    My husband and I would very much like to travel to Italy (from the US) with our tandem. I'm not concerned about the flight but I don't know about the trains and hotels. We would be joining a bike tour and would fly to Rome then take one train to a small town. I think we'd use a cardboard box rather than a bike case so we could fold up the box somewhat - there will be a support van to take our stuff from one hotel to another and they don't need the hassle of a huge bike case. Any advice or experience would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    My Bikes
    Spec' Tarmac (road), Spec' Secteur Disc (commuter & tourer), Salsa Mamasita (MTB), CoMo Speedster (tandem), Surly Big Dummy (cargo), Airnimal (folder), a train pass, and NO car :)
    Posts
    2,110
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Any bike will be a problem on most high-speed inter-city trains in Italy, but if it is a standard regional train then normally bikes are fine, and you should be able to find somewhere to squeeze a tandem in.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    842
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you are traveling from Rome to small town, then you most likely will be using a regional train. Not all such trains will allow bikes. You can look at train schedules online and those which allow bikes will be clearly marked. If you have a tandem with couplers I would recommend putting it on a couple of bike cases for the plane ride. Take all your personal belongings in fully collapsible bags and then use the cases as your luggage during the tour. Most hotels will let you keep the bike in your room but some will ask you to place it on a storage area. Seven years ago we did an unsupported tour in Italy that included Rome, Umbria and Tuscany. We had a blast but our trip was in September. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
    My Bikes
    Calfee Tetra Tandem, Specialized Tarmac SL4 S-Works, other misc Road & MTB singles
    Posts
    1,198
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    BNB,

    A lot of supported tours will move the bike cases to the end town so they are already there when you finish. They typically do not haul them day by day.

    The high speed trains in Italy have barely enough room for standard luggage. Squeezing in a couple S&S cases can be tricky too, but we have never been denied those, even when they are left sitting in the aisle (it seems the only fixed rule is that you must leave just enough room for the coffee cart to pass!). Sometimes one of these trains will have a special car for bikes, and you can find that info online from the train's website, but I would never be 100% of it actually showing up as advertised. Sometimes they will offer bike transport, but that will be sent on some 48 hours later, not with you. So, be careful about what service you sign up for.

    Waiting for the train, you never know what end that special bike car might be at, so you need to stand down near where the train comes in and watch for the bicycle painted on it (train staff won't know). Then you have to run like the dickens to the bike car, load it up and then get on the correct passenger car if you have reserved seats.

    But wait, there's more. Some obscure announcement in Italian is made and you have no idea what it was about. Observing locals, you see them disappear off the platform. Ah hah, a platform change... quickly drag your box and luggage down flights of stairs (when no elevator present) and to the next, correct platform all sweaty and with a sore back.

    Are we having fun yet?! Ah yes, it is the experience that counts. lol.

    Perhaps you could share more info about your destination / start town?
    Last edited by twocicle; 11-26-14 at 04:19 PM.

  5. #5
    BNB
    BNB is offline
    Member BNB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    San Diego
    My Bikes
    Trek 5200, Specialized Ruby, Cervelo TT, Trek MTB, GT MTB, Cannondale Tandem
    Posts
    48
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The itinerary would be to fly into Rome, train to Chiusi. It's not a typical bike touring company, but a non-profit hiking oriented club. The leaders don't necessarily have a lot of experience in Italy. They rent a van for the group and I would need to assume it can't handle a tandem bike case (who called it a "coffin"?)

    So, no, the scenario below does not sound like fun. It does sound like Italy though! We don't have a tandem with couplers, so it's the whole machine or nothing. I think we're going to opt for no tandem on this trip. : (

    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72 View Post
    If you are traveling from Rome to small town, then you most likely will be using a regional train. Not all such trains will allow bikes. You can look at train schedules online and those which allow bikes will be clearly marked. If you have a tandem with couplers I would recommend putting it on a couple of bike cases for the plane ride. Take all your personal belongings in fully collapsible bags and then use the cases as your luggage during the tour. Most hotels will let you keep the bike in your room but some will ask you to place it on a storage area. Seven years ago we did an unsupported tour in Italy that included Rome, Umbria and Tuscany. We had a blast but our trip was in September. Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    BNB,

    Are we having fun yet?! Ah yes, it is the experience that counts. lol.

    Perhaps you could share more info about your destination / start town?

  6. #6
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
    My Bikes
    Calfee Tetra Tandem, Specialized Tarmac SL4 S-Works, other misc Road & MTB singles
    Posts
    1,198
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Don't bail with the tandem just yet, it isn't all doom and gloom.

    We traveled in France for one trip with a non-coupled tandem by renting a car for transport of the big case. We would have taken a train, but that would have required 3 transfers in the area we were headed.

    Regional trains in Italy are quite casual and most do have dedicated bike car areas. It's almost like hopping on/off buses, a very typical and local thing to do. We recently visited Naples, Salerno, Bari, Ostuni and Rome, all by train and many of those were regionals too (we did this with a coupled tandem, but could have opt'd to use all regionals if we had a non-coupled).

    For Chiusi, there are Regional trains, so it should not be a problem. I believe the InterCity (IC) are fast trains that you should avoid (according to the following schedule I pulled up, the IC are faster only by minutes).

    For near future date examples, see: Trains in Italy: Travel on Italo & Trenitalia Trains in Italy - Rail Europe
    Last edited by twocicle; 11-26-14 at 04:36 PM.

  7. #7
    BNB
    BNB is offline
    Member BNB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    San Diego
    My Bikes
    Trek 5200, Specialized Ruby, Cervelo TT, Trek MTB, GT MTB, Cannondale Tandem
    Posts
    48
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    Don't bail with the tandem just yet, it isn't all doom and gloom.
    Thanks for the info, twocicle. Just met another tandem couple and they traded their "coffin" (their words, without my suggestion!) for a coupled co-motion tandem for their trips to europe. While doable, they thought the full tandem was too difficult for them. Now, if my husband and I were 20-something I'm sure we wouldn't give it another thought ... Good to know it CAN be done.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •