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Old 02-21-06, 12:04 PM   #1
Visionquest
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shipping?

alright I'm going to europe/france very soon (end of March) and I need a new bike for touring about as my 70's Ross puddle jumper just won't cut it. I'm wondering two things, How do i get my bike over there(assuming i buy it here where i speak the language fluently)... and would it be more practical to just wait till I'm there to buy one? I'm worried about biking on a new animal in a country i don't know...granted i don't have much time with it here anyway, thank you for all your help so far :-D
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Old 02-21-06, 12:44 PM   #2
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Do you know what bike you would like to buy? Chances are it would be much cheaper in America.
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Old 02-21-06, 02:31 PM   #3
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I'm looking at trek 520s...why would it be cheaper here???
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Old 02-21-06, 02:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Visionquest
I'm looking at trek 520s...why would it be cheaper here???
There are several reasons.
1) I believe that the value added tax in France is 19.6%
2) The exchange rate between your currency and the Euro is lousy at present
3) Trek is an american company, and even if the this model is made in Asia, I would expect it to be priced lower in the US
4) Most consumer goods typically cost more in Europe, not just France. There tends to be more competition in the US, among other reasons.
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Old 02-21-06, 03:14 PM   #5
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ok that all makes sense. so I'll buy it here. How do i get it over there??
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Old 02-21-06, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axolotl
There are several reasons.
1) I believe that the value added tax in France is 19.6%
2) The exchange rate between your currency and the Euro is lousy at present
3) Trek is an american company, and even if the this model is made in Asia, I would expect it to be priced lower in the US
4) Most consumer goods typically cost more in Europe, not just France. There tends to be more competition in the US, among other reasons.
Spot on. A 520 will be much cheaper in America. You might even have a bit of trouble finding one in France as the 520 is not on the French Trek website.
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Old 02-21-06, 03:34 PM   #7
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ok that all makes sense. so I'll buy it here. How do i get it over there??
Box it and take it on the airplane with you.
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Old 02-21-06, 08:16 PM   #8
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It will cost about $80 each way to take it w/ you. I finally called Bilenky today to have BTCs installed on my bike. It will cost about $675 w/ paint. A lot of money but I do a trip a year so it will be for itself in four years. Also, it's only $400 w/out paint but my attempts at bike painting were disastrous.
Have a great trip.
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Old 02-21-06, 09:02 PM   #9
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Check with your airline, as it may be possible to include the bike (even boxed) in your checked baggage allowance.

There is a website specific to travel with bikes as well. Travel with bikes or something. Google.

I've gone on two European tours in the past 3 years, and heven't paid any extra for my bike. I didn't box it either without any problems, although this is up to the airline policy-as well as how you feel about bagage handlers.
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Old 02-21-06, 09:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Camel
Check with your airline, as it may be possible to include the bike (even boxed) in your checked baggage allowance.

There is a website specific to travel with bikes as well. Travel with bikes or something. Google.

I've gone on two European tours in the past 3 years, and haven't paid any extra for my bike. I didn't box it either without any problems, although this is up to the airline policy-as well as how you feel about baggage handlers.
But don't hold your breath. All of the US carriers now charge for international flights (changed as recently as this year). They need to recoup every penny in this hard times.

While policy states that they are to charge, I understand you might not always get charged. I guess it depends on how busy they are and how generous the gate agent is feeling that day.
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Old 02-21-06, 10:40 PM   #11
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Buy the bike in the U.S. then take it with you on the plane.
Buying here is cheaper and will give you a chance to set it up and test prior to the trip.
Check out http://www.bikeaccess.net/BikeAccess/default.cfm for bike access stories on transportation.
Look at the baggage policies of the airline for carrying bikes on international flights.
Many are free. Some charge for a connecting leg to an internation flight.
They're all a bit different. Research via the websites, print out the policy and if the gate agent differs, show it to them.
I've had to "correct" a gate agent on their airline's baggage policy before.
It helps to be "in the know" when talking to them.
Regards,
lee
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Old 02-21-06, 10:56 PM   #12
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A number of European airlines will carry your bike free betwen the US and Europe as one of your two pieces of checked luggage. Some people turn the handlebars sideways, take off the pedals and wheel the bike up to the check-in counter, other people spend hundreds on hardshell travel cases. Check the website for whichever airline you're using to find out the exact requirements. Lufthansa wants you to call their toll free number for a free reservation for your bike, British Airways just lets you show up with the bike.
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Old 02-21-06, 11:56 PM   #13
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I just checked Delta's site (as I'm flying with them in April):

"Item Conditions of Acceptance
Bicycles Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats are accepted as checked baggage, with certain limits.

Any bicycle in a box with overall dimensions not exceeding 62" or 157.5cm (length + height + width) and checked in lieu of one bag is accepted. Bicycles exceeding 62" are subject to standard oversize baggage charges.

Your bike must be packaged in a cardboard or canvas container in one of the following ways:

Handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed
Handlebars and pedals encased in plastic, Styrofoam, or other similar material
Some connection carriers and aircraft may not accept bicycles as checked baggage, and may have different limits."
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Old 02-22-06, 04:51 PM   #14
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First, buy the bike here. You'll be more comfortable with it and you'll know that your panniers and other equipment fit on the bike.

Second, take it with you on the plane. Like others have said, it is likely, alhtough not a certainty that you will be abel to check it as one piece of luggage. Airlines don't like it, but put some of your gear (sleeping bag, for example) in the box to help cushion it against angry baggage handlers.

Third, check with your airline, but most will let you a purchase a generic bike box at the airport to put it in. It generally costs $15-$20. If you do this, make sure to allow enough time, because you may have to stand in line twice, the first time to purchase the bike. When flying from the U.S., I go to the airport a few days ahead of time to purchase the box, so I won't have to wait in line to purcahse the bike on the day I'm flying. Like another post said, you'll need to turn the handle bars and take the pedals off. Make sure you have the right allyn wrench to take the handle-bars and and test ahead of time that the handlebars aren't "stuck". I once arrived at the airport with the wrong sized allyn wrench.

Coming back, you're taking your chances, but I'm at the end of the trip, so I have less heartache if something gets damaged. I one flew with Aer Lingus from Shannon and all they gave me was a big plastic bag.

Although I have heard horror stories, I have had good luck with taking the bike with me on the plane. The worst I have have is a bent "bolt" (don't know the name, the long bolt that attaches the handble bar to the bike). But I went to the airline help desk, and asked if their mechanices could help me bend it back, which they did.

One last thing, when you get there, you'll probably want to assemble your bike right at the airport. Just find an out of the way place to do it. It's usually not a problem. The bigger problem may be how to ride out of the airport. Some airports only have limited access, high speed highways in and out. But usually, there is a surface street that one can use, but is usually isn't advertised. Check the web site for a good map showing all roads. Or ask at the airport, Security doesn't want you riding on the high speed road either.

Dave
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Old 02-23-06, 11:41 AM   #15
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thank you all so much...woderful advice
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Old 02-23-06, 12:59 PM   #16
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It sounds like you're likely to fly into Paris-CDG airport. If so, you can take your bike on the RER trains into Paris, except during rushhour. I've biked into Paris from CDG, and it's not a pleasant ride. The following is from www.ratp.com (the website of the transit operator in the Paris region):

"L'ouverture du réseau RATP au transport des vélos
Avec votre vélo vous pouvez utiliser les lignes et et l'ensemble des corres-
-pondances entre toutes les lignes du RER. L'entrée et la sortie sont possibles dans toutes les gares. Vous pouvez vous déplacer avec votre vélo toute la journée, excepté pendant les heures de pointe en semaine : de 6h30 à 9 h et de 16 h 30 à 19 h.
Utilisez les voitures marquées du symbole, elles disposent d'une plate-forme destinée à cet effet.
Il vous est également possible de prendre, avec votre vélo, la ligne 1 du métro les dimanches et jours fériés."
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Old 02-23-06, 06:27 PM   #17
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How about a Bike Friday bike? http://www.bikefriday.com/index.cfm You can get one for the same price as a Trek 520, plus you will not have to pay to have it shipped.

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