My wife and I are considering/thinking/plotting/daydreaming about/hoping for a bike trip in Europe sometime soon.
We would take our own bikes, in boxes, to our European destination.
In our plots and plans there is one thing we cannot quite figure out.
Can we store the bike boxes at the European airport until we return? OR, if we fly into one airport and out of another one, is it generally possible to ride to the airport, buy a bike box from the airline, and pack up at the airport? (Is it possible to do that in the US? I'd love to be able to ride to/from the airport on all sides . . .)
Thank you in advance for answering this hopelessly newbie question. I ride a bicycle every day as my sole form of transportation and cartage, but I haven't gone on a bike tour in 30 years!
Stay at a half-decent hotel at the final city.
Most of them have luggage rooms and they'll let you store stuff nearly indefinitly. Very cool.
Get a good box like an iron case though, sucks to have a broken bike on arrival.
What airport are you flying into?
If you call ahead the airline will have boxes there, but they're overpriced and a good way to have bent wheels.
If i were flying to Heathrow, I'd call a (reputable) mini cab company ahead of time and make sure they send a van. I'd imagine things would be similar at any other airport, but I know the london cab system the best.
No, you cannot store a box at an airport anymore. You might be able to find a storage company in your destination town that will take them, or perhaps relatives or friends.
However, if none of that works for you, my suggestion would be to use a cardboard box, which you can get for free from your local LBS. When you get there, you can either toss the cardboard box, and ride out of the airport, or simply fold the cardboard box up and take it with you. I've done both.
When you are ready to leave, you can either hope for an available cardboard box from an LBS there (that worked for me in Australia), or that the airline sells or gives away cardboard boxes. Call the airline, don't just assume. From my experience, Air Canada does not have boxes, but United does for $15, and Virgin Blue (within Australia, which doesn't help you right now) does too, and gives them away for free. So when they are available, they aren't overpriced at all.
Air France is the first choice for finding a box at the airport. They only charge € 6 for a box and they have never let me down. Try other airlines if Air France does not fly into the airport where you are.
You can store bike boxes at luggage claim at the airport. I did it in Frankfurt in 2004 and in Madrid in 2005.
BIKE STORAGE - You can store your bike at the CONSIGNA - BAGGAGE LOCKERS building. The daily charge is 6€. If you leave the bike at 6 pm and pick it up the next day, it counts as TWO days.