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Shipping Bikes to and from Italy

Old 01-25-18, 04:59 PM
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vlicon
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Shipping Bikes to and from Italy

My wife and I are planning to tour Italy and Slovenia this coming September and October. I'm thinking it would be easiest to ship bikes ahead of time so they are assembled and ready to go when we arrive, and to do the same on our return trip. We will probably pick up bikes in Viareggio or Lucca, and then send them back home from Rome. Does anyone have suggestions about how this plan works and any shops in these areas that we can contact?

Oh. We will be flying from and to the U.S.

Last edited by vlicon; 01-25-18 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 01-25-18, 05:25 PM
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You don't say where you are from. If you are living in France then won't be all that expensive. If you are from North America then figure on it costing +$1000 per bike.

Then you have the whole problem of communicating your wishes to the bike shop and finding a shop. A lot easier to take it with you and build it yourself.
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Old 01-25-18, 05:53 PM
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Luca is very nice and interesting. It is a walled city. I believe there is a bike path on top of the wall but I did not have a chance to get up there.

Viareggio is nothing to write home about. Kind of disappointing. Sort of reminds me of an Italian cersion of Atlantic City.

The road between between Viareggio and Pisa is VERY busy so be prepared. I imagine it is the same further south but I have only been as far south as Pisa.

You will also see plenty of "ladies of the afternoon" along the way so be prepared for that too.
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Old 01-25-18, 06:16 PM
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If you are from outside the EU, avoiding paying customs duty could be problematic as the shipper would have no assurance that you intend to bring it back a month or two later. Upon return to your home country, that could arise again. I think most people take their bikes on the plane with them in both directions to avoid those complications.

Some USA based airlines are increasing their luggage fees for international travel this year, so do not assume anything regarding air travel is the same if you have traveled to Europe before.
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Old 01-25-18, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Luca is very nice and interesting. It is a walled city.
The city is Lucca (LUKE-kah). Luca (LOO-kah) is a man's/boy's name.

Last edited by dorkypants; 01-25-18 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 01-25-18, 07:53 PM
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In the early 2000s a friend of mine bought a bare frame (no fork) in Italy direct from the manufacturer because it was stupid-light. He didn't want to carry it around with him because he was traveling with his non-biking family in a rental car. We took it to a local Mailboxes, Etc. to have it shipped to his office in California. At first they were saying it would cost $300 to box it and ship it, almost the price of the frame itself. After some back and forth, they agreed to simply tape it up in bubble wrap to reduce the overall package size and get the price down to the low $100's.

Shipping large objects like bikes is ludicrously expensive.

I've taken my plain old road bike in an Orucase Airport Ninja. It does require you to remove the wheels, seatpost/saddle AND fork, but the whole assembly is much smaller and lighter than a traditional bike case (either soft- or hard-sided). They come in different sizes. All but the ones for frames 50cm or smaller exceed the airline limit of 62" L+W+H for non-oversize baggage, but Orucase claims that none of their customers has ever been charged oversized baggage or bike fees by airlines. Personally, I was flying Lufthansa, which doesn't charge for bikes, and they didn't charge me extra. The main inconvenience was I had to haul the thing to the security scanner for oversized luggage myself.

Disclaimer: I have no connection with Orucase other than as a satisfied customer.
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Old 01-25-18, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dorkypants View Post
The city is Lucca (LUKE-kah). Luca (LOO-kah) is a man's/boy's name.


No kidding.

And what does that have to do with the fact that it is a walled city and an interesting place?
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Old 01-26-18, 03:45 PM
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When my friend and I were planning our tour of the French Alps in 2016, I did a lot of research into this and came to the conclusion that it was cheaper and more convenient to simply take the bikes as checked luggage. Shipping is ridiculously expensive as has already been noted. We flew from Dayton to Geneva and packed out bikes in Pika Packworks padded bags. They are rather small and do not scream BIKE. In fact even though it is larger than the max allowed size, I was not charged oversized baggage fee in either direction, so the bag paid for itself. My friend had a difference airline (United) employee checking his bags in Geneva on the return trip and he did have to pay. So, it's a bit of a crapshoot, but if you pack in a cardboard box you will definitely be charged as it is easily identified as being oversize and a bike.
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Old 01-26-18, 05:35 PM
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+1) Air Freight is a lot more expensive than accompanied luggage . best check them on your flight..

some international carriers , unlike US ones, will not have an it's a Bike Fee..
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Old 01-27-18, 10:51 PM
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My wife and I flew into the Venice airport, took our bikes on a water taxi to Venice proper, stayed a few days, then took the morning train (roll on) to Trieste, got off the train and rode to Piran, Slovenia. We wish we had planned on a couple extra days in Piran, but we had an itinerary going down the Istrian peninsula, island hopped, and finally to Dubrovnik. I had several people on this site tell me you can't do it that way, but we had no problem. Just don't try to ride or even roll your bikes around Venice during high season, unless it is early morning. If you get bikes in Lucca, there are many shops there, even a manufacturer. Mostly what I saw was "City" type bikes though. Consider taking your bikes with you. Rolling on and off trains in Italy is half the fun.
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