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bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 28th 09, 10:05 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

Hi

I am posting on here about bicycle travel to France on American
airlines to see if anyone
recently has does this. I searched this group but all the postings I
can find are from 2003 or earlier.
I want to plan a trip to see the later stages of the Tour de France. I
already have a plane ticket to
Orly airport and a Rail Europe anywhere/anytime France ticket. I know
American airlines charges $100 for bicycles. I still have a few
questions.
1. Does Rail Europe thru France allow bikes on the train without a
case or box?
2. Where do you store the case if it is a large plastic one? (I was
thinking about getting a nylon one so it is easier to store in a
locker at the airport or at the trail station where I arrive,)
3. Does the train going to London under the chunnel (eurostar) allow
bikes? (I'm planning on going to England after the Tour)
4. Does anyone have any experience spectating the Tour de France with
their bicycle as the main means of getting around? Then leaving by
train and air?
Thanks for any help .
Jeff
)
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  #2  
Old May 29th 09, 07:14 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
[email protected]om[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 55
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

On May 28, 4:05*pm, "
wrote:
Hi

I am posting on here about bicycle travel to France on American
airlines to see if anyone
recently has does this. *I searched this group but all the postings I
can find are from 2003 or earlier.
I want to plan a trip to see the later stages of the Tour de France. I
already have a plane ticket to
Orly airport and a Rail Europe anywhere/anytime France ticket. I know
American airlines charges $100 for bicycles. I still have a few
questions.

The rates have been going up. If you plan on frequent airline trips
with a bicycle, the savings on just a few (3?) round trips will pay
for an SandS coupling to be installed.

1. Does Rail Europe thru France allow bikes on the train without a
case or box?

Most European trains allow standard bicycles during non-peak hours.
There are route by route variations.

2. Where do you store the case if it is a large plastic one? (I was
thinking about getting a nylon one so it is easier to store in a
locker at the airport or at the trail station where I arrive,)

Usually at your arriving hotel luggage room for a small or no fee.

3. Does the train going to London under the chunnel (eurostar) allow
bikes? (I'm planning on going to England after the Tour)

See above.

4. Does anyone have any experience spectating the Tour de France with
their bicycle as the main means of getting around? Then leaving by
train and air?

Besides the 100+ miles of the race, there are often gaps between the
ending city and the next days starting city. With train / bus / auto
support, you may not have time to sleep. I do know a couple of people
that were working paid bicycle touring groups doing this. Busy,
exhilerating, and tiring. Did you make you hotel reservations as soon
as the route was announced, or are you camping out?

Thanks for any help .
Jeff
)


  #3  
Old May 29th 09, 02:42 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

On May 29, 12:14*am, wrote:
On May 28, 4:05*pm, "
wrote: Hi

I am posting on here about bicycle travel to France on American
airlines to see if anyone
recently has does this. *I searched this group but all the postings I
can find are from 2003 or earlier.
I want to plan a trip to see the later stages of the Tour de France. I
already have a plane ticket to
Orly airport and a Rail Europe anywhere/anytime France ticket. I know
American airlines charges $100 for bicycles. I still have a few
questions.


The rates have been going up. *If you plan on frequent airline trips
with a bicycle, the savings on just a few (3?) round trips will pay
for an SandS coupling to be installed.

1. Does Rail Europe thru France allow bikes on the train without a
case or box?


Most European trains allow standard bicycles during non-peak hours.
There are route by route variations.

2. Where do you store the case if it is a large plastic one? (I was
thinking about getting a nylon one so it is easier to store in a
locker at the airport or at the trail station where I arrive,)


Usually at your arriving hotel luggage room for a small or no fee.

3. Does the train going to London under the chunnel (eurostar) allow
bikes? (I'm planning on going to England after the Tour)


See above.

4. Does anyone have any experience spectating the Tour de France with
their bicycle as the main means of getting around? Then leaving by
train and air?


Besides the 100+ miles of the race, there are often gaps between the
ending city and the next days starting city. *With train / bus / auto
support, you may not have time to sleep. *I do know a couple of people
that were working paid bicycle touring groups doing this. *Busy,
exhilerating, and tiring. *Did you make you hotel reservations as soon
as the route was announced, or are you camping out?

Thanks for any help .
Jeff
)


Thanks for your responses
I have only a flight into Paris and a flight out of London. I plan on
taking the chunnel by rail over to london after the tour de france's
last stage in paris. I have not made any hotel reservations as of yet.
I may camp out but I am not sure it takes alot of extra stuff to camp
which I found out on my first bike tour this spring... I was going to
camp then had to send some camping stuff back home via UPS b/c my bike
was way too heavy. Do you know about the Rail Europe train and bikes?
I have purchased a Anywhere anytime France rail pass. Is this train
go by the same name as TGV?
  #4  
Old May 30th 09, 07:51 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Mike Jacoubowsky
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,972
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

wrote in message
...
Hi

I am posting on here about bicycle travel to France on American
airlines to see if anyone
recently has does this. I searched this group but all the postings I
can find are from 2003 or earlier.
I want to plan a trip to see the later stages of the Tour de France. I
already have a plane ticket to
Orly airport and a Rail Europe anywhere/anytime France ticket. I know
American airlines charges $100 for bicycles. I still have a few
questions.
1. Does Rail Europe thru France allow bikes on the train without a
case or box?
2. Where do you store the case if it is a large plastic one? (I was
thinking about getting a nylon one so it is easier to store in a
locker at the airport or at the trail station where I arrive,)
3. Does the train going to London under the chunnel (eurostar) allow
bikes? (I'm planning on going to England after the Tour)
4. Does anyone have any experience spectating the Tour de France with
their bicycle as the main means of getting around? Then leaving by
train and air?
Thanks for any help .
Jeff
)


OK, a bunch of things to deal with here.

First of all, there's no such train as "RailEurope." RailEurope is the
US ticketing agency for many European trains, including Eurostar, the
French TGV, Belgian Thalys, German ICE etc. About the only reason to
buy from RailEurope is a RailPass, which you generally have to buy
outside the country you're traveling (that may not be the case anymore,
haven't tried lately).

Both French TGV and the Eurostar have rather draconian restrictions for
carrying bicycles. There are a small number of TGV trains that will
carry bicycles that have not been taken apart, and there is a service
offered by Eurostar that may, but does not guarantee, getting your
complete bicycle to you at your destination at the time you arrive (you
have to drop it off earlier, don't remember if it's a full day or what).
The absolute best website for planning train trips is here-
http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

In general, if you wish relatively unrestricted travel on trains, you're
going to have to pack your bike in a bicycle "bag" no greater than 120cm
x 90cm. This is what I've done and trust me, it's not fun. It's a
terribly difficult way to haul a bike around, and there's no special
place on the train for the bike, you just stuff it in the luggage area
at the end of the car, which will be crammed full so your bike is going
to end up being stuffed in the vestibule itself, in front of one of the
doors. Which means at each stop, you're going to have to go to where
your bike is stored and make sure it's not blocking the side people will
be entering/exiting from (which varies from station to station) and that
nobody is carrying your bike off the train. Thankfully, the fast trains
make very few stops.

Another interesting thing about French TGV trains. When you buy a
RailPass of any sort, that does not include a reservation for a given
train. That's purchased separately. Reservations aren't very expensive,
it's just a bit of a hassle figuring out how to do it. Local trains
don't generally require reservations or, when they do, it's only during
peak travel hours.

You can use this same bag to transport the bike on the plane in. It
won't give you a very secure feeling, because you have no hard box or
case around your bike, but somehow the bike (usually) survives the
experience. By the way, the $100 fee American is charging is currently
*low* compared to many other carriers. United, for example, is now $200
each way. Last year it was free (part of your baggage allowance). Oh
right, one more thing. Make very sure your bike plus box does not exceed
the weight allowance. Extra weight charges can be horrendous.

On "local" trains, you'll typically have a baggage car and be allowed
(or required) to load the bike into it. The conductor will tell you
they'll take it off for you at your destination, but do not count on
that. At the 2007 TdF we had our bikes in the baggage car on a "local"
train that terminated in Angoulume. We exited the train and waited for a
minute or two, but nothing was being unloaded from the baggage car. I
finally just climbed up into the car (no conductor around) and got our
bikes out. Within 30 seconds of getting the bikes off, the train just
took off, without warning, to wherever trains that have finished their
journey go. Weird!

As for getting around to see the TdF, your best bet is to find a good
location from which you can accees three stages, and then move on. It's
a royal pain moving every single day. For our trip this year, we'll be
spending 6 days in Albertville, which will allow us to see several
Alpine stages by bike (and one or two by car, which we'll be renting in
Chambery). Then we'll drive south to Avignon for the big Ventoux stage,
return the car there, and take the train north to Paris for the finale
the next morning.

Many people do camp, but I prefer a place with a hot shower, air
conditioning (it can get very hot during the summer in France) and wi-fi
(for updating our shop's website). You can get all of that for less than
$50/night at the Etap hotels, one of the lower-tier Accor offerings.
Very cookie-cutter and without any particular charm, kind of a
mildly-upscale Motel 6 if that makes sense.

OK, looking at your follow-up post, I see you're flying into Paris. CDG
is an amazing airport, be thankful you're flying into it and not out.
The place is a huge mess of lines snaking everywhere. But getting from
CDG to anyplace, if you've got unwieldy luggage, is a royal pain. Taxis
into Paris with a bike in a box are going to run nearly $100!!! And
taking the RER regional train into Paris (to get to one of the main
stations that go places) requires a fair amount of walking and flights
of stairs. Your best bet is to find a TGV that leaves direct from CDG to
your destination. I would recommend looking to Lyon as your initial
destination, since it's well-served by TGVs from CDG (and only one
intermediate stop, just 15 minutes out of the airport).

Hope this helps get you in the right direction! You might find some more
useful info on this part of our website-
www.ChainReaction.com/france.htm

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


  #5  
Old May 30th 09, 08:03 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Mike Jacoubowsky
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,972
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

wrote in message
...
Hi

I am posting on here about bicycle travel to France on American
airlines to see if anyone
recently has does this. I searched this group but all the postings I
can find are from 2003 or earlier.
I want to plan a trip to see the later stages of the Tour de France. I
already have a plane ticket to
Orly airport and a Rail Europe anywhere/anytime France ticket. I know
American airlines charges $100 for bicycles. I still have a few
questions.
1. Does Rail Europe thru France allow bikes on the train without a
case or box?
2. Where do you store the case if it is a large plastic one? (I was
thinking about getting a nylon one so it is easier to store in a
locker at the airport or at the trail station where I arrive,)
3. Does the train going to London under the chunnel (eurostar) allow
bikes? (I'm planning on going to England after the Tour)
4. Does anyone have any experience spectating the Tour de France with
their bicycle as the main means of getting around? Then leaving by
train and air?
Thanks for any help .
Jeff
)


Forgot to mention in my prior post that there is no problem, even at
this late date, finding places to stay in France during the TdF. For
that matter, you can get plane tickets from the west coast for as little
as $820 all-in (including all taxes & fees) on USAir right now. United
is running about $150 or so more, but still far below the $1600-$1800
typical at this time of year. If you want to get an idea of car rental,
check out Europcar which has a very easy-to-use website. Keep in mind
that getting the car in one place and leaving it in another is the norm
in France, not something you have to pay extra for. On the other hand,
you're not going to find cheap rental cars in general, figure on
$40/day+ for something small.

Oh darn, just noticed an error in my first response. You're flying into
Orly, not CDG. No TGV service to Orly, but they do have shuttles between
the two airports. Most of the shuttles have very large luggage
compartments that should be able to carry your bike. It will probably be
cheaper and easier to shuttle from Orly to CDG's TGV terminal than to
head from Orly into Paris (where you'd likely have to go to Gare Lyon if
you want to catch up to the TdF in the Alps).

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


  #6  
Old May 31st 09, 04:07 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

Thanks for your response Mike.
I will try to get a bike bag for the trains. I was going to just take
my bicycle hard case and store it at a Hotel in paris and stay there
the after getting off the plane and then head down to the alps the
next day (figured I would rest after a long flight all nite) . But I
guess you think I really need a bag for my bike on the trains. I have
emailed the EuroRail about bicycles but have not received a
response.
I haven't really gotten all the logistics together for this trip. I
will post up on here as soon as I figure it out.
I will def. be going to the Mt Ventoux stage.
Jeff Rank
On May 30, 1:03*am, "Mike Jacoubowsky"
wrote:
wrote in message

...





Hi


I am posting on here about bicycle travel to France on American
airlines to see if anyone
recently has does this. *I searched this group but all the postings I
can find are from 2003 or earlier.
I want to plan a trip to see the later stages of the Tour de France. I
already have a plane ticket to
Orly airport and a Rail Europe anywhere/anytime France ticket. I know
American airlines charges $100 for bicycles. I still have a few
questions.
1. Does Rail Europe thru France allow bikes on the train without a
case or box?
2. Where do you store the case if it is a large plastic one? (I was
thinking about getting a nylon one so it is easier to store in a
locker at the airport or at the trail station where I arrive,)
3. Does the train going to London under the chunnel (eurostar) allow
bikes? (I'm planning on going to England after the Tour)
4. Does anyone have any experience spectating the Tour de France with
their bicycle as the main means of getting around? Then leaving by
train and air?
Thanks for any help .
Jeff
)


Forgot to mention in my prior post that there is no problem, even at
this late date, finding places to stay in France during the TdF. For
that matter, you can get plane tickets from the west coast for as little
as $820 all-in (including all taxes & fees) on USAir right now. United
is running about $150 or so more, but still far below the $1600-$1800
typical at this time of year. If you want to get an idea of car rental,
check out Europcar which has a very easy-to-use website. Keep in mind
that getting the car in one place and leaving it in another is the norm
in France, not something you have to pay extra for. On the other hand,
you're not going to find cheap rental cars in general, figure on
$40/day+ for something small.

Oh darn, just noticed an error in my first response. You're flying into
Orly, not CDG. No TGV service to Orly, but they do have shuttles between
the two airports. Most of the shuttles have very large luggage
compartments that should be able to carry your bike. It will probably be
cheaper and easier to shuttle from Orly to CDG's TGV terminal than to
head from Orly into Paris (where you'd likely have to go to Gare Lyon if
you want to catch up to the TdF in the Alps).

--Mike-- * * Chain Reaction Bicycleswww.ChainReactionBicycles.com- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


  #7  
Old May 31st 09, 09:01 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Pat[_16_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 32
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

I suggest you Google "la housse" and get about buying one of them before you
leave....

Pat


  #8  
Old June 1st 09, 01:36 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Mike Jacoubowsky
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,972
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

"Pat" wrote in message
...
I suggest you Google "la housse" and get about buying one of them
before you leave....

Pat


And get lots of practice figuring out how best to put it into and out of
it before you leave. Full size bikes just aren't meant to be put into
bags of that size, wheels & all.

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


  #9  
Old June 1st 09, 11:59 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Steve[_10_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France

On May 29, 2:14*am, wrote:

The rates have been going up. *If you plan on frequent airline trips
with a bicycle, the savings on just a few (3?) round trips will pay
for an SandS coupling to be installed.


It's a great product, but remember, they only can be retrofitted onto
steel frames. I think there is one aluminum tandem that is built at
the factory with them. Also, they're for round tubes only.

"http://www.sandsmachine.com/"

Ironically, an S&S torque coupler equipped single bicycle will fit,
tightly, into their 26" x 26" x 10" case, while most 20" folders
cannot be fit into a strictly legal 62" case. The Bike Friday case
slightly exceeds the 62" max, though Bike Friday says that they know
of no one that's ever been charged. The Dahon case is 73.25 linear
inches. It used to be unheard of for a U.S. airline to measure
luggage, but I don't know if this is still the case. Also, for
domestic flights, checking in on the curb usually avoided over-zealous
check-in agents, but you can't do that for international flights.

For $400 each round-trip it would take at least 3 flights to pay for
the retrofit and the case. However it's not just the money, it's the
convenience when using trains, taxis, even rental cars. There's also
the expense of a steel bicycle, which now is more of a boutique item
as most mass market bicycle manufacturers use less expensive aluminum
frames for the low end, and carbon fiber for the high end, though even
Trek has kept their 520 steel touring bike.
  #10  
Old June 1st 09, 03:33 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
OughtFour
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 39
Default bicycle travel on plane to France/Tour De France


" wrote in message
...

Do you know about the Rail Europe train and bikes?
I have purchased a Anywhere anytime France rail pass. Is this train

go by the same name as TGV?

1) Rail Europe is a travel agency that sells tickets and passes, not a rail
company. Bicycle policy for trains is set by the respective rail company. In
France, for insintance, this is SNCF.

By the way, to promote its passes, Rail Europe charges a huge markup for
tickets (to make the passes look like a good deal by comparision). So don't
buy tickets from them! They are OK for passes, but point-to-point tickets t
the regular price might actually be a better deal.

In France, you can take your bike on every train if it is a bag. Many local
trains allow your bike without a bag. I'd expect the bag to be OK on the
Chunnel train, but wouldn't swear to it. If you've bouth a pass or ticket
from RailEurope ask them, as you've paid them a nice commission.

The best source of information about trains in France (and elsewhere in
Europe) is, oddly enough, the German rail web site (google "bahn rail").
There you can search routes and specify trains that allow bikes w/o a bag.

2) Your rail pass is a rail pass, not a train. It will let you onto any SNCF
train in France. However, some trains, including the TGVs, charge a
supplement and require a reservation. The TGV supplement comes to about 5 or
10 dollars per trip, though Rail Europe will charge more. You can reserve
for yourself at any train station or SNCF boutique. Most trains do not
require reservations.

By the way, have a great time!


 




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