Published by Lyn on 20 February 2014
Steve emailed from Australia with this overview of how he sorted the logistics of his fly-drive cycling holiday in France. (Thanks Steve!)
I love your website – so much useful info for my occasional trip to France.
A few comments on what we did on our previous visit to France in September-October 2011.
We (my wife and I) had arranged a seven-week holiday and wanted to see various regions as well as cycling. I explored several options regarding cycling, including hire/rental, purchase/resale or bringing our own bicycles. in the end we chose the latter.
After researching many airlines, it appeared that the old system of “sporting goods for free” just doesn’t happen any more.
We finally settled on flying with Emirates as they had a 30kg luggage allowance, and I calculated that we should be able to take our baggage plus bicycles and stay within the 30kg each. I emphasised to the travel agent that we wanted to make it clear that we were carrying bicycles and I wanted no hassles at either end – Sydney or Paris Charles de Gaulle – but I suppose that on the day they cannot guarantee that 100%.
So we arrived at Sydney Airport with 2 large cardboard bike boxes, sourced from our local bike shop, Ashfield Cycles. They were quite a wide load and cumbersome, but the check-in was easy, we weighed in comfortably under the weight limit, and the check-in clerk pointed us to drop the bikes in the “oversize baggage” cage; our other luggage was checked through – so far so good.
After changing flights at Dubai, we landed at Paris Charles de Gaulle, collected our regular baggage from the carousel, and after a bit of asking around, we were directed to the area where our bikes were. They were there, safe and sound! Once again we had a large and cumbersome load to try and manoeuvre through the terminal, but all was good.
We had chosen a Peugeot lease car hire arrangement (with the pick-up almost direct from the airport) and opted for a smallish van, the Partner. We justed load the bike boxes in, drive to our first night destination, assembled the bikes the following day and, after that, with the rear seats down, they just rolled into the van fully assembled.
They remained that way for the duration of our trip. We covered over 5,000km, stayed in five different rural gites for one week each and had almost ultimate flexibility with our cycling, either directly from our accommodation or a drive to a point where we wished to cycle.
This is not really a budget option, but it suited us. The car hire was about $AUD2,400 (approx €1550 at today's rates), plus our weekly rentals were €300–€500. We had a great time and found some wonderful countryside, villages and towns to cycle to and through.
Our final night we stayed about 100km from Charles de Gaulle, partially disassembled the bikes and re-packed them in the bike boxes which we had folded up and carried them the entire trip.
Our return trip was also uneventful – at check-in at Paris they did not even weigh our luggage and collection at Sydney Airport was trouble-free.
We are currently saving our $$ and planning a similar trip this year 2014.
Cheers and best wishes,
More information on arranging a long-haul cycling holiday in France
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