Published by Lyn on 9 August 2016
Charlotte Chapman road-tested the Luggage Mule bike shipping service when she visited us here in France this summer.
Luggage Mule shipping service
We recently decided a take a trip to France to spend a long weekend with Mr and Mrs Freewheeling France. We are no strangers to taking bikes on planes when going on holiday, but this trip posed a few potential problems.
Firstly, a taxi to the airport would have cost at least £90 each way, and a taxi from Bordeaux to where we were staying would have cost a further £165 each way given Lyn and Andrew have an impossibly small car that doesn't fit three adults and a bike box.
Facing over £580 of additional costs (with the plane costs for sports luggage factored in), we had to find an alternative way of getting the bike from the UK to France, which is when when we came across Luggage Mule.
The company offers a worldwide door-to-door luggage delivery service, which includes all manner of things such as sports equipment.
5 things we liked
1. The online booking website is easy to use; you enter your destination country, dates of travel and what you want to ship and this generates a quote. At the time of travel, the system quoted us £179.99 return per bike from the UK (London) to the France, although it may be differ depending on where you live and where you are going. Everything you need to know is on the website and, if you need help, you can also ring them.
2. The booking process allows to you add on additional luggage if you want to, and also buy additional cover in case your bike is damaged in transit. The standard cover included in the price is up to £50 per piece of luggage, but you can upgrade from £99 up to £3000 per piece of luggage for an extra fee. We paid an additional £39.99 for cover of up to £2000. This cover is from UPS – the courier Luggage Mule uses – not Luggage Mule (one criticism is that I didn't receive any additioanl information about this cover). We use a Bike Box Alan, so we were reasonably confident it wouldn't be damaged. You may need to check whether it’s possible to transport a bike in a soft case, although you can hire bike boxes if you do not own one.
3. You can book single or return journeys so it is a very flexible service.
4. I liked the door-to-door service, making our trip to and from the airport hassle-free. Your luggage is collected three working days before the date of departure, and is returned three working days after your return. Luggage Mule sent us really good clear adhesive sleeves to put the address delivery details in and stick to the side of the bike box. Once on, they will not come unstuck.
5. You can track your bike. You get email update alerts from UPS so you know where the box is. The downside is you do have to be available on the day they collect and return the luggage, which will only be on a week day and they don't give any indication of time or timeslots. We did have a slight problem because the courier could not locate the residential address we were staying at (Lyn and Andrew live in a tiny street which isn't on Googlemaps or GPS). However Luggage Mule sorted this out for us and it was still delivered before we arrived. We used my name on the package info, but I'd suggest using the name and contact telephone number of the person who will be signing for it if you won't be there. It's probably easier if this is a hotel or commercial property – just check head with the hotel that they will accept delivery if it arrives the day before you do.
Luggage Mule made our short trip to France with a bike possible. It cost us about half the price it would have if we'd taken the bike on the plane.
I think it’s a useful service if you don't want to take a bike on the plane because of the associated travel costs, if you have lots of other bags or young children, or if you're staying a long way from the airport you're flying to (or too far from public transport).
It also made a nice change for us not having to wheel the bike box around along with our other bags and, on balance, we would use Luggage Mule again if making a similar trip.
Luggage Mule shipping service
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