If you need to ship a bike to or from France (or around France), here are a few options.
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When looking to ship your bike or your bike box, it's worth weighing up prices and options as there are many companies out there these days.
Shipping prices vary depending on the destination, pickup/drop off destinations, bike box size, and insurance cover.
The following information is provided as guidance only. You should do your research, ask all relevant questions of the shipper, ensure your bike is properly insured, and be familiar with the necessary processes should something go wrong (lost, damaged bikes etc). You should also ensure your bike is properly boxed/bagged and insulated.
Where to get a bike box or bag in France
This is one of the most common questions I get asked.
Most couriers and airlines will only accept bikes properly boxed or bagged. It's possible to order a bag or box online and have it delivered to your last hotel in France if you are on a one-way ride.
Always check bike box/bag dimensions before buying online and ensure you also order plenty of insulation (or have enough clothes in your panniers for packing). Don't forget heavy-duty packing tape.
- Wiggle have a French warehouse and will deliver to a French address/your last hotel – see here for options.
- Decathlon in France also *sometimes* sells various options, though note that their quality and degree of protection can vary – see here for what's in stock. A few years ago they had a great padded soft shell bag but that had dropped off their website at the time of writing. Again you can order delivery to a hotel or order online for pickup at a store. You could also call stores ahead (fewer options in central Paris though tan in regional areas).
- Cardboard boxes can be bought online from Amazon France – see here for options for delivery to a French address/hotel.
- The Air France counter at Charles de Gaulle Airport usually has cardboard bike boxes. You should always phone ahead to check/reserve.
- Local bike shops usually have spare boxes. Over the years readers have also reported using furniture shops as their boxes are always large. Obviously, this option involves more hassle (and luck).
- Some couriers listed below will also send out boxes.
If you need help ...
If you're not sure how to get your bike to or from France (or if you are trying to solve the plane/train v shipping, or shipping v hiring questions), then we are happy to offer guidance.
You can email email@example.com with:
- your dates
- number of bikes
- bike box size if you have it (or let me know if you need a box/packaging)
- bike box weight if you have it
- any other relevant info (i.e. if you're not sure if it's cheaper/easier to hire, etc)
Where are you shipping to/from?
Europe: The following options are most cost-effective for shipping within Europe. Brexit has made UK-France/France-UK more difficult and expensive, but it is still possible. I advise using an established operator and ensuring all customs paperwork is checked and double-checked to avoid extra costs.
Outside Europe: For US/Canada-France, Australia/NZ/SA-France etc it is usually always cheaper to take your bike as luggage via your airline. Always check with your airline before wasting time on couriers.
Who can ship your bike?
SHERPR specialises in bikes. They work with a network of international shippers to book your bike in (in English). You can send your bikes from your club or home to anywhere in the world (including Australia and South Africa) and back again. It's cheaper UK-France or France-US as they have depots in the UK and the US. They also supply reinforced cardboard bike boxes and packing (delivered to you before you ship if in the UK) if you don't have your own bike box. Note they do not ship soft-shell bags. See here.
Send My Bag send bikes between France and the UK, but also do the US and other destinations worldwide. They can also do EU-EU destinations, which is handy for one-way rides - say if you want to hire a bike in France and ship it back from the Netherlands or Germany. Australia and South Africa – traditionally tricky destinations with biosecurity measures – are also possible. They also ship from one French destination to another, though this can be expensive. Bikes will need to be securely boxed or bagged.
Parcel Hero was originally recommended to us by cyclists, and we have also used it to ship (non-bikey) things to France. There's no dedicated bike option on the site – you box your bike up securely and ship it like you would any other package. Quotes are done by box size and weight, so if you have a heavier bike box rather than cardboard or soft cover, it will cost more. Don't forget to get insurance (either via the shipper or your own) as Parcel Hero uses a range of mainstream shippers – they are a broker, not an actual shipper. This is not a dedicated bike service and you probably will not get the level of personal service would get with, say, SHERPR above. Also make sure the B&B/hotel or wherever you're shipping to in France is expecting the delivery in case the bike makes it there before you do – the courier will likely need the delivery to be signed for.
Still not sure?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try and help (including seeing if there is a dedicated van service coming to France on your dates).
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