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Best Options for Sending Bikes Internationally?

  • 08-08-2021 1:57pm
    Registered Users Posts: 146 ✭✭ Sunsets On Tuesday

    Hi all,

    I'm moving to France for a couple of years in a few weeks and I am wondering whether I will bring my road bike over, and if so, what the best way of doing it would be. I looked briefly at other threads but they were either outdated or not fully relevant. Does anyone have experience shipping their bike internationally with a courier like DHL, UPS etc., or more specialised services like Irishparcels, sendmybag, parcelforce etc? Or might it be better to bring it on the plane with me?

    Also, any recommendations regarding best way to transport it? I've heard a cardboard bike box could be best but I may be wrong.

    If anyone has any experience in this area I'd love to hear how you did it!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,864 ✭✭✭ KevRossi

    You've 3 options. I've no idea what the bike is worth, but here they are, I used all of these in summer/autumn 2019:

    1. Buy a hard shell bike box and fly, but you need to move the bike and the box at the other end. Also bike box may be just gathering dust for a year or so, unless you sell it (easy to do, but you pay for depreciation).
    2. Cardboard box and fly. I've done this a few times. Get a box from a bike shop, should be free of charge. You can usually take 30kg in the box, so pack some clothes into bin bags and stuff these around the sensitive bits, Use cardboard as well to stop scratching. Put a piece of wood between the forks front and back to prevent bending. I've never had an issue with damage, but I've heard horror stories.
    3. Ferry to Cherbourg and train from there. Take a bike lock and lock it on the car deck and that's it. Never ever had an issue this way. If you're thinking of going via the UK, then you need to get the train to Dover, then ferry to Calais. From Holyhead to Dublin the bike goes on a van, they don't care about the bikes. From Dover to Calais it goes on the car deck. Boat is the safest way in my experience.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,706 ✭✭✭ CantGetNoSleep

    I've done the opposite a few times with bikes. I'd add three more options to the great suggestions already -

    1 - (a version of option 3 above) - cycle it over. This was my plan in April 2020 but scuppered by covid

    2 - post using normal post. Was the cheapest when I wanted to do it, but size limits wouldn't take a full bike box so posted frame and wheels separately (still the cheapest)

    3 - buy a second hand bike over there. Obviously depends on a lot of things but some of the options open to you could add several hundred euros of costs, so if you will be there for a few years and depending on your own situation, your current bike and cycling habits, I would definitely consider it. At the moment I have a bike I'm not using in France which I'd like to have in Ireland but if the right bike popped up for sale on the adverts forum here, I'd definitely just sell this even though I am attached to it. On the other hand I once bought a nearly new BTwin Triban 540 (alu frame, carbon fork, Shimano 105 11s, Mavic Aksiums, 28mm clearance even with mudguards) for 300€ here - got a lot of use out of that

  • Registered Users Posts: 187 ✭✭ Jonesy101

    Cardboard bike box is the best option. no worrying about couriers and pretty cheap to pay for sports equipment. who wants to buy a 200E bike box that you have to store once you arrive in your new appartment, and just recently dublin airport has changed the regulations for bike box size so youll never know when your box will come obsolete.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,132 ✭✭✭✭ Lemming

    Another option - some bike shops rent bike travel bags/boxes. Obviously depends on a bike shop in reasonable proximity to you offering such a service. For example, I know of one bike shop near (by near I mean across county lines with a 1 hour 30 mins round trip drive) me that rents EVOC bike bags. I've never taken up the offer since I've always traveled back and forth between the UK & Ireland with my bike via boat and thus never had the need to look at the likes of rail or air travel logistics.

  • Registered Users Posts: 391 ✭✭ ARX

    Maybe make a wooden crate just big enough for your bike, with spars to prevent crushing, and have a courier send it?

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