How Much Does It Cost To Take Your Bike Abroad?

Woman cycling
Travelling abroad with your bike doesn't have to be stressful (Credit: Daniel Hughes)

Here at Pedalsure, we’re looking forward to getting back onto the continent and riding on some of our favourite roads. Of course, we’ll dutifully follow our very own Ultimate Road Cycling Holiday Checklist, especially the pre-holiday research. An important element of that is working out how you will travel with your bike and how much it will cost.

Travelling with your bike can be a stressful experience if you haven’t done the necessary research and preparation. That’s why here at Pedalsure we have been compiling a series of articles to help you through the process before you leave for the airport. Today we take a look at the costs of taking your bike abroad.

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How to pack your bike

If you’re flying with your bike it will need to be properly packed up. We recommend hiring a dedicated soft/hard case bike box– rather than a cardboard box like the one your bike might have been delivered in – because they are designed specifically for transporting bikes. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to pack it up carefully and with as little stress as possible. You’ll have to remove your wheels, pedals, bars and deflate your tyres, and you’ll often find that fitting everything into the box is something of a mind game. If you do this well ahead of time, they will thank you for it and your journey through the airport will be much easier.

To avoid issues, extra costs and general stress, we recommend you inform your airline that you’ll be travelling with a bike. If you would rather not have the hassle of taking your bikes abroad, but want to ride all the same, you could think about hiring one at your destination. But rest assured, with Pedalsure you are covered from the moment that the airline takes receipt of your bike.

Airline Costs

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Annoyingly there is no standardised way of charging sports luggage by airlines. As a result, the cost of adding your bike to your flight and its weight limit differs from airline to airline, which makes it particularly challenging if your destination is far enough away to have you on two or more airlines. To make things a little easier, we have compiled the information on flying your bike with the UK’s most popular airlines.

British Airways

You can take bikes as part of your checked baggage allowance. Must be in a protective bike box/bag.

Cost – free as part of checked baggage allowance

Size – 190 x 95 x 65 cm

Weight – 23kg

easyJet

Bikes count as sports equipment and incur an extra cost. Must be in a protective bike box/bag.

Cost – £35 pre-booked, £45 at airport

Weight – 32kg

Ryanair

Bikes count as sports equipment and incur an extra cost. Must be in a protective bike box/bag.

Cost – £60 pre-booked, £75 at airport

Weight – 30kg

Aer Lingus

Bikes count as checked baggage and incur an extra cost. Must be in a protective bike box/bag. 10 bikes per flight.

Cost – €50

Weight – 32kg

Air France

Bikes count as sports equipment and incur an extra cost. Must be in a protective bike box/bag or cardboard box.

Cost – €55 (within Europe), €100 (long-haul)

Weight – 23kg, 32kg in business class

Norwegian

Bikes count as sports equipment and incur an extra cost. Must be in a protective bike box/bag.

Cost – £45 pre-booked, £70 at airport (Europe); £60 pre-booked, £70 at airport (long-haul)

Weight – 25kg

KLM

You can take bikes as part of your checked baggage allowance. Must be in a protective bike box/bag.

Size – 176.5 x 23 x 101.5 cm

Weight – 23kg

Lufthansa

You can take bikes as part of your checked baggage allowance. Must be in a protective bike box/bag.

Cost – free as part of checked baggage allowance

Maximum length – 315 cm

Weight – 32kg

Virgin Atlantic

You can take bikes as part of your checked baggage allowance. Must be in a protective bike box/bag.

Cost – free as part of checked baggage allowance

Weight – 23kg

TUI

Bikes count as sports equipment and incur an extra cost. Must be in a protective bike box/bag or cardboard box.

Cost – £30 (short-haul), £60 (long-haul)

Weight – 23kg

Train costs

Train station
Trains are a quick and easy solution (Credit: Michał Parzuchowski)

If you are travelling within Europe and would rather not go by plane, a quick and easy solution is to go by train on either the Eurotunnel or Eurostar. Both have specific benefits to your trip and accommodate bicycles.

Eurotunnel

Travelling in your own car on the Eurotunnel gives you a bit more freedom than if you were to travel by plane. Furthermore, if you are an e-bike rider you cannot take your bike on a plane due to its lithium battery so crossing the channel on a train or ferry is the best option for you. There are no size restrictions or extra costs other than the booking fee; you could even take your whole fleet of bikes and kit if you have enough space. The only thing you need to note is the size of your car if you’re taking your bikes on a roof rack. The Eurotunnel has a height limit of 6ft/1.85m so as long as you don’t go over that without securing a high space booking, your trip will be a breeze.

You can also travel on the Eurotunnel without a car and with just your bike. This is the ideal option for riders who are embarking on a tour of Northern Europe or are skipping across the channel to catch some racing. At only £21 per bicycle each way, it’s a much more economically viable way of getting your bike abroad.

Eurostar

If you’re looking to get across the channel to catch the final stage of the Tour, a cobbled classic, an Ardennes thriller or cyclocross event, and you wish to get some riding in while you’re at it, the ever-reliable Eurostar is a safe bet. Bikes can be taken on Eurostar trains between London, Paris, Brussels and the Netherlands (but not Disneyland, Mickey will have to wait).

The Eurostar provides three ways of taking your bike on their service. Either as luggage in a bike bag (folding bikes count as part of your luggage allowance), disassembled in a bike box or fully assembled and taken in their hold. To make sure it goes on the same train as you and there’s enough space available, it is paramount that you book well ahead of time. And bear the cost in mind:

- Boxed - £30-£40 depending on travel length

- Fully assembled - £35-£55

For more information on the specific travel instructions, visit the Bikes on Board section of the Eurostar website.

Ferry costs

Ferry is a great alternative (Credit: Joe deSousa)
Ferry is a great alternative (Credit: Joe deSousa)

Second only to train travel in terms of convenience is getting across to Europe on a ferry. As a sea faring nation, it makes sense to use a ferry to get to your destination and there are tons of options all around the UK. As with train travel, it’s easy to travel with your bikes on a rack and pretty much all of the companies in the UK – including the two largest Europe-serving companies, P&O Ferries and Brittany Ferries – allow you to take a bike on board as your main mode of transport. All you have to remember is what side of the road to be on when you get off at the other end.

Insurance

Whatever your mode of transport, travel insurance from Pedalsure is essential to protect your bike abroad and in transit. This is why Pedalsure’s cycling-specific insurance policy benefits you over the average travel insurance provider. With Pedalsure, you will be covered while riding abroad just as you would be if you were riding on home roads. The foreign travel cover option will cover you for up to 60 days overseas and protect both you and your bike for any kind of cycling trip. You can also add in extra coverage for things like travel money and other essentials that you might need to take with you. For more information on our insurance, check out our earlier article Does Travel Insurance Cover Cycling?

Whether you’re taking your pride and joy on a plane, hiring a bike, catching a train or trusting your sea legs, going abroad with a bike is far less stressful with Pedalsure. Now you’re armed with comprehensive insurance and the numbers behind the airlines, you can get out onto the open roads and ride happy. For more travel advice, take a look at our 6 Top Tips For Taking Your Bike Abroad article.

Need something to secure your bike on holiday? You can now get a free gold rated Hiplok DX D-lock worth £69.99 with any new insurance policy, just one of many ways we protect both you and your bike.

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