Bicycle Touring Experiences from Germany

Germany

On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who travel to Germany (you can share your experiences here).


Contents on this page


Rail General -- Belgium, Denmark, Germany

What follows are details about our experiences traveling with bikes on trains in Belgium, Denmark and Germany during the summer of 1994. First, some general information:

In all 3 countries, when you buy your ticket at the station, you should mention that you are traveling with a bike for several reasons:

1. you must pay a fee for the bike
2. they will give you a tag showing destination that you must attach to the bike
3. they need to know you only want to take trains that carry bikes (ask them to give you an itinerary showing train connections if you have to change enroute).

You will have to load and unload the bike yourself, although some conductors can't resist helping a little. I find that hauling the bike up and down the stairs in the train stations much more trouble! Remember to take food and water with you on long trips. Arrive at the track early and watch the train as it comes in to see whether the bike compartment is at the front or the end of the train. Sometimes there's only 1 or 2 minutes to load so don't dilly-dally, but don't panic, either, as conductors will be watching out for you. If you don't see a bike compartment when you think there should be one, ask a conductor - if the train is not very full he might let you park it in a regular car.

Rick Hagen, June 03, 2015

Frankfurt Airport - Bike Boxes from FGS Baggage

FRANKFURT GERMANY AIRPORT

http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/content/frankfurt_airport/en.html

BIKE BOXES
Here is where you can buy a bike box at the airport. International flights are in Terminal 2, so it is either a trek or adventure getting the box from FGS to Terminal 2.

They can be carried on the train that connects the terminals.

LOCATION

Terminal 1
Gates - Halle, Area B
Baggage Claim 11

FGS store on back wall from baggage claim, FGS is the sign
Ask for a "Fahrradkarton", (Bike Box) Boxes do not have hand hold slots cut in them. Bulky to carry. Price is 30.00 € (Euro)
You might want to box the bike and leave it at overnight storage at the airport.

If you want to ride bike to/from airport, here is a website for planning a route.

Bicycle Route Planner

http://www.radroutenplaner.hessen.de/rphEN/rph_index_01.asp?Inhalt=rph_home_01.html

Distance from airport to main train station in Frankfurt is 7 miles (10km) and is cycle friendly.

If you can get a box from a local bike store or from the airline, that is better, but it is getting very difficult to do that. This is meant to be the backup plan!!

Bon Voyage, Ultreya

Bruce Northcutt, August 19, 2013

What different airlines charge for taking your bike with them

Up to date information about what different airlines charge for taking your bike on their planes.

http://www.cyclefiesta.com/multimedia/articles/taking-bicycles-on-planes.htm

Most European airlines are covered, as well as a few other big ones around the world.

Ian Smitton, August 27, 2012

DuVelo / Discover Europe on a really good bike.

We rent trekking bikes (Santos Travelmaster 2.6ALU) with Rohloff and belt, waterproof Ortlieb bags, GPS. We pick up and deliver anywhere in Europe.

Dumortier Tom, March 26, 2012

Munich airport

Don't need special box for bike. Just remove pedals and flat down tires. Checked several times. ( Airberlin airlines)

Vadim, February 25, 2012

Bicycle Travel Bags and Bicycle protector Bags. Law Rome

Rome Bike Bags continues to support the Bicycle Travel Bag indsutry needs celebrating their 15th year. The Bicycle Travel Bag or airline and rail travel continues to be the industry standard for ease of use and utility The Patented Bicycle Protector Bag is more popular than ever. Protect you bike form the elements when not in use. wwwbikebags.com 1-888-ROME-BIK 310-791-6366 Law Rome

Law Rome, October 05, 2011

Bike across the Ocean - Lufthansa

It used to be fun to fly to Germany via Lufthansa. Now the handlers are more careless and the price to bring your bike has risen to $200 dollars "each way" regardless if you only have a bag and the bike. As of Oct 2008. This was quite a surprise as it wasn't announced to me when I bought my ticket.

Malcolm Gaissert, December 05, 2010

looking for maps, collaborators online cycling project

Hiya, I am on sourcing out the best ways to travel with bikes and to this end have started my own project. I need maps of proven cycle routes all around Europe, detailing stop off points, cycle friendly accomodation, repair points and hospitable people along the way to make my journey easier.

glenn newland, November 07, 2010

How to ship bicycle from Ireland to Germany

Hi,

I have lived in Ireland for the last three years and got my bike shipped with DHL for less than €80 to Ireland. Now I am trying to do the same from Ireland to Germany (no matter which shipping company) the lowest quote I seem to get is over €300!!!
Can somebody help please? Really miss cycling...
PS.: The bike is already packaged in a box.

Chris, September 13, 2010

Easyjet to fly bikes

I've used Easyjet to fly my Claud Butler Hybrid to a variety of European destinations - Prague, Berlin, Nice, Barcelona and Rome and they have been ok - no danmage and easy enough to book in a nd recover the cycle. All I do is remove the pedals, turn in the handlebars, half pressure the tyres and wrap the machine in gash cardboard. They seem ok with that.

jim boam, January 30, 2010

Enno moved to a new e-mail adress again .........

Enno is still very much in touch with the world of traveling- commuting- and racing bicycles. Bike Fridays all around the place but 2 Birdy's ( Riese & Müller ) and 2 Serotta's as well. Oooops need extra locks on our frontdoor !

Enno Roosink, December 11, 2009

Frankfurt am Main Germany Airport [update]

From the Frankfurt airport, one can easily ride to the Mainz-Frankfurt bike route, offering a pleasant and varied path along the Main river to either city.

Your best bet is to join the path in Kelsterbach, at a point 3 km distant at 11 o'clock as you exit Terminal 1 Arrival Halls. [If exiting Terminal 2, first cross the intersection below the terminal and ride left along Airportring road past Terminal 1]

From the Terminal 1 exit, bear left and ride along Airportring road 1+ km past the end of the terminal building, beyond the freeway 35/43 exit, to a 2-lane road, signed "Kelsterb. Sud", which exits to the right.
Take the path along the far side of this road, up, over and down into Kelsterbach. Continue straight along Morfelder Strasse through town, pass under the S-bahn tracks, and thread your way ahead the final 300 metres to the Mainbank bike path [total: 4 km].
From here, Mainz is 21 km to your left, Frankfurt 16 km to your right.

This google map shows the route --
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ycctgvr

david alexander, September 25, 2009

It is legal to cycle in to Munich airport as of 2009.

on deticated cycle routes. Just wanted to update this site since it became an issue when I did a search in route and only came up with this out-dated post!

cj, July 21, 2009

lufthansa bent my frame

I took my bike on lufthansa from the states to europe, no box or bag- the airline assured me it would be fine several times and all the comments I read had no problems. The chain was off when I picked it up and the seat was pushed sideways but other than that it looked fine. After we put the pedals back on and turned the handlebars it wasn't shifting well- I took it to a bike mechanic and the frame is very slightly bent, either they threw the bike really hard or they threw something on top of it. You can't see that the frame is bent but it affects the shifting in low gears and of course, my frame is now bent... It's too late to file a claim with the airline, I think I would rather sell my bike than risk taking it back on the plane again. Who throws something on top of a bike????

traveler, May 19, 2008

Mayq Site on Cycling in Europe

My site mayq.com covers extensively bicycling in Europe.
The pages linking to this URL give public trans portation options as well as detailed biking directions out of Charles de Gaulle and Orly into Paris or elsewhere in France: http://www.mayq.com/Cycling_out_of_paris/Airports/Paris_airports.htm

The following url gives detailed information on trains and bicycles (including sewing lightweight bike bags) in France (and some info on other countries): http://www.mayq.com/Best_european_trips/Touring4_trains_and_bikes.htm
There is much other useful information on the site.

Q. May, August 19, 2007

4 airports. Gatwick, Hamburg, Esbjerg & Stanstead

Gatwick to Hamburg. Good service at both airports.Gatwick has a dedicated handling area for oversized luggage which the check in person directed me to. Bike had been dismantled and put in sturdy cardboard box. Plenty of places at hamburg airport to put everything back together but you need to be careful about disposing of the box. I asked at a building site and they took it.

Esbjerg airport was very friendly. I got a box from a local bike shop. The box did not require anything more than removal of the pedals and turning round the handlebars to make the package flat. The bike stood on its wheels which just showed at the bottomof the box. I disconnected the brake cables which meant I could wheel the boxed up bike. The box was flimsy but the check in person talked to the baggage handlers about it. At Stanstead I got it back in one piece and was able to reassemble it in the baggage reclaim hall and then wheel it with my bags through customs.

tyredandweary, August 03, 2007

Rolling Across Europa

My site tells the story of my ride from Lviv, Ukraine to Napoli to London in 2006. (There's just a little info on Heathrow toward the end, plus mention of the Channel ferry I took.) There are many stories and photographs, with a lot of information for other travelers. Hopefully, others will find it helpful. I rode as an amateur and completed my route, which shows that you don't have to be a great cyclist to travel far (about 7900 km). The trip also raised a little money for HIV orphans in Ukraine, and I hope to do a longer ride in 2008 and raise a lot more!!

John Robinson, June 28, 2007

Bike Route Map from Frankfurt Airport to Frankfurt.

This is a Google map of the bike route which will take you from the Frankfurt Airport to the Main river and then to either Frankfurt of Mainz along a quiet, scenic, traffic-less bike route. Let the bike tour begin the moment you're off the plane.


http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Fraport-to-Frankfurt


Feel free to print sections of the map, and also the cue sheet as well.

Becnal

Becnal, April 18, 2007

Bike Rental -- Berlin, Germany

Found on: rec.bicycles.tech, rec.bicycles.misc

Somewhere in Kreuzberg there's a huge place near an old freight yard that has hundreds of bikes, parts and the like. I think it's the one called Froschrad (Frog Bike) at Koepenickerstrasse 16.

There are others, none spectacular. But whatever you do, make sure you rent a bike and take a ride while you're there, if only for an afternoon. There's a shop renting beater bikes near Zoo station; better bikes can be found at the shops listed on
www.adfc-berlin.de/home/fahrradverleih
. (Look for Fahrradverleih).

Eric Holeman
eholem1 at uic,edu
Chicago Illinois USA


Eric A Holeman, April 11, 2007

Where to buy bike bags in Germany

Hi! We lived in Berlin for a while, and decided to take our bikes back on the plane at the end of our adventure. Following regulations, bikes must be kept inside a bag or a box. We found boxes too bulky, and since we already had quite a lot of stuff to carry along with the bikes, we went looking for a bag. This was surprisingly difficult, we went into many shops looking for bags and we found some but they were like real cases, bloody expensive, and in many cases the bike had to be taken apart completely, and we didn't feel like this. Finally, we found a magnificent solution at GLOBETROTTER. There are a few in Germany. You can visit their website at

www.globetrotter.de

to track the nearest one to you. Also, here is the link to the bag in question, it costs 12.95€ and the product is called "Four Seasons Fahrrad-Garage" (in case the link doesn't work at some point). It is a bit plain but it does the job, and you don't need to take the bike apart (only the pedals, but that's to meet airport regulations only).

http://www.globetrotter.de/de/shop/detail.php?mod_nr=zr_35501

(copy & paste on browser)
Good luck!

Eva, April 03, 2007

Easyjet + bikes: what a joke! or should I say a nightmare?!

Easyjet charges something like 22.50€ per bike on board. On the website, everything seems very easy and organised... you book this "service", you pay for it online, you print the confirmation and you take it to the check-in the day you're flying. Exact same procedure as buying flight tickets. Well... We did this, we allowed enough time (2 hours at least), we even bought special bike bags to carry the bikes in... we took the confirmations to the counter and the staff didn't even know bikes were allowed on board! They made a million calls, they made us wait, we started running out of time (there was a huge queue). A manager came over and inspected the bikes. They didn't even ask to see the confirmation! They said "ok" after all, but we had to take them to a special belt, to get them checked. One of the bikes didn't quite fit in such a ridiculously sized belt. They said they would have to inspect it manually. We had to wait for 20-25 minutes for someone else to come over and do this. We had to take both bikes out of their bags for this and all the hassle. The woman in question used some cotton on the bike and took it away for some kind of freaky inspection. She came back after a million years, when our flight was already on last-call!!! She finally said it was ok for the bikes to go on the plane and we had to run like fuckers to get on the plane ourselves! And we still had to go through the police control! I prayed, I begged, I cried and god knows what else to skip the queue, but they are bloody Germans, they don't react to those things. Luckily a guy from the airport that was there all the time during the bike inspection put on a word for us and they let us skip the queue and didn't give us too much trouble. Then we had to run like never before up the stairs and the plane doors closed just after us. Never again!

Eva, April 03, 2007

British Airways leaving from Germany

Travelling from Berlin to Islamabad via London Heathrow

As has been stated before on this website, taking a bicycle out of Germany on BA you will incur an extra charge of 25 Euros for European destinations and 50 Euros for long haul.
This charge needs to be put in perspective because it is a flat rate, meaning it allows you to bring a bicycle on top of your usual luggage allowance of 23kg. If you have lots of luggage - as I usually do - paying the flat rate is a lot cheaper than paying for the extra weight if you go above 23kg. Every kg extra will cost you 33 Euros, so 50 Euros for a whole bike is quite cheap in comparison.

Of course it isn't great if you travel light with only a race bike, say for a weekend in the Alps, but the flat charge has its advantages.

Paul Petzschmann, November 20, 2006

AUSTRIA/GERMANY EURO CITY TRAINS

This September 2006, we flew our bikes from Birmingham airport to Frankfurt with BA Connect. No problems. We wished to cycle down the Danube cycle way from Regensburg to Vienna. From Frankfurt to Regensburg we took regional trains. Here as we found last year there were no problems and the rule that you must remove your luggage did not seem to be enforced. We had no string to attach the bicycle tickets so stuck them between the spoke! The cycle ride was wonderful and being late September there were no problems finding accommodation. At the end we needed to get from Vienna to Regensburg and wanted a faster train so chose an EC (Euro city) Vienna Westbahnhof said that for certain bookings we needed to travel on the following day. However he sold us tickets valid for a month and suggested we try our luck.
The train was going all the way to Dortmund. The bikes go in racks sideways on and you simply have to remove your luggage. The bike racks all had numbers and electronic displays stating where they are reserved from and to, just like the seats. Only half a dozen of the 20 odd racks were reserved and the conductor put our bikes in vacant racks and we found unreserved seats nearby. Our Regensburg Vienna journey had taken 8 days and the return rail journey took just over four hours and was comfortable. A catering trolley paid us several visits. German trains are bicycle friendly and we shall be going again next year. At Frankfurt airport we had to pay 25 euros for each bike but we knew this from last year. That fee seems to cover the bike and so your luggage should easily fit within the normal British Airways limit. In any case we find that British Airways are more relaxed about excess baggage than some of these "fly to European cities for a pound operators"

Brian P. Moss, November 14, 2006

Frankfurt Airport Camping

I wish to suggest an alternative route from the campsite mentioned by Scot Heisdorffer in his posting dated 8 November 2002 to Frankfurt Airport. 1. When leaving the campground turn left onto route 486. 2. Turn right at the Aral Garage into Industrie Strasse where you will find a cycle path on the right hand side. 3. Continue along Industrie Strasse to the intersection with B44 (Frankfurter-Landstrasse). 4. Continue straight across, (do not turn), the cycle path continues on the left hand side of the road. The name of the street changes from Industrie Strasse to Wageniger Strasse. 5. Continue along Wageniger Strasse to a T-Junction. 6. Turn right at the T-Junction into Vitrolles-Ring, with the cycle path changing to the right hand side of the road. 7. Vitrolles-Ring becomes Okrifteler Strasse and the cycle path changes to the left hand side of the road. Follow the well marked cycle path directly to the airport arrivals hall. This route enables you to bypass the town of Walldorf.

Close to the campsite in nearby Morfelden is a well equipped bicycle shop, Kuchler in Westende Strasse, with very helpful English speaking staff. Directions can be obtained from the office at the campsite.

Kevin Hughes, June 10, 2006

Bicycle padded airline Bag

Still the best product out on the marketplace is the Bicycle Travel Bag from ROME Bike Bags, CA 310-791-6366, they ship the same day for procrastinators like myself who needed a bag in a hurry. The bag was used for a trip to france and was easily stored in a locker at the train station when I was riding. ***** Great price $129, give them a cal, I think the website is www.bikebags.com ask for Sandy.

Brian, May 26, 2006

New bike transport service in Europe

Hi,

We - the company Bike Packers (www.bikepackers.com) offer a completely new transport service for bikes in Europe. We send the bike in advance, the cyclist travels without the bike.

How does this work?

We have a network with hundreds of bike dealers throughout Europe. The cyclist goes to a dealer near his home and gives them his bike. The dealer packs it correctly. From this dealer we send the bike to another dealer in the town where the cyclist wants to start the tour.

The way back is the same. This facilitates biking in Europe enormously. cyclists can now easily reach regions far away.

Best regards

Franz Hitzelsberger

Franz Hitzelsberger, January 05, 2006

Passau Train Station Bike Rental-closed

To rent bikes to 'cycle down the Danube to Vienna, we've used the Passau Train station rental concession. This year (2005), the rental agency did not respond to my email reservaton requests even though they still have an active web site. When we arrived at Passau (Aug 2005), we found the train station bike storage area locked (many dusty bikes inside) but no phone number or contact information--the Information desk within the new station said they had no knowledge of the concessionaires whereabouts.

Conclusion: Don't count on getting rental bikes at the train station in Passau. Side note: The "Radtramper" daily return train to Passau from Vienna no longer exists, further accenting that rental bike/train station amenities at Passau are a thing of the past.

Alternative: In Scharding, (17 km south of Passau by train) a bike tour agency (Turistik) rented us bikes alone (no tour package required) that were in excellent condition. 21 speeds with rear pannier racks--cost under 10 Euro/day for a 2 week period--to be turned in at Vienna so there's no train/bike return hassle. Turistik is located about 1/2 km north of Scharding's north gate, just 2 blocks from the bike path north to Passau or south to Salzburg.

Henry Moravec, November 05, 2005

Web page discusses bikes on trains in Europe

I've recently posted a Web page about transporting bikes on trains in Germany and Austria, drawing upon nearly a decade of traveling in the area and experience doing many bike tours in these countries. The page also links to my trip reports, which include additional information about bike touring in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic (with attention paid to public transportation).

The site is at
http://www.brianwasson.com/trips/trains.htm

Brian Wasson, October 13, 2005

Frankfurt-am-Main Airport

Flew to Frankfurt am Main with British Airways from Birmingham this September (2005). The bikes came up on the overgauge luggage belt very shortly after we had landed.

The airport is easily accessible by bicycle and you are soon on a dedicated cycle path. The Euro city Frankfurt map scale 1:16500 shows the airport and routes into the city. We did not cycle, however but took the regional railway from the station in terminal 1 where we got a train to Frankfurt-Sud and on to Wurzburg with no problems.

Flying back to Britain we were stung by a charge of 25 euros per cycle. The British Airways lady was hugely apologetic after I pointed out that I flew my bike two or free time per year with BA and had never parted with a cent. She explained that the airline had no option as to an extent they had to offer the same terms as the home airline (Lufthansa).

This is a German thing only and I remember reading of its introduction in the CTC magazine about 12 or more years ago.

For that reason I have never flown the bikes to Germany but the cycle path routes were so wonderful that I might pocket my pride and fly again.

Brian P. Moss, September 17, 2005

GERMAN REGIONAL TRAINS

Two trips on German trains hardly qualifies us as experts but here we go.

Frankfurt airport has two railway stations in Terminal one. The upper one is for long distance trains which means bikes have to be booked in advance. (German cyclists tell me that can be any time before the journey, in effect)

We used the regional station which is lower down. Ticket staff spoke English and were most helpful. The charge for a bike seemed to depend on distance but was reasonable. The regional trains have large pictograms of bikes to show where to get on. They seem to be always at either end and sometimes in the middle. We found it a fair old climb to get up the two steps into the train with laden bikes. Watch your chainwheel. The bike compartments have spring up seats and the the conductor insisted that some passengers move into the main compartment to accommodate our bikes.

You may note on the website a warning that accommodation for bikes may be limited and on some of our journeys there were so many cyclists that we were near the limit but the conductor was anxious to help cyclists.

At Wurzburg we stayed the night before getting another regional train to near to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We cycled back to Frankfurt via the Tauber and Main Radwegs (cycleways). Just over 300 km of pleasure with good hotels and restaurants all the way.

When you book a rail journey, the ticket office will give you a printout giving all times and changes and even platforms of arrival and departure. We left Frankfurt for the airport on a Sunday early in the morning. There was a bus substitute for the train. No problem with the bikes, just wheel them in but we would have been embarrassed to try that at a more crowded time (which is anyway forbidden, we believe.)

Brian P. Moss, September 17, 2005

Bike Rental in Berlin - Callabike

In Berlin last month I noticed a new innovation offered by DB (German Railway). It is a rental pool of bikes scattered all over the city, available for minute by minute rental.

If the bike has a green light (available),you call the phone number shown on the bike with your cell phone, give them a credit card number, they give you a code that unlocks the bike, and you pedal off. You can ditch the bike anywhere, and just call them back to turn off the "meter". Cost is 7 Euro cents per minute and a max of 15 Euros per day. Min charge of 5 Euros.

Berlin appears to be a very bike friendly city, especially on weekends. I hope this spreads to other countries.

More info available at www.callabike.com

Dean Wise, April 27, 2005

Munich, Germany

It is no longer "legal" to cycle to/from the FJS airport using the auto roads in its immediate environs. Five or so years ago it was "legal" and the airport had a nice map on how to do this--but these maps have been withdrawn.

The accepted "legal" way for bikes is to go several stops on the S1 or S8 tram towards the Isar, then start cycling North toward Passau on the designated/marked radweg. I've done this several times.

Several of my biking friends have recently been stopped by the police while trying to cycle directly away from the airport using the roadway system surrounding the airport. However, it's possible to select a route using pedestrian sidewalks leading away from the airport eventually leading to minor roads toward Freising or further toward Landshut (and the Isar radweg). I've recently done this successfully, too--the key is to not be on any (repeat, any) dual lane road ways near the airport--you'll stand out like a sore thumb and be immediate police bait.

Hank in Seattle

Henry Moravec, April 06, 2005

Regional Travel in Germany/ Web site about European train travel with bikes

European travel by train:

1) If a group of you with or without bikes are going to travel by train in Germany, check out the regional tickets, eg: Baden-Württemberg Ticket, Hessen-Ticket, Bayern-Ticket etc.. These are only valid on local and regional trains, but let up to 5 people travel for about 25 Euro plus 3 Euro a bike.

www.bergstrassebikebooks.com
has more details.

2) The best web site for train info in Europe is www.bahn.co.uk which leads you into the English version of the German Railways site. If you are taking your bike click on bicycle transport required I have the impression however that the info about travelling with a bike for other European railways is not always correct. There seems to be more trains in France, for example, that carry bikes than can be found on the Bahn site. We are working on this problem and will report back.

Bye

Neil Forsyth

Neil Forsyth, February 14, 2005

Boxes in Frankfurt, Germany

You can get boxes in the Frankfurt airport (one floor below the
departure level near the baggage claim). Unfortunately... they don't
come cheap. We were charged 30 Euros for each box (summer 2002).

In 2003 we kept the plastic bags used on our outbound flight. For us
this worked much better.

.../Mark

Mark, January 09, 2005

Lufthansa

I have a hard case and have checked my bike several times on Lufthansa including overseas flights and have not had a problem.

Norman Sherran, August 20, 2004

Flybe

I've just flown from Southampton to Salzburg and Bergerac with Flybe.

I took my bike and Bob trailer and everything went great.

Flybe ask that you take off the pedals, turn the handle bars around and remove the front wheel and attach it to the frame (I would suggest getting a plastic fork brace from your local bike shop so they don’t get damaged).

They charged £10 (15 Euro) for each flight, the Bob trailer went free as normal checked luggage.

David, June 01, 2004

Touring website

Travelogue website covering England to Shanghai via Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China.

Edward Genochio, October 16, 2003

Local Trains in France and Germany

We had no trouble with bikes on trains in Germany or France this past summer of 2003. We were worried about it, though, because we didn't have bike bags with us like we heard we'd need (not that those would have been real practical with all our panniers and sleeping bags hanging off the bikes.)

We just stuck to the local, or regional trains. In Germany, they wouldn't let us on the super fast trains, but we coped by taking the slower ones. Each station has a chart (the Germans are very well organized about this) that shows the layout of each train, including which car accomodates bikes. There's even a schedule that tells you when the train pulls into the station, and when it pulls out, allowing you your 2 or 5 minutes to scramble on board. That was the biggest stress: could we haul all our bikes and panniers onto the train within the allotted time? We could, but not without a little panic.

In France, there are several kinds of regional trains, it seems. In the Massif Central, little yellow trains had an entire baggage car next to the engine, perfect for lashing a bike or two. But we had some problems buying the right kind of ticket, because in France few people speak English compared to the rest of Western Europe, and the rules are a bit idiosyncratic. Unless your ticket says VELO on it somewhere, you haven't paid to take it along, and someone along the way will notice and give you a hard time. This happened to us twice. We managed to finally be understood, though we got scolded.

French railways also have an odd procedure for validating your train ticket after you buy it, and we couldn't figure out why. After purchase, you must stick it into these little red machines in the train station to have it stamped, or else it isn't any good. This was quite a puzzle to us, because having just paid for the ticket, isn't it already valid? No. And don't ask why. It's because they're French.

Stephen Kling, September 27, 2003

Bike Friday and Planes

I flew round-trip Chicago-Frankfurt with my Bike Friday in May 2003. The bike was in its suitcase. I put all my other equipment in a canvas duffel bag. Leaving Chicago I stood right beside both suitcase and bag as they were x-rayed. No problems (and no extra charge). Neither piece was even opened. The experience couldn't have been smoother.

In Frankfurt I put the empty duffel bag inside the suitcase and stored it at the Gepaeckaufbewahrung for about $4 a day.

Upon my return three weeks later I reversed the process. I watched as both pieces of luggage were x-rayed. Again, no problems (and no extra charge). What I found a bit odd, though, was the connecting flight back in Chicago. After going through customs I needed to recheck my luggage, but not before it was once again examined by security. The suitcase was opened, or at least I assume it was opened because it had one of those little plastic wires on it. I wanted to stand around and watch the process, but the security guards simply wouldn't allow this to happen. I don't understand the necessity of the additional level of security, but it wasn't a problem at all. I was very satisified with the entire process.

Scot Heisdorffer

Scot Heisdorffer, July 27, 2003

Lufthansa and München

I travelled with Lufthansa this summer from Arlanda (Stockholm) Sweden to München Germany.

No hassle, I simply removed the pedals and twisted the handlebars on the bicycle. I ducttaped the top tube, padded the rear derailleur with cardboard and put bubble pastic on the brake/gearlevers. No extra charge from the airline, just be sure to call in advance to secure a place for your bike.

My bike was delivered to me in the baggage area. There was a sign from the roof in the middle of the hall saying "Sperrgepäck". You simply stand there until your bike is deilvered, which took less time than my ordinary luggage.

The underground train goes right into the city center and the Central station. Just don't forget to buy a special ticket for your bike, as the fine for not having a correct ticket is 40 Euro. Also you are not permitted to bring your bike on the underground train during rush hours, but nobody seems to bother.

From München central station you can take local trains further, which have excellent bike carrying possibilities. Just remember to get a special biketicket to put on your bike, the cost is 10 Euro.

My trip home was exactly as smooth.

Marcus Femling, July 17, 2003

BikeFriday since 9/11

In May 2002 I was Ride Director for a Bicycle Adventure Club ride in Holland. We had 71 participants (2 non-bikers) on three barges of Bike & Barge, Holland. Of those, there were 14 BFs, one a Tendem. I had suggested that each person with a BF case indicate to Security at various airports around the country that IT was a piece of excercise equipment. On arriving in Amsterdam, no reports were received of trouble . I cannot speak for return trips. But there must have been dozens of airlines and airports represented on this trip.
Frankly, I have literally been all-over the world with my BF on 24 trips, and the only complaint I have is that someone once stole the extra-safety belt around the Carlton case, and another time something punctured the case - no real damage. Otherwise, TROUBLE FREE

Wes Conner, June 03, 2003

Shipping Services, Worldwide

Hi folks,

From Chile and to Chile, Also to Bolivia, or through my Agents in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Perú, etc. I can help you Shipping your staf worldwide. If your comming to Chile on tours, Biking, etc. Just e-mail me, I was a Traveller and have helped friend from USA, Australia, New Zealand shipping their bikes, etc.

Francisco Herrera Barnachea, May 27, 2003

Munich, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona

(MikesBikeTours.Com)
Cruise the streets of Munich in ultimate style on an exclusive Beach Cruiser, with big fat cushy seats!
The price to rent is 10Euros per day and everyone speaks English. They also give bike tours in English that include a trip to a fav. beergarden. They have a wonderful group of people with lots of good energy.

noelle, March 26, 2003

Roobsta Offroad Cycle Touring Alps & Pyrenees

Difficult offroad routes through the Alps and Pyrenees crossing France/Spain/Andorra and France/Italy/Switzerland/Germany borders

Roobsta, February 13, 2003

Frankfurt Airport Camping

One of the dilemmas that my wife and I always face while touring and flying to/from Europe is where to spend the first and last night of the trip. In and out of Amsterdam is relatively easy. Several years ago I provided directions to a campground that is really convenient. I will now do the same for Frankfurt. I rode this route last May. It is 11 miles from the campground to the airport and is all on bikepath/sidewalk. The campground is located near Moerfelden, just off route 486. There are actually two campgrounds here. We always stay in the second one because the owner remembers us. I am giving the directions from the campground back to the airport, so when arriving to start a trip, you will obviously need to make the appropriate changes in left/right turns.

1. When leaving the campground, turn left onto route 486. (There is a brand-new Holiday Inn Express at this intersection.)
2. After a short distance turn right onto route 44 following the signs for Moerfelden. Ride the bikepath on the right side of the road.
3. At the next stoplight, cross the street, turn right and ride on the gravel path beside the road (Frankfurter Landstrasse).
4. In a short distance the gravel path changes to brick. At the intersection of Jourdanallee (there is a Shell station on the right) turn left.
5. After a short distance turn right on Herman-Loens Strasse.
6. After a short distance turn left on Farmstrasse.
7. After a short distance turn right on Waldstrasse.
8. After a short distance turn right on Okrifteler Strasse. You need to ride on the path on the left side of the road. You ride past on Aldi grocery store.

(If you are riding from the airport to the campground, turn left at the Bahnhof/Rathaus sign)

9. Continue straight. This is the path that leads through forested areas, under the Autobahn and around the airport. You can ride directely up to the departure terminal.

Scot Heisdorffer
Mein Fahrrad hat Fernweh.
Dabei sein ist alles.

Scot Heisdorffer, November 07, 2002

Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Russia,Tallinn,Estonia

Found on: touring@phred.org

According to my experiences, international air transport is about the same level to Moscow as to St. Pete's. But the airport of St. Petersburg is a bit better for cyclists. And there are more possibilities to fly in and out of the same airport if you go to St. Pete. It's an easy haul by train or bus from St. Pete to Tallinn.

From Tallinn to Germany there's a good and comfortable ferry, which accepts bikes. Transport options by train (with the bike as a bike) are reasonable-good between Germany, Belgium and France. So you could elect any airport in these countries, an go to the right place. Or buy tickets by special bike-bus to Portugal from somewhere in North-West Europe.

Ivo

Ivo Miesen, September 14, 2002

Fleeced for bike boxes at Frankfurt Airport

Found on: touring@phred.org

We got an unpleasant surpurise at Frankfurt airport a couple of days ago...

According to Singapore Airlines, bicycles do not have to be in a box, bars turned, no pedals, seat lowered, but not in boxes. We flew Sydney->Singapore and Singapore->Amsterdam with them wrapped in plastic. Everyone was happy.

However when we go to leave from Frankfurt, the SIA checkin ladies say the bikes MUST be in boxes, no exceptions. If we had known we could have had free boxes from any of the plethora of bike shops around, but when you turn up to fly home with 2 bikes, 2 infants and camping gear, you can't really rush out of the airport and find a bikeshop.

So we had to buy two cardboard boxes from a luggage office that somehow lived inside the customs area. They charged us 30 Euro per box! These are just big boxes, not particularly strong or anything (after 2 flights they're just about stuffed), and they want AU$60 each... But what could we do except fork over the cash. So AU$120 later and a little packing we were allowed to check-in our bikes.

I've been constructing a letter of complaint to Singapore Airlines in my head for a few days now, but I know I'll probably not get around to it.

--
Kingsley Turner, http://MadDogsBreakfast.com
- Travel Tales: The good, bad, and down-right ugly

kingsley Turner, June 19, 2002

Bicycle Germany

This site offers tips on self-guided bicycle tours in Germany. It includes information about renting bicycles, train travel, how to box your bike for air transport, and much more. There are travelogues of many of the river valley routes through Germany.

Tim Burleigh, May 22, 2002

Folding Tandems on German Trains

My wife and I did a self contained tour of the Saar, Mosel, and Rhine Rivers in the Fall of 2000 with our Tandem Two'sDay. Based on our experience transporting the tandem and trailer on German trains I will contribute the following comments:
1) There was no additional charge, and almost all trains had cars designated for bikes.
2) However, on most trains the bicycle cars had narrow doors and a substantial step up, making loading the bike and trailer a difficult process. On these cars loading and offloading the bike was a two-step process for two people: load the bike on the train and then go back for the trailer (neither of which loaded easily). I was always fearful that the train would depart while we were loading the bike, and the trailer would be left behind.
3) The position of the train car is not always obvious, so you have to spend some of your limited time looking for it, adding further urgency to the situation.
4) The tandem and suitcase take up more than your fair share of space in the car, so you might feel a tad guilty, and other bikers might seem less than sympathetic.

I hope this helps, but does not deter you from using the trains. See below for more gory details of our experience with German trains. This is a Yak posting I prepared, but never sent because it sounded too whiney.

After posting and receiving helpful responses to several inquiries on Yak earlier this year about European train travel with a Tandem Two'sDay, waterproofing trailer contents, and possible self-contained bike routes in Eastern France and Western Germany, I feel compelled to share the following:

First, be careful of the rear derailler; on 20-inch wheels it is at curb height. After putting 10,000 miles on our tandem, we finally nailed ours by making a turn too sharp.

Second, train travel with a Tandem Two'sDay, trailer frame and wheels, tools, two sets of clothing and associated gear is not for the faint of heart. Even packed in its suitcases, the bike and two carry-on-sized backpacks were difficult to get between and on and off the trains. My wife and I missed two train connections at least in part because we could not respond quickly enough to last minute track changes. When we did make the connections, I felt somewhat guilty that we used much more than our fair share of luggage space, and I must confess to being somewhat fearful that a fellow passenger might be crushed by one of our 60+ pound suitcases falling from the overhead luggage racks.

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that train travel with the tandem and trailer fully assembled was practical, but somewhat more difficult. It took two trips up and down every flight of stairs to carry the tandem and then the trailer. It also required two trips between the train platform and the bicycle car, leaving the frightening possibility of having the train leave midway through the loading or offloading process. Nevertheless, we managed two out of three train trips this way. The exception was when we encountered a bicycle car with a garage type door that we hadn't seen before. As we tried to figure out how to open the door, the train, with its load of laughing soccer fans, left without us. It was the low point of our vacation.

In spite of these difficulties, we can hardly wait to attempt our next self-contained, European adventure. But this time we will do the following preparation:
1) Work on upper body strength. Bicycling alone just doesn't cut it.
2) Learn enough of the language to understand announced track and schedule changes.
3) Take a current copy of the Thomas Cook train schedules so that we know in advance what the alternatives are in case we miss a connection.

Bob Barday Tandem Two'sDay

PS. Please consider using the German ADFC 1:150,000 Bike Maps - They are the best cycling maps I have found anywhere.




Bob Barday , April 10, 2002

Berlin, Germany

The site below is all in German but is pretty easy to navigate and offers interactive routing around Berlin. You just click on the starting letter of your beginning point, (Templehof, for example) and then on the ending point (Kurfurstendamm) and it gives you a routing and a sort of a map)

Hello,

My english is not so.
Look for: http://www.bbbike.de
I found this in Berlin
And for Maps: http://www.adfc.de/shop/fahrradkarten_deutschland_regionalkarten.html

By Roland

Roland Kuehne, March 07, 2002

Biking in France, Germany & Italy

Toured Germany, Italy and France in Spring of 2000. Was a perfect time. Found Germany to be most easy in terms of bikes on trains. We only transfered in Italy, so I am not familiar with their policies. But France, it appeared that you could only take bikes on the later running trains, which made it difficult for us relying on camping (and being able to arrive at the campsite before it was locked up).
We kept our bikes in our boxes (from the plane) on the local train between Frankfurt and Heidelburg. I am not sure it was acceptable, but we did it anyway. And from Munich to Milan, we had no trouble. There was a specific bike car inwhich our bikes, fully set-up could be kept.
I'd like to know more about the person who says they just pay the fine instead of using the fancy "Housse" for French trains.

Bean, February 18, 2002

Biketravel.net

www.biketravel.net is a site specializing in European Independent travel by bicycle. It has English and German text available.

Stefan Kuttel - biketravel.net
Stefan.Kuttel@biketravel.net George Farnsworth, January 05, 2002

Delta Airlines

Found on: touring@phred.org

We had some trouble with Delta this past summer. We were headed to Munich from Atlanta. This first leg of the trip went fine, that is no charge for the 2 Trico bike boxes. Munich to Atlanta was another story! The ticket agent not only wanted $75 per box, she also wanted to collect another $75 per box for the first leg of the trip. Keep in mind we departed Atlanta 40 days earlier.

I said that we would seek political asylum and become German citizens before we paid for BOXES that met Delta's size and weight requirements for checked baggage. Let me see your supervisor!! I showed her supervisor Delta's printed size regulations, then proceeded to prove our boxes were smaller and lighter than Delta's maximum size and weight allowance.

Well, she wasn't buying it! There were 2 bicycles hidden in those boxes and she was going to collect round trip air fair for both or die trying! I then requested to see her supervisor. Whereupon I was introduced to the station manager who ask me if I was sure the Trico boxes were under weight and under size. Once again I proved they were and his reply was "They meet size and weight requirements, there is no charge for these boxes. Enjoy your flight and thank you for choosing Delta Airlines."

I guess the moral of the story is know the airlines size and weight requirements, have them in writing from that airline and NEVER TAKE A TICKET AGENT'S OR THE TICKET COUNTER SUPERVISOR'S WORD AS LAW. GO TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE. AND BE NICE WHILE DOING IT.


RMitc, September 26, 2001

Munich, Germany

Based on June 99 trip: The international airport at Munich, signed Flughafen Munchen, is accessed by the S8 commuter train line and some of the S1 trains from the main Munich train station and from several small towns near the airport. You can carry bikes on the trains in the marked spaces in any car (observe the max number marked) anytime outside the weekday peak hours of 6-8:30 a.m. and 3-6:30 a.m.

From the Munich Banhof and all outlying stations, you can get tickets from the confusing machines, which accept coins and 10 and 20 DM bills. For the full distance, get the maximum zone ticket (adults on the lefthand buttons, children on the right) for each person, and a children's one-zone ticket for each bike. If there is a ticket window open, you can get a reduced fare for two people. Be sure to time-stamp your tickets. If you take an S1 train for the airport, make sure it is marked "Flughafen" since some S1 trains split off to Freising at Neufahrn before the airport. In the Munich Bahnhof you may have to go down or up stairs or an escalator to get to or from the platforms (there is an elevator but it's hard to find).

You may want to consider staying your first or last night in one of the small towns near the airport instead of in Munich. There are a number of gasthof and hotel facilities in Freising, Neufahrn, Notzing, Schwaig and other places which are within a 15 km radius of the airport on good streets and bike paths, and/or are on the S1 or S8 train lines. Try Internet searches by town name.

To ride to the airport from the direction of Notzing and nearby: Ask directions to find the right road to start off, then follow signs. As you near the airport, do NOT go left at a sign that says "Flughafen 13 kms"; continue straight on the bike path. At the airport, you will ride up an incline. At a sign indicating a tunnel ahead, stop and look sharply back over your right shoulder. You will see a paved path signed "no bicycles". Follow this anyway about 100 meters or so to the main passenger terminal. In the terminal, there are elevators between floors.

Tom Webb, February 27, 2001

French Trains

Found on: touring@phred.org

Have taken bicycles on trains in France on several occasions - it has not always been fun to say the least!

A few pointers:
France is probably the most bicycle friendly country in Europe in terms of its rich network of secondary (yellow) roads. On the other hand, the train system in France is the least accomodating to bicycles.

Throughout France, bicycles are permitted on certain trains - the schedule will show a bicycle to indicate that bicycles are permitted on these routes. Be prepared to wait until off peak hours for these trains.

The TGV will permit a bicycles as baggage - but be prepared to the baggage personnel to tell you to expect it to arrive in 3-4 days. (The word "baggage" here seems to have been derived from the word "garbage" >- and they really do not give a hoot about your lousy bicycle!!) Despite all of this, we have checked in our cycles as baggage on the TGV (high speed train) and it has arrived within the same day - except when returning to Paris when it took us 2 days. In any event, be prepared for baggage to take 2-3 days to arrive in some instances. In some cases, you can "carry" the bicycle on the train - but they do require you to put it in a case of some sort (hard case or fabric seems to be permitted, and sporting goods stores even sell these cases).

The local trains (not TGV) will often permit bicycles to be carried at certain times. The schedule will show a picture of a bicycle indicating that the train does accept bicycles, and these may be carried onto the train. In these cases, here are designated cars which permit bicycles, usually the very first or very last car.

In some towns, they do not permit a bicycle to be placed on the train at all, but by cycling a town or 2 away, one can find another town which does accept the bicycle.

A number of stations in the Metro in Paris do not permit bicycles at all, so beware!

Best advice is to avoid taking a bicycle into Paris using the Metro. The TGV is a possible conduit to getting your bicyle into and out of Paris. Leave enough time on the TGV if you do check your bicycle in as baggage - 1-3 days is usual.

If you avoid the TGV and take local trains throughout France, there are usually anywhere from 2-5 trains per day which accept bicycles as carry-ons.

France is otherwise a cyclist's paradise!
Enjoy!

btw, in other countries such as Germany, Switzerland, your bicycle is more than welcome - many even have special hooks to hang the bicycle during the trip. They seem more accepting of people like us taking our bicycles along as our transportation

Leigh Durlacher

Leigh Durlacher, February 10, 2001

New bike bag from Germany

George, thanks for the update.

Perhaps you would like to include the pages of http://www.bikebag.de [in German] in your listings of soft/hard cases. I design/manufacture many such cases for different customers. This design has in-line wheels for pulling through airports, comes with an aluminum plate in the bottom with quick release mounts for the bike, has many inside pockets for protection, and thick padding all around to soften the blow. I've travelled quite a lot with this type soft bag and never had my bike damaged.

They will soon be available in the US as well.

Thanks for collecting all this information, stephen

Stephen Maris, December 28, 2000

Munich - Bike Rental

Hi George,

in general, bike rental opportunities in Germany can be found via ADFC --> http://www.adfc.de/ On this page click on [vor Ort], to find local ADFC groups for all regions and bigger cities. Here you can ask for local bike rental.

A link for tandem rental, which contains some links directly to the rental stations, is --> http://tandem-fahren.de/Verleih/ I guess that most of them offer also solo bikes.

Regards, Heiner

 
_~o __o Heiner Theofel, Magstadt, Germany o__
_`\/'_
(_)/'==/'(_) Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules (u)'\(@)



Heiner Theofel, December 15, 2000

Munich, Germany


If there is some flexibiliy in your plans,fly into Munich, Germany. The tickets are cheaper and there is cheap box storage in the Munich airport. Munich is only about 60 miles on beautiful bike lanes from Salzburg.


Or you and your bike can train directly from the Munich airport to Salzburg at a good price just about every hour if you are short on time. Sometimes a BOB can be trouble on trains due to lack of space in assigned bike cars, check with local rail agents when buying your ticket. If there is a space problem, chances are the next train out will have room. From larger cities to larger cities thar trains almost every hour.


There are small hotels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland that cater to cyclists and the tourist board of each country can provide you with information about them as well as make reservations for you, for a small fee. It is well worth the price to let them do it. They can also supply you with maps for all the national and local bike routes, as can most bike shops, book stores and gas stations in each country.


If you are there in August through mid September maybe we will cross paths. My wife and I leave Aug. 9 for Munich and points beyond.

RMitc, July 17, 2000

Tandems on German Trains

Thanks for your nice resource. I have a page on bikes on German trains (with a heavy emphasis on tandems on my site which you might want to link to. It's at http://omnibus.uni-freiburg.de/~timmhc/TandemTrain.htm


Keep up the nice work, Chris




HANS CHRISTOPH TIMM

University of Freiburg

Dept. of Political Science

- Political Theory -

D-79085 Freiburg

http://www.uni-freiburg.de

Phone: +49 (0)761 / 203-3487

Secr.: -3475 Fax: -3476

Building KG IV, room 4308

Visit Youth for Understanding at http://www.yfu.org
Hans Christoph Timm, May 07, 2000

Delta Airlines

Four of us flew Delta Airlines from Cleveland to Munich, Germany in August of 1999. We contacted Delta and told them we had bike boxes and have it put on the computer record. The day before when confirming reservations we found the plane leaving Cleveland was a small jet and they could not, would not take our bikes from Cleveland to JFK in New York for the next leg of the flight.


They provided no help and suggested we ship them through Delta trucking. This would have cost a couple hundred dollars each plus no guarantee they would arrive in JFK the next day. Delta could not offer any other solution and said the bikes must be on the planes with us to Europe.


We ended up finding a local trucking company to ship the bikes overnight to JFK at our expense. Then Delta wanted us to pay $75 for the flight from JFK to Munich. We raised hell and they did waive the fee to Europe but we had to pay the $75 for the return. Lessen learned is to check the size of the planes you are flying on in each leg. Bob Parry


bob parry, March 26, 2000

Munich, Germany

Yes Munich airport has a box storage facility on one level down - sort of under the airport lobby. We had four bike boxes and strapped some together to reduce the cost as it went as one box. I think it cost about $50 for two weeks storage. We put our bikes together in the hallway across from the storage area and then walked our bikes a short ways inside the facility to the trains that can take you to the train station and downtown Munich. The guide books said that bikes aren't allowed during certain hours of rush hour but we did come back to the airport at 6:30 am during rush hour and they let us and the bikes with panniers onto the train. You can see our bike trip at our web site at: http://www.angelfire.com/oh3/parrybike/ The web site has a map and lists distances we road through Austria. and lots of pictures that do take a while to load.


Bob Parry Cleveland, Ohio

bob parry, March 06, 2000

German Rail

The train at the Frankfurt airport is essentially a city commuter-style train (as opposed to a long-distance inter-city train), which routinely is loaded with people hauling a lot of luggage to/from the airport. You can definitely drag your boxed bike onto it and no one will care, if the train isn't already full. The doors open wide like a subway car and the area just inside the doors is wide-open, except of course for everyone else's piles of large baggage. If you can't fit on one train, just wait for the next one.

The airport train takes you directly into Frankfurt HBF (the main station) where wrestling your box through the crowds and around the platforms will be more of a challenge than at the airport. It's definitely still doable, but try to figure out a way to keep all of your stuff with you at once if you have other bags. If yours is a typical morning arrival, then the station is going to be bustling and maneuvering through the crowd will be tough. Also, the station is quite large so it would be difficult if not impossible to move your things in two trips while keeping an eye on the stuff that you aren't currently carrying (I hope that makes sense).

If you take the fast train (ICE) to Stuttgart, you won't be able to bring the boxed bike into the car with you and will have to check it as luggage or else use the special bicycle car (if the train has one). Germany has **much** better bike-on-train policies than France, so be sure to inquire at the station about your options on the Frankfurt-Stuttgart route.

Another option is, in my experience, if you take the slower, older trains with more local stops, you can get away with about anything, baggage-wise. For example, I moved myself from an apartment in Bremen to an apartment in Hanover using such a train. I had about 5 person-loads worth of boxes, books, suitcases, etc, with me. I piled them on the platform in Bremen, waited for the older slow train, ferried them up into the car with me by making several trips, and occupied a number of seats in the process. But I was one of only about 3-4 people in the whole car, so no one, including the conductor who punched my ticket, paid any attention. I unloaded in several trips to the platform in Hanover, again with no one paying any attention. I'm pretty sure that you could drag your boxed bike onto one of these trains and no one would care. The down side is that these trains are quite slow and have essentially no facilities other than a mangy toilet. On the other hand, you will stop in quite a few small towns that the fast trains skip, giving you more chances to see things "off the beaten track."

Usual disclaimers, Joe

D. Joseph Mook, August 17, 1999

German Rail

Jim Dodds stated:
I am flying into the Frankfurt Germany airport and want to take the train south to Stuttgart. I know there is a railroad station at the airport but want to know if there are problems with the bike. i.e. I assume it goes on the same train unboxed in a baggage car. If anyone has some experience in this area I would appreciate an answer. I fly Sept 1st.

I've done this many times. Nothing could be more convenient if you speak German. If you don't speak German, be patient and allow yourself a lot of extra time. You will be successful if you remain calm. Above all, don't expect the people you deal with to speak English.

There are two methods for achieving your goal. This is the easier one:

First, put your bike together, load everything on it as if you are really going to ride somewhere and then follow the signs for trains in the lower portion of the airport.

Second, go to one of the ticket counters and tell the agent you are traveling to Stuttgart with your bike. If language is a barrier, just say, "Ich fahre nach Stuttgart. Ich habe auch ein Fahrrad." The agent will take care of everything. You will buy a ticket for you and one for your bike. All DB (Deutsche Bahn) stations take Visa and Mastercard. Most important, ask for a travel schedule so you know for sure when you need to change trains. "Ich brauche einen Reiseplan, bitte."

Third, once you know which train you are taking, walk your bike to the track (Gleis, in German). The bike car will have a large black or blue bike painted on the side. This car is usually one of the first or one of the last cars on the train.

Fourth, now the real question is whether you need to unload your bike. This is the question I can't answer because there are too many variables. For example, are the doors of the car wide enough for a loaded bike? There are different designs for bike cars, thus the widths of doors vary greatly. Is there enough space in the car for a loaded bike? What kind of mood is the conductor in? What we usually do is ask the trackside attendant (the man or woman in the dark blue suit and hat standing beside the tracks making sure everything is in order) what we should do.

Fifth, changing trains can be real hectic. You might have to carry your bike down a flight of stairs and then back up another in order to make your connection. Before you do this, look at the departure/arrival board to see which track you need to be on. This information is usually on the schedule that you received when you bought your ticket, but it's always a good idea to double check.

Hope this helps.

Scot Heisdorffer
Wir haben Reisefieber und unsere Fahrraeder haben Fernweh.

Scot Heisdorffer, August 17, 1999

German Rail

Helen Morris asked: > Can we take bikes on ICE trains?

I'm sorry (and very often angry as well ...), but that's impossible in Germany. You have to take an "InterCity" or an "InterRegio" - slower trains, not so comfortable as an ICE. Usually the first or the last car has a bike compartment. And don't forget: You have to buy a special ticket for your bike and you have to make a reservation for it!

Have a look at http://bahn.hafas.de//bin/query.exe/en - there you can find the timetables in english. Choose your connections (from: ... to:) and click on "Means of transport". Check the last item "Only trains with carriage of bicycles" and "Search connections" - very easy to do!

Greetings
Uli
Homepage: http://home.t-online.de/home/Ulrich.deVries/

Ulrich de Vries, May 04, 1999

German Rail

Last year I toured in Germany with a group, consisting of 5 people, 3 single bikes and one tandem.

Yes, they do take tandems on the train. But.... in Basel, actually north of Basel, we could not get on a train, because of the tandem.

This wasn't a stop for a train with a "bike car", and a regular train would not accept the tandem.

The trains that accept bicycles are marked with a "bicycle" on them, even on the time tables posted at the stations.

For the most part, we (actually I, since I was the only german speaking person in the group) just walked in to the train station, and tried to get info for the next train with a bike car. In one instance, I told the rest to get to the platform with all the bikes right away, as I purchased the tickets, since the train was late, and we could still catch it "maybe". Well, we did.

Most of the time it was a wild dash to get the bikes and panniers on the train, till we quit taking the panniers off. But by then we had acquired 2 more participants to our group. Also, the bikes do not fit very well in the racks provided with the panniers on, especially when there are already some bikes present.

On weekends, there were always lots of bikes present.

Also, mostly they want you to have advance reservations for this venture, and the bike does not ride free. But we "always" got on except in that one little town where no train with a bike car stopped.

There are seats in some of the bike cars, but we usually went in to a conventional train compartment. The bikes needed to be ticketed.

Another thing, if you travel in a group, group tickets are cheaper, even if you buy a group ticket for 6 people when you are only 5. Good luck.

Moni

Moni Neville, March 29, 1999

French Trains

Here is my experience with bicycles on trains in France:

Last June I cycled from Germany to Paris, intending to return by train. As I was very short on time, I bought the ticket in advance here in Germany and I was informed that it should be no problem to take the bike with me on the same train.

However, when I arrived at the train station in Paris I was asked to bring my bike to the baggage service. No problem so far, but, as it was a public holiday, the baggage service was closed. I went back to the train and asked again to be allowed to put it myself into the (almost empty) luggage-van, but I got no permission. I was told that I should have been here on Friday. I told them that I couldn’t be here on Friday because I just started my tour on Saturday, but that didn’t help.

I was lucky to have a friend with me who speaks perfect French, but even his assistance didn’t make the train stuff to let my bike in. Finally, I went to the other end of the train, took off the wheels, waited for an unattended moment, hopped on the train, locked the bike to a handrail and looked for a seat somewhere far away...

Sometimes you have to help yourself...

Regards

Micha

Micha M, March 18, 1999

Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany

Hello George;
Here is the revised Frankfurt-Main bike access.

From the Frankfurt airport, one can easily ride to the Mainz-Frankfurt bike route, offering a pleasant and varied path along the Main river to either city.

Your best bet is to join the path in Kelsterbach, at a point 3 km distant at 11 o'clock as you exit Terminal 1 Arrival Halls. [If exiting Terminal 2, first cross the intersection below the terminal and ride left along Airportring road past Terminal 1]

From the Terminal 1 exit, bear left and ride along Airportring road 1+ km past the end of the terminal building, beyond the freeway 35/43 exit, to a 2-lane road, signed "Kelsterb. Sud", which exits to the right.

Take the path along the far side of this road, up, over and down into Kelsterbach. Continue straight along Morfelder Strasse through town, pass under the S-bahn tracks, and thread your way ahead the final 300 metres to the Mainbank bike path [total: 4 km].

From here, Mainz is 21 km to your left, Frankfurt 16 km to your right. The airport on-line street map should clarify the above.

Other bikepaths are coordinated from the intersection in front of Terminal 2 - NORTH [signed Unterschweinsteig] under the A3 & 43 freeways & east-northeast to Frankfurt [13 km]; SOUTH, either by going right/east [signed Langener Waldsee] and south to the footbridge over the A5 [great viewpoint] to Zeppelinheim [3-4 km]; OR by going left/west [signed Hoechst Fahre] along Airportring road, then south toward Monchbruch [initially parallel to the runway]. A car ferry crosses the Rhine near Oppenheim.


For orientation, see this MapQuest view, or pan and zoom this 1992 satellite photo [enter Frankfurt airport].

The ADAC Stadtplan "Frankfurt am Main" [1:20k] can be bought at an airport bookstore - the larger version shows both terminals and the way through Kelsterbach - see this on-line equivalent [Airport is SW. Click map for detail window], or try the vector CitySURF map.

Relevant bikemaps include Haupka's "Deutsche Radtourenkarte" #18 or #41 [1:100k], or BVA's "ADFC Radtourenkarte" #16 [1:150k], sold at city bookstores or on-line at Sportbuch.de.

For details or other on-line maps, e-mail me.

David Alexander, February 28, 1999

Munich, Germany

George:

Here is a piece of information I found on compuserve:

"Since the new FJS Airport is a good distance from Munich, even a regular taxi fare is not cheap ... and unnecessary, since you can just roll your bike into the elevator and go down to the metro (S-Bahn) station. You are allowed to take bikes on the trains, except during rush hour"

... Andy

Andrew Schwartz, January 05, 1999

Bags vs. Boxes ... (a continuing debate)

Last year I took my bike on Lufthansa, no box required; charge 100DM ($60 or so) each way. Brought back two bikes this way; one had a large chipped area on the enameled handlebars for which Lufthansa paid $300 plus refund of fee.

To Germany, panniers were on bike, pedals removed, handlebars sideways. Coming back the panniers were full and _that_ was a problem with the agent in Dresden. They did take the bike, but only after I argued that that was the way the bike had come to Dresden (more or less).

This year we were thinking "use boxes," but frankly, reading the messages here, I think the anonymity of a box is a bad thing. The real advantage of a box though is add'l storage space.

My take is that we're (now) paying a fee for special handling of a bike and this represents an implied contract to handle the bike with due diligence - which will only be done if it's obvious that the package is a bike.

Nonetheless, I think that judicious use of foam tubing and tape may be wise and if my bike were new and scratch-free, I would... probably leave it home!

Kevin Pfeiffer, April 27, 1998

Bike Rental -- Bonn, Germany

Two classmates at the school I was attending in Bonn rented bikes at Drahtesel* im Lindenblock, Moltkestrasse 10, 53173 Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Tel. 02 28 -36 15 45, fax 02 28 - 36 25 79.

On a trip earlier in the summer, I had rented bikes in Bergen, Norway, Stockholm, Sweden, and Vaasa, Finland. If I can find the names and addresses of the shops, I'll sent them to you.

Ron Wallenfang

*(Draht = metal wire ; Esel = donkey) --> so it's a 'metal horse', the right vehicle for the Metal Cowboy 🙂 -- Heiner Theofel, Magstadt, Germany

Ronald L. Wallenfang, October 14, 1997

Luxembourg (Findel)

As a side note on airports. We, in the East of France, often consider Luxemburg International Airport when going to the US. This is a very small airport (one where you still walk on the tarmac to board planes), a few miles from French, German and Belgium borders, and Luxemburg city. Although I've only been there by car, I don't think there is any problem to bike to the airport (basically, the access is a regular road, not a freeway!). Icelandair has a daily service to Boston, Baltimore and a few other places, British Airways used to have also a regular service (not sure what it is nowadays).

Admitedly, the North-East of France is not the most popular cycling place of France, but tourers interested in Alsace, les Vosges, Schwartzwald (Germany) and Rhine valley ay consider this entry option.

Bonne route,
Jean-Pierre Jacquot CRIN (Centre de Recherche en Informatique de Nancy)
Chef du Departement d'Informatique de l'Universite Henri Poincare
post: CRIN B.P. 239 F-54506 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy Cedex France
phone:+33 83.59.20.16 fax: +33 83.41.30.79

Jean-Pierre Jacquot, June 11, 1997

French Trains -- TGV

Others may have already point this out, but the trains from Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) into Paris are NOT the Metro. Rather, it is part of the "RER" regional commuter trains. The Metro operates within the Paris city limits and nearby suburbs. There are at least 13 different Metro lines, each numbered from 1 to 13, and their direction is indicated by using the end station names. The RER operates much further out into the suburbs, including the airports. There are several lines, and they begin with a letter, A, B, C, or D, and each of these has several variations or branches. Each line starts in a distant suburb and cuts through the city and goes out the other end. There are a few stops within the city limits, and these also connect with various Metro lines. The line which goes out to Charles de Gaulle airport is the RER B3 line.

Bikes are supposedly allowed on the RER, though I've taken the RER perhaps 20 times and never seen a single bike. I think I've biked to and from CDG 3 times, and it's not really a pleasant trip. Frankly, if I do it again, I'd try to take the RER. If any readers of this list have taken their bikes on the RER, I'd like to hear about their experiences. Bikes are not allowed on the Paris Metro.

IMHO, Paris is indeed a marvelous city to bike around once you get to know the one-way streets and where there is cobblestone to avoid. Traffic is terrible in Paris, but I've generally found that drivers there treat cyclists reasonably well, though the drivers don't treat each other very well. OTOH, it has been several years since I last biked in Paris, though I've been a pedestrian many times in recent years, and traffic there is noticeably worse.

The advice about the different train stations for the TGV & trains likely to ship bikes sounds likely to be true. I had a bad experience once when I was travelling from Perpignan on the Mediterranean coast near the Spanish border to Strasbourg on the German border. I took a night train which passed through Lyon and Dijon and avoided Paris completely. My bike, on the other, got sent to Paris, where it was delayed several days until the SNCF finally got around to transferring it to a different station where trains to Strasbourg departed from. (to make matters worse, it was a bike I borrowed from a German friend, because the airline lost my own bike when I flew from America to Germany. It was never found, but that's another story.)

Neal Teplitz

Neal Teplitz, May 23, 1997

Tricycles on Trains in Europe

There are massive differences between the treatment of bicycles and of tricycles. In the UK, bicycles can be taken onto most trains outside rush hours but tricycles typically can only be taken onto trains with guards vans (InterCity trains and very few local trains). This is OK for long-distance travel but you may have to cycle into and out of the cities to get to a station.
In Germany, bicycles can be taken onto all local trains, most InterRegio and very few InterCity trains, making long-distance transportation a problem. About half of these trains are capable of transporting a trike but it is rather difficult to find out which ones. I haven't had much problems with my Kingcycle with front and rear fairing though. It should be possible to send your trikes ahead (this used to be the standard way of getting your bike to a holiday destination).
I think in the Netherlands and in Belgium you can take a bicycle onto almost every train. I assume that again trikes are too bulky for some types of trains.
In France and most of Scandinavia, you have to send the bike in advance though in Scandinavia you can almost rely on the bike being on the same train as you; in France you have to send it two or three days ahead.
Only a limited number of international trains take bicycles; on other trains you may have to get off before the border and get on again on the other side (while the intra-Schengen borders are not manned any more, they still exist in buerocrat's heads).
Rolf

Mr. Rolf-Martin Mantel, May 01, 1997

Trains in France, Switzerland, Germany

A couple of people asked for train info pages to help plan bike trips in Europe -- here's what I've found for France, Switzerland & Germany:
France:
The SNCF, the national rail system, is at http://www.sncf.fr. follow the references. check especially . . ./voy/service/velo.htm --there is an English version but if you can handle the French that page has more info, including schedules of trains that accept bikes free. they now promise to put their schedule search online by summer; no info on whether it will include bike transport info.
Germany:

Rlesnik, February 15, 1997

Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany

From the Frankfurt airport, one can easily ride to the Mainz-Frankfurt bike route, offering a pleasant and varied path along the Main river to either city.

Your best bet is to join the path in Kelsterbach, at a point 3 km distant at 11 o'clock as you exit Terminal 1 Arrival Halls. [If exiting Terminal 2, first ride left along Airportring road to Terminal 1 At the Terminal 1 exit, turn left and ride along Airportring road 1 km past the end of the terminal building, beyond the freeway 35/43 exit, to a 2-lane road, signed "Kelsterb. Sud", which exits to the right.
Take the path along the far side of this road, up, over and down into Kelsterbach. Continue straight along Morfelder Strasse through town, pass under the S-bahn tracks, and thread your way ahead the final 300 metres to the bike path/river. [total: 4 km] From here, Mainz is 21 km to your left, Frankfurt 16 km to your right.

NOTE: the route to Frankfurt temporarily leaves the river to skirt the Hoechst Works. If you miss the route you will end up in one of the Frankfurt Stadtforest trails, a good alternative. Bearing left at some point in the next 10 km will bring you to the river again.

Additional information is available from the following: the URL "http://www.frankfurt-airport.de" for train and bus information; the "Terminal Wegweiser [guide] pamphlet, free from airport information desks and monitors; the "EuroCity Stadtplan Frankfurt' [1:20 000], 6DM at magazine kiosks; and one of the bikemaps "Deutsche Radtourenkarte" #18 or #41 [1:100 000], or "ADFC Radtourenkarte" #16 [1:150 000], available for about 12DM at city bookstores.


Contact: Chris Hermansen
Date: Tue, 17 May 94 10:29 PDT
Airport can be accessed from the central train station via feeder train outside "rush hour" - just take your bike on the train. I don't know about riding there...

Boyd Simmons, December 21, 1996

Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany

Glad to be of help. I'll see what I can do to get a few pages knocked together in case anyone needs a map out of Frankfurt airport. Access by road just about possible, but not at all obvious- there's a cycle path from the airport to Zepplinheim which is NOT very well sign posted after you get to the cycle path. (This was fun in the dark after I flew in from Heathrow on Sunday night!). No idea about the train service from Frankfurt. Around 15 miles to Frankfurt, and 19 miles to Darmstadt:-). I can maybe fax a map to anyone daft enough er..., intrepid enough to try. Cheers, Dave N.

Dave Nastaszczuk, April 11, 1994

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg: I think it is a pretty good idea to compile some informations on accesses to airports. To tell you the truth I haven't ever travelled with my bike by plane but I plan to do so this summer! What I have for you are some information on access to the airport for Hamburg, Germany, which I know well. The airport is located in the city altough it is a busy one compared to others in Germany. What makes access for car drivers inconvenient is an advantage for bikes. There are no freeways or highways leading to the airport but usual streets with bike lanes. The centre of Hamburg is about 8 miles away.

If I get to know of other airports in Germany I let you know!

See you later, Andreas

Andreas Gellrich, April 11, 1994

Bonn/Cologne, Germany

Bonn/Cologne: Access: easy/path

George: That airport access is developing nicely. Please put me down for Bonn/Cologne easy/path Appreciate your efforts! Regards

Dale Lally

Dale V Lally Jr, April 11, 1994

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *