Bicycle Touring Experiences from Ireland

Ireland

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



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

Republic of Ireland

Travelled from Dublin to Athenry and back in March 2007. Return journey cost 16euro extra for the bike. You can't take a bike on every train on this service (which is an Intercity) as they don't all have a luggage van. I think on the timetable, if the train is shown as having a first class coach it'll also have a luggage van.

The luggage van was huge, plenty of room for tandems, trikes, etc. and there was no trouble in either direction once I got the right train.

You can also take bikes on the buses in Ireland - I didn't try this but was told by a bus driver that at that time of year (March) there's no need to book or pay extra.

Helen, June 19, 2007

Bikes on Aer Lingus and cycling in England

I just got back from my 6th trip to Ireland. Each time I've used Aer Lingus to fly direct Chicago to Dublin with my Trek 520. The Aer Lingus website says bikes coming from Amsterdam must be boxed, but it ONLY mentions boxes in that one place. So I've taken my bike unboxed to the Aer Lingus check-in a total of 12 times now (6 round-trips) and I've been able to have the bike rolled away each time. The only damage was a rear light being broken, and a couple of times one brake hood was twisted a bit. This time, Aer Lingus check-in staff in Chicago did check with a supervisor when I rolled my bike up, but they returned to help me without question. On the way back, the check-in person said I needed a box, but before I was finished saying that their website didn't seem to say that, the check-in person next to mine said that I didn't need a box. They asked if I could turn or remove the pedals, but my wrench for that in my other checked bag (a large sports duffle bag with 3 of my panniers) had already gone down the chute, so I didn't even do that. I think these days boxing a bike may not be safer; it's pretty easy for the baggage checkers to examine an unboxed bike, but poking around into a box with a bike seems to cause more problems. I had a friend fly Lufthansa from Chicago to Frankfurt (May 2005); he boxed his bike with a box provided at the airport, but the front axle dissapeared somewhere in flight.

From the Dublin airport, it's a 45 minute pedal into town; there is an attempt at provided a marked bike lane, although it's a bit hard to follow.

I took my bike on the ferry from Dublin to Liverpool (and returned the same way a week later), without problem; they didn't charge extra for the bike. I went on with the motorized traffic, and a crewmember helped me secure the bike to a wall with a lenght of rope; he seemed to do this all the time.

In England, I originally wanted to explore the "Trans-Pennine Trail," but had great difficulty finding maps despite website promises that they were widely available. Without map, the trail was very hard to follow; several times I just lost it at busy intersections, and I gave up and went on local roads through Manchester, not a relaxing way to ride. In Manchester, in the British Printing Office store, I bought a detailed guide to British canals, showing the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and its towpath. This was given a CTC Bike Touring Route Number, so I figured it would be fun to return that way. But after a pleasent first day, the second day the towpath turned into a narrow, rocky foot path, nothing I would call suitable for loaded touring even with knobby tires. Add rain to make the 6" rocks slippery, put the 6" wide path that was often grass-covered only two feet away from the edge of the canal, and you have another unpleasant ride. I went back to surface roads and even a train to return to Liverpool. The trains in West Yorkshire around Leeds all took bikes; there are train cars with a bicycle symbol marking the entrance to an area where there are two "Y" fittings on the wall that keep a bike upright with the aid of a bungee. No extra charge for bikes.

John Wager, July 21, 2005

London to Swansea to Ferry to Cork, Ireland

From London to Swansea, take train from Paddington (bought discounted ticket in advance, including a reservation for the bike and myself in the nearest car). You put the bike in the guard's car (in doubt, wait at the door, and they'll show you) where there are 5 bike racks with a velcro strap. It says not to lock your bike to the rack, but it may be a good idea to lock your wheels.

From Swansea, ride to the Swansea-Cork Ferry by the pedestrian gate to the port (across the bike bridge next to the Dylan Thomas Centre). You must reserve the Swansea-Cork ferry in advance (web site) and there's a charge for the bike. Check in with the cars.

It's an overnight trip, you arrive early in the morning, and it's something like 10 miles to Cork. Unfortunately it means you ride through narrow suburban roads (when they drive to work or school).

Guy Tiphane, June 25, 2004

Irish Ferries, SailRail

Took Irish Ferries "Ulysses" on a Sunday morning from Dublin to Holyhead. Bought a SailRail ticket to Birmingham for 39 Euros. Approach road in Dublin can be scary with a lot of big trucks, and your bike will share the space on floor #2 with them. Proceed to pedestrian check-in, they'll then direct you to the gate outside to ride to the ferry.

From Holyhead the train was crowded up to Chester and tourists had placed their suitcases in the 2-bike storage area. I creatively placed my bike on top of the suitcases, attaching the front wheel with a bungee cord to the bike pole. More suitcases came in at other stops, just kept smiling and being careful not to hurt anyone taking the bike out!


Guy Tiphane, June 25, 2004

Aer Lingus says: BOX YOUR BIKE

I just called Aer Lingus, delighted to have read that bikes need not be boxed to travel in the plane to Shannon. BUT the young man at Aer Lingus informed me that the new rule is that the bike must be in a box. However, if it is only one of the two pieces allowed there would not, he said, be an additional charge. Otherwise there would be a $50 charge if it was a third piece.

David Levine, June 23, 2004

Irish Trains and Buses

Travelled with bike from Cork to Tralee and later from Galway to Dublin. You buy a bike ticket with your train ticket, they give you a destination tag to attach to your bike. Bring the bike to the "Guard" car, either first or last of the train. Hopefully he is there to open the door for you and show you where to put it. Open the big door and put your bike against the wall.
Just a note, the conductress made a big story about allowing me to board the train from Cork (a "Commuter" train). I was very polite etc. but she had to do CYA with the other guys. Anyway it was easy to just get the bike on the train and let it sit securely and not in the way. Baby carriages also made it on the train and occupied the same space...
Generally, the Irish train system is a bit antiquated compared to the rest of Europe. They say they're improving thanks to Europe.

I also tried the bus, in that case it is up to the driver to let you on or not. I paid 10 Euros (more than the 8 for myself) to put it in the back luggage compartment.

Unfortunately I found that there are more cars than any pre-2000 publications' claims of quiet roads. It looks like prosperity also means "suburbs" and more cars on roads that are basically not changed. Best thing is to avoid big towns, especially on Saturday (shopping day).

Guy Tiphane, June 11, 2004

Survey of Rider-Bike/Driver-Car Ferry Fees

We have surveyed ferry costs in various parts of the world for transportation costs of rider/bike versus driver/car. The report is located at www.CycleCanada.com/Report/

Our survey looked at private operators that are complimentary services and not intended to be part of the basic transportation network such as the British Columbia ferry system. The obvious exception in our list is North Island /South Island in New Zealand but that was included because it was a comparable distance. In that situation there is a political imperative for the national government to connect its citizens. The ferry services across the English Channel and the Irish Sea are established transportation routes with a very high commercial value so there is some political motivation in those cases but we think that the comparisons there are valid because there is not an obvious political reason in those situations to be as favorable to cyclists as they are.

CycleCanada, December 28, 2003

Belfast and Beyond - Northern Ireland Site

An invaluable site for anyone travelling to Belfast and Northern Ireland.

It provides you with all the information you need before leaving the front door.
www.belfastandbeyond.com

SMcNally, November 05, 2003

Bike Box Storage at Shannon

Mitchelle and I recently returned from a tour in Ireland where we flew into and out of Shannon airport with our bikes in hard cases. The airport stores boxes, both hard cases and cardboard, in a bay that's accessed by a steel door (similar to a garage door) that requires key entry.

There's no charge for this service but you don't get a receipt identifying which box is yours - you go to the bay with one of the airport personnel and pick out your box. As such, I don't think you could be sure that you'd find your original box if it was a cardboard one.

There's also nothing to keep someone from claiming your hard case although I didn't feel that it was something that was likely to happen. If you were concerned about it you could leave the box in their "left luggage" area but that could be rather expensive - maybe $20-30 a week for something as large as a bike hard case.

Later,

Johnny

Johnny Johnson, September 23, 2003

Amsterdam - Dublin with Aer Lingus

I flew Aer Lingus from Amsterdam to Dublin (and back) in september 2002. Had to pay 25 Euro twice, a special 'bike tariff'; still cheaper than paying for the overweight.

A bought a large carton box for 14 Euro at Schiphol (= Amsterdam Airport). At Dublin Aiport I had my bike wrapped in saran for 5 Euro. No damages either way.

Peter Fokkinga, July 28, 2003

Ireland

Jason and I brought our 3 speeds to Ireland April, 2003.

We flew out of Logan (Boston) direct to Shannon. Aer Lingus let us count the bikes (in boxes) as luggage, so they flew for free. They have a weight restriction per passenger (75 pounds, I think), but the size of the luggage doesn't matter.

We boxed our bicycles in dumpstered bike boxes from a local shop. Jason made wooden pegs to keep the front forks from getting bent, and cut pieces of pipe to protect the axles. We found gaffer's tape very useful when packing the bikes. Also we brought packing tape with us so we could re-make the boxes when we left.

The bikes arrived in Ireland in fine shape and we put them back together in a quite corner of the airport. We left our boxes with the Left Luggage people, who put them in a mystery corner and told us to be insistent about getting them back when we left. Shannon no longer has a good place to leave bike boxes.

In Ireland we took two ferries (across the Shannon from Kilrush to Tarbert and from Caherseveen to Valencia Island). Both were car ferries, and our bicycles didn't cost extra (total was 3 or 4 Euro each).

After cycling the west for over a week, we took the bus from Kilarney to Dublin. We were traveling off season, and the buses were not crowded, so we were able to take our bikes on the bus, which was a large, Greyhound-style affair. I think their basic policy is you can take the bikes if there is room. It cost 9 Euro extra, return trip for each bike. You can take bicycles on the inter-city train (which is about twice as expensive as the bus for human passengers) as a matter of course, and it also costs extra. You can't take the bikes on commuter trains or subways, or on local buses.

When we left Shannon, our original boxes were gone, so we had to take someone else's boxes (sorry!), which were much bigger and in worse shape than our original ones. We arrived at the airport early, and were helped by security to cut the luggage line so we wouldn't have to manoever our giant boxes throught the little ribbon maze you have to wait in usually. Airport people were very friendly and helpful.

Jason's box was pretty wrecked upon arrival at Logan, where the sky-caps were mean to us for being in the way, but his bicycle was ok.

Logan is certainly not nearly as pleasant as Shannon airport. I'm glad I wasn't visiting from another country, as it is not very welcoming. I don't think there is a quiet area at Logan where one could re-assemble a bike. We took ours away in a van, still in pieces. Plus, you really can't ride out of the airport without risking certain injury. And if you take the subway from there, you have to walk down stairs with all your stuff. Flier beware!

Liz Coffey, April 20, 2003

Trips to Ireland

I've been on three bicycle tours of Ireland & have had no problems with Continental Air with bikes in boxes.

Bikes used to travel free international but since 1 Oct 02, they charge USD80.00 each way. Also, their bike boxes just went up from USD10.00 to USD20.00. Bike arrived on time & without damage all 3 trips.

Both Shannon & Dublin airports had storage for boxes, about 3 punts per day. All in all, good traveling experience with a bicycle. This year, I'm going to Malaga, Spain ... hope my luck holds up.

Craig Shields, September 30, 2002

Touring Ireland

Could you please add my Company detail to your list on touring information:

Wild Rover Adventure Tours. We offer unique fully supported and custom cycle tours in Ireland.

Thanks
Martina

Martina Hawkins, September 17, 2002

Shannon airport, IRE (storing bike boxes)

Just got back from Ireland and would like to report that there is storage for bike boxes in "Lost Luggage" at Shannon airport. They charge a couple of Euro's a day, though they didn't end up charging me a thing. People were very friendly and accommodating.

Schatzi, April 27, 2002

Aer Lingus

We took two bicycles, one boxed and one bubble wrapped, from Seattle to Boston to Shannon, Ireland via Horizon and Aer Lingus in mid-August '01.

I had called ahead to confirm fee amounts and was told by Horizon it was to be fifty US dollars per direction per bike. This was confirmed at the airport and policy seemed consistent no matter who we asked/tried to get out of it by talking to. I reached Aer Lingus by phone and talked to the most pleasant people, who chuckled at my question of fees for a bicycle and said, "Of course not!"

Having one bubble wrapped and one boxed bike turned out to be an interesting experiment and both bikes arrived damage free in Ireland, both had damaged derailers on arrival home in Seattle. We located a B&B on the day we arrived in Ireland, made a reservation, and mailed our packing materials (a light box full of old inner tubes, bubble wrap, etc.) to the woman who owned it, who was glad to keep it for six weeks for us and presented it to us in our room when we arrived at the end of the vacation. It worked out really nicely.

Also-had no difficulties returning through the airports after 9-11-01...just the occasional odd/suspicious look as everyone was jumpy.

Shannon McClelland, January 19, 2002

Dublin, Ireland

We finished a 2+ week tour of Ireland by taking the train back to Dublin and riding out to the airport. It was a Monday rush-hour and the weather was, well, Irish - i.e. raining. We did not have a map of the city other than the Lonely Planet guidebook map. It was easy enough to follow the airplane placards out of the city to where the motorway begins.

When we saw the "Motorized vehicles only" sign we jumped off the route and asked for directions. While I was in a shop asking, my partner also got the same directions from a pedestrian. Both sets agreed and they were spot on. It was easy enough to follow and we even got directions to a shopping mall to get duct tape for the alleged bike boxes that no less than 3 representatives of Aer Lingus told me would be available. We arrived at the airport 15 minutes later (with only 4-5 puddles that submerged pedals on the downstroke) and wrapped our bikes in the large plastic bags supplied by Aer Lingus and used the duct tape.

The bikes arrived home with less damage than on the way to Shannon airport when they were in a bike box (bent chainring).

I would highly recommend flying in/out of Shannon as it is very rural. By the time I had put the bikes together there was 1 car on the airport drive !! We got help booking accomodation and directions from the helpful tourist office in the terminal. Within 5 minutes we were in the village of Shannon unpacking our gear at the B&B.

John, January 11, 2002

Flying with bikes since 9-11

Found on: touring@phred.org

I flew to Ireland with 4 others Oct. 1 and we went right through in both directions. The 5 bike boxes didn't slow anything down.We flew on Aer Lingus.

Steve


Steven Sweedler, October 07, 2001

RyanAir

RyanAir charges £15 per bike - per leg.

But as they do not transfer luggage we ended up paying not only both ways - but also for each leg of the trip.

The two bicycles suddenly cost 2 x 2 x 2 x £15 = £120) pounds (going Esbjerg-Stansted, Stansted-Shannon and return Dublin-Stansted, Stansted-Esbjerg).

Seems my rear shifter may have been bent some where en route, but they make you sign, that they are not responsible for you luggage.

I wonder if this would ever hold up in court?

Ernst Poulsen, July 22, 2001

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Airport is 10 km (and not 30 km) to the north of the city center.

It's perfectly possible to ride to the airport on your bicycle, allthough you'll be following normal city streets (some with a bike lane), and partly the old back road to the airport.

In our case we basically followed the normal signposting for the airport from downtown. (Small road signs with an airplane are found on lamp posts in many places). In our case we followed Gardiner Street, and later we took a right turn onto another fairly large road out of town. (Part of the way we found a bike lane which is sometimes on the main street and part of the time on sidewalk).

This road is clearly signposted for the airport - and later turns into the N1 Motorway where bicycles are not allowed.

However, right before the road turns into a motorway, another road leads off to the left. (This is about 100 meters/yards after a large church on the right hand side). The road sign says Santry, but this is also the old main road to the airport.

(Do not turn left at the traffic light across from the church - wait 100 meters/yards and follow a smaller road which makes a soft turn to the left).

The rest of the way is fairly straightforward. 4-5 km later you're at the airport right in front of the departures building.

PS:
July 2001 the entire airport was being rebuilt - and honestly it was a mess with long lines/queues everywhere.

Ernst Poulsen, July 22, 2001

Bike Rentals -- Ireland

Found on: rec.bicycles.rides

Just to finish up on this thread, I went to Ireland and rented a bike from a shop called Europa in Galway, across from the cathedral. I rented it at 6PM Friday and returned it 1PM Sunday, and it cost 11 pounds.

It was a city bike, not a touring bike. It had 700x35C tires, grip shifters, upright bars, and in fact it was a woman's frame style. So the choices were limited.

Nonetheless, on Saturday I did a fairly long loop (probably 75 miles at least) up the coast and then inland to Cong. Finally back to Galway via the town of Headford - the last 10-15 miles were on a narrow and busy road with virtually no shoulder to speak of.

I'd still be interested to know of a place which rents true touring bikes (droped handlebars, lightweight frame) as opposed to day trippers.




Otto Axel, May 07, 2001

Chester to Dun Laoghaire Ferry vs. Train

Although I haven't used it for 2 years when we did our Irish tours it was actually cheaper to get a rail/ferry ticket combined from Chester to Dun Laoghaire (£24) return than go just as a foot passenger(£34). Although we used the train (needs booking for bikes)it would be worth booking it that way even if you drove to Holly head and never used the train ticket.

regards Les


Les Roberts, January 10, 2001

Dublin, Ireland, Papeete (Tahiti)

I have just looked at S Perry's comments on Dublin airport. He must have drunk too much Guinness if he thinks it is 30km to downtown. His exchange rate from $ to punt is also a long way out - one Irish Pound is about $1.30. (though I suppose he might have been quoting the rate to Can $).


Dublin Airport is no more than 12km from downtown. It is not necessary - indeed it is prohibited - to cycle on the motorway. The non-motorway route is not signposted, so it's a good idea to get a detailed street map. But you can't go far wrong if you come out of the airport, turn right (not straight on onto the motorway), head south and ignore any signposts to city centre which look like they mean to put you on the motorway. Mr Perry's experience of taking an hour in a taxi - not impossible if you get stuck in a traffic jam - indicates that it can be quicker to cycle, if you know where you are going.


While I'm on non-cycle-friendly signposts at airports, I encountered one at Papeete (Tahiti). The airport is 6km from city centre. To get there from the airport, turn left as you leave, following the sign to Faaa. If you follow the signpost to the city centre direct, you get on the motorway where you do not want to be. If you have booked to stay in the guesthouse at Paea (cheaper and nicer than the hostels in Papeete) then turn right out of the airport and keep straight on - it's about 14km.

Ivan Viehoff, August 03, 2000

Paris, Normandy

I just returned from a wonderful bike tour of Paris and the Normandy Beaches. I determined the bike ride from Paris to Normandy would have probably entailed some navigation of congested roads in the Paris subarbs, so I opted to take the train from Paris to Caen. A helpful ticket agent at the St. Lazare train station advised me the second of several trains leaving for Caen would contain a luggage car which would accommodate my bicycle.

Just as the ticket agent predicted, there was a luggage car on the train with several bicycle hooks. A rail official helped me and a few others load our bikes and my bike and I arrived in Caen without any difficulties.

I also had a successful crossing of the seas with my bike on Irish Ferries from Cherbourg in Normandy to Rosslare in Wexford, Ireland. There was no charge for the bike, but Irish Ferries wanted it registered in advance which I accomplished by e-mail after booking my passage on their website.

The trip was tremendous and I recommend cycling Normandy to any cyclist.

Regards, Paul

Paul Gilmore, August 01, 2000

Ryanair

George: A few on notes from our latest trip you might use.


Ryanair. This is an Ireland-based discount airline. They charge 15 Ireland pounds per bicycle but as the fares are low, it is a good deal. Usual requirements: turn handlebars, remove pedals, let air out of tyres. At Kerry airport we handed our bikes over to the porter and asked him to take special care. I'll treat them like me own he said. And did.


Stansted Express This is the train from London Stansted airport to Liverpool Street station. The ticket seller and the platform guard both said bikes are only allowed on the non express, which takes 50 rather than 40 minutes.We asked the on train host (aka ticket collector) and pointed out that at 3 PM the train was not crowded. He found an area around the middle of the train where seats were removed for bikes and wheel chairs. So it pays to ask, politely. From the baggage area at the airport to the platform is easy. One change of level and there is an elevator. All in all, as convenient as Gatwick.


First Great Western. This is the train operator from London West. We took it from Paddington to Bath. There are six places for bikes immediately behind the engine. It is suggested that you book. There is a charge of 2 pounds a bike. We got seats in car C so we could be close to the bikes and make sure they stayed on board at intermediate stops.You also need to take them off the train pretty quickly at your stop, so a full train length run is not recommended. We left panniers on the bikes.


Bike Bags


Previously we had taken our bikes to the LBS for boxing. This time we bought bags from a New Zealnd company Ground Effect www.groundeffect.com They did an excellent job. Not as rigid as boxes so we added some cardboard but there is a strap and handles so the bags are easier to lug around than boxes. cheers


Ken Nielsen Sydney Australia

PO Box 1017

Fax: 61 2 99084769

Home: 61 2 99081962

Ken Nielsen, July 02, 2000

Limerick, Ireland

Fly into Shannon Airport. Bike boxes can be stored there cheaply.


First day-night stay at the Ennis House B&B in Limerick. The owner will also keep your boxes for nothing. To get there take the bus from airport bound for Ennis(not express bus) lets you off at the front door of B&B. The bus will take your bike.


Follow River Shannon to the coast then south to Kerry, Dingle and points south or go north and see the Clifts, Islands, Conamara and Clifton and much more.


E-mail me for more

RMitc, May 24, 2000

Aer Lingus, Dublin to Boston

Found on: touring@phred.org


As long as you mention Ireland, here's a problem that I had recently on Aer Lingus --


I borrowed a plastic bike box from my local LBS, and disassembled the bike into it. It got to Ireland without a problem, as checked luggage and with no extra charges, and it came through fine. At Dublin, we rented a car and drove it to my wife's mother's house in Kildare, where I put it back together. The bike was my transportation in the country area they live in, so that my wife could use the car to drive her ma around.


Since I was coming home to Boston a week before my wife, I suggested that she keep the bike in Ireland, so that when she arrived, I could pick her up with our car and drive her, her luggage, and my bike home. She balked at that idea, fearing that she'd pay an excess luggage charge since she'd have two suitcases and a bike box. Whereas, if I brought the bike by myself, I'd have a backpack, a small daypack (that I used as a carry-on), and the bike box, all of which could go with me at no charge.


My plan in Boston was to take the Commuter Rail to my home, saving a $45 cab fare. But since Boston has no direct connection between the rail and Logan Airport, but instead, connects the two via a shuttle bus and subway that required a transfer and a couple of stair-climbs, getting the bike home alone was a problem. I couldn't do this with a bike.


So my wife called Aer Lingus, in Dublin. The telephone person said that they could hold the bike in Boston for a nominal fee ($1 a day, very cheap). Storing it at the airport would let me return with a car at my convenience and bring it home.


After the first leg of the flight, from Dublin to Shannon, there was a layover. Moseying around the terminal at Shannon, I saw an Aer Lingus Information booth. I figured I'd find out more about what to do when I got to Boston. So I asked him about storage arrangements.


I don't know about that, this guy said, but don't worry, we'll get you sorted.


Less than assured, I got back on the plane, and asked a stewardess if she was familiar with the procedure for storing luggage at Boston.


I've never heard of that, she said, ah, but don't worry! You'll be all right.


You can predict what happened in Boston. None of people in the Customs Hall who were standing by to assist deplaning passengers had a clue about storage facilities. I finally got bumped up to a guy named Jarlath Keaveney, who was some kind of supervisor.


Essentially, he called me a liar -- or more accurately, he called my wife a liar. He said that this was ridiculous information, that I'd never be told such a thing. When I suggested we call Dublin and find out, he said, It's after 8pm there -- no one is available.


I called my wife to double-check. She insisted that she'd been told I could store my bike with Aer Lingus, and she gave me the number in Dublin that she called where she got this information. I did. But unfortunately, Jarhead's statement was correct -- there was nobody in the offices at 8pm (Dublin time) on a Saturday evening.


I then went back to Jarmouth, and begged him just to stick it in an office for a day, so that I could come back on Sunday and pick it up. His answer? You've changed your story! You said you were going to leave it for a few days, now you want it in a day!. Then he turned on his heel and strutted away.


Of course, I was trying to be helpful ... but Jarbreath used the opportunity to call me a liar once again.


I then noticed that I was the last passenger leaving the Customs Hall, and that there were bags not picked up. I asked one of the other helpers what they did with them. They're going into storage, and if they're not picked up, we send them back.


Into storage! Into storage!


So could I put my bike into storage? Couldn't they just pretend I didn't pick it up?


No, no, no! If we did that for you -- we'd have to do it for everyone!, was the nonsense answer.


------


In the end, I took a cab from Logan to South Station in Boston. I had to jawbone with the cab driver about putting the bike in his trunk. It actually did fit, but he insisted that it was too big, that I'd have to wait for a van, yada, yada, yada (I suspect that the fare wasn't big enough for him).


Because I'd spent so much time arguing with Jarnose, I missed the train I'd intended to take, and I had to wait about an hour and a half for the next one (they don't run very frequently on Saturdays). I lugged it on board, my backpack on my back with my carry-on strapped to it. It took me two trips down the stairs at my destination to get everything off. I dragged it up the hill to my house, and got in at about 6pm, which was 11pm Irish time.


I'd arrived at Dublin airport at 9am, so it took 14 hours to get home. Three of those hours -- that's half the length of time it took to fly from Shannon to Boston -- were spent trying to travel the 15 miles from Logan Airport to my house.


And next time, I will have to arrange for some kind of car to meet me at Logan, or just leave the bike in Ireland an extra week. My lesson's learned.


Tom Revay Dedham, MA

Tom Revay, February 15, 2000

Delta Airlines

Delta has unilaterally decided that trans-atlantic and trans pacific flights will not accept bikes as one piece of luggage the way other airlines do. Sept. of 99 it was $75 to fly my bike to Dublin from Memphis, TN.


I'm off to Sweden this year on SAS. They still take the bike as one piece of luggage. Best, Steve Gordon

Steve Gordon , February 10, 2000

Dublin, Ireland

My wife and I just returned from a 5 week cycling tour of Ireland. We flew Canadian Airlines ... bikes go for free with Canadian Airlines. Our 2 sets of packed panniers travelled in a large duffel bag like a hockey bag. After arriving the plastic bags and the duffel bag were rolled up and tied to my bike rack.

After our tour was finished we used Irish Rail to get back to Dublin--bikes travel in the baggage car for 6 punts each(thats about $12) anywhere in the Republic of Ireland.(Be sure to prepurchase your train tickets and bike pass).

To get to the Dublin airport we opted for a taxi rather than cycling--the shuttle buses won't take bikes. Dublin airport is around 30 kilometers from downtown--half on city streets and half on freeway--not a pleasant bike ride to start the long trip home. The taxi was a minivan that easliy accomodated two bikes and from downtown to the airport took about one hour and cost 15 punt(about $30)--money well spent.

Ireland is a country ideal for cycling. The story of our trip is for another day. Suffice to say getting to and from with our bikes was neither difficult or costly.

GO THERE --you may never come home--Steve Perry

Steve Perry, August 05, 1999

Limerick, Ireland

I just had my first experience with a bicycle on a plane, on my first visit outside North America. It was a family vacation to Ireland. We rented a car there but I took my bicycle along for some day rides.

We flew American Trans Air from Detroit to Shannon. The information at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/nycu/travel/trbike.htm (which site I learned about on this list) was accurate.

At Shannon the car rental people offered to keep the box for me. It probably would have been better to leave it at the airport.

To respond to a question that appeared a few weeks ago, I rode directly from the airport to Ennis with no problem, despite having to get used to left-handed traffic and Irish roads and towns.

The night before our flight back home, we got back to Shannon after the car rental place was closed, so I went to the airport to see about getting a box in the hopes of packing my bike and leaving it there overnight. The man in the airport operations office was skeptical, saying they often save bike boxes for people who leave them when they arrive, but wasn't sure about my just picking up a leftover box. But he called for a staff member, who took me down to the basement and told me to take my pick from a huge supply of bike boxes that had been left there. I should have picked more carefully. I grabbed a big Amtrak box from the top of the pile and took it upstairs. It was big enough to put my bicycle in without removing either of the wheels, but I didn't like the way the bike flopped around in the box despite my best efforts to make the whole setup more rigid. The box was also too tall. But I packed it and left it in the "Left Luggage" room (for a fee of 2 pounds).

I decided the next morning that if there was time, I'd repack the bike in the box being held at the car rental place. The check-in people were cooperative. We needed to check in right away, but they allowed me to repack the bike after our other luggage was checked in. They weren't interested in my credit card receipt from the Detroit airport. I didn't have time to inquire whether I had unnecessarily paid the $25 for the return trip--I was busy packing because it was almost boarding time. It was at that point that a young man came from behind the counter and told me I was required to let air out of my tires. I didn't argue, but I wonder if anyone would have said anything if I hadn't been packing my bike in full view of the check-in counter.

The box and bicycle arrived in good condition each way, and seemed to have been treated respectfully. A customs inspector in Detroit asked me what kind of bike it was (a touring bike, I told her) and used a flashlight to look at it through a handle holder. "Good!" she announced, "Racing tires!" (They're actually 700x28c with no tread.) She explained that mountain bike tires collect dirt in the treads, which I guess they don't want to import into this country.

John Gorentz

John Gorentz, July 10, 1999

Bike Transport in Latin America

United Airlines to Brazil

My wife and I flew United Airlines Seattle - Chicago - Sao Paulo, connecting to a Varig flight to Curitiba on Dec 25-26 1998. When we purchased tickets in July, we verified with United that there was no bicycle charge on international flights. When we got to the gate, we were hit with $60 per bike (including the Varig segment). The agent was helpful, but talking with her supervisor and a Varig representative did not remove the charge. She claimed that the policy on charging for bikes on international flights had gone into effect in April, that all airlines were doing it, and that it applies to all destinations except Japan. United provided boxes at no additional charge. I got the impression that there might be more flexibility in the charge if we didn't have the segment on Varig. It is not true that all airlines charge, since our flight to Ireland on British Air / Air Lingus in August 1998 had no bike charge. When we arrived in Sao Paulo, we had to reclaim our bikes to go through customs and baggage inspection. Then we needed to take the bikes to Varig to check in. The 2.5 hours between flights was about the right length of time.

Our return flight was from Florianopolis to Sao Paulo on TAM, then United to Seattle. The people at TAM were great. One of the check-in workers was a former Brazilian cycling champion who spoke good English. They were all impressed that we had cycled in Brazil and we were invited to use the VIP lounge and introduced to the pilot when we boarded . We checked in the bikes unboxed with no charge. We were not charged the usual $8 domestic Brazilian airport tax. However, they could only check the bikes to Sao Paulo, not through to Seattle.

We had an hour and 45 minutes between flights, but we arrived in Sao Paulo half an hour late. We had to reclaim our bikes and find the United counter. By the time we got there it was about 30 minutes before departure. There was a huge check-in line, but we got express treatment. The agent initially told us that bicycles could not go as baggage. We said that we had flown them down on United. They accepted the bikes without boxes or payment, but said they might arrive the next day. We ran for the gate, but hit a huge line for passport control and missed the flight. We did get onto another flight that stopped in Miami. Our bikes made it home a day after we did, delivered by United. They had been put into boxes in Miami. One checked bike pannier also arrived the next day. I had packed my helmet in the top of it and it had gotten smashed. When I called United's toll free baggage number, they said that they were not responsible for damage to contents. I went to the Seattle airport and talked with an agent who gave me $25 for the helmet.

Tyler Folsom, January 15, 1999

Dublin, Ireland

I had attempted to follow R122 to the airport, but there are few signs giving road numbers. I wound up riding on N1 for a stretch, then found some local streets to the west of it. I believe that I was on R132 when I reached the airport turn-off. For this navigation, it is best to have a compass (don't count on being able to see the sun) or a detailed map that gives the neighborhoods that you pass through, but I did OK without either. Some people do bike along the N1 (but not the M1) and there was even a brief part with a bike lane.

Thanks for a great Web site. I have biked to more than 20 airports around the world, but some of the details have faded from memory.
- Tyler Folsom.

Tyler Folsom, September 23, 1998

Limerick, Ireland

I received the following information today from a bicyclist in Ireland:
>Yes you can store bike boxes at Shannon airport in the left luggage at #31 per day per item.

It's good to know that unlike some other airports in Europe, Shannon has not closed their luggage checking facility.

... Andy

Andrew Schwartz, March 07, 1998

Limerick, Ireland

George, you may want to add Limerick Shannon road (easy) good list! thanks for compiling it! I'm saving for the next trip. Tk

Rlesnik, April 13, 1994

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