Bicycle Touring Experiences from Italy

Toscana, Italy

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

Table of Contents

Turkish Airlines is not bicycle friendly

For our last flight from Italy to Nepal Turkish Airlines charged us an extra fee of 80€uro per bicycle (30€ for the Italy - Turkey stage + 50€ for the Turkey - Nepal stage) even if our bicycle bags where whthin the checked baggage limits (20kgs and 193cm L+W+H).

Whyo do we have to pay extra fees for bicycles, considering also that the additional cost does not include any sort of insurance for damages during transport and that our bicycles received exactly the same treatment as ordinary checked luggage?

emmeemme, January 21, 2014

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.

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

Ian Smitton, August 27, 2012

Emirates Airline bike friendly in 2011

I was travelling light to Italy... one 22x14x9" suitcase, made of sailcloth (under 1 pound), that was cabin luggage. Their rules say 7 kg, but they did not weigh it either way.

I bought a 27kg e-bike in Italy. Packed it in a home-made cardboard box (lots of foam and tape) that barely fit in the rental car.

Emirates economy class tickets are allowed 30kg from Rome to NZ via Australia at no extra charge. They had no problem with the size of the box. I checked in four hours in advance and got the required sticker showing it was checked in subject to being taken to their oversized desk. Next, I took it to Customs to get the paperwork for the VAT refund (post box next to Customs)... took an hour thanks to a Chinese tour group ahead of me that kept having people cut in line). I then checked the box in at the over-sized luggage area. About 40 hours later I collected the bike at AKL. No damage, no fuss, no problem.

Not sure why the bad reviews for Emirates dating back in 2007 and 2009, but in 2011 it was all good. As long as you stay within their 30kg limit, they don't seem to have any other rules. I'm flying them again in 2012.

Claud, March 17, 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. 1-888-ROME-BIK 310-791-6366 Law Rome

Law Rome, October 05, 2011

Tuscany Bike Tours

Biking Escape conducts one day bike tours in Tuscany, Florence and Chianti. Our Tuscany bike vacation takes you on a wonderful cycling journey through the Tuscan territory flanked by private forest, olive groves, vineyard as well as Cyprus woods.

Dilip, July 11, 2011

Touring Italy

See Italy Bike Tours

Arthur Simmons, June 20, 2011

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

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 31, 2010

Alitalia bike charges

Apr 2008 - Toronto to Rome(€150.00)to Sardegna(€20) for a standard bike travel case. Same home again

Robert Pinder, December 23, 2009

Alitalia Fees

I just completed a tour of Sicily flying from Boston and was charged going and returning 150 Euros with no ability to negotiate a reduction. I had misread the charge on their website otherwise I would likely have booked with another airline. They also required a 7 euro fee for plastic wrapping my cardboard box in which my tent and front panniers were shipped ,reason given "to protect from the box leaking contents" despite there being nothing there to leak.

Rob, April 16, 2009

Bergamo / Orio al Serio Airport (BGE) ((Milan))

BGE is often sold as Milano and there are several low budget flight to destinations all over europe.
The distance from the citycenter to the airport is just about 5km.

From Bergamo main station to Orio al Serio Airport (BGE):

From die main entrance of the Station turn left into "Via Geremia Bonomelli".
After about 200m turn left again under die Railwaytracks into "Via San Giovanni Bosco".
After another 200m turn left into "Via Alessandro Furletti".
At the End of this Road turn left again and you will see on your righthand side the big highway
"Circonvallazione Paltrioniano". Cross this big street at the lights and go down
"Via San Giovanni Bosco". After 100m you reach a small church. There take the "Via del Prati". Don't cross the small waterway!
After 100m Via del prati will become an unpaved road and later on a just a track, but in the Citymaps and on goole-maps it's a road.
You have do go under a bridge of a motorway. Follow "Via del Prati" all the way until the end of the road/track.
At this point you reach the exit of a four-lane road. The exit is signposted as "Airport".
Follow the sign. Turn left unter a bridge and now you have only to follow the airport road
to the terminial.

From Airport to City:

In the opposite direction, I am not shure, how to access "Via del Prati".
So left the airport on airport road. From the Terminals Busstation it's about 100m to a crosswalk.
On the left side of the airport port the walkway to Orio Shopping center starts. Use the Walkway to bypass the motorway.
After the motorway turn right on the road. In the roundabout take the exit signposted with "via portico"
Follow "Via Portico" for about 1km thru an industrial area. At the end turn right to "via cremaska". Cause Via C. ist a 4-lane road, use the bike path.
After this point you have to find the way on your own, cause I haven't gone after this point.
Probably you can follow via C./ Via Zanica until the city or follow at "Circonvallazione Paltrioniano" take this the bike path (turn right)
until you reach the roundabout. From there take "via san giovanni bosco".

olaf, September 21, 2008

Bicycle Rentals in Italy, France and Europe in General

The folks at rent bikes and deliver them to your villa, hotel, or even to the airport. We rented bikes in Nice and pedaled for 4 weeks and dropped the bikes off in Venice - a great service. Their bikes are equipped with 24- or 27-speed Shimano gear systems. We had road bikes with Shimano Total Integration (STI) shifter/brake lever controls. They also provide hybrid bicycles with Shimano RapidFire or SRAM GripShift shifters. I think they also can provide mountain bikes.

Our 32-spoke wheelsets on the road bikes were solid and reliable for carrying gear and the bikes were equiped with Vittoria 700x25c tires.

The bikes came with a cyclometer, pump, rear rack, lock, and an under-seat pack that contains a spare tube, tire irons, and patch kit.

We actually considered buying some of their used bikes instead of renting but finally decided just to rent. (We have a friend who did buy a used bike and they shipped it to Vienna for him - he picked it up there at a bike shop, pedaled to Budapest and sold the bike there before flying home!)

Rick Price, September 15, 2008

Top 10 Italy's adventure bicycle tours

Italy's guide to outdoor adventure travels and activity holidays.

Italy is not only famous for its cultural patrimony, arts, great cuisine or beaches... it's also one of the biggest outdoor adventure destination of Europe.

Enrico forte, February 13, 2008

Mayq Site on Cycling in Europe

My site 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:

The following url gives detailed information on trains and bicycles (including sewing lightweight bike bags) in France (and some info on other countries):
There is much other useful information on the site.

Q. May, August 19, 2007

Train travel with tandem in Austria and Italy

My wife and I recently returned from a Tandem touring trip in the Italian Dolomites.

We arrived at Vienna airport (see my other post about the air transport). I don't think it is possible to cycle into town from Vienna airport. I had to hire a van taxi for E68 to take me to a hotel downtown where I stored the box and stayed after the trip. If you could arrange this in advance it could be cheaper (try Teri at 0650 600-3383).

We then cycled to the Westbahnhof station to travel to Dobbiacho in the Italian Tyrol via Innsbruck. I had booked the tickets in advance by telephone from the US. I would have done it online but it did not seem to be possible to get a bike ticket on line and also it is worth getting first hand information about which trains do and do not take bikes. I picked up the pre purchased tickets, bike passes and reservations (you need this in addition to the ticket) at the station.

The intercity trains usualy have a freight waggon which carries the bikes whereas the regional trains have a regular waggon with the seats folded up (usualy the front waggon). Unless you are at a terminus it is desirable to know where the bike waggon is going to be as you may have very little time to get the bike on board. Also, your reserved seat may not be close to the bike waggon so I would advise that you get out of your seats and walk up the train to the waggon next to the bike waggon just before your destination station. This requires knowing what time you are scheduled to arrive and the name of the penultimate station. We nearly lost the tandem on one connection, it is important to talk to your partner about how you are going to choreograph things! Another potential problem in areas where bike touring is popular is that other bikes may get placed on top of yours making it difficult to retrieve in a hurry.

When booking tickets be carefull to check that you have adequate transfer times at connections. They will sell you tickets with only 3 minutes but that is not nearly enough time to get the bike off, get to the next platform and get the bike loaded. I would recomend a minimum of 15 minutes.

Bike touring in the Dolomites is delightful and there are many many bike paths and tracks.

David Shepherdson, August 12, 2007

Air travel to Vienna with Boxed Tandem on Lufthansa United SAS & Austrian

I recently returned from a trip to Austria and Italy with my Tandem from Portland, Oregon. I booked the ticket from United and flew Lufthansa & Austrian to Vienna and then SAS and United on return.

Before I travelled I checked the websites and called all the airlines with which I was flying to make sure that there was a note with my reservation and to confirm policies.

Lufthansa do not charge for the bike as long as it is one of your two pieces of check-in luggage and weighs under 23Kg. If it weighs between 23Kg and 32Kg the extra baggage charge is $50. If you check it as a 3rd piece of baggage as a bike the charge is currently $100 with a 32Kg max. At over 32Kg's the charges are very high.

Despite weighing it at home my bike weighed 34Kg at check-in but fortunately they turned a blind eye to the extra 2kg and charged me $50. The length restriction for checked baggage does not seem to apply to bikes (mine was in a carboard box obtained free from a bike shop that measured 73x11x31 inches)but it is probably 2 meters in any one dimension. Lufthansa do not require that the bike be packaged but the handlebars must be turned. The regulations for SAS and Austrian appear to be the same as Lufthansa. United have stricter rules but the regulations that matter are the ones for the airline that you start your flight with. But I called United anyway and they also said that if the bike was part of your checked baggage that there should be no charge as long as it was less than 23Kg and no single diemension larger than 80". However, a friend that travelled to Europe this summer with a solo bike on United was charged $85 even though it was a one of his 2 checked pieces of baggage. I would advize calling United and getting this settled in advance of your flight and a note put in with your reservation.

On my return I reduced the bike box weight to under 23Kg by removing pedals, wheels, lock, one handlebar and tools and putting them in my second checked in piece (in a cardboard box I found behind a store in Vienna - I took the rest of my baggage as carry-on)and when I checked in with SAS at Vienna I did not have to pay anything.

I would advize checking in at least two and a half hours before your flight leaves to leave time to resolve unexpected problems.

Here are some additional sites (but they do contain some inacurate information):

I don't think it is possible to cycle in to town from Vienna airport. I had to hire a van taxi for E68 to take me to a hotel downtown where I stored the box and stayed after the trip. If you could arrange this in advance it could be cheaper (try Teri at 0650 600-3383). When checking in at Vienna you should go to the check in counter for bulky items which is behind you as you face the Austria airlines check in counters.

I will post my experiences of travel on Austrian and Italian trains in another post.

David Shepherdson, August 12, 2007

Continental Airlines, TSA; TRICO Iron Case, Trains in Italy and Venice Water Taxis

We flew Continental from Miami to Newark and then Newark to Milan (the only way to use the frequent flier miles). Arriving in Miami with two bikes in TRICO cases, the lady behind the Continental counter got ready to charge us full freight according to the Continental Website rates (U.S. $95 per bike). I "suggested" that the bikes weighed less than 50 lbs each and my wife and I smiled and made polite small talk with the check-in agent. Before you knew it, she had printed the luggage tags and waived us through without charging us for the bike cases. Arriving in Milan, the bikes came out from oversized luggage within a reasonable period of time. I opened each case to check to make sure there was no damage. The TRICO cases performed admirably and everything was as it should be. I did find TSA notices in each case, so obviously TSA opened the bike cases in Miami for inspection. I was pleased that TSA shut the cases properly and tightened down the straps.

The train from Milan to Florence and then a local train to Sienna with the bike cases were non-events, except for schlepping the bike cases on and off the trains. The train conductors hardly glanced at the bike cases which I stacked in the luggage area at the end of the train car.

We did a great 8 day bike trip with Backroads all through Tuscany, including the Maremma district. The Maremma is much more rural than Chianti and the typical hill towns, with some serious climbing a great scenery. It is a great place to ride.

From Tuscany we dragged the bike cases on another train and headed for Venice. We made quite a spectacle getting the bike cases onto a water taxi – I saw people video taping me and the water taxi driver loading the cases onto the boat.

We had another uneventful train ride back to Milan, where the fun began. We checked the bikes in with Continental who did not even mention charging us for them. As I walked away from the oversized luggage check in, by wife said I had a funny look on my face. I was having a premonition of doom I guess. When we got to Newark, we had to claim our luggage, go through customs and then re-check our luggage for the flight back to Miami. Our 2 suitcases came right out. After an hour long wait at the oversized luggage elevator with a very nice woman from Continental, our bike cases had still not show up and she told us to head for customs so we could make our connection – the bikes should show up in Miami she said. Needless to say, I was a little freaked out that my Serotta Ottrot was missing in transit. It gets worse – when we got to Miami, not only were the bikes not there, but only 1 of the 2 suitcases (both of which we had in Newark) made it to Miami. An hour later, after talking with the baggage claim people in Miami, it was apparent from Continental's tracking system that the bikes had never left Milan and would be on the next day's flight.

All’s well that ends well – the next day the bike cases and the missing bag were delivered to our house. Both bikes were fine, so not a bad ending.

The TRICO case worked well. I still am not thrilled with it as with a 59' frame, my bike just barely fits into it. From a protection standpoint, the cases obviously take a beating and do protect the bike well.

Continental gets mixed reviews – positive for being nice and not charging for the bikes, but pretty negative for baggage handling.

G. Pincus, June 29, 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

Tandem to europe from US

I am trying to get my tandem to Europe from Portland Oregon. I will be flying on Northwest KlM and then taking a train. Has anyone done this. I will be by myslef meeting up with my captain at my final destination. Tips for the airline and whether you can take a boxed tandem on the freight compartments of trains and whether they tranfer luggage if there is a train connection would be helpful. I will also take any other thoughts that would be helpful. I can't seem to find a tandem to rent there. Thanks

Martha Bueche, April 06, 2007


A fantastic open-jaw trip out to Grenoble, over the Alps and home from Turin. Not possible with a bike box, and depended on Ryanair accepting the bare bike. They did, no damage either way, though I was told they were going to stop this - bad news. Hiccup coming back - the bike didn't go on the plane, but they did send it to my home 2 days later.

Harry Longman, September 15, 2006

Rome Airport ??

Anyone have the latest information on storing my boxed bicycle at the Rome Airport (FCO) for a couple days before I depart to come home? Post here or email me. Thanks.

Tom, July 14, 2006

Unhappy experience: Boston--Milan--Marseille

In late June 2006, four of us flew on Alitalia from Boston to Marseille via Milan.

After standing on the check-in line at Logan, the check-in representative sent us to another line to pay the bicycle fee of 65 Euros ($80). Once we got to the front of that line, that agent graciously waived the fee, and we checked in the bikes (packed in hard-sided bike travel cases). Good start.

Three out of four of the bikes arrived in Marseille, the fourth bike simply disappeared. A digital camera was pilfered (stolen) from the luggage of one of us as well, though arguably packing a camera in checked luggage was not an inspired idea. Another of us had his hard suitcase crushed (we do expect Alitalia to pay for a replacement). Alitalia personnel were not helpful in locating the bicycle and simply shrugged regarding the stolen camera and the destroyed suitcase.

On the fourth day of the vacation, the bicycle arrived in Marseille up and was promptly delivered to our hotel in Provence. Our friend was able to ride with us during the three days the bicycle was missing because he was able to rent a low-quality bicycle at a local bicycle shop in a small town called Uzes.

Departing for Boston from Marseille, we again needed to go first to the check-in line and then to a second long line to pay the bicycle fee before returning to the check-in line. This time the fee was not waived and we indeed paid 65 Euros per bike. But the amazing part of the story was the process. We arrived at 4:45 AM for a 6:10 AM flight. The woman at the counter at which we were to pay the bicycle fee simply had no idea how to proceed. She suggested we wait for her boss who arrived after a half-hour. The boss gave instructions, and a flurry of paper in triplicate the like of which I haven’t seen since the 1980’s ensued. The paperwork for the bikes took about 20 minutes, and after much signing and paying we were at last ready to continue the check-in process. All four bikes did arrive in satisfactory condition in Boston.

We’ve traveled with our bikes to Europe many times over the past 20 years. Our Alitalia experience of lost bike, stolen camera, smashed suitcase, incredible paper blizzard and indifferent cabin service makes this airline number one on our “don’t fly” list.

Stanley Lapidus, July 07, 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 ask for Sandy.

Brian, May 26, 2006

Easy Load Bike Box

We had a very easy time using aircaddy bike boxes. All you need to do is take of the front wheel and remove seat post to load the bike. You leave the box open for ATA to check and they seal it up afterwards. We used Lufthanza and it was free shipping as we used one baggage allowance for the bicycle. We were also able to store our box at the first hotel we stayed at with the understanding we would be staying there our final night. It is best to get the travel bag that holds the box to protect it and keep in all together. Visit to see the box.

drew, May 10, 2006

trains and bikes in Italy

Before we left to bike Rome to Sicily, I checked the info on this website and was concerned that we might have problems taking our fully loaded bikes as is, on the train back to Rome. Well I now happily report that it was NO PROBLEM AT ALL! We bought tickets in Messina the day before and paid 84 Euros in total for 2 people and the bikes to Rome. The Tren Italia info centre in Messina checked the trains with the train symbol in the schedule and wrote us out a schedule with 3 different regional trains. San Giovani to Paula (where we got back on our bikes and rode around town for a few hours) Paula to Napoli for a quick change and then to Rome. The 1st and last trains had a specific place for bikes and the middle train we we just put them in an empty car with seats and then had to move them to the "no mans land" between to big deal.
So don't bother with the bus we we say! go by train!

Steve Tober, May 03, 2006

Important source for information about bycicle touring in Italy (and neighbouring countries)

Since I posted some messages about trains, airports, left luggage etc. in Italy, I keep occasionally receiving questions about cycling in Italy. That's ok; but I wish to add some important infos.
- Most questions can be replied, much better than by me if you ask specific details, by local associations federated into FIAB (Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta). They have a comprehensive page at listing about 90 local clubs. Most of them will be friendly helpful and even invite you to their planned (or even unofficial) trips.
- specifically about train service, the local association in Genova listed there ( [email protected] ) is the best source at all, always up-to-date, since they are in charge to bargain with the railway company in order to obtain better service for byciclists.
- I also wish to make known that, for people that don't manage english well, I can give infos in esperanto too. In many european countries there is an interesting network of esperanto-speaking cyclists, that can be helpful in many ways. For details see

Ugo De Riu, January 26, 2006

Lufthansa's a breeze, Florence Taxis a little harder, Italy Trains a Snap

Flew Boston - Frankfurt - Florence on Lufthansa
Wheeled my trico right to check in, checked bike and one other large bag - no worries, no issues, no cost.
Bike made plane tranfer no problem, arrived 98% as secure as I had secured it initial packing with no damage and a nice note from inspectors.

Florence taxis refused to fold down rear seat - i had to finally do lift hatchback, fold down seat, put bike in and demand to be taken to my hotel.

Italian trains are a snap - look for cars with bike icons.

Andrew Steinhouse, January 16, 2006

ROME to airport with a bicycle

The train station in Rome will tell you that the trains do not take bicycles. We rode from Terminee (train station) to Tuscolana and purchased tickets for Fumicino (airport). About a forty minute ride east by south east. About five kilometers.

If you have any questions just email me.

Jim Dodds, October 24, 2005

Biking in Piedmont

I'm a passioned cycloturist born in Roma where I opened in 2000 a Bed & Breakfast to guest and help bike travellers (see the website

Now I moved to Piedmont and follow my wife in Langhe district through wineyards and hills I recentely opened a new bed & breakfast in the countryside. With the same passion I want to guest bike travellers and help them to enjoy this beautifull area perfect to ride by bike. Litte towns, little churchs, homesteads testimonials of an ancient country work, many hills and narrow roads in a perfect quite and way out of the heavy traffic.

So, I wait to lead you in this little italian world and taste not only the wine and truffle flavours but also the ancient traditions.

Maurizio Triolo, October 03, 2005

Alitalia - bike lost for 3 days in Italy

Just back from 10 day tour in Southern Italy.

Alitalia canceled my Washington/Dulles to Milan flight several hours before flight time with no explanation. They refused to re-book me until same flight next day, so I missed first day of tour and had to pay $130 for extra ground transport.

My bike was in a BikePro RaceCase, which is softsided, padded and wheeled. Alitalia did not put the bike on connecting flight from Milan to Bari and then "lost" it for three days. Constant phone calls to Alitalia yielded much run-around, but virtually no information. Bike was finally delivered to hotel several towns away on day 4 of bike tour.

On return flight, Alitalia delayed returning bike to me at Newark long enough to prevent me from making connecting flight, which added 3 hours travel time and forced me to fly into the wrong airport (Washington National), where I got to pay for another expensive ground transfer back to Washington Dulles near midnight.

I won't make the mistake of flying Alitalia again.

J Fisher, September 28, 2005

Palermo Airport

Leaving the airport on bikes is very difficult. All signs take you onto the autostrade.

There is a 'secret' way shown to us by an airport worker but it was blocked after 2km.

There is a good train route into the city which takes bikes but it is not very useful if you are travelling west from airport - the first stop is quite a long way in the wrong direction.

Andrea Royce, April 10, 2005

Bike routes in Sicily, Italy

Michelin Green Guide to Sicily mentions a bike route on a disused railway between Castelvetrano and Agrigento. This route does not exist - the railway is disused but it has not been converted.

Andrea Royce, April 10, 2005

Bike rental Sardinia

We are a Bike RENTAL station in the south of Sardinia.

We organize also Bike vacations, guided and self guided bike tours for groups and single persons etc. Details you can find also on our website , english information available.

For any doubt, visit “Our Services” page

For further information please feel free to contact us.

IchnusaBike, April 03, 2005

Bike Rental - Sardinia

We are a Bike Rental station in the north of Sardinia, which is the most beautiful Island in the mediterranean Sea.

We organize also Bike vacations, Trainings-camps, guided bike tours for groups and single persons etc.

Details you can find also on our homepage, english information available.

For further information please feel free to contact me.

For today we send you sunny greetings from the sunny island Sardinia

Anja Liebert & Alessandro Pisciottu

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Loc. Porto Pollo/Isola dei Gabbiani

I-07020 Palau (SS) Sardegna / Italia

Tel + 39 (0)789 70 50 15

Anja Liebert, February 28, 2005

Ichnusabike Across Sardinia

We're a bike tourism company, which organizes all kinds of journeys and trips in Sardinia (Italy), for all legs and for all requirements.

Our services: guided and self guided tour, bike rental

Marcello , February 19, 2005

Bikes at Milan Malpensa airport

Just returned from a couple weeks in Italy.

Flew Alitalia from DC Dulles to Malpensa. Alitalia doesn't accept bikes in cardboard boxes, so I put them in nylon body bags obtained from a local surplus store. Bikes went both ways with no damage.

Alitalia says they don't accept paper boxes as they fall apart if they get wet. Some of our friends on another flight took their bikes in cardboard boxes, but wrapped them in shrinkwrap plastic and they were accepted. As always, it depends on the ticket agent you check in with. There is a "left luggage" (Deposito Bagiglio) room at Malpensa where we stored the bags. Oversize bags or bikes are 3 Euro a day. We put all three bags into one, so only charged for one bag.

We rode out of the airport due west to the Vizzola Ticino exit and from there we picked up the bike path along the Ticino and the canal heading south. Then got on a few smaller roads into Pavia. Train from there to Pisa.

Biked to Lucca, where we rented a villa for a week, then train to Cinque Terre. Stayed in Levanto, which is relatively tourist free compared to the five towns in Cinque Terre, but it's easy to get to any of the Cinque Terre towns by train or boat or even walking.

Then train back to Milan. Took the express bus from Milan Centrale station to Malpensa. The bus will take your bike in the cargo hold. One hour ride and it's 4.5 Euros. There is a great hotel only a mile from the airport, the Villa Malpensa Hotel. Four stars, but very convenient and they have great food.

Biking out of the airport is not very difficult and you only have to go about a half mile before you take the exit onto a quiet road. Biking along the traffic free path south is a nice start to a bike trip in a foreign country. There are towns along the way to stop at and eat. There is also an east-west canal path that takes you into central Milan if you wish.

The biking around Lucca insn't great due to congestion. From Florence to Lucca to Pisa it's pretty urban and heavily traveled. Riding up in the hills surrounding Lucca is nice, but you have to fight traffic to get there. Southern Tuscany and Umbria are much nicer in my opinion. Less traffic and small towns scattered about in a more rural setting.

Bikes on trains in Italy is always exciting. The train stops for one to two minutes. The bicycle car is either at the front or rear, but nobody knows 'till the train reaches the platform. So you park in the middle of the platform and wait for your train to determine which end you dash for. After you get to the bike car, you lift your bike up and into the train so it's a good idea to remove your panniers first.

About half the time, the train that's supposed to have a bike car doesn't or the doors don't work, so you have to fight your bike into a regular car which doesn't really have room for bikes. Then you get to wheel your bike thru several cars to get to the bike car with inoperative doors or have passengers stumble over your bike for the duration of your trip. Be patient, flexible and keep smiling and you'll get there. Even if it has to be the next train because the conductor wouldn't let you put your bike on his train. One final comment. Be sure to have your ticket validated in the little yellow machine before you board the train.

Dan Kluckhuhn, October 12, 2004

Rome Airport to the train station

There is a train station at the airport, Roma Fiumicino (or Leonardo da Vinci, the newer name). You go up from baggage claim to get to the train; follow the signs for 'Stazione FS'. You can get trains from there to central Rome, Roma Termini, and transfer to trains to other locations, including Florence.

The train from FCO to central Rome is about 8 Euros/person for 2nd class. The web site for the Rome airport is; there is a link at the upper right for English if you prefer than over Italian. If you do not have bikes, the EuroStar from Roma Termini to Florence is great; nice to skim across the countryside at 200km/hr+.

- rick

Rick Warner, September 07, 2004

Bikes on trains in Italy

My wife and I found it reasonably simple to bring our two loaded touring bikes with us on local trains in Italy in September 2003.

There is a train that runs from Rome's DaVinci airport to several stations in Rome. We were able to go to Roma Trastavere (sp?) and transfer there to a train that ran up the west coast to Tarquinia (and beyond). We were also able to return to the airport by this route.

Many of the smaller trains in Italy will take bicycles. You must get a ticket (valid for one day) for your bike. We were not able to buy the bike ticket from the computerized ticket machines. We took a chance and paid the person on the train who checked our tickets. This may be more expensive but it saved a long wait in the usual ticket lines. The Italian railway website shows which trains will take bikes.

At least some of those trains have a large bicycle logo on some of the doors of some of the coaches. On most trains, you must put your bikes by the doors so there is probably only room for 2 loaded bikes at each door. Some trains had extra space for luggage or bikes. It is important to check that the doors on both sides of the train are in working condition. Going from the airport to Roma Trastavere, we found that we entered on one side of the train and exited on the other. Since the doors on that side were broken, we had to squeeze our loaded bikes through the coach to the next set of doors.

Also, it is possible to leave loaded bikes as checked luggage of DaVinci airport. One loaded bike counts as one piece of unusual luggage. Unfortunately, the checked luggage is not open 24 hours and it may be necessary to spend the night in the airport if you have an early flight. DaVinci airport allows you to sleep on the floor over night.

John Bernard, August 10, 2004

Fiumicino airport - Rome won't take bikes unboxed (flying Emirates)

We flew Emirates out of Rome Fiumicino to Dubai-Johannesburg. Even though the Emirates office in Johannesburg had told us that bikes only need to have handlebars turned and pedals removed, the Emirates staff at Fiumicino refused to check-in the bikes unless they were boxed or bagged, claiming that the airport ground staff would not accept them as they were. I assume then that this rule would apply to all airlines flying from Fiumicino.

Obviously bike boxes aren't an easy thing to come by in an airport so we had them plastic wrapped by a luggage-wrapping service at the airport. This cost us 12eur per bike. Although the plastic would protect our bikes from scratches and other traveller's luggage from our bikes, I got the impression that they were now going to be treated as suitcases and just thrown in with the rest of the luggage with no special handling.

On unwrapping the bikes once back in South Africa my worst fears were confirmed. The bikes had clearly had other baggage packed on top of them and both rear derailleur hangers and derailleurs were bent, one wheel was lightly buckled and my front rack was bent. I am awaiting a quote from my LBS so that I can take this up with Emirates, but I certainly will not be choosing them for my next trip (despite all the hype their food, service and flying experience were no better than any other airline we've travelled on).

BTW, we flew the outbound leg (Johannesburg-Dubai-Rome) with the bikes boxed without any problems. Our intention was not having to waste a day in Rome hunting down bike-boxes, as we've done on previous trips, so the idea of just wheeling the bike on was very appealing.

Nick Coyne, May 13, 2004

San Francisco to Milan on Lufthansa

Found on: rec.bicycles.misc

My wife and I flew two bikes from San Francisco to Milan on Lufthansa in October.

No charges and no hassles.

Any other questions?
Chris Neary

Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Bicycling combined all the elements I loved - Adapted from a quotation by Charles Lindbergh
Chris Neary, December 22, 2003

Into Venice out of Florence

In September 2003, my wife and I flew American Airlines from Chicago O'Hare to Paris DeGaulle on to Venice via Air France. We had boxed the bikes and they were treated as 1 piece of checked luggage for each of us. No fees. No problems.

We returned same airlines from Florence, we accepted a bump in Florence for compensation. Upon return to Chicago, the bikes had not made the correct plane because of our decision to take the bump they got delayed. The next day they were delivered to our home in Milwaukee. Congrats due to American Airlines and Air France. No fees charged and no hassle.

Gary H

Gary H, November 11, 2003

LOT Polish Airlines

Last July I took my bike to Italy upon my return to Warsaw, Poland from Milan Airport my bike case came out on the belt with the top smashed and the plastic cracked.

I proceeded to baggage claim and we opened the case to determine if the bike was OK. Naturally I could not get it closed and when I asked for straps I was told there are none. Only after I threatened to get the airport manager did they come out with a box of straps.

The Milan Airport completely mishandled the case. I understand since then all the baggage handlers were fired for stealing.

Norman Sherran, October 24, 2003

EXCELLENT service on Air France checking bike as baggage

On July 28, 2003, I flew from Florence, Italy (FLR) through Paris (CDG) to Washington Dulles (IAD) with my Fondriest road bike packed up nicely in a cardboard box. Tires deflated, pedals detached. I had not one single problem at the Florence airport or upon return to the states. Air France didn't charge me a cent, as the box was checked with one additional piece of baggage. I should note that my bike is light - with packaging it weighed in at 14 kilos, so this may have helped matters.

All in all - hooray for Air France for ease and lack of charges!! Why can't all airlines be like this?

Christina Villafana, August 02, 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


Bike and tent hire Italy, explore Dolomites, Alps, Como, Garda, Tuscany also B&B....

FRASER WILSON, May 05, 2003

Farm house stay near Venice

We provide farmhouse accomodations for people who want to ride bikes near Venice, Italy.

Kind regards,
Alessandra and Giorgio Pasti
Agriturismo Tenuta REGINA
Via Casali Tenuta Regina,
8 Piancada

Tel ++ 39 (0)431 587 941 Facsimile ++ 39 (0)431 587 941 [email protected]
Adriabella home page:

Alessandra and Giorgio Pasti, April 20, 2003

Bike Bags free on Italian trains

Good news - you can now carry a disassembled bike inside a bike bag free on all internal Italian trains, including inter-city expresses, without extra cost. Previously you had to buy a daily bike ticket, which was grossly unfair. The situation on international express trains is not yet clear, at least to me, so ask in station beforehand.

You still need the daily bike ticket to carry an assembled bike on a train, and this is still only possible on the trains that have a bicycle symbol shown in the timetable. Most of these are slower regional trains. Remember to "validate" the bike ticket at both ends before you start your journey, using the appropriate yellow box on the platform. Half the ticket sticks to your bike and half stays with you to show the ticket inspector.

Brian Tomlin, February 16, 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

Bike rental and tours in Tuscia (Rome, Italy)

Hi George,
I would like to inform bikers that if they are coming to Italy and landing at the Fiumicino airport (Rome), they can take a train and reach the Bracciano lake, rent a MTB or hybrid bike and get lost in this unknown Etruscan land, maybe forgetting their original Italian vacation. (Just a joke.)

We are a small local bike company located in Anguillara Sabazia (Bracciano lake), providing sport bike rental, MTB wild guided excursions, self-guided cycling tours (with multisport options) around the volcanic lakes of the Tuscia region (only an hour from Rome).

Thank you

Ruth Bencini
phone: 0039-069995564
mobile phone: 0039-3290148889
[email protected]

Ruth Bencini, August 21, 2002

Tours in France, Norway, Italy, Austria, Spain, Chile, and the Easter Islands.


My name is Dainius Lukosevicius, I am the managing director at Brindisi Biking and Hiking. We provide guided biking and hiking tours in France, Norway and will add Italy (Tuscany in 2003), Austria, Spain, Chile, and the Easter Islands.

You may call me toll free in North America. 1 888 849 9474, 1 514 849 1187 You may view our site at


Dainius Lukosevicius, August 19, 2002

Continental Airlines/Fiumicino Airport

Before leaving the US I was told by Continental agents that I could buy a bike box for the return trip at the Continental desk at Fiumicino Airport.

Not so . . . the Continental people at Fiumicino said they didn't have, and have never had, boxes. After I had asked at all the other airline counters and hadn't found a box (Delta had two, but only for their customers) a Continental employee located one that I purchased from US Airways. The lack of tape was the next hurdle but again Continental solved the problem by providing a roll of adhesive-backed baggage label strips that worked quite well.

Next time I travel I'll definitely double-check not just the airline's general policy, but also the specific operations at the airports I'm using.

Ron, May 20, 2002

Venice (Marco Polo Airport)

Found on: [email protected]

Living space in Venice is at a premium, bike storage space in Venice is almost non existent. If your hotel doesn't have the ability to accommodate you the train station is your best bet. You should be able to travel from Marco Polo airport with your bike aboard the vaperato (passenger ferry) as passenger luggage, though I have not seen this done.

Secondly, Lido Beach allows bikes and you might want to consider spending an early morning riding there. Simply retrieve your bike from storage and take the ferry to the beach. Seeing how the Island is only 6mi. long and you would not have much of a ride for what the hassle of bringing your bike out there.

Another option is to rent bikes across from the ferry landing.

BOB SMITH Westchester NY

Bob Smith, March 29, 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

United Airlines

LAX-Milan, December 29, 2001

I called united Airlines ahead of time to ensure they knew I was bringing a bicycle and to confirm policy. They said I didn't need a box, just heavy duty plastic, but there are usually boxes available. Arrive 30 minutes early.

I attempted to confirm a couple of days before departure and to see if I could get the box in advance (since the flight was at 7am, meaning I 'should' be there at 3:30 am), but the agent was confused about the whole thing and I was busy.

I ended up at the airport at 5:15 am, avoided the very, very long check-in counter by using the Surfboards, bicycles and extra luggage counter. The guy was very helpful - he gave me the box ($10) and tape so I could put things together while I waited. By 5:40 I was headed to the gate. I was certainly better off than all the bikeless souls standing at the regular check-in.

Retreived without incident in Milan. I had a connection in Washington, DC, but I didn't have to deal with the bike there. No charge, checked as a second checked item.

I dragged the bike, in box and with my other bags, downstairs to the Malpensa Express and headed to the city center.

michael, January 09, 2002

Bike Shop, Campobasso, Molise, Italy

Hi i'd like to insert the site in your site, if it's free. This is a bycicle shop with a team. It's Campobasso, Molise, Italy. Thanks

[A VERY slick website, but appears to work only with Micro$oft's browser. - GF]

Planet, December 13, 2001

Milan, Italy

Update on Milan:

Sorry to see that some people have had a difficult time here. Milan is not the most readily accessible city for the tourist. This may be why I chose it as my home. It's not as beautiful as Venice, as full of art as Florence or AS FULL of ruins as Rome. This is, however, an city of ancient origin that used to be based on a system of canals and does have it's share of 14th and 15th century religious art, if thats your thing. Personally, if I never see another dipiction of Mary and baby Jesus, I'll be okay. I do live directly opposite some Roman ruins, which I inherently find more interesting than religious art. (I love the technical and artistic achievement, could stand to lose the god part.)

Milan is less the quaint hill-town many tourists are seeking and more the modern city. No doubt. Anyway, Italy IS car-crazy, no matter where you are. People here love their cars. Milan is no exception here, although just today the city announced three additional pedestrian-only zones. There has been a proposal bandied about for the last few years to close the entire historic center of the city to traffic, and the people of Milan want it. The mayor has managed to find ways around it so far.

However, I can say that I ride my bike to my job everyday. I actually teach English and I do so at an average of 3 far-flung sites each day, so when I say I ride, I mean I ride an average of over 3 hours a day. I will also note for your pleasure that, by a wide margin, more people ride their bikes in this city than they do in my former bike-friendly San Francisco. And they do so more frequently and without any fuss about it.

Now about getting to the airport. You MUST choose the right road if you are coming from the center. The main roads here are very busy. In my experience, you can almost always find a similarly direct route without the hassle.

A couple of people mentioned riding to Gallarate (about 7km) and taking the train. There is now the Malpensa Express that leaves from the airport every 30 minutes. I took my bike (in box) on this train recently without incident. Keep you bike out of the way as much as possible and try to look as presentable as possible - this means a lot here. I am not sure of 'official' policy on Malpensa Express, although I have taken my bike on other local trains in Italy without a problem - other than the 3.50 euro surcharge which can be more than the fare on shorter trips. This is a simple and easy way to get to the center. However, there is no need to dismount there. You can take SS 33, Via Gallarate, all the way into Milan center (39km) (it actually merges into Viale Certosa/Via Sempione). This route takes you to Parco Sempione, the large park behind the castle. From here, you can ride up the pedestrian street Via Dante into Piazza Duomo, the official center of any Italian city.

Mind you, SS 33 is not a quaint country road. You are entering a large metropolitan city. The road rules may be different from what you are used to. But neither is it Blade Runner territory.

UPDATE: The quiet, traffic free way to Milan center: Malpensa lies right on the Ticino River, the Parco del Ticino and the Navigli - the remnants of the old canal system. You can ride the bike routes right into the center in nearly traffic and intersection-free lanes. I don't know exect airport exit directions, but head for the town of Oleggio and follow the canal path (Naviglio Grande) towards the town of Abbiategrasso. In Abbiategrasso the canal forks - you want to go left/north towards Milano. (note: There is a huge Esselunga supermarket here). From Abbiategrasso to Milan is 23.5km and my guess is it's about 30km airport to Abbiategrasso. It's all very flat and goes quickly. At the Milano end, if you arrive at the appointed hour, you are amidst many, many bars and restaurants. Enjoy!

michael, November 28, 2001

Flying with bikes since 9-11

Found on: [email protected]

Corinne Reinhard asked: Has anyone had experience flying with bicycles LATELY--I mean, since september 11?

We flew to Italy on Sept. 14 with our bikes in Trico Iron Cases. The departure experience (first day that airlines were operating again) was long (five hours and we just made the flight) and crowded, as you can imagine, and the bike cases were something of a hassle to maneuver through the crowds. They did require manual inspection before departure, since they don't fit through the luggage X-ray machines. Otherwise no problems.

The return trip out of Florence, Italy was easier - no inspection required - but a little bizarre when we were instructed by airport personnel to leave our bike cases unattended until someone could collect them for transport to the airplane. Although time was short before departure (we were the last ones to board), the bikes made the flight too.

The other problems, which have nothing to do with events on Sept. 11, were that we had to literally bribe taxi drivers to take our cases from airport to hotel, and the hotel (part of a large, too expensive European chain) was not particularly happy about holding the cases for our return, although we had reservations for the final night.

And during the tour, we were enjoying the Marche region so much that we looked into returning to Florence by train, until we were told that bicycles on Italian trains were impossibile, despite obvious schedules showing bicycles allowed on all but the fastest trains. We didn't have the language skills to convince the train official otherwise, and failure to get back to Florence on time would have been a huge problem. And in retrospect, the town we visited on the bike ride back to Florence were some of our favorites.

David (Seriously Considering Bike Fridays) Frost Seattle, WA

David Frost, November 19, 2001

Seattle, Washington (SeaTac)

Found on: rec.bicycles.rides

If you are planing to bring your bicycle through the Seattle airport make sure to have it very well packed and protected. We just returned from a two week ride in Italy to see our bikes unloaded from the plane and thrown into and on top of the baggage cart. As the cart was towed into the baggage area we watched as my wife's bicycle fell off the top and land on the tarmac. Out of the 5 bikes we shipped 4 received significant damage in the hands of the SeaTac baggage handlers. If you are planning to visit the Northwest you might consider flying into either Portland or Vancouver BC and avoid SeaTac entirely.

I have been shipping bikes personally and as tour leader for over 20 years and this is the most damage I have ever seen.

The airline is being very good about reimbursing us for the damage done but, it would have been nice to have just had the same care taken that we experienced at the other airports on our trip.

We were flying British Air. They don't use their own baggage handlers in Seattle as they only have one flight a day in and out. I have been flying bikes in and out of Seattle for over 20 years and this is the first time I've had trouble but, the tossing of the bikes was very blatant. As an update one of the frames was found to be dented beyond repair the damage total is now over $1,300 for the first three bikes.

Michael Collins, May 08, 2001

Trains in Italy

Found on: [email protected]

To stop once for all with urban legends about bicycles on train in Italy:

In Italy most local trains (indicated with a bicycle pictogram on the timetable), allow bicycles which must be carried by the passenger in a special area just behind the cockpit (there is room for about 10 bicycles). The ticket for each bicycles costs ITL 7000 and is valid for 24h independently on the distance you are riding. If there is the bicycle pictogram on the timetable they must allow your bicycle on the train even though there is not a dedicated area (this happens also on German trains). On all other trains (except ES high speed trains) your bicycle is allowed only if properly boxed and the cost rises to ITL 10000 for 24 hours.

Since in Italy the bike-on-train service is not commonly used, some of the train personnel is not well informed and can give you some trouble, but according to my experience until to-day, in the few occasions when it was necessary, a short and kind discussion has alway been enough.

Ciao Valter Fumero
Carignano TO Italia

Valter Fumero, April 04, 2001

Rome, Italy

Found on: [email protected]

We rode from Rome to the airport. That route is along a pretty big, noisy highway, but it's either on a big shoulder, or more commonly a frontage road. Not picturesque but adequate. It's also pretty flat.

There is a ring highway around Rome that you can get to from the airport highway that has a frontage road as well. You should expect to be in nosiy traffic until you exit from the ring road and head north to Tuscany.

We had a great time in southern Tuscany between Orvieto and Volterra. There is a section around Grossetto that is less than spectacular, very industrial, hot, dusty etc. But most of that voyage is through lovely, hilly old towns like Pitiigliano and Saturnia. If you ride to Florence from Rome, I would suggest passing those towns on your way.


Patricia Vance, February 19, 2001

Rome, Italy

The international airport of Rome is a very nice airport for getting in and out of.
Some airports present very difficult exit problems for cyclists. Madrid for example, seems to have only expressway access.

I found Rome's international airport to have excellent access for cyclists. I simply followed the road signs out of the airport area and onto the coastal road heading north. I didn't ride into Rome's airport but see no reason to have any problems.

Wayne Joerding, January 15, 2001

Trains in Italy

I wish to make you aware that all the previous information about the possibility to travel with bicycles on italian trains is now superseded by the official timetable information provided by the italian railways company (Ferrovie dello Stato).

The site is found at , is multilingual and provides optimized information on train service between any two stations of your choice for any chosen day and departure time. It also displays the bicycle symbol for all trains that offer such service, plus other relevant info as train class, need of supplementary tickets, availability of sleeping wagons or berths etc. It is also possible to compute the fare and to search a complete list of the stations.

Just to be complete, all the same info is available, while you are in Italy, over the phone at the number 1478-88088. However there are some serious drawbacks especially for foreigners, because such number is not accessible from abroad nor from cellular phones; in addition it is fully automatic and based on speech recognition so you need to be able to ask your questions in an acceptable italian. To learn to say correctly "sì" for yes and "no" for no is not impossible, but correct prononciation of the names of stations is a real challenge for anglosaxon speakers. Anyway try ...

Ugo De Riu
-----------redazione Gulliver - Pagaiare----------------
e-mail: [email protected] phone: +39-0187-603663

Ugo De Riu, September 24, 2000

Trains in Italy

Found on: [email protected]

Fellow tourists- I have followed the stories about train expeiences on the Pacific Coast. You might be interested in my experience this past summer during a tour in France and Italy. I planned to train from Rome to Paris for the flight home. I had checked the internet Deutsche Bahn european schedule and felt assured that a train existed that would take my bike and me. When I arrived in Assisi, I stopped at the train station to buy a ticket. Two experienced ticket sellers flipped through serveral thick printed schedules for some time and concluded that bke transport was not possible.

The next day in Terni, about 80 km from Rome, I tried again, with the same result. In fact, I just barely got a reservation for a overnight bunk for myself. Worried now about the bike, I did the responsible thing --- had a gelato. While sitting in the plaza, I spied a Mail Boxes Etc, just like the USA. A very nice young fellow who spoke English said they could ship the bike. So we wrapped the bike in bubble wrap and cardboard and tape and I gave him my hotel's address in Paris.

The $250 fee hurt some, but it is a great bike. I trained to Rome, saw the sights for 2 days, had a reasonable overnight train trip to Paris. In Paris, I called UPS to check on the bike. I was informed the bike had been misrouted and was in Milan, and would require special handling to arrive the next day, rather than regular handling that I had paid for. The UPS agent could not accept my authorization to change the handling since Mail Boxes Etc was the shipper. So, the telephone yellow pages gave me a Paris Mail Boxes office. A subway ride and a sweaty walk took me to the office, where a nice fellow, who spoke English, made a phone call, and assured me that the bike would arrive tomorrow.

Sure enough, it showed up at the hotel in the afternoon in time for me to put it together to ride to the Gare du Nord to catch the RER train to Charles de Gaulle airport. So it all worked out, but I did have some worried moments. We cyclists could use some help from the train people.

Ted Herman

Theodore C. Herman, September 21, 2000

Manchester to Rimini with AirTours

Here's some info on AirTours (UK package tour company) who we flew with from Manchester (UK) this year.

Flew from Manchester to Rimini with AirTours (May 2000) - flight only, for a tour of the Marche region of Italy.

They charged a hefty (well I thought it was) £30 return for the bike. Usual minimalist things needed doing (pedals off, handlebars turned, token hiss of air out of the tyres). I just lagged the bike in plumbers pipe lagging, and covered the transmission with cardboard and polythene. (see )

A possible bonus at Manchester when we flew was that AirTours have a 'check in anytime' policy. So, you can take your luggage/bikes whatever, check them in (I think they said up to 24 hours before your flight), and not have to lug them around the airport waiting for desks to open etc. Check-in staff were very friendly and helpful, though I have noticed that they are VERY strict now on the 5kg hand luggage limit (something must have fallen on somebody 😉 I suspect this is a Manchester Airport thing (and not AirTours), as I noticed Brittania did exactly the same thing on the family holiday from the same airport.

All in all, I find Manchester Airport very bike friendly. Never had any problems there.

Return flight from Rimini, they didn't weigh anything! One of my pannier clips snagged in the conveyor belt, and brought the luggage system to a halt. As someone else has already pointed out - must remember to tape the clips down next time!



Alan Nelson, August 30, 2000

Bike Rental -- Malta

Hello George,

I'm Joe Gauci from Malta and your website interested me . I own a bike shop - rentals, sales etc. I would like to ask what shall I do so that my website will be reachable from yours.

This is my e-mail and website: [email protected]

Hope that I receive from you soon and thanks in advance,


Joe Gauci, June 25, 2000

Rome, Italy

We had the complementary problem of thinking about cycling IN to Fiumecino from Tuscany in order to catch a morning flight back to the US. We dreaded going through Rome to connect with the airport. Where would we find stay overnight? How would there possibly be room on the Metro during rush hour the next morning?

Somehow, we dug out a tattered printout from some web page containing a number for Maurizio B & B. And that was the end of our anxieties. Maurizio, certified mensch and a bike tourist¹s guardian angel!

The B & B is an apartment in a working class neighborhood near the Tiburtina station where our bus came in. We were an hour late but Maurizio waited for us patiently. The three bedrooms, two baths, and kitchen were newly-renovated, spotlessly clean, and luxurious--great beds, pillows, thick towels, etc.

Maurizio had waiting in our room:

  1. two strong bike boxes,
  2. a couple good hunks of bubblewrap,
  3. a magic marker, and
  4. packing tape.

This meant that we had our bikes packed up within an hour and were able to use the rest of the day sightseeing in Rome instead of madly blithering around bikeshops in search of boxes. That evening, Maurizio cooked us risotto, mushrooms, and roasted potatoes with rosemary for supper and showed us slides of his New Zealand bike trip.

Then, the next morning, the kindest act of all: For a ridiculously small extra charge, Maurizio strapped our bikes to the top of his car and drove us and our gear out to the airport through heavy traffic. He even hung around in case we had any trouble getting Alitalia to honor its commitment to take the bikes as a regular piece of luggage. (We didn¹t).

Contact Maurizio by email at: [email protected]

Check out the B & B at Randy Koch, May 15, 2000

Trains and Buses in Italy

We just returned from a one month bike tour of Sicily and Tuscany. I have only two other such trips to compare this with, one to southern France, the other to New Zealand. The pleasures are varied and infinite; our anxieties seemed to center on how to take our bikes and baggage along on public transportation--busses, trains, and planes--when that proved necessary

New Zealand is a special case. For better or worse, New Zealand has given itself over wholeheartedly to tourism. A system of shuttle busses welcomes bikes and will gladly even forward unneeded baggage to lighten up before crossing a mountain pass. I heard of a case where a pilot flying a single engine charter service couldn¹t find room inside and instead lashed a bike outside under the wing. In the vocabulary of the Kiwi bureaucrat, there is no such word as "impossible."

"Impossible" is the first word that Italian (and French) officials utter. They seem to regard bicycles as some species of dirty, dangerous, and unpredictable animal. A few local trains in Italy take bikes, but almost never the trains which we needed to take. When possible, we took busses.

In Italy, a network of blue RAMA busses seems to connect the smallest hamlets in both Sicily and Tuscany. We could count on being allowed to slide our bikes underneath in the luggage compartments of these busses without boxing or bagging them or removing any wheels.

However, we have trouble trying to use a regional, SIRA bus for a longer haul, from Tuscany to Rome. At the bus stop, the driver first uttered the dreaded "impossible" but relented after much begging and pleading. He then made us pay the equivalent of two extra tickets for the bikes and baggage . He did not give us tickets or receipts, a highly unusual event in any sales transaction in Italy. Did he have the right to charge us these extra fares? Did he simply pocket this money as a bribe?

After a couple traumatic experiences with Italian trains, we advise the following strategy:

1. Take a bus instead, if possible.

2. Buy some plastic and packing tape at a hardware store (ferramenta). Remove both wheels to shorten the package as much as possible. Wrap the whole bike in plastic. Liberally tape the plastic both to attach the plastic and to conceal the fact that this is a bike.

3. When you get to the station, don¹t ask anybody if this is ok: they will only say no.

4. When the train arrives, boldly march aboard with the bikes and baggage. If the bikes will fit in an overhead rack, you are home free. Otherwise, look in an older car for a small baggage compartment. As a last resort, bungee the bike packages in one of the passage ways between cars where people hang out to smoke cigarettes. By the time a conductor gets wind of what you have done, it will be too late to put you off the train. If he gets angry, feign complete ignorance of the rules and the Italian language. Appear confused and helpless. It will appear to him far less trouble to just cope with the situation.

Our ultimate challenge was getting from Tuscany to the Da Vinci airport in Fiumecino, just outside Rome, in order to catch a morning flight back to the US. We dreaded going through Rome to connect with the airport. Where would we find stay overnight? How would there possibly be room on the Metro during rush hour the next morning?

[See "Airports" for details -- GF]

Randy Koch Plainfield, VT

Randy Koch, May 15, 2000


While planning to carry our bikes (brand new and scratch free!) by flight from Malpensa to Rhodes (Greece) we carefully read throughout the various suggestions in Travel with Bicycles - Boxes, Bags, etc. . I was most convinced by the lightweight approach suggested by Jim Ehle, and supported by various others. Wrapping in plastic bubble and foam not only protects the bicycle but also underlines the fragility of the item and prompts the airline personnel to take care. So we followed literally Jim's instructions. The wrapping operation took about 30 minutes each time incl. pedals removed, handlebars sideways; the wheels were left in place and still rolling. In fact it worked perfectly. We paid 30 US$ (once only) including insurance for each bicycle, not too bad. The bicycles were checked in to a special access for extra sized items, and at arrival we were similarly called to a special exit. No damage at all to be reported, no adjustment needed. So I wish to thank Jim and encourage others to follow his prescriptions. Ugo

Ugo De Riu, May 07, 2000

Lamezia Terme, Bari Palese, Italy

George, just a couple more airport tips on Italy...

Lamezia Terme: grotesque architecture, but surprisingly cool and efficient airport both on arrival and departure with a bike in a bike bag on an Al Italia internal flight (paying the 30.000 Lire surcharge in 1999).

Bari Palese: chaotic and unpleasant little airport, try to spot your bike on arrival and get close to it at all costs. I was sent to the administrative section "where it will arrive", in the meantime it was sent up on the normal conveyor belt, where by a miracle it did not jam (just), was not wrecked (well packed) and was not stolen (I had planted an observer who got there first).

Brian Tomlin, March 26, 2000

Bike Rental -- Rome, Italy

There are two bicycle shops in Rome that I suggest. One is Lazzaretti, in Piazza Fiume Tel. 06/85.53.828 (10 minutes walking from Termini central railway station) Mr.Mario speaks english. The other is Bacco in Via Assisi (more far towards Tuscolana railway station). You can ask for packing and other bicycle services. Attention, not all the trains have the special wagon for bicycles, so it is better to ask in advance.

For any additional need in the Rome area you should contact Maurizio Triolo ([email protected]) who is himself a quite serious bike traveller (he toured all New Zealand, Ireland etc.), and has now opened a small but delicious Bed&Breakfast, named Maurizio B&B. It is located in Via Vassallo, 61 reachable in 10 minutes by feet from Stazione Tiburtina (that is a stop of Metro B and of the train from International Airport of Fiumicino). He offers 3 rooms, each with 2 beds (one of them is more spacious and can arrange two extra beds), with all comforts including Internet connection. Price is 35 USD per room per night, and 45 for the larger one. Continental breakfast is 3 USD. He can arrange for maps, guided tours, storage of bike boxes etc; and knows from personal experience every need of a bike tourist. Phone is 06-43.83.668 o 0761-600.872 o 0339-13.43.233 - book well in advance!

In case you have the same need in Tuscany, I like to mention another excellent address for bike rent, equally friendly and supportive: Giuliana Mulas - CICLOPOSSE BIKE COMPANY - Montepulciano - Siena - Italy tel & fax +39 0578 716392 <[email protected]> . I believe they don't offer B&B themselves but can certainly make arrangements. feel free to ask more!


Ugo (Sandro) De Riu

phone: +39-125-45837

Ugo De Riu, March 23, 2000

Bike Rental and Touring in Sicily, Italy

Found on: [email protected]

I never cycled Sicily, but i can give you some tips on how to travel in Southern Italy in general (no racism: I live in Southern Italy!)

Large towns and main roads are a traffic mess: best avoid them or be careful.

Minor roads are almost empty. Just beware of young bored male on small overpowered cars. You can hear them coming from far away.

Bike rental is done on a maybe we will do it for you basis. Don't look for certainties like a site. Phone some shops. You will find a lot of kind people willing to help you but you will have to speak Italian.

Sicily is a BIG and mountainous island. Riding from Palermo to Messina will take you a lot of time if you want to avoid the main roads (and you will want to avoid them).

Be very aware of theft, especially in major towns but also in the open country. Never let down the guard.

People tend to be very kind with you (sometimes too much) if you are polite to them. They can be exceedingly rude if you pretend something. This is true with Police too.

About police: Sicily is full of Police, I don't have to tell you what the island's worst trouble is. This can be reassuring but also confusing. They wear at least 6 different uniforms.

ciao Luca

Luca Guala, March 21, 2000

Bike Rental and Touring in Sicily, Italy

Found on: [email protected]

In absence of better rental contacts, if you are prepared to limit your range a bit, there is a Club Med at Kamerina on the south-east coast which has decent racing bikes for trips by residents. Ten days is just enough to see that area well (Noto, Modica, Ragusa, Comiso, Donnafugata) and have a few longer jaunts by bike and/or car (Agrigento, Siracusa, Catania and Etna, which erupted today).

My advice on trips to take - avoid summer if you can, read a good guide book, don't hurry, set aside a few more holidays to understand this fascinating place. I can't wait to go back.


Brian Tomlin, March 19, 2000

Renting Bikes in Florence, Italy

Found on: rec.bicycles.rides,rec.bicycles.soc


I rented a bike from Florence by Bike for 2 days last June. The bikes are in excellent condition and they have quite a few. IIRC, my friend actually got a Bianchi with Campy-8 and Rolf wheels. I'd suggest emailing the owners -- they gave us a discount for the 2nd rental day, so I'm sure you could work something out with them. They speak good English and know the Chianti region very well. If you're a roadie, you may want to bring pedals and shoes b/c their bikes have toe cages.

I strongly recommend them,


Gregory William Munson, February 22, 2000

Bike Box Storage

Found on: rec.bicycles.rides

Bike cases can be left in deposit at the same airport. Last year rate was less than $3 a day. Enjoy your trip.

-- Angelo Bandini

Angelo Bandini, February 10, 2000

Renting Bikes in Italy

Found on: [email protected]

Two years ago i went to Massa in Italy with the intention to bike in the Alpi Apuane. I left my own bike at home, afraid of what air-transportation might do to it. A friend of mine, who speaks italian, went to a bicycle-shop and asked if he couldt rent a racer on my behalf. The shop-owner went completely bananas. He considered the question an insult from an ignorant customer. He said that to rent an ordinary bike was OK but a racer... Would i let you rent my Mother????, was the final indignant words my friend heard a he fled the shop. I tried myself in another shop and was met by smiles and impossibile. I must have looked rather setback and disillusioned because one of the guys went into the backroom of the store and came back with an old but wonderful Colnago. I think it was his own old bike. The rest of the week was a dream. Next year I was back, this time with my own bike.

Peter in a snowy Sweden, 18 below zero

Tolander Peter, January 22, 2000

Bike rental in Italy -- Tuscany

George, In March 1999, a friend and I rented bicycles from Marco and Giuliana at Cicloposse (which I believe is now in Pienza, but may still be in Montepulciano). I can enthusiastically endorse them. We arranged for the rental via e-mail. The bikes were 21 speed Cinelli frame, Shimano components, Michelin tire, hybrids; which performed flawlessly for our six day self contained trip. The bikes were delivered to us in Florence and we left them off with Marco(who is very friendly and gracious)in Pienza. Anyone looking to rent rather than take their bikes for a tour of Italy should strongly consider Cicloposse. I would rent from them again anytime.

Tom Williams

gogi, August 28, 1999

Overnight train -- Venice to Budapest

I have advice on taking bikes on the overnight train to Venice to Budapest: DON'T.  We did this, and our bicycles were stolen. We met other bicyclists in Budapest who suffered the same fate.  The police in Budapest seemed completely unsurprised.  My impression is that it is a normal occurrence for all the bikes on the train to disappear.

Unless some effort has been made to fix this problem, the Venice-Budapest route is unsafe for bikes.

My hunch is that Venice-Vienna is a safer option.  It travels through only two countries, which probably makes it easier to police.

-- Curtis Schmelling

Curtis Schmelling, August 01, 1999

Renting bikes in Italy

Hello George!

I found your web about bike rental in the world, and I noticed Florence by bike is listed with our old address.
Here is the new one:

- Florence by bike
Via San Zanobi, 120/122 r
50129 Firenze
Tel./Fax 0039/055/488992

Here are our services:

- bike rental (city bikes, mountain bikes, mountain bikes with suspentions, aluminium hibrids, race bikes, road bikes);
- guided city tours;
- guided countryside tours;
- self guided tours with suggestions on routes to follow and maps for free.

Thank you very much!!

andrea sebastiano, July 10, 1999

Pisa, Italy

Pisa airport (also serving Firenze): quite close to the town, just ride for a few minutes to the center - no problem. A direct train service to Firenze, with the possibility to carry bicycles, is also available either from Pisa aeroporto or from Pisa Centrale stations.

Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1999

Bologna, Italy

Bologna airport: about 5 km from the center and easily reached by riding. Bicycles are most appreciated and used in Bologna - so beware of theft if yours looks attractive! I need to admit, this is said for ugly personal reasons: my sister had 7 stolen there in one year, including mine. Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1999

Genoa, Italy

Genova airport: you reach quite easily the busy Sampierdarena downtown center and the Porta Principe railway station in a matter of minutes. The traffic can be heavy but bicycle riders are frequently met and car drivers are aware of them.
Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1999

Genoa, Italy

I recently flew out of Genoa, Italy. The bus from the train station to the airport amazingly takes unboxed bikes in the passenger area, but that was at a very uncrowded hour. it was great. Alitalia required boxes for the bikes, but did not charge extra. You could also ride to the airport through some gritty and congested areas. No boxes are available at the airport. There is no left luggage at the airport (discontinued recently due to security concerns).

Avrin Slatkin, May 23, 1999

French Trains

[I sent] an email to SNCF and [received the following] reply from an official of the french railway. It may be of use on your site.

Subject: Re: Informations SVP
Sent: 4/16/19 5:21 PM
Received: 4/30/99 11:50 AM
From: D.Boiron, [email protected]
To: Doug Ross

Dear Sir,

In reply to your letter dated April 21, please find the following information about taking your bike.

In TGV trains and on Corail coaches, you may take your bike in the TGV luggage stacks and on the wide vestibules of Corail coaches.

These measures apply to cycle which can be fold up or placed with their wheels removed in specials covers. You can purchase such covers from specialised shops.

On some Regional or Grandes Lignes trains marked whith a mention " bike transport " in the SNCF timetables on our server you can take your cycle free of charge.

However you will have to load and unload it yourself and you will remain responsible for it all time.

In some trains (especially regional trains) the capacity of luggage van is restricted to 3 cycles. You will have to load/unload your cycle without delaying the departure of the train.

I inform you that now you can access our internet site at When you are on the first screen, you can choose the english version in activating on the english flag.

You can obtain the train fares and schedules at

To get a price when you are on the "list of journeys" you have to select one schedule. When you are on the view "list of journeys" it is necessary to select a journey 1 or 2 or 3 on the left of every timetable. Then you have to follow the dialogue up to obtain your price.

I hope this information will help you.

Yours sincerely.

Florence Delalé
[email protected]

Doug Ross, May 03, 1999

Milan, Italy

I had to cycle from the city to the airport and the signs only cater for the motorway driver. I eventually worked it out. The airport is about 10 miles from the city centre and the first sign I saw for it was half a mile from it.
Milan is the most overrated city I've ever been in. I would never ever go back there under any circumstances whatever. Also, beware, the traffic in that area of Italy is very heavy. It's very densely populated.

Garry Lee, January 29, 1999

Custom bikes with custom boxes

Thanks for your informative web site.
We have just returned from two months cycling in Europe with relatively few hassles. Our bikes were custom made with the frame coming apart. We had boxes made with wheels so the bike, helmet and bike shoes etc all fitted in and the box could be wheeled along footpath without the need for trolleys. The box measured approx 800cm x 800cm x 400cm and when fully loaded weighed 32 kg. Qantas carried the bikes for free, but there is a maximum load of 32kg. If a single item is heavier than this, the baggage handlers will not take it.

We took the bikes in the boxes on Intercity trains including the TGV within France and Italy without cost, although some manpower was needed to lift them on and off the train and up and down stairs on station platforms. Looking for signs on the train for disabled access proved helpful, as there was often more luggage or seat room and in two months of travelling I can't recall seeing anyone in wheelchair on a train. Most conductors were generally helpful and while other travellers commented on the size of the boxes, they were generally ignored. The boxes also slid easily into the luggage compartment of a bus.

We also transported the boxes on the Metro (bicycles are not allowed ) in Paris and on the RER line without incident, except on departure from Charles de Gaulle airport. To exit from the station at Terminal 2, it was necessary to insert your ticket and pass through a turnstile which would not accommodate the boxes. There were no station staff available so we ended up lifting the boxes over the barrier. We were flying with Alitalia from Paris to Rome, where we had a connecting Qantas flight to Melbourne. We had inquired when booking tickets and again on flight confirmation whether or not there was a charge for the bicycles and were told there was not. For them to be accepted by Alitalia we had to pay excess baggage and retrieve the bikes from the luggage hall at Rome and recheck them into Qantas, where there were no hassles. An expensive and hassly end to a great cycling holiday.

Kath Raulings, November 21, 1998

Florence/Firenze, Italy

Someone asked:
> We have an S&S coupled tandem (Comotion co-pilot) ... but we don't know where we'll be able to store the hard case in Florence while we're riding. Anybody out there have information about storing stuff in Florence?

You can leave it at the train station, it will cost you Lit 5,000/day (apprx 3 bucks).

alexgian, September 23, 1998

Trains in Italy

I have a current map of train carrying bicycles in italy (The thicker the line, more the service in the day)
I also put a link to that has a searcheable timetable (You can also ask it to show only trains that carry bikes) and also to (Just look ... )
Leonardo Boselli (NIT)
Dipartimento Ingegneria Civile
Universita di Firenze
Via Santa Marta 3
I-50139 Firenze

Leonardo Boselli, August 23, 1998

Bike Rental and trains in Switzerland, Italy

Dear George,

I read with interest your section on renting bikes in Europe, and I wanted to give you some updated information for your bike rental web page on how to rent bikes in Switzerland. We just got back from our own self-contained 3-week trip to Switzerland and Italy, and rented bikes in Switzerland from the railroad station. They have a program there called "Rent A Bike" which enables you to rent bikes of 7 or 21-speed for 76 Swiss Francs per week that you can return them to over 400 train stations in Switzerland.

However, there are only 2 train stations in all of Switzerland that currently have 21-speed mountain bikes that have rear racks that are suitable to put panniers on that you can rent. These 2 railroad stations are located in the Swiss alps in Goeschenen or Airolo. We took the train up from Zurich up to Goeschenen which is on the Oberalp (over the alp) pass, rented them from there,and started our bike trip from Goeschenen. The railroad station bikes were new (only 2 months old) but a little on the heavy side with fenders, generator lights, kick stand, etc. and did not have toe clips.

We purchased pedals with toe clips from a bike shop in the next town, on the Oberalp pass in Andermatt, which we donated to the Swiss railroad Rent A Bike program afterwards. We were able to put our panniers on the bikes and found them very comfortable. We had no mechanical problems with them, and took them into Italy without any problems. We climbed 6 mountain passes on these Rent A Bikes and were able to take them on the train from Bolzano,Italy to Verona, Milano and return them to the train station in Zurich, Switzerland without any major problems.

I highly recommend this program for bike tourists who don't want the hassle of bringing their own bikes. Switzerland also has 6 very well marked national bike paths. The drivers were very friendly to us in Italy, as well, and would often go into the oncoming lane to give us our space. Italian bicyclists, who hardly ever would be burdened down with panniers, also gave us good advice about best routes to take, etc.

In contrast, six years ago we brought our own bikes from the U.S. to Zurich and they did not arrive on the airline, but were found the next day with a dented top tube, 2 flat front and rear tires, and a dented frame. This time we got on the airplane like normal people, and we felt so liberated this time because we could change our itinerary to go anywhere we wanted, without worrying about how we could get our bikes back to our destination. With 400 train stations to choose from, it's not a problem to get back.

I think the Internet address in Switzerland for tourism is or you could also try e-mail to: [email protected]

Most Swiss people just rent these bikes for a day or two, and seldom put panniers on them; however, I think these are a good alternative to bringing your own bike.

Lynn Schneider

Lynn Schneider, August 13, 1998

Trains in Italy

With this note I want to draw your attention to the fact that starting from May 24th rules for carrying your bike on trains in Italy are changed. The new issue of Italian timetable known as "IN TRENO" still identifies trains where you can load your bicycle with a clear sign but the number of these trains has been drastically reduced: for these trains you can go on buyimg the one-day supplement at 5000 lire (2.6 Euro) in addition to the train ticket.

Lombardia is the region where the most of trains has been cut out: in the timetable there are NO TRAINS running entirely within the region allowed to carry your bike.

However in the first pages of the timetable it has been written in a very confusing way that buying a special ticket whose cost is 80000 lire ( 40,2 Euro) lasting one year, you are entitled to carry your bike on all the trains you see green-coloured in time table in addition to the ones you see in the timetable with the sign mentioned about except Intercity ...

Clear isn't it ? And there are other rules like that: as soon as I'll be sure of the translation I'll let you know.

Last thing: the special ticket at 80000 lire can only be bought at FIAB (Federazione Italiana Amici Bicicletta = Italian Bicycle Friends Federation) whose web you can retrieve through Trento Bike Pages section Italy.

My opinion ? Up to now Italian rail employee have shown themselves very ignorant about the rules concerning carrying bikes on trains: from now on I think they will be more and more ...

I'll keep the old timetable and go on using with my bike the train I was used to ...

Thanks for any reply from who knows more about the subject.

MARCO BUFFA, June 03, 1998

Touring Tuscany and Umbria, Italy


A tour of Tuscany & Umbria a friend and I made in May 98.
Info there on packing lists, packing the bikes, as well as tour info. Alan Nelson, April 30, 1998

Trains in Italy

Barbara Wilson (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

Lori Turoff - Director, La Corsa Tours, April 23, 1998

Trains in Italy

I recently traveled to Italy with my bike in a Trico Ironcase. The airline (TWA) didn't charge me extra either way, although they knew I had a bike, and that if the case counted as luggage I was way over the limit.

On the Italian railway system, there was no need to buy a supplemental ticket for my bike while it was in its case. I had been told that first-class cars have a special little room for luggage at the end of the car, where I could leave my enormous case. That was true, but on my train at least, so did the second-class cars.

Dan Schaffer, Boston MA

Dan Schaffer, October 20, 1997

Bike rental in Italy -- Tuscany

Hello George
I am Giuliana from Italy - Tuscany rental bike CICLOPOSSE
I e-mail you because is changed the URL:

Cicloposse, September 06, 1997

Renting bikes in Italy

Other place is "I Bike Rome", in Via Veneto 156, just near Villa Borghese. Rates (Aug 97) from 10000 LIT/day

Manuel Alonso, August 31, 1997

Renting bikes in Italy

Northern Piemonte TROMPETTO Gianpietro 35, v. S.Pietro Martire 10015 IVREA 0125-45222  
Garda lake (Lombardia) VILLAGGIO TURISTICO DEL VO' 25015 Desenzano del Garda (BS) - 9, v. Vo'

Tel 030/9121325, 030/9121487 - fax 030/9120773
Delta of river Po (Romagna) FEDRA 44020 Goro (FE) - 9, v. dei Musicisti

Tel 0533/996940 - fax 0533/996940
60 bikes available - also offers guided tours in the Po river delta
and 6 thematic botanic gardens
Emilia - not far from Bologna SALA SILVANO 41023 Lama Mocogno (MO) - 102/106, v. Giardini

Tel: 0536/44038
southern Lazio - 80 km from Rome ROMANTIC CAMPING 04019 Terracina (LT) - Km. 0,450, v. Flacca

Tel 0773/727620 - fax 0773/725153
also rents boats
Puglia, coast of Gargano SOLDANO MATTEO ALBERGO VELA VELO 71019 Vieste (FG) - 19, lg.mare Europa

Tel: 0884/706303 - fax: 0884/701462
also rents boats
northern Sardinia - in front of Maddalena Archipelago PUGIONI NATALE 07020 Palau (SS) - 97, v. Nazionale

Tel: 0789/709083 - fax: 0789/709083
also rents motorcycles
Ugo De Riu, August 27, 1997

Renting bikes in Italy

I can now provide interesting information about renting bicycles in two key locations: Florence and Rome. In both cases they can rent good touring bikes in addition to the ubiquitous MTBs, if booked in advance; moreover they can provide touring maps and other useful information.

Rome: Roma bike v. R. Morra di Lavriano (about 1 km north of Vatican City, close to river Tevere where via Angelico ends in Lungotevere Cadorna) cellular phone 0335/8120396 The advertised rate rent is 10.000 lire (6 US$) per day.

I will keep you informed of additional information about rentings, ciao
-----------Ugo Alessandro De Riu----------------------
phone: +39(125)45837 fax/answ: 648035

Ugo De Riu, August 16, 1997

Trains in Italy

You wrote:
>Ugo, What do you think? You provided most of that information, is it no longer needed?

It is true, indeed, that the trains accepting bicycles amount to hundreds, including some cases not shown in the timetable; however, the official regulations and fares are the ones that I contributed, as published in the "Ferrovie dello Stato" guide. You know, Italy is a well known country for goodwill and "arte di arrangiarsi" - I mean, in many cases what is not officially granted may well be possible, depending on the guys you meet. But I believe that it is better for a foreigner to know what is officially granted (i.e. cannot be refused without good reasons) and what is just sometimes possible. So the information currently on line retains, in my opinion, its usefulness.


Ugo De Riu, April 15, 1997


Most of the local FS trains can transport bikes (FS=Ferrovie dello Stato is the national railway company). Trains with bicycle transport are marked in official FS-timetable with a bicycle symbol. I suggest you to buy the timetable in Italy, but be sure to buy the OFFICIAL FS TIME TABLE (ask for "Orario ufficiale delle Ferrovie dello Stato", the one with the white/blue cover), since other unofficial timetables (such as POZZORARIO or GRIPPAUDO) have no bicycle information. Bicycle ticket costs 5000 lire (3$) and is valid 24h since you stamp it (before getting the train).
In the Florence Bike Pages (, page "Florence by bike") you can find more information and also a Florence oriented summary timetable.

By the way, DO NOT EVER SEND YOUR BICYCLES AHEAD! It is expensive and inefficient.
Ferries to Elba depart from Piombino. You can surely take your bicycles on the ferries, probably not on the hydroplanes; when you buy the tickets ask whether you have to pay something for bicycles (try first with "Elba ferries": their line to Corsica takes bikes for free).

Giovanni Lopes Pegna
[email protected]
Fidonet: 2:332/114.2
Firenze - Italy

Giovanni Lopes Pegna, April 08, 1997

Bike rental in Italy -- Tuscany

I visit the site about rental in the world and I see no Italy. We have a biking company here in Montepulciano (SIENA) and we provide top quality rental bike (mountain bike and road bike) in and around Florence, Chianti area and, of course southern Tuscany. I'm preparing some page, with all details about bikes, and soon I will send the adress. Excuse me for my bad english. My e-mail is [email protected]

L180,000 per day, 30,000 per week

Cicloposse, March 27, 1997

Milan, Italy

Thanks to terrorist bombings, there are no longer left luggage facilities at most airports, including Malpensa in Milan. There is a left luggage service at most major train stations in Italy and France. At the Milano Centrale station, there is an attended room where you check your luggage and pay for its storage by the piece. Cost is about $2 per item for a 12 hour period. If you can put everything inside of one case it counts as only one piece and you can save some money. There is no size limit since it's not a locker. The items go behind the counter in a secure room and you get a claim ticket to retreive it when upon your return. In Italian, the service is called "Consegna Bagali". Good luck!

Lori Vendinello & Howard Turoff, Directors, LA CORSA TOURS
Bike Tours & Vacations Designed for Real Cyclists! 1-800 - LA CORSA

Lori, March 17, 1997

Florence/Firenze, Italy

In response to Art and Diann Thoma about flying into Florence Airport:

In 1992 we flew, with bikes, into Florence airport, not into Pisa. We flew on Sabena from NYC, changing planes in Brussels. Florence airport was a pleasure. It was a small airport , we watched our bikes being unloaded onto the tarmac and brought into the terminal. The airport is right outside the city and accessed by city bus lines. You can assemble your bikes and ride right out of the airport easily, it's a fifteen minute ride into the center of the city. Unfortunately there is no left luggage storage at the airport so we had to abandon our boxes. We were able to get new boxes from a couple of bike shops in Florence and take them to the airport by bus (Roberto the airport manager let us leave the boxes in his office overnight)

For your information, the Youth Hostel in Florence is about a 40 minute bike ride from the airport (to drive it takes much longer because of traffic) but you have to plan your route carefully to get across the railroad tracks. The Hostel is in a beautiful old villa overlooking the hills. It has about 400 beds in dorm rooms with a campground adjacent.

Kathy Davidow, February 27, 1997

Rome, Italy

from April 97, bicycles are allowed on holiday days only on Metro B (not yet Metro A) and train to Lido di Ostia. Fare is 1500 lire. Bicycles must be loaded in the first (head) wagon only; tandems and mopeds not allowed. Extension to line A and weekdays planned after the experimental period. Info: Progetto Bici (the league of environmental associations promoting the experiment) tel. 4822055, 7102843. Reservation for groups: 5748087 for Metro, 5754913 for the train.

Ugo De Riu, December 15, 1996

Milan, Italy

Good news - bicycles are now admitted on the three "metropolitana"(subway) lines in Milan, Italy. Appropriate gates have been fitted in most stations, and where they are not available you can ask for entry/exit with your bicycle.

A good and frequently updated map (new stations keep being opened often) shows the connections to railway stations and to "exchange" parking areas.

Moreover, a good deal of information about railways can be found through the Televideo (i.e. teletext) official service at the last 3 digits point to the page number; the railway information is at pages 450-457. In other pages you also find weather (meteo) (400), airlines timetable, stock exchange (300), news, hotels etc. [Fascinating stuff -- GF]

Ugo De Riu, November 27, 1996

Torino, Italy (Caselle)

Torino (Caselle) airport: Bicycle transportation is possible on the bus connecting to Porta Susa railway station. The airport is about 15 km from downtown and riding is possible without major problems. If your destination is not Torino you might, however, like better to head to the railway station of Settimo Torinese (12 km to south-east with much less traffic) that is both on the Torino-Milano and the Torino-Aosta railway lines.

Torino-Caselle airport to downtown Torino (addendum). A good bus connects the airport to the two downtown railway stations Porta Susa (stop) and Porta Nuova (end) in 40 minutes. Bicycles are allowed in the luggage compartment. The passenger ticket costs lire 6000; the bicycle should theoretically pay half of that, but is usually carried for free as the other luggage. The service operates 2 times per hour from 6 am to midnight.

Ugo De Riu, September 07, 1996

Milan, Italy

Malpensa is west of Milan by approximately 25 miles. Getting out of the airport is very easy. The road is two lanes, quite safe and allows easy access to the countryside. Riding into Milan center is dangerous and not at all recommended. The easiest way to get to Milan is to ride to Gallarate (approx. 5 miles from the airport) and get the train to Milan. I suggest staying at a Gallarate hotel and doing Milan as a day trip rather than dragging your bicycle on the train. When departing the country from this airport, Gallarate offers a selection of hotels and the ride to the airport is only a short distance.

Haryl Pascal, September 04, 1996

Olbia Airport (Sardinia), Italy

Olbia Airport (Sardinia) about 3 km south from downtown, and easily reached along the road to Siniscola/Nuoro. The main harbour (Isola Bianca) for ferries to continental Italy is 2 km east from downtown. The other important harbour for ferries (Golfo Aranci) is 14 km north east from downtown.

To be added to information about : Olbia, Sardinia (Italy)
Notes: Left Luggage A convenient place to leave luggage, bicycles and motorbikes is close to the railway station (across the rail) tel. 0789-26877

Ugo De Riu, August 28, 1996

Rome, Italy

Officially the bikes are not allowed, however out of rush hours the train master ("capotreno") can allow the transportation and usually will. Foldables and packed bicycles have the best chances, tandems the worst. Usually there is no charge, but a fare of lire 5000 may be requested. The train operates every 20 minutes, but every three trains, two go to Fara Sabina through Roma Ostiense and Roma Tiburtina (fare 7000) the third is a no stop to Roma Termini Central Station (fare 15000). On the latter the chances to carry bicycles are much lower. This is no problem since Roma Termini is just 2 or 3 km from both Ostiense and Tiburtina. To know more about the metro lines, see the maps to be found in

Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1996

Milan, Italy

An easy bike ride from downtown, and the traffic isn't all that bad, although I haven't tried it in rush hour.

Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1996

Milan, Italy

(Yes, it means "bad thinking"): the way by bus from Milano Stazione Centrale is still possible, but there is a better and more reliable alternative. Very frequent trains reach Gallarate from Milano Porta Garibaldi station and part of them can carry bicycles (standard "Supplemento" ticket costing 5000 lire). You can count on at least 1 viable train per hour in both directions from 6 am to 8 pm. From Gallarate to Malpensa it is a safe and pleasant bicycle ride of about 6 km.

Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1996

Venezia, Italy (Tessera)

Venezia (Tessera) airport: you can easily ride to downtown Mestre (5 km) and then to downtown Venezia (other 5 km). Please note, you must not go inside Venezia by bicycle - and it would be very frustrating anyway; bicycles can however be carried on the ferries if you wish to reach the various islands like Lido and Pellestrina and tour the external side of the Laguna towards Chioggia (a very exciting tour). From north east of the airport there are very interesting cycle paths along the border of the Laguna di Venezia, that avoid the roads and the town of Mestre. These are well worth a tour in themselves, but you'd better get a map from the Mestre
"Amici della Bicicletta" association (phone and fax [2B]39-41-938092). I can provide such map upon request.

Around the Laguna di Venezia by bicycle (addendum) A map and description of the tour can be found at the URL

Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1996

Trains in Italy

1- By buying for lire 5000 a ticket named "Supplemento" you can carry your bicycle on the "regional" trains that are listed in the timetable with the bicycle symbol. The ticket is valid 24 hours from the first stamping, for any distance and any number of trains.

2- The same ticket and conditions apply to many "interregional" trains, also marked with the same bicycle symbol. The list is the following:


3- By buying for lire 10000 a more extensive "Supplemento per Intercity" you can carry your bicycle on some "espresso" and "Intercity" trains as well as on some international connections but limited to the part within the italian borders. All these trains are listed in the timetable with the bicycle symbol. This ticket too is valid for 24 hours and for any distance; it also incorporates what is covered in option 1, i.e. with the same ticket you can board a regional train, then an Intercity, then another regional.

4- By buying for lire 24000 a "Supplemento Internazionale" you can carry your bicycle on the following international connections:

La Spezia - Stuttgart Ventimiglia - BaselRoma - Zurich
Milano - GenevePescara - MunchenVenezia - Budapest
Each connection offers a train daily in both directions. Again, this ticket incorporates what is covered in option 1 (it is unclear if options 2 and 3 are also incorporated; presumably yes).

5- If you partially disassemble the bicycle and enclose it in a suitable bag, that in case of need can be provided in the main railway stations, the transportation is allowed on all trains, only excluding the high speed "Pendolino" service (equivalent to the french TGV). The same "supplemento" as above (5000, 10000 or 24000 lire) is required depending on the type of train.

*Credit* The above informations are adapted from "Amici della Bicicletta", a magazine edited by the very active FIAB - Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta - affiliated to the European Cyclists Federation. For your convenience, I enclose a GIF file reproducing a page with all the addresses of regional clubs affiliated to FIAB; these will of course be happy to provide any help to foreign fellow cyclists wishing to tour their area. I also provided your URL to such magazine, asking them to make it known to their readers. They might as well make an article for their magazine out of the informations contained in your pages; in such case I will let you know.


Of course, in addition to the 5 options listed above, there is the most radical one, the zero-cost one; i.e. when your bicycle is so much disassembled or disguised or folded, that it cannot be easily distinguished from any other piece of baggage. This is an area where individual creativity shines at best; but, sticking to commercial solutions, the reply are the folding models like DaHon, Bickerton, Brompton, De Blasi etc. I have a considerable amount of information about this, because I am since some years the proud owner of a DaHon and of a Brompton, and had a lot of fun with them. To my knowledge, only Brompton offers the real solution, i.e. a bicycle with consistent features and performances that suddenly and quite easily converts to a real "anonymous" piece of baggage. But I would like to know of any new developments and other experiences (to be clear, I have no commercial interest in the matter). Do you know of any URL dealing with the "folding bicycle" matter? Can you point to it? Or would you like that I put together the material that I have, and set up a page that you can point to?
ciao Ugo
-----------Ugo Alessandro De Riu----------------------
Phone: +39(125)45837 fax/answ: 648035
mail: Via S. Ulderico 35 - 10015 IVREA TO (Italy)
Ugo De Riu, July 07, 1996

Trains in Italy

Notes: I can update your information: in 1996 it is still true about taking your bike with you on nearly all trains that are not Pendolino or Intercity, without need to dismount and by loading/unloading the bike yourself. The price is still lire 5000 valid 24 hours on any number of trains.
I would also like to signal that a number of mid-level hotels in suburban areas offer now free bikes (generally MTB) to customers. I plan to provide a list of such hotels in future.

See also similar data from the Trento Bike Pages:

Ugo De Riu, May 18, 1996

Milan, Italy

Malpensa is a long, long bus ride from Milano Stazione Centrale; you can take your bikes on the bus (they ride in the cargo bay of the bus), but you have to be really nice to the porter to get them on. If you fly out of Malpensa, try to make it an afternoon flight and leave in the morning. I'm no lexicographer, but surely Malpensa must mean "bad idea"...

Chris Hermansen, May 16, 1994

1 thought on “Bicycle Touring Experiences from Italy”

  1. Is it possible to hire a bicycle in Bologna and ride to Rome and drop it off there.
    I would want the bike for 10 days


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