If you have treated yourself to one of the many
cycling tours the next biggest decision will be whether you
bring along your own bike. Certainly challenging the Dolomite
Mountains and the volcanic cliffs of Elba Island might suggest
that having a machine that you're totally familiar with, would
be a great asset. After all no one suggested that Italian Bicycle
Tours were all gentle rolling hills.
Thus, if your passion is your bike, Italy is the chosen cycling
holiday location and you have decided to take your bike along,
here are a few suggestions.
These days airlines are not always so accommodating and make
numerous stipulations if you wish to ship a bike. Italy is serviced
by a number of international airlines, each with their own requirements
but it is pretty well assured that they will all make you sign
a waiver to release them from any and all liability if your bike
arrives damaged. Thus preparing your bike ahead of time is preventative
medicine and will guarantee a more enjoyable holiday.
Here's a list of basic todos!
- A box or bag is usually required; some carriers even demand
a hard shell case, so ask!
- Bicycle Handlebars must be turned parallel to the bike frame.
- Front wheel must be removed and preferable taped to your frame,
especially since some airlines have now instituted a maximum
- Pedals must be removed and stashed (not left loose in your
bike box!) My uncle just returned from a cycling tour in India
and the box arrived minus one peddle... Indian peddles are NOT
great, so tie them down
- Lower the pressure in your tires to give more shock resistance.
Some airlines can refuse anything that is pressurized. Think
bike tubes and gas filled shocks! Don't know the answer here
but be aware of it as a possible issue.
- You may have trouble finding a box or bag for the return trip
so plan for this ahead of time. Taking an extra bag and tape
can help if you're desperate at the other end. Not all airports
have supplies available for purchase and not all communities
have a bike store that might donate a used bike box.
- If all else fails book a room locally for the day you return
and often they will store your bicycle box during your cycling
Historically airlines counted a bicycle as one of the two pieces
of luggage that you were allowed on international flights. Today
they are not so lenient, and typically charge between fifty and
one hundred dollars per flight.
They expect you to notify them at the time of your ticket purchase,
and check in earlier if you intent to fly with a bicycle. Many
of their rules seem to be made at the counter at the time you
check in for each flight in each direction so do your homework
so that you know the airline's bike policy ahead of time, as ammunition
in case you have to do battle. Do this for each airline you're
using including all the smaller inter-country hops.
Italian Bicycle Tours can be fantastic holiday experiences or
a nightmare if your bike doesn't show up, so be prepared.
Italian Bicycle Tours