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Nice, France- take my bike or hire?

Discussion in 'Touring and Expedition' started by halister, 4 Jun 2008.

  1. halister

    halister New Member

    Hello there, I am thinking of taking a flight direct to Nice from where I live (Newcastle, UK) to spend a week or so cycling and camping in the south of France.
    I know I can take my bike with EasyJet for a fee of £30 and would like to do this but my problem is that the bike must be packaged in a box. This is OK for traveling to Nice but I don't know where I could leave the packaging while I am on my trip.
    My other option is to hire a bike though the one quote I have had from francebikerentals.com was €790 for 2 bikes for 10 days which seems pretty high.

    Does anyone know of cheap bike hire in Nice or a way I can get my bike there and back?

    Thanks:smile:
  2. Advert
    One solution is not to go with Easyjet, but to go with an airline that doesn't insist on your bike being boxed. Some insist in it being in a bag, but that's more portable. Use the CTC's plastic bag and you can dump it and buy another if you must.

    Or don't fly at all. Eurostar and French trains aren't bad and not all that expensive. Taking a bike on French trains isn't always straightforward, it's true, but probably cheaper than hiring at least.

    Other solutions are to use Easyjet and a box. Book a hotel for your first and last nights, and arrange to leave the box there. Unless you want to cycle with the box (tricky) you might have to use a taxi to reach said hotel.

    If you use an airline that doesn't insist on a box, you can just use a big plastic bag and some pipe insulation. You can cart this around for a bit, but as soon as you find a discreet spot where you can hide it in a bush, do so. Collect it again on your return. If it's gone, buy another bag and some more pipe insulation.

    Consider joining warmshowers.org. See if a host near Nice will look after your packaging and/or you. Or maybe someone on this forum will, or has a friend of a friend...

    I've flown with a bike a couple of times with no box and no bag - just pipe insulation, remove pedals, twiddle the handlebars etc. It's got a few scratches as a result but nothing serious. And after all, it's for riding, not looking at. It's well insured though! I've also used the leave-bag-at-hotel and the leave-bag-under-a-bush methods without a hitch.
  3. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    Take it in a cardboard box and either get another box from a Nice shop or buy a cheap (£30-£40) bag at the end of the trip. Flog the bag on here when you get back if you don't want it.

    It's what I did in Italy but I kept the bag as I didn't have one. There was a local Decathlon in Bologna which was handy!

    There is one in Nice, here

    http://www.decathlon.fr/FR/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur-11511863/
  4. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Veteran

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Easyjet is now £50 a bike if that makes any difference. It was a month ago at Leeds anyway.

    Train from Newcastle with two bikes would not be easy. It could be up to half a dozen changes if you take a ferry and would take ten times as long.

    Fly with the bikes and boxes/plastic bags IMO.
  5. jay clock

    jay clock Veteran

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    I have to disagree on a number of points. I lived in Nice for 3 years and have flown with bikes on Easyjet, Flybe and Ryanair several times (see here www.crazyguyonabike.com/julian )

    - Easyjet do not require a box, they need a bag or box. I use these http://www.bikeadventures.co.uk/shop.html and have done many time with them. Buy one , and print the web page so you can prove it is a bike bag if questioned.

    - £50? From Leeds? Easyjet don't fly from Leeds. The standard charge if pre booked is £16.50. May be more if you just turn up

    - The Decathlon in Nice is an out of town store, here is the correct link http://www.decathlon.fr/FR/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur-11511863/, perhaps 10-12km from the airport. Great shop though! The cycle section (for some odd reason) is in an adjacent building under the Nature Active name but it is all the usual great stuff (I went there in March)

    - renting a suitable tourer in Nice will be tough unless you want a full-on road bike, a beach cruiser or basic hybrid. If pushed buy a bike from Decathlon and fly it home. They have amazing choice, and you would get a pretty reasonable hybrid for around £200 (the sort of thing that would be £300-350 in a UK LBS). I will be in the London Decathlon today and will have a look - they will be cheaper in France

    Finally, I have a friend who lives 8km from the airport. If you did go with a box or a hard case I could probably arrange for you to leave it with her (she has an open but sheltered/hidden underground basement where you could dump it even if she was out. She speaks excellent English)

    Here are my previously saved notes on the subject of bike on plane....

    I have used Flybe on 2 return and one single trip and they have been great. I live 4 miles from Southampton so there is a big atrtaction to use them

    The ONLY issue I have is that officially it is a standby only arrangement, which could really screw up your hols.

    However it has always worked fine

    Because they use smallish planes you have to remove the front wheel as well as the usual pedal/handlebar stuff. If you do not have front pannier frames, you can just turn the handlebars and forks sideways, rather than undo the bolts to twist it. I strap the wheel to the RIGHT hand side of the bike as on the first occasion I ended up with a slightly bent outer chain ring (Stronglight softish alloy) which I bent back with pliers.

    To pack it I use the http://www.bikeadventures.co.uk/shop.html bag - have just binned one after about 5 uses. They weigh 550g and will fit in a pannier or on the rack. I take tons of cables ties (fix wheel to bike, fix pedals to rack etc, and I also unscrew the rear mech (leave all cables on) and cable tie it to the frame to prevent the hanger being bent. On Flybe I use a spacer for the front forks. To tape up the bag I use heavy duty clear tape from B&Q - has a checkered pattern, and tears easily, does not unstick in use, but can be peeled off afterwards.

    TOP TIP, as Flybe are at smaller airports they may well not have an excess baggage Xray large enough for bikes, so do not seal the bag till they tell you they are happy, as they may do a manual explosives swab.

    I have only been asked to pay once with FlyBe. On other occasions they either didn't ask me, or because I was carrying the panniers as carry on bags, they didn't think it was fair. However with new rules on carry on bags (max 1 and rigidly enforced), I will be checking in the panniers, but plan to put these inside a £shop duffel bag I got to avoid being charged on a per-piece basis!

    They will only not carry your bike on the same flight as you if it is very full and very laden. Now that people have to pay for bags this is less likely, as more will reduce luggage and carry it on. But there is the risk in which case they will send it on the next flight

    However I have had telephone contact with Flybe (trying calling Ryanair!) and they are friendly and helpful - I am confident that if the bike misses the plane they would do their best to help.

    Next Flybe is 3 May to Nice, and as I need the bike for the following morning, I pray my good luck keeps!


    I have used Ryanair several times. TURN UP EARLY if only to stop any arguments. To pack it I use the http://www.bikeadventures.co.uk/shop.html bag - have just binned one after about 5 uses. They weigh 550g and will fit in a pannier or on the rack. I take tons of cables ties (fix wheel to bike, fix pedals to rack etc, and I also unscrew the rear mech (leave all cables on) and cable tie it to the frame to prevent the hanger being bent. To tape up the bag I use heavy duty clear tape from B&Q - has a checkered pattern, and tears easily, does not unstick in use, but can be peeled off afterwards.

    TOP TIP, if leaving from smaller airports they may well not have an excess baggage Xray large enough for bikes, so do not seal the bag till they tell you they are happy, as they may do a manual explosives swab.

    With new rules on carry on bags (max 1 and rigidly enforced), I will be checking in the panniers, but plan to put these inside a £shop duffel bag I got to avoid being charged on a per-piece basis!

    Bon voyage
  6. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    Jayclock, your link goes to the Aix en Provence store (as does mine) for some reason but there are 2 in or around Nice nevertheless.
  7. I flew Easyjet Liverpool to Nice last year and have just flown Ryanair East Mids to Rimini.

    You *don't* need a box.

    I used a padded bike bag (ProBikeKit version, which is I think the same as the PlanetX).
    Lots of bubblewrap & pipelag, rear mech and hanger removed, woodblock spacers in fork and stay ends.

    However another guy on the Nice plane simply had his in one of the big polythene bags, bars turned parallel to toptube and pedals unscrewed and screwed-on inwards.

    At Nice, the bikes came out first on the conveyor, a significant time before any of the cases.
    At Rimini, a man brought the bikebag through on a trolley.
    On return, at both UK airports the bikebag came out in amongst all the cases on the conveyor, all dusty and scuffed...
  8. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Easyjet kicked up a stink about the pedals coming off when we flew with them last month, so make sure your spanner's up to it. They weren't keen on the CTC bag but didn't worry too much about it. The CTC bags are spot on!!
  9. bigjim

    bigjim Über Member

    Location:
    Manchester. UK
    I think most airlines are charging £50 return for a bike these days. One option that I have used is to purchase a £50 MTB from one of the major chains stores in Spain [can’t be much different in France] stick my own SPDs, saddle, slicks and rack on and have a good time on a passable touring machine. You can dump it near the airport on the way back or give it away. Cheaper than hiring a possible rustbucket and no insurance, damage worries. I have a blue unpadded nylon bike bag that I bought on E-Bay for about £25. Folds up really small and also makes a good groundsheet or shelter if you are camping. Padding is whatever is available, cardboard or bubble wrap etc. On your return just check the skips near the airport. They are usually full of cardboard, foam or bubblewrap/insulation.

    Jim