- In: FAQ
Gearing for your own bicycle
No matter how fit you are you can always do with more gears! Riding hills day after day is very different on the legs to just riding Saturday and Sunday in the hills. Hence low gearing is recommended, either triple front chain rings or a compact crank set (speak to your local bike shop). The simpler and more basic your equipment, the easier it is to service in Europe (and the less likely it is to give you problems).
Extremely lightweight wheels are discouraged as they can become fragile with all of the descending and cobblestone streets of European villages.
There are a variety of bike packing methods on the market.
Please contact us if you insist on taking one, depending upon the tour starting and finishing point, we may not be able to cater for a hard case. They are difficult to manage, very heavy and are a good way to do your back! They add to your luggage weight substantially and do not protect the bike any more than a well-packed cardboard box. Hard cases are difficult to pack into a van or vehicle and if you are traveling afterwards they will be difficult to fit into a hire vehicle. We strongly discourage their use but please contact us if you feel it is the only way you wish to carry your bicycle.
With frame inserts such as Scicon bags etc. These can be a little heavy but the benefits are they are collapsible, so are 'tour friendly' and can easily fit in a hire car for travel after tour. It is easy to pack the bike yourself and will be very quick to pack the bike for train travel in Europe for example.
This is the way manufacturers ship bicycles and if done properly is the best way to protect your bicycle in transit. The benefits are: the packaging is light, collapsible and tour friendly. The downside is that you need to be experienced in packing a bike into a cardboard box. The best suggestion is to pay your local bike shop to do the job for you, Topbike can help you at the other end.
The most important thing to remember with all systems is:
Make sure you 'space' the front forks (speak to us if you don't know what this means). If possible remove the rear derailleur or at the very least have it positioned close to the frame, well covered or taped over.
Who to fly with when traveling with a bicycle
Many carriers have a 20kg limit in Economy and excess baggage charges can be very expensive. Look out for early bird fares that have a 30kg limit as a special deal. However it is possible to pack to 20kg with a bicycle. Pack all your hand luggage to the maximum 7kg and then put all your other clothing in with the bike box in small separate webbing bags. Get on the scales and unpack what you don't need until you get to 20kgs!