If you choose to use the service discussed below, you can now save 5% by using the discount code CYCEUR15
Cycling to southern Italy in 2010 it wasn’t a problem; I set off from my flat in Reading and just started pedalling. At the end of the journey in Brindisi, I wasn’t too fussed about the state of my bike upon arrival back in the UK. It was destined for a good service at the bike shop anyway so I wrapped it in cardboard, carted it off to the airport in the back of a car and that was that. It was still a bit of a pain having to deal with such a fundamentally awkwardly-shaped object however, but Reggie survived to be pedalled another day.
Move on to summer 2013 for the ride along the Mediterranean coast from Greece to Portugal and I was a little more concerned about flying with the bike as upon arrival in Athens I would be cycling almost immediately. I spent much time wrapping and transporting it to the airport and kept my fingers well and truly crossed as I saw it judder along the conveyor belt into the depths of Heathrow’s Terminal 5. All went well and although I didn’t quite manage to start cycling on my day of arrival in Greece that was down to me rather than any issues with the bike. At the end of the journey when I flew home from Faro I wrapped a rather tired looking Reggie in many metres of cling film at the airport before handing him over to the Portuguese baggage handlers. Again, he survived, just.
It was all a bit of a fuss and bother however. How nice it would have been to be able to wrap my bike at home, have someone collect it and then have it delivered to my destination leaving me to travel bicycle free… Am I dreaming? Well, I’ve just found out that I’m not. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted a box in the top right-hand corner of this page which links to something called Luggage Mule. I discovered them by chance on Facebook last week in a post that linked back to this article on the Freewheeling France website. To summarise, for a modest cost, not significantly more than you would pay for excess baggage at the airport when travelling with your bike (I paid £40 to British Airways to fly with Reggie to Athens in 2013 for example), the company will pick up your bike from your home address and transport it to your destination. They guarantee a date upon which they will deliver to your destination and as the service requires four of five days from picking up from your home to delivery you don’t have to rush to beat the bike to wherever you are going. The cost of having a bike delivered to Spain – my destination at the end of the month – will be £46.99. That’s pretty good value, no?
So, when I fly off to Malaga on Wednesday 25th February on board a not-so-cheap Ryan Air flight from Leeds-Bradford airport, I will be doing so without my faithful travelling companion as he will be en route to our destination courtesy of Luggage Mule.