If it’s Euro-twisties you’re after, you can now sidestep the motorways and get yourself and your bike straight to where the fun starts.
Mountain passes in ranges like the Alps and the Pyrenees are the stuff of bikers’ dreams, which is why many trek hundreds of miles on motorways every year to reach them. And for many, the whole journey is as much a thrill as reaching the destination. But for others, where time is limited and the opportunities are few to ride decent roads, why spend it haring down motorways when really all you want to be doing is riding mountains?
Ferries and the tunnel have long provided the primary options for bikers to cross into Europe but they are no longer the only way to reach the sort of passes you aspire to. Now there are fly and ride options, such as Bikeshuttle, which make reaching the twisties easy and cost effective.
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How does it work?
The way it works is that Bikeshuttle transports your bike overnight in a purpose-built lorry through France to either Geneva or Toulouse. You, meanwhile, fly out, enjoy bed and breakfast, and wake to find your bike outside, ready for you to explore either central Europe and the Alps, or the Pyrenees, southern France and Spain.
Customers either ride to Bikeshuttle’s Northants depot or have their bikes collected for a fee. They change out of their biking gear and their helmets, leathers, boots and gloves are all stowed in secure boxes while their bikes are securely loaded onto the lorry.
While the wagon is prepared for departure, riders are shuttled to a local hostelry for a leisurely brunch before drop-off at Luton airport to fly to Geneva or Toulouse (customers can make their own travel arrangements). Customers are expected to book and pay for their own flights although Bikeshuttle suggests the best flights to take advantage of the airport transfer. Overnight hotel accommodation can be arranged through Bikeshuttle at both destinations. Customers booking return trips do the whole process in reverse.
The service, now in its fourth year, is popular because it saves the tedium of riding over 1500 miles of motorway to reach Switzerland or the French/Spanish borders (let alone the cost of petrol and squaring off a tyre). Riders can see their bikes loaded, they don’t have to drop them off at a warehouse a week before they’re due to travel and have them crated up in cling film.
Bikeshuttle’s scheduled service runs weekly from May to September, and return costs start at £445. Extra charges apply for panniers, large bikes, hotel accommodation and airport transfers but all are competitively priced. It’s the perfect way for touring central Europe, and Spain, plus it puts events like the MotoGP in Mugello and Motorland Aragon within easy reach.
Increasing the amount of time available on decent roads is one of the primary benefits, especially if you only get a week’s holiday but the economics compare well too. Indeed they can work out £50 cheaper than riding all the way, especially if you factor in overnight stops, ride style, fuel, wear and tear, ferry/tunnel crossings and road toll charges.
To: Geneva and Toulouse
Season: May to September (excluding August unless demand sufficient)
Cost: Geneva: £445 return. Toulouse: £465 return (plus flights, hotel accommodation and extras like airport transfer)
Time saved: From southern UK/Midlands 1.5-2 days, from the north, Scotland and Ireland 2-3 days.
Further information: www.bikeshuttle.co.uk or 01327 831552.