Author Topic: Bike rental for European tour  (Read 4309 times)

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Offline singingcyclist

Bike rental for European tour
« on: June 22, 2019, 11:51:11 pm »
Hello.  I'm looking at doing a 4-8 week tour in Europe, and don't own a bike suitable for it.  Instead of buying a bike here and transporting it, I'd like to rent one.  Does anyone know of any businesses in Western Europe-- ideally Netherlands, France, Germany or England-- who do this? 

The internet searches I've done have pulled up City-Bike type rentals, or places renting for a day or two.  Thanks

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2019, 01:32:54 am »
I’ve done weekly rental of road bikes from On Your Bike in London and Florence By Bike in Florence.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2019, 04:59:04 am »
For a "proper" touring bike (whatever that is!  :D) I'd google specialist touring/expedition/adventure cycling shops and contact them directly. I know that some rent out bikes.

You'd also need to consider what gear you have, will bring with you and need locally. I'm thinking racks, panniers etc. Saddles and pedals too, perhaps.

Another option is to arrive on spec and buy a bike locally. If you're reasonably bike savvy you should be able to avoid a lemon and pick up something decent for a very reasonable price.
For instance I know of a guy here in NL who makes a tidy living selling barely used expedition bikes.

Similarly, Decathlon is a large, European chain store that sell & equip bikes. Buying a bike there would be relatively cheap with the comfort of being able to roll into another store somewhere else if there were any mechanical issues.

Sell (difficult) at the end or donate to a cycling charity when you're done. Mind you, I had a warmshowers guest once who flew into NL, bought a cheap second hand bike in a local bike shop, rode around the country and brought it back to the shop and got half her money back!

Finally, this could be a good opportunity to pick up a brand spanking new Touring/Expedition bike to your own specs that you pick up over here, tour on in Europe and ship home. I believe there's the possibility of getting a VAT (sales tax) refund back. Thorn (UK), Santos, Koga (NL) would be some of the big touring bike manufacturers.

But.... probably the most important factor in a touring bike is that it is comfortable! That's difficult to organise in advance so whatever option you go for I'd plan on doing a shortish circular route from where you pick up the bike to test it out and be able to have any adjustments or component changes made before heading off proper.

Offline singingcyclist

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2019, 04:56:11 pm »
I’ve done weekly rental of road bikes from On Your Bike in London and Florence By Bike in Florence.

Thank you John!  I reached out to On Your Bike to see if they'll let me take their bike across the Channel (on a ferry, of course! ;)) . 

Offline singingcyclist

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2019, 05:02:58 pm »
Hey Hobbes, thanks again for the great suggestions!   Some of these are thoughts I've had, which you summarized / organized in a way that's really helpful.  The idea of doing a short "shakedown" loop to see how bike feels is a good one I hadn't considered. 

The guy you mentioned in Amsterdam-- curious if it's this fellow: http://www.janhoedje-haarlem.nl/?page_id=27247. Saw one of his posts in a CraigsList type site, and it looks like he has a pretty great selection.  (And a chance to get a Rohloff- equipped bike for < $2k?  Awesome!). Of course this is Holland-- there may be a dozen businesses just like his.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2020, 01:59:41 pm by jsieber »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2019, 05:11:16 pm »
Thank you John!  I reached out to On Your Bike to see if they'll let me take their bike across the Channel (on a ferry, of course! ;)) .
I took their bike across the channel on the ferry, Dover to Dunkirk. I later returned to London with the bike on Eurostar and rode it back to On Your Bike from the St Pancras International station. Both were easy.

Offline singingcyclist

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2019, 05:40:57 pm »
Right on John, thanks again :)

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2019, 01:39:01 am »
Hey Hobbes, thanks again for the great suggestions!   Some of these are thoughts I've had, which you summarized / organized in a way that's really helpful.  The idea of doing a short "shakedown" loop to see how bike feels is a good one I hadn't considered. 

The guy you mentioned in Amsterdam-- curious if it's this fellow: http://www.janhoedje-haarlem.nl/?page_id=27247. Saw one of his posts in a CraigsList type site, and it looks like he has a pretty great selection.  (And a chance to get a Rohloff- equipped bike for < $2k?  Awesome!). Of course this is Holland-- there may be a dozen businesses just like his.

Hmmm..... there's more in the quote than in the original text? Weird!

Yes, that's the guy. No nonsense, by appointment only but good bikes at great prices. (I ride an old MTB myself, but an old girlfriend got a bike there & I've recommended him to several people).
Yes, lots of Rohloff's. One thing with buying second hand is that most manufacturers of frames & Rohloff only give a guarantee to the original owner. Once you buy it, you're on your own if there are problems. And there's no tax back on the purchase when you export it.

No idea how much gear you plan on toting, but if you're sticking to the main bicycle routes then an expedition standard bike is overkill. Good surfaces and lots of bike shops if something goes wrong, plus lots of bike friendly public transport.

But then, there's always the next tour!  ;D
« Last Edit: May 13, 2020, 02:00:12 pm by jsieber »

Offline singingcyclist

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2019, 09:49:56 pm »
I reached out to O2 Cycles, based in Bordeaux https://www.o2cycles.com/.  They can get me on a kitted out bike for about 400 euro for 60 days.  Doesn't include panniers-- that'd run another hundred or so.  Haven't priced these out yet-- might be better to buy them.
 

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2019, 04:06:07 am »
Bordeaux is well south of what you've mentioned for a route, but there is great potential from there to head south to the Spanish border, along the Pyrenees into Switzerland, along the Danube, up North, back to the Dutch coast and then down the coast to Bordeaux!

That seems a very reasonable price so long as the bike is a good one. At 100, buying the panniers makes more sense.

Check out the Velodyssey route from Northern France to the south, mainly along the coast.

Offline pkeibel

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2019, 07:39:02 am »
I would also check out BikeRentalsPlus, their US headquarters are in Fort Collins, CO (google under ExperiencePlus, an ACA sponsor). They can also provide maps and other assistance

Offline JohnRambo1

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2019, 11:44:58 am »
Bike rental is a very good idea for touring. But, check the bike properly the condition of the bike. Any wrong happends with your bike will ruin your trip. However, if you are into adventure tour then slight puncture.... will make your ride more adventurous. ??? ??? ??? ??? ;D

Offline Bclayden

Re: Bike rental for European tour
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2019, 10:16:39 am »
I rented a hi end road bike from Velo Roo in the south of France (Beziers) this summer. Spent a week exploring the Pyrenees and riding some TDF stage routes. Velo Roo was excellent...delivered the bike to me at a hotel and picked it up too!  Nice Oz couple runs Velo Roo.

I stayed in B&B, hotels, AirBnb so didn’t have much gear to carry.

PRO TIP-  Don’t ship your gear to France. I did...from US and it got hung up in French customs for 4 weeks.  Better to carry it with you when you travel. A hassle but at least you have it when you need it.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 10:31:30 am by Bclayden »