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Shipping a tandem to a distant location

Ian Staples2016-10-05 17:23:04

We are new members of the Tandem Club. We have tandemed in Scotland, UK, As well as tandeming from Cherbourg to near Marseilles, Perpignan to the Loire, around Brittany and St Malo to Calais. We have either crossed on the ferry or used the excellent Bike Express to transport us and the tandem in France.

We would like to make a long camping trip ride from a distant point, like SW Portugal back to the UK. Can anyone advice how to do that. We tried to get back from Marseilles by putting the tandem on a train but got a big NO. We ended hiring a van, at considerable cost, to transport us and the tandem back to the UK.

We even got a cross train guard when we put the tandem on a train at Mallaig to get back south to England

Very keen to learn how anybody has cracked this problem

Ian

clive2016-10-06 14:38:27

: We would like to make a long camping trip ride from a distant point, like SW
: Portugal back to the UK.

Plane would seem the obvious answer. Bag the tandem or box it in a disposable box, assemble at the airport, then ride home. Choose carrier appropriately - I'm not sure Ryanair can cope, but we've taken ours on various others.

Pat Watson2016-10-16 15:11:32

Pat Watson2016-10-17 18:59:17

We do not no where you live in the UK or what your itinerary intends to be. Neither do we know your starting or finishing point. However depending where you are in Portugal and depending on how many Kilometres you intending doing on your tour could you make your way to South West France to Biratizz. We have used flights from UK to Biratizz for one of our routes. Alternatively you could get a TER train from Biratizz that would take you to Beautiful Bordeaux . Outside the station there is the Navette shuttle that takes you directly to airport with Tandem. We have done a lot of big tours and have tried and tested loads of different transportation friendly to tandems especially in France Germany Austria& Switzerland
We take our Tandems on the plane from various airports to Europe depending where we are going on our tours. Our bike is dismantled wheels are off strapped each side of frame pedals off and handlebars turned and strapped to the side of bike The bike is pipe lagged and wrapped in Bubble wrap. The weight is approx 19 KG and our tandem ends up at 1.6 metres in Length and obviously has no couplings.The rear handlebars stem and pedals tools etc go in the hold.
Easy jet Jet 2 Rynair German Airwings have all been fine. Some offer up to 30KG weight. Prices from Carrier to Carrier vary £35.00 each way up to £60.
I have just sent the editor a comprehensive guide on various forms of transportation we have used even trams that were tandem friendly!
If we can be of any help please feel free to email

Ian Staples2016-10-18 21:18:34

: We do not no where you live in the UK or what your itinerary intends to be.
: Neither do we know your starting or finishing point. However depending
: where you are in Portugal and depending on how many Kilometres you
: intending doing on your tour could you make your way to South West France
: to Biratizz. We have used flights from UK to Biratizz for one of our
: routes. Alternatively you could get a TER train from Biratizz that would
: take you to Beautiful Bordeaux . Outside the station there is the Navette
: shuttle that takes you directly to airport with Tandem. We have done a lot
: of big tours and have tried and tested loads of different transportation
: friendly to tandems especially in France Germany Austria& Switzerland
: We take our Tandems on the plane from various airports to Europe depending
: where we are going on our tours. Our bike is dismantled wheels are off
: strapped each side of frame pedals off and handlebars turned and strapped
: to the side of bike The bike is pipe lagged and wrapped in Bubble wrap.
: The weight is approx 19 KG and our tandem ends up at 1.6 metres in Length
: and obviously has no couplings.The rear handlebars stem and pedals tools
: etc go in the hold.
: Easy jet Jet 2 Rynair German Airwings have all been fine. Some offer up to
: 30KG weight. Prices from Carrier to Carrier vary £35.00 each way up to
: £60.
: I have just sent the editor a comprehensive guide on various forms of
: transportation we have used even trams that were tandem friendly!
: If we can be of any help please feel free to email

Thanks for all the help. It would be to e-mail directly to pick your brains further. We live near Chichester, West Sussex. Our e-mail is ianymaggy@gmail.com. Ian

Lisa Preston2022-06-05 14:42:59

This question may have been asked many times but I am looking for a way to transport our tandem from Lancaster, Lancashire for 22nd July 2022 so that myself and my son can then ride it to John O' Groats on a charity tour of Britain.  We were to have a support driver but this has now changed and we will be doing it unassisted.  We have arranged trains to get to Penzance but need a method of getting the tandem there that is not extremely expensive,  Any help would be appreciated.

Charles Kendall2022-06-06 11:14:12
I agree, flying is by far the best way and probably cheapest. Find a local bike shop in the area near the airport, and beg a couple of cardboard bike boxes off them and use them to wrap up your tandem. Using boxes probably protects the tandem best but is poses other problems. Other people use bubble-wrap for the delicate bits and cling film or whatever. The best place to do the final wrapping may be the airport unless you can find a taxi big enough to get all the material/baggage to the airport. I know an Australian couple who managed to get their bubble-wrapped tandem and baggage on a bus in France using a big smile. So maybe a bus to the airport might be possible. France is a dead loss for transporting a tandem by train, it can be done but relies on the kindness and discretion of the controller and there is no guarantee.
Charles Kendall2022-06-06 11:22:55
I just had a thought, checkout long distance busses from Lisbon to Paris, then Paris London. There is Flixbus, BlaBlaBus, Alsa at least. You would need to contact them and check on the max size of baggage for the baggage hold.
Jo Hossell2022-06-06 14:37:19
In reponse to Lisa's question - We posted a tandem to Penzance when we were holidaying there a few years ago.  Took off the pedals and the wheels and then made a box out of two standard bike boxes picked up from our local Halfords (other bike shops are available!) and then the courier picked it up from our house.  It was delivered to a local bike shop in Penzance who were happy to receive it and reassemble it (charged us about £20).We picked it up when we got off the train and cycled off on it.  I can't remember how much the courier cost but I don't think it was very much. 
Lisa Preston2022-06-06 15:25:36
Which postal service did you use? was it parcelforce?
Jo Hossell2022-06-06 15:50:03
Yes it was parcelforce - I have just looked up the emails about it and found it cost us less than £50 pounds (2107) as it was less than 25kg in weight - you need to also check size restrictions for the package - and we had it delivered to the Cycle Centre in Penzance.
Lisa Preston2022-06-06 16:22:40
Thank you Jo for that information I have sent parcelforce an email so hope to here back soon.  I have been given box dimensions from JD Tandems and estimated the weight at 25kg. 
Lisa Preston2022-06-06 16:24:37
Unfortunately I have looked at Cycle Centre website and they are closing down.