European bike express

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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European bike express

Postby Abr1966 » 3 Sep 2017, 5:08pm

Just looking at arranging a trip to France in 2018 and thought about using this to get to France....looking at the going down to Saintes and touring from here.
Anyone used this service?
Grateful for any opinions or experience...

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Re: European bike express

Postby Paulatic » 3 Sep 2017, 5:41pm

Last edited by Paulatic on 3 Sep 2017, 5:41pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: European bike express

Postby tatanab » 3 Sep 2017, 5:41pm

I've used it a few times. It is convenient if you can easily reach a UK pick up point. They stop every few hours to allow you to stretch your legs. More space than in a tourist coach, but not exactly comfortable over night. Do not use the front row seats because you cannot stretch your legs out. Window seats can be a bit awkward because of channel running fore-aft limits feet room a little. Air conditioning is ancient and noisy. Gets booked up quickly. On the return you might be waiting a few hours to be picked up because they may be running late - depends how far up the route you are.

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Re: European bike express

Postby ANTONISH » 4 Sep 2017, 11:39am

I've used it a few times.
My experiences are much the same as tatanab.
It will get you and your bike where you want to go but delays aren't unusual.
You may also find the available dates don't give the flexibility you may require.
Also it's an overnight coach trip.
You could have a look at the threads on train travel - it is possible to book one of the limited bike spaces on some TGV trains.
I've taken to partial dismantling of the bike to fit a light bag within the dimensions for luggage. There are threads on that as well.
If all else fails you could fly - but that can be a more miserable experience than a night on a coach - and your bike is at the mercy of the luggage handlers :( .

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Re: European bike express

Postby PH » 4 Sep 2017, 11:46am

Used it three times, always one way, ride somewhere and get the bus back, one time full value back from Northern Spain. It seems they allocate the better seats to those on the longest journeys. About ten hours in I'm always promising myself that I'll never use it again, then I get dropped off, ride nine miles home, catch up on sleep and it didn't seem so bad...

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Re: European bike express

Postby eileithyia » 4 Sep 2017, 12:09pm

used a couple of times, seemed to me that those on shorter journeys were allocated seats to minimise disturbance to those on longer journeys. Some of the drop offs are in the middle of the night.
Our first use was to journey's end so did not think about the drop off points, but realised that riders were being dropped off in the wee small hours... not something I had taken in while booking our own journey and something to consider... they do have drop offs near to budget hotels that you can book.
Equally the pick ups can be a bit interesting. A short sharp shower at one saw half a dozen or so of us trying to cram into some telephone boxes to take shelter...
On another it was just myself and my 10yo son sat on a pavement outside a Campanile with son asleep on the panniers and odd looks from passing vehicles, with the coach running late and no mobile my anxiety neuroses got the better of me and I took a deep breath, left son asleep and nipped into and asked the Campanile staff to ring the coach for an ETA.

it does however work well, staff were great on the occasions we used it, bike / tandem was well looked after.
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Re: European bike express

Postby robgul » 4 Sep 2017, 12:30pm

Pretty much what others have said - my description is that : "... it's like sitting in a turbo-prop aeroplane going along the runway by never taking off" (that's if you are old enough to remember pre-jet aircraft!)

For France it's worth looking nowadays at the TGV services as a lot more now take wheeled-on (rather than bagged) bikes - the Captain Train website has details and online bike-space booking)


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Re: European bike express

Postby BruceJ » 5 Sep 2017, 6:32pm

Excellent service - using it this Friday for the tenth time to France, and that's with an eight hour drive to the nearest pick up point.

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Re: European bike express

Postby robing » 6 Sep 2017, 12:05pm

Used them several times over the last 3 years. Always reliable, I find it a relaxing way to travel, frequent stops etc. I'm close to one of the pick up points. My tip would be book in to a hotel for the first night to recover! Also from this year they are charging extra for front panniers and you may have to remove your front wheel though I didn't have to.