Brittany Ferries

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Mister Loco
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Brittany Ferries

Postby Mister Loco » 11 Jul 2008, 10:57pm

I went over to St Malo from Portsmouth to see The Tour and I just can't believe how Brittany Ferries transport cycles. Anyone who has travelled this route know that they are stored in a room stacked six deep and tied to the wall with rope. Ye gods and little fishes. Would they ask a motorcyclist to tie his machine to another one? No. Would they ask a motorist to rest his car against someone else's? No. Turn up with a £100 moped and it has its own bay and is secured upright. Turn up with a £1000 cycle and you're expected to dump it in a pile of others. I'd never travel on a decent bike with them again. Never ever ever. Come on Brittany Ferries, install some decent secure cycle racks. Coming back they made a dozen or so cyclist wait until all the cars and vans were loaded. I stood propping up my loaded bike for one hour forty minutes until we were summoned on. Serves me right for getting there so early I know. At least at Portsmouth, you can sit down outside the cafe until you get the nod to go on. Shoddy mob if you ask me.

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Postby Lio » 12 Jul 2008, 1:33am

Same parking method on the Rosyth- Zeebrugge crossing.


Postby leowoodland » 12 Jul 2008, 6:25am

Have you written to complain to them? That could make a difference. Here, you're preaching to the choir.

happy days


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Postby brianleach » 12 Jul 2008, 9:17am

Must be different on the Portsmouth Caen route. Yes the bike was secured with a piece of rope but with the motorcycles and because my knots weren't up to scratch the staff tied the bike more securely after I'd gone on deck.

I am going on the St Malo route in August so thanks for the warning.


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Postby simonhill » 12 Jul 2008, 3:36pm

Maybe it was worse because of lots of bikes due to the TDF.

I just crossed on Norfolk Lines Dover > Dunkerque and vv. I was the only bike and was loaded first. Seem to remember it was the same last time I used a ferry. In France I was first off - they held back the trucks till I was clear. On return, I had to wait for trucks but as it was peeing down, I didn't mind not mixing with those beasts. Outbound my bike was tied to a large metal thing (like a large sheffield bike rack) by one of the crew, on return I tied it myself - with supplied rope. My £250 bike never suffered a scratch.

Maybe it was Norfolk better than Brittany, but I suspect it was the hordes of TDFers that made the difference.

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Brittany Ferries

Postby JJF » 12 Jul 2008, 10:08pm

I don't think Brittany Ferries are worse than any others.
I've crossed to the Continent numerous times using half a dozen routes by ship plus a couple by catamaran and HSS. To the best of my recollection they generally provide something akin to handrails at the side of the car deck. One or two have something like Sheffield stands. Brittany are slightly different in that the rails are in a separate room. It's common for pieces of rope to be available.

I've crossed Portsmouth/St Malo twice in the last two months. The most bikes I saw in the bike room was 6 or 7 so plenty of room for all. In fact I don't think I have ever seen more than that on any crossing anywhere. As simonhill says above, the crowding probably occurred because so many people were going to see the Tour In those circumstances none of the ferries I have seen would have been able to cope.

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Postby peter236uk » 13 Jul 2008, 4:34pm

sea France 1st on and off and back again guys secured bike excellent

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Postby meic » 22 Jul 2008, 12:56am

Ferries do treat motorcycles poorly too. A long time ago I secured my BMW motorbike and went upstairs. At the end of the sailing it was tied up somewhere else and had been dragged along the wall in the process.
Yma o Hyd

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Postby Phil_Lee » 22 Jul 2008, 3:35pm

I discovered when motorcycling that the ONLY ferry company that can be trusted to tie down bikes safely are the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

They tie them together in long rows, alternating way around, and I've never seen damage that was more significant than slightly rubbed paintwork.

I've had a frame bent by P&O, god knows how they managed that, but it led to me printing a disclaimer form and carrying my own straps. I tie it down - if they want to move it, they sign the form - strangely :twisted: they always declined to move the bike and tie it up their way :)

If I'd had one dragged around like meic, I'd have reported it as criminal damage, and refused to leave the ship until it had been investigated as such.

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Postby Regurgatron » 23 Jul 2008, 10:54am

Been on the Poole - St.Malo & Weymouth - St.Malo crossings avec Brittany Ferries in the last 2 yrs.

Bikes on and off before the gas-guzzlers both crosings, bike stowed safely and they gave us a a lovely cake.

Actually, there was no cake.


Postby workhard » 23 Jul 2008, 11:08am

Neither motherhood nor apple pie were on offer on recent petrol or muesli powered two wheeled trips to France via a variety of ferry carriers in recent years. Pretty much par for the course, and compalint, written or otherwise met with British indifference or a Gallic shrug. Expensive custom built tourer or classic Italian motorcycle made of unobtanium, neither here nor there and just another pain in the neck to the matelots.

Eurotunnel is good for motorbikes never tried it on a bicycle. Any one have any experience of same?