Baggage, & Other Light Topics (har!)

Getting luggage moved around during a cycle trip is costly.  Generally, you hire some guy to carry it, paying for his trip, salary, vehicle – and adding hundreds of smackers to the cost of your trip.

Alone in the fraternity of cycle trip outfitters, we make this expense optional, and have also found ways to offer lighter services at lighter prices.  We offer no fewer than four different luggage shipping services for different budgets, ranging from “every night” to “I give you a case at the start, and you give it back to me at the end.”  We even help you avoid the whole business, and travel “self-contained,” if that is what you prefer to do.

But it is an undeniable comfort to have an extra suitcase follow you around.  You can lighten your saddle bags, or avoid them altogether, depending on which service you choose.  And souvenir shopping is more fun, since what you buy can go into the case and not be dragged up all future hills....

We offer the following options to move things around that you don’t want to pedal with.

The first three have a bag follow you through your trip, more or less closely.  The fourth allows a variety of one-way baggage movements.  Typically, three of the four services operate on any given trip departure.

Follow this link to jump directly to the technical details.



Jeremy with contents of garage, and some (barely) self-contained riders.


Daily Baggage Transfer
Daily Baggage Transfer service produces your bag every night, even in towns with two houses and a cow.

OR

“Half” Baggage Transfer
“Half” Baggage Transfer provides for a bag to follow you through your trip, catching up to you on about half of the trip nights (those easiest to ship to — a source of significant economies).

Please note that the “Half” service does not deliver your bag every second night.  It delivers it for about half of the trip nights, on average.  That means, for instance, that you may have your bag two nights in a row, and then not have it for two nights.  In general, the largest number of sequential nights without the bag is two, but there are a few especially rural spots in our system where you can go for three nights without your bag. 
The price is in function of the level of service and the cost of providing it on a given trip.

For precise information regarding the Half Baggage Transfer’s delivery nights for the trip you are considering, look at the trip’s detailed itinerary(ies).   “Half Baggage” signifies that the town is a scheduled baggage stop.  Operational considerations may require us to modify these stops. 
But, unless we have your approval for the change, the overall number of nights with baggage service will not decrease, nor will the maximum number of sequential nights without baggage increase.  If they do, you are entitled to a full refund of the cost of the service.

Only one or the other of these services generally operates on a given trip departure.
Exceptionally, both may be offered.


“How Do I Know Which Service is Operating?”
Initially, both “Daily” and “Half” services are proposed on each trip departure.  But at least 4 people must subscribe to a service in order for it to operate.  (Baggage Transfer “Lite” — see below — always operates on trips of two or more weeks, regardless of the number of subscribers.)

If the “Daily” service is confirmed for a given departure, the “Half” service will not generally be offered.  So there is an incentive to sign up early for your trip if you are attached to the provision of the “Half” Baggage Transfer service.
If, at the moment when the“Daily” service is confirmed (receives it’s fourth subscriber), the “Half” service has previously been scheduled to operate (at least 4 subscribers), then both will run.


“Baggage Transfer Lite”
Guests on trips of 2 or more weeks may subscribe to “Baggage Transfer Lite,” which always operates, regardless of the number of subscribers. 

The cost of the service is half that of the “Half” service, and luggage is available half the number of nights of the “Half” service.  The maximum number of sequential nights without luggage is at most double plus one the maximum announced for the “Half” service.


“One-Way Bag Shipping”
Riders on our escorted trips can have us ship luggage from trip meeting points to trip disbanding points.  Cost is 65 €uros / $70 US / $90 Canadian, per piece, and regardless of distance.  Arrangements for storage, and storage charges in arrival cities, are included. 
The same service is often available from Paris to trip disbanding points, or from trip meeting points to Paris (ask if interested). 
Very rarely, on French and Franco-Swiss trips only, it may be necessary to ship from or to Paris, rather than from / to a trip meeting or ending point.  This is only ever the case when logic dictates that all riders pass through Paris on their way to / from the trip in question. 


This service allows you to get rid of stuff which you do not need on your cycle trip, rather than hauling it up and down hotel stairs for whatever number of weeks. 
The climbing gear, wedding clothes, work suit... can go in the “one-way” bag, rather than taking up valueable space in your paniers, or in your transfer bag (whether “Daily,” “Half” or “Lite”). 

On trips of 4 or more weeks, you can also use the service to send a case to the trip midpoint, re-pack there, and then send it on, for the price of two shipments. 


DETAILS, a.k.a. “Terms and Conditions”
Jump directly to any of the individual topics by clicking on the titles:

“Can I Bring ALL My Stuff?” (Number of Pieces, Firearms, Explosives).  Hint: “no.”
Multiple Piece Discount
Size / Weight Limits
How Shipments Work
Pick-Up & Delivery Times
What if  We Deliver Late, or You Give Us Your Luggage Late?
What is the Deadline for Requesting These Services?
Are the Services Guaranteed to Operate?
Storing Luggage in our Paris Office
Luggage Insurance
Responsibility During Baggage Transfer
Norway Particularities
Prohibited Articles
Cancellation



“Can I Bring All My Stuff?”
The useful answer is “no.”  The precise answer is “yes, BUT....”
Our Baggage Transfer Services are priced PER PIECE.  The cost of travelling with the contents of your garage (see photo, above) is prohibitive.

You may use One-Way Baggage Shipping to forward additional luggage (not needed during the biking part of your travels) to the end of your trip.  You may also subscribe to one of the Baggage Transfer services for multiple pieces (there is even a discount for more than one piece subscribed to the same service — see “Multiple Piece Discount,” next chapter).  But why not leave the scuba gear home?  The most common complaint we hear, usually in the form of a whine, is, “Why did I bring all this stuff?!”

Prohibited articles (the link jumps you to the bottom of this page) cannot be shipped, and should be carried with you.


Multiple Piece Discount
If you subcribe multiple pieces to the same Baggage Transfer service (Daily, Half or Lite), a 20% discount for all pieces after the first applies (special pricing applies to Short Trips of 3 or fewer nights).  The discount does not apply to One-Way Baggage Shipping.  For the purposes of pricing, and with the exception of the Pagnozzis, guests travelling together are assumed to have evenly distributed luggage, even if one person signs up and pays for the shipment of all pieces.


Size & Weight
“Daily,” “Half,” and “Lite” Baggage Transfer pieces may be of any size.  However, they must weigh no more than 16 kg / 35 lbs. 
“One-Way Baggage Shipping” pieces may weigh up to 22 kg. / 50 lbs. each.

We do not actually recommend that you bring a suitcase weighing even 16 kilos / 35 lbs.  Ship most of your stuff from start to end, using the One-Way Baggage Shipping service, and keep only a relatively light-weight piece with you on the trip.  You still have to carry it quite a bit, and always to and from your room.  Your steamer trunk’s wheels will not work on cobbles, gravel, mud, train tracks, or hotel stairs (elevators were rare in the 17th century, and your room is always on the 4th floor).  A train can be half a kilometer long.  As you pack, ponder wrestling your luggage the length of one, down the crowded corridor, to your seat. 

In any event, please take this restriction seriously:  it will be applied with delight and malice by railroad baggage services across Europe.  We will not accept overweight pieces, since if we do, we wind up going through your things at the station to decide what to throw away.  We usually guess wrong, and then you’re mad.  In fact, you’re mad anyway, because we went through your stuff.

A hint:  a soft-sided piece with wheels is the best combination of portable and light-weight.

So, bring with you on the cycle trip only what you need on the cycle trip.  Use our “One-Way Bag Shipping Service” to send a second bag, containing your Viennese ball gown, your Fabergé eggs, and the business suits you need for your week at the conference, directly to the end of the trip.


How Shipments Work
Usually, your bag travels from hotel to hotel.  You will find it when you arrive, in the lobby, or under the stairs, or out in the courtyard....

Very rarely, you pick up or drop your case at the train station, never more than 500 yards from the hotel.  In cities from which the cycle is shipped onward by train (never more than once per trip), you may need to claim bags at the station where you drop the bike off, and return to a more distant hotel by public transport (always available) or by taxi.  You also carry your own baggage to and from rail stations and aboard trains when the trip is travelling by train.


Pick-up & Delivery Times
On mornings when luggage is to be shipped, and in the absence of contrary information, it should be made ready for departure by 10a (later deadlines are often available).  It will usually be delivered by 6p.   It is guaranteed to be delivered by 8p if it is to be available for only one night at that stop, by 10p if it is to be available for two or more successive nights.

Exceptions:

  • After two successive nights of luggage availability, it may (very rarely) be necessary to ready your luggage for shipment by 8a (you may, of course, bring it down before retiring the previous evening).
  • Baggage may exceptionally by delivered at 8:30p, always on a long day when riders themselves typically arrive late.

Neither of these circumstances will occur more than once in any two-week period.


What if We Deliver Late, or You Give Us Your Luggage Late?
If luggage is available to us more than 15 minutes late, its transport that day cannot be guaranteed.  We are not trying to be difficult:  if the only baggage train of the day departs at 11a, and your bag isn’t on it, a taxi will cost more.  We will help you make alternate arrangements, either having your bag skip a stop, or delivering it by some more expensive means to the initially-planned destination.  But the financial consequences, if any, will be yours to bear.

This is particularly important at trip start.  If your trip assembles in some train station at, say 1p, it may well be that the baggage train departs at 1:30p.  Please be prompt if you have a piece of luggage that must be on it.

If we are 30 minutes late with your luggage (see “Pick-up & Delivery Times,” above) once in any given week without your prior consent, half the baggage charge paid for that week will be refunded.  If we are late a second time that week, a full refund of the week’s charge is made.  If your trip spans more than one week, the week’s transfer charge is the trip’s charge divided by the number of weeks the trip travels (rounded down to the nearest half week).

Note that prohibited articles, such as prescription medication, are not insured against late delivery.  That pill that keeps you alive?   Please carry it in your handlebar bag....


What is the Deadline for Requesting These Services?
If either “Daily” or “Half” Baggage Transfer Service is operating on your trip, you may add your luggage to the service until 2 weeks prior to trip departure.  Ask us if you wish to do so on less notice:  we will accommodate if possible.  “Lite” or “One-Way Bag Shipping” can be arranged with one week’s notice.  Again, we will accommodate shorter notice if possible, but the shipping cost may be higher.


Are the Services Guaranteed to Operate?
4 pieces are required to trigger the operation of either the “Daily” or the “Half” service.  Typically, only one or the other of these two services will be offered on a given trip, though there are exceptions.  The “Lite” service, on trips where it is offered, is always available, regardless of the number of subscribers.  And “One-Way Bag Shipping” is always offered, regardless of the number of subscribers. 



Or, Just Leave Your Bag in Paris...
You may also leave luggage in our Paris office, helpful if passing through Paris at both trip-start and trip-end.   Storage charges are modest (or free if you are renting paniers from us).


Baggage Insurance
Our Daily, Half, and Lite Baggage Transfer services, and also our One-Way Bag Shipping prices, include a very basic luggage insurance.  This pays 400 € (or the equivalent in the currency of your invoice) in the event of the loss of (not damage to) a piece of luggage (not its contents) while being transferred.  Sooooo... bring lockable luggage filled with old clothes, choose it to be sturdy rather than stylish, and do not ship valuables.  Or get better insurance.

This insurance, provided at no additional cost as part of our Baggage Transfer and One-Way Bag Shipping services, does not insure any other luggage shipment before, during or after the trip, even if we help you with the shipment in question.  It does not insure any luggage before shipment or after delivery.


Responsibility During Baggage Transfer
Our baggage shipping services are often sub-contracted to common carriers or other companies licensed for transport of passengers or freight.  The luggage is stored by our hotels.

We select our collaborators carefully, to guard against loss or late delivery.  And we include very basic insurance in the cost of the shipment (see above for details).  However, we act only as your agent in contracting these services.  We accept no responsibility for the service of any transportation company or hotel involved with our luggage or cycle shipment or storage.  Nor for any delay, loss, or accident to baggage occasioned by such services from whatsoever cause.

Luggage doesn’t go AWOL often.  In fact, in the 30 -year history of our company, no single piece of guest luggage has ever been lost.  Not bad, eh?  Maybe we should start an airline.

Notwithstanding, and since yours will probably be the first, don’t bring anything you can’t replace....


Norway Particularities
Daily Baggage Transfer for the Norway portion of all trips visiting Norway is included in the trip prices.  You must generally carry your bags to or from the local rail station, never more than two city blocks from the hotel.  Refund provisions for late delivery do not apply, as your Trip Coordinator must generally pick the bags up from the station at the end of the day, and can only do so when the last riders arrive.

Provision is made for guests on long trips including Norway to forward Norway-specific equipment to the end of the Danish portion of the trip, at no additional charge.  See our Norway-specific packing list for more details.


Prohibited Articles in Luggage
The following articles are prohibited in transported luggage.  Most of these are solidly in the “duh” catagory, but please note the proscription on medication.

  • Any type of gun, firearm, ammunition, explosives, or weapon.  Jealous, Amtrak?
  • Incendiaries, including flammable gases, liquids and fuels.
  • Large, sharp objects such as axes, ice picks and swords.  Indeed, we suggest you not bring these on your trip at all.  Unless you get seriously off route (and wind up in, say, Middle Earth), the need for them will be limited.  They can be rented locally as required.
  • Corrosive or dangerous chemicals or materials, such as liquid bleach, tear gas, mace, radioactive and harmful bacteriological materials (super-duh).
  • Batteries with acid that can spill or leak.
  • Drugs or other substances illegal in the countries in which you are travelling.
  • Fragile and/or valuable items, including but not limited to electronic equipment.  (Laptop computers and handheld electronic devices may be packed, but we accept no liability for theft or damage, and they are not in any way insured for transport.)
  • Animals.  Sorry, Fifi.
  • All medication, other than over-the-counter medication in never-opened containers.  Please take this one seriously.  In the event of a police / customs inspection, it is incumbant on the transporter to prove that any drugs found in luggage are legal, which we are obviously unable to do in your absence.  Your bag can be confiscated, and our agent(s) arrested.  Please carry any medication with you.


Cancellation of any Baggage Transfer Service
Please see general conditions for trip cancellation, here.



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