Getting luggage moved around during a cycle trip is costly. Generally, you hire some bozo 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. We offer no fewer than four different luggage shipping services for different budgets, ranging from “my luggage is with me every night” to “it’s so long since I’ve seen this, I forgot I owned it.”
But we also offer to help you avoid the whole business, and travel “self-contained,” if that is what you prefer to do. You thus spend your funds on muscle-relaxing wine, instead of on shipping your lawn tractor around Europe. Plus, if you are looking to leave a small footprint, well, this is the smallest.
What does it mean to travel “self-contained?” It means putting your stuff on your bike, in saddlebags, a.k.a. “panniers,” a.k.a. “paniers.”
Carrying paniers on a cycle is easy. Their weight, as a percentage of yours plus that of the cycle, is not significant. Their capacity is ample for most needs: a week’s clothes, toiletries, etc. Plus, if your reasons for coming included the exercise, well, you can think of them as ankle weights. To see our idea of what you might put in your paniers, look at our sample packing list. Which also offers hints on purchasing paniers, should you be interested in doing so.
About a third of our guests just use paniers, and you can rent them from us if you do not already own them and don't wish to buy them (see our list of Equipment for Rent or Sale).
Two other services can help you manage the “Self-Contained” option.
(1) If you need stuff before and after, but not during the trip, you can leave it in our Paris office. Obviously, this is only helpful if you are passing through Paris both at the start and at the end of your trip, and if your passages correspond to our opening hours. But storage charges are modest (free if you are renting paniers from us), and this is a practical way to lighten your load.
(2) You can make use of our “One-Way Bag Shipping” service to forward your suitcase to the end of your trip, where it will docilely await your arrival.
If you are only travelling one way via the City of Lights, you may combine these two by, for instance, dropping your luggage in Paris on the way to your trip, and having it shipped to the end, where you collect it for your onward travel.
Jeremy with contents of garage, left. (Barely) self-contained riders, right.