Should you take your own bike on a cycling holiday or rent a bike locally? This is not a common question but is a question that we are occasionally asked. The key point to consider is how easy is it to take your own bike with you on your travels. There are several things to consider first.
Rent or take your own bike?
For some people, it can be hard to switch over from their own bike to a rental bike. Especially if you have a specific position you like to ride in. So, what do you need to consider when deciding whether or not to take your own bike or rent locally.
Can you rebuild your bike?
You will have to pack your bike into a specialist bag or a box from a bike shop. This often means dismantling the bike in order to do this. Are you okay with doing this? Remember to take the appropriate tools needed to rebuild your bike upon arrival at your destination.
Do you own a bike box? Would you have to rent a bike box? How much will it cost to transport your bike from your house to airport, then how much does it cost with your chosen airline? Most airlines will make a charge for sporting equipment which could be at least £20 each way. You will then have to negotiate public transport in a foreign country with oversized bags (your bike). This might mean a combination of taxis, buses and trains.
Luggage transfer limits
Now you have two consider that on most trips we only move 1 bag per person and a bike box will have to be often left at the start hotel. Or there may be an additional fee to transport your bike boxes for you. It is best to contact us first to see what the solution would be for your chosen cycling holiday. Of course, you might decide to drive and take your own bike in the car – this is indeed a lot easier to do.
Medical breakdown/emergency service
Now to consider that on all tours we rent bikes, they would be mechanically checked and totally adequate for the tour chosen. We would offer a free emergency service in case or mechanical breakdown, which is something that would not possible with your own bikes.
With rental bikes you supplied with bike rental kit, which normally includes pannier bags, lock, pump, etc. If you take your own bikes then you would need to take this additional equipment with you. This can means valuable luggage space is taken up.
With the above considerations, we feel it is far better to rent a bike for the chosen holiday. The only exception to this might well be if you are signing up to one of our harder sporting tours with daily distances of 60-70 miles. On this type of tour your own bike, which you feel comfortable on might be worth the extra issues on getting your own bike on tour. However, on these tours, we also rent quality road bikes.
Overall, we would recommend always renting a bike from Hooked on Cycling on all our holidays. You will have the peace of mind knowing they shall be maintained and that if anything should mechanically go wrong there would be local support to fix it and get you back on the road.
First published – Feb 2015