For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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I'm currently planning an extended cycle tour in Europe for this year (probably 4 or 5 months), mostly camping and the like, so taking all my gear on the bike.
I'd really prefer to buy a bike, racks, panniers etc over there, simply to avoid all the hassle of having to fly it from Australia. However, there are a few problems, as I see it.
1) I want a proper touring bike, and I imagine most shops don't have those kinds of things, let along panniers etc.
2) Apparently the online sites are much cheaper than the physical stores
3) I don't speak the language, so trying to find a shop is difficult (on the continent) even if once I get in there I can find someone who speaks English.
4) I would really prefer to skip England.
At the moment I'm thinking about getting a Trek, a Koga or maybe even a Thorn Raven (would obviously have to order in advance for that one).
Can anyone recommend any bike shops that are large enough to have everything I need in either Amsterdam, Paris or London? By that I mean a proper touring bike, panniers, racks, bags, stands etc.
While on the topic, can anyone recommend any good touring bikes? I'd really rather spend less than $2000, so the Trek and the Koga Randonneur look good, and I really like the Thorn, even though it's getting towards the top of my price range.
Any comments most appreciated!
I would seriously consider taking the bike with you despite the fact that weight limits are strict from Australia.
Otherwise consider northern Europe to buy the bike.You would need to do lots of research.
cos eg Italy would be hopeless in France Decathalon wont have anything that specialized .
You will need low gears + I presume you will bring it home eventually anyway.
When we came home Cathay didnt even weigh the bike or consider it as part of the baggage!
Not personal experience Dr Harry, but I do know that I have seen De Vakantiefietser recommended frequently - it is their specialty, as the name implies.
I would recommend you take a look at the idworx Off Rohler or Easy Rohler. The quality and innovative features are astonishing. Check them out on the tech info tab. The principal of idworks is a member of the founding family of the Koga Miyata company.
I have contacted Eric at De Vakantiefietser about purchasing this bike online. Eric was very helpful but the import cost made it infeasible. But for delivery in Amsterdam you would get a VAT refund and can depreciate the price when you bring it back to Oz so no import charges are payable.
The Santos bikes are also very popular and a belt-drive Santos Travelmaster was used recently to set the round-the-world record.
Also worth considering is the Van Nicholas Pioneer - you may be interested to look through my thread about building a Pioneer here. Van Nicholas was recently acquired by the parent company of Koga Miyata and will shortly come under Koga management.
Last edited by RonK on Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
Touring is way out of my knowledge area...but I do know in Lyon there are at least 3 (I haven't search,just seen in passing so there is probably more) shops that I would class as only commuting and touring.One caters everything from recumbent trikes to internal hub steel disc equiped beauties that even I fancy.
SO I wouldn't worry about not being able to find what you want in a normal shop if that's the way you want to go.
as per Ron K idea,
buy the bike from thorn,SJC etc and some bits in UK, get the bike shipped to europe and pay no VAT bring the used bike back and pay no duty gst shipping etc
I've bought a couple of bikes in Amsterdam - both Gazelles, the most recent a Gazelle Fuente Pure, a heavy (18kg) hybrid, on which I covered about 8000 kms over 2 trips in 2010 and 2011, had no problems except broken spokes. Cost about $1000. It had a rear rack, easy to fit a front rack, good lights, great locking system, sturdy and reliable, but I did miss my Australian touring bike.
In between trips, I left the bike in Amsterdam. MacBike have a bikeshop and secure undercover parking at Centraal Station. You can buy parking for 12 months, cost about $130 I think. It was a joy to hop off the plane on the second trip and find the Gazelle waiting for me at the train station, only needing a little air in tyres.
Amsterdam has plenty of bike shops, and you won't have any trouble finding shops selling panniers etc. I can really recommend Amsterdam as a starting point for a European tour, it's fairly central, very picturesque and relaxed, the most cycle friendly capital in the world, and the Netherlands itself is criss-crossed with bikeways - no matter which way you head leaving Amsterdam, you can be sure of at least a few days where the cycling infrastructure is everything you could hope for. English is widely spoken.
If you have bought the bike it is no longer a new bike, it's personal property. Duty should not be applied, nor GST. A friend of mine has done this, brought bikes into Australia, even bikes still in the box. Certainly if you have ridden the bike about it is no longer a new bike, what duty (is it even applicable to compete bikes) is intended to apply to it should be waived and GST.
Anyhow, that idworx bike is a tremendous touring rig. You'd be hard-pressed to do much better than this* for an expedition touring bike and you'll never find anything like it made in Australia (another reason why duty should not apply). Buy it!
* it does need a Brooks saddle though
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
Why not arrange a purchase in the UK and pick it up from there? The Brits have loads of specialist shops for that sort of thing. No language issues and get it all sorted before you arrive. You would pay UK VAT tho but might be able to claim iy back as you leave the country.
Some thoughts from left field: Well firstly a question. What do you want to do with the bike after? Do you want a bike only for this tour or do you want a bike to bring home.
I understand you'd only probably buy a thorn if you were going to be doing serious long term travelling eg world tours and the like or don't mind spending lots of money.
If i was in your shoes and only wanted a bike for the tour, i'd consider just buying a secondhand bike in europe and all the gear.
if you want to bring one home,then i'd i'd most likely buy it here because the hassle of flying a bike to europe will most likely be a lot less than the time and hassle involvein buying one over there where you don't know you way around, can't speak the lingo and won't have time to road test it on a short trip to sort out problems before you start your proper trip. Unless you have it all really well lined up before ie find a shop online communicate iwht htem and know exactly what you want before you get there, have htem them expect you to walk in and pick it up and pay for it. If you were buying in france, it might not be a bad idea to have some french speaking person help with the email communications.
You can fly your bike over there with an airline that does not charge heaps for a bike. Find out how much extra weight will be in advance so you won't be surprised. Leave any little bits out of your baggage that will add weight but can easily be bought over there such most toilettries, note paper, even tools could be bought there. Actually as you are going to europe you won't need much in the way of tools. It might be easier to buy gear like a tent or cooking stoves etc over there than a bike.
I'm flying to france (hopefully) in 2013 and i fully intend to fly my bike. Air Asia doesn't charge much for it. I've flown my bike overseas before and also around in oz. Its not a huge ordeal at all really. Only the first time you may be a bit nervous. Putting it together at the airport is the best option and it will save you heaps on taxi fares. When you want to come home, you will need ot find a bike box unless the airport has some wrapping facility that you can buy on your way out.
Lonely planet thorntree forum members are experts in this topic. They will also give you heaps of advice on buying a bike in europe if you are sure its what you want to do. The regulars are international, mostly european.
Be careful with ANY airline. Last year I wanted to bring my BOB along with bike, etc flying with CX and all that happened was I got an aircargo bill for $500 AUD. My Bob is still in OZ and this winter when I return I will fly out with BA and then UL because of flying "status" and business class bookings.
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