Hurray, so finally we decided to go for our bike trip in Latin America. We planned, we packed, we spread out our jungle plants in between our friends. And the last think on our TO-DO-LIST : How to transport bikes from Europe to USA? We need to travel and transfer bikes by train, by plane and by subway. So, let me first introduce you our ,,unique,, way and at the end I will come with another useful options.
And if you ask, why we decided to start in USA and not in Ushuaia – the reason is simple – cheaper flights to North, weather and back-wind in Argentina 🙂
Wonderingeggs go America - with bicycles and 50 kg of luggage
Taking a flight with extra luggage like bikes makes the whole thing more complicated. We searched only for direct flights because you have to pay every time extra for your bike transport when flying with different airlines. Direct flights are also much more ecological and easier. Finally we found a direct flight from Paris (France, Europe) to Los Angeles (California, USA). We searched on skyscanner and we found various cheap flights with bike transportation to all California from Norwegian Airlines. So one way flying ticket for both of us with 2 bikes and two 25 kg luggage cost 460 euros. One bike transfer cost only 70 euros. Directly after we apply for our Esta visa for USA.
Taking a train with bikes
The day before our flight we took a fast train with our bikes from Grenchen (Switzerland) to Paris (France). So for both of us with our luggage and 2 packed bikes we paid for train transport less than 80 euros. In Paris we were hosted by Sämi’s friend Gaëlle. Sämi prepared the bike-cartoon boxes with the bikes. He added in boxes also some other things – because max. weight could be 23 kg. The cartoon boxes we got for free from a local bike shop. Then, Sämi made an ,,excellent,, wooden construction with some rolls for “easier handling”. Little detail: he ignored the fact that the rolls were made for max. 5 kg… The first roll broke even before the train left our hometown
Bike transportation in Paris
However, we made it to Paris. Bike transportation in Paris from train to subway was a bit harder without ,,excellent,, wooden construction. But it was definitely a lot of fun. Our creative host Gaëlle helped us out with a skateboard and ,,grandma shopping bag on wheels,, to transport our bike boxes through the streets of Paris. It was actually were comfortable. If you will think about making your own construction for bike transportation, I recommend to buy rolls for 50 kg. Or take a taxi 🙂
One-way traveling to USA
The next surprise we experienced at the check-in. Since we only had a one way ticket to the US, we were asked to confirm that we will leave the US again. Yes, Esta visa are not enough. Obviously we didn’t have any transport ticket since we have our bikes. Under slightly stressful conditions we booked a bus ticket from San Diego to Tijuana. It was not accepted, since it is too close to the USA. So we had to book a flight to Guatemala that our airline let us fly out of Europe to the US. However, nobody at the US border control asked us about that.
Another option how to make your one-way traveling to USA is to book a return ticket with possibility to cancel or change it. Or go on google and search for fake return tickets. Or buy a bus ticket to Guatemala. They will not accept anything to Canada or Mexico.
Bike transportation in Los Angeles
We arrived in LA at night and our accommodation was not on the subway route. So we decided that it would be saver to take a taxi. But if you will have a chance – take a subway – it is easy, plenty of space, cheap and safe. We really think, that in Los Angeles it is the best way of bike transportation. Ordering a taxi is not cheap and not so easy. When you order it online, you have to be fast enough to come on time to the taxi station! And of course there is not so many big taxis for 2 people with 2 bikes and luggage. It took us one more hour but it was a happy ending. Our Taxi driver was so amazed by our traveling plans, that he asked Sämi if he doesn’t want to propose me directly now in the car
Welcome in LA
In LA we could spend a couple of days with George Lafayette, famous Hollywood artist and also a friend of Anna from the time she studied in Indonesia. The first night was like from an action movie. George lives in downtown so you could hear the helicopters with searching lights, sport cars are junkies till the morning. Nice welcoming, don`t you think? Interesting experience. You can read about it in our next post.
Traveling and bike transfer advices and tips
At the end, as I promised. Here comes a little bit more traveling and bike transfer advices and tips about how to transport bikes by train or plane from Europe to USA. Or basically anywhere.
How to pack your bike in bike cartoon box for a smooth plane transfer
When you will be packing your bikes, you have to take some parts apart. Fix those parts inside in the cartoon box with tape! More sharp parts cover in newspaper (for softer transportation). If you have space and still some kilos left, put there also your bike touring bags or helmets. And do not forget to tape (the best with silver tape) the cartoon box all around – especially on the corners. This way you can prevent any damage. We never had any problems.
How to search for flight tickets or another bike trasportation
For a searching cheap flight tickets you can also check kiwi.com or expedia.com. On Kiwi.com you can choose km-radius of airports from which you can fly and expedia.com has better flights and more connections in America. For flying with bikes from North and South America Delta airlines is a good choice because they do not charge anything for any sport equipment (f.e. bikes). What we do not recommend is Air Europa because they once lost Anna`s luggage. And the last tip – if you need a return ticket to anywhere – it is easy to do it with buses. Flixbus is also in America. Or for more connection to anywhere with any trasport check rome2rio.com.