Photo Credit: redjar

You’ve heard about our un-planned tour of Europe by bike and while this may sound like an impossible feat for anyone who’s ever tried to figure out the practicalities of taking a bike away with them, it is more doable that you think. The main benefits of traveling last minute are obviously cost, but it can also feel like much more of a free-wheeling adventure. Here are a few tips on how to approach a last-minute cycling break yourself…

Traveling with a bike This is the hardest part. Bicycles are cumbersome and unwieldy, two attributes that are not synonymous with airline travel.You would usually have two options in bringing your cycle along – either shipping it to your final destination, or bringing it with you. Of course, if you’re grabbing a late deal on a flight, you won’t be able to pre-plan a long shipping voyage and, besides, shipping a bicycle overseas is expensive! That leaves you with checking in your bike, but here, the airline that you are flying with becomes even more important. Some airlines charge up to $200 and some charge you nothing at all. The key is have a durable bike bag that can withstand the not-always gentle handling by the airlines.

Packing up, packing in Some of the best travel deals are last minute, but with those deals you can’t be as picky with the airlines, and if you factor in the baggage fees, it may not be such a deal after all. However, there is a way to both take advantage of a last minute deal and bring your bike along; buy a really large suitcase. A 32-by-25-by-10 inch suitcase will fit most bikes up to a 700c wheel size. You can check it in as normal luggage, and with some airlines the first bag is free. The key is fully disassembling the bike, and packing it in simple and obvious layers in case screeners have to open the case up. If you can do this, then you’ve got a way to transport your bike last-minute to wherever you would like.

Where to go for a last-minute cycle All around the world are roads begging to be ridden, it just depends what kind of punishment you’re willing to take. From the cobbled roads in Flanders, Belgium to the winding mountains of Switzerland to Japan during cherry blossom season, the world is your oyster. However, cheaper deals are to be found in well-known holiday hotspots like the Canary Islands and mainland Spain. Though they might sound more like beach destinations, they actually have a lot of rugged terrain and exciting bike routes – such as the Dragon’s Tail on Gran Canaria – that are well-worth exploring. Many low-cost airlines fly there as well, so you will be more likely to find a good price.