I'm looking to go to Europe in April for 4 or 5 months of touring. I will be camping and carrying all my own gear.
I would really prefer to buy the bike over there, but worried that most bike shops will not stock proper touring bikes, panniers, bike racks etc. Also, I imagine that it's a lot more expensive in the shops than online.
Can anyone recommend good bike shops in either Amsterdam, Calais, Paris or London? Ones that would stock proper touring bikes? I only speak English so that will be another consideration.
Any help appreciated!
I have traveled/backpacked Europe and bought used rental bikes before. Most are either mountain bike or hybrid frames. They should be able to be converted w/ racks, panniers, ect. Good luck. Peace.
Since last week I work at De Vakantiefietser, i.e. 'the holidaybiker'. This is a brilliant shop, not only to buy a bike, but to buy all kind of stuff you need for a bicycle-trip. You can also order your bike in advance by internet.
But I don't know what your budget is, he only sells good quality (and therefore expensive) bikes like Santos, IDworks and Koga Miyata. Have a look if you like: http://www.vakantiefietser.nl/the-holiday-biker/
And have a good trip! Paulien
We've done a couple of European tours totaling 5 months in all. On the first three month tour we carried all gear for camping and rode over many mountains. Most other touring bikes we saw were quite heavy and designed to travel on the flat on the great European bike paths, especially the dutch bikes.
We boxed our bikes on both trips and both times they flew within the luggage limits and cost us nothing.
I guess you have considered buying online, say wiggle, and having stuff delivered in England.
Personally, we really were glad of the opportunity to test and trial run our bikes, panniers and gear here in Australia before we left. Don't hesitate to ask if we can be of any help.
The bikes in Oz are a lot more expensive than Europe.
What about buying a good quality European Tourer and taking it back to Oz. The Dutch make some of the best bikes
Van Nicholas, Koga Miyata
Just google Best Dutch Touring bikes
There are a lot of great bicycle shops in Amsterdam. Try this link for Surly dealers, they would also have other suitable touring bikes. Many shops specialize in expedition bikes. You may wish to bring your favorite saddle and pedals.
Jary Poland via Spokane USA
I bought a bike to tour with in Europe (Italy) in 2008 from Decathlon, a well known chain in Europe. You could google them and see what they have. I think I bought a hybrid, and it was already fitted with racks. I took my own panniers and bought a water bottle and cage... I cycled 2 months and it was fine, and even had a free service from the chain I bought it from mid-tour... I just paid for the new brake pads I needed! (those Alps!!) There was certainly a Decathlon in Paris at that time, and they may be in many cities.
If you are in Amsterdam check the shop of Eric, a nice bike tourer with some good bike advise, also for budget second hand touring bikes.
Web site in English: http://www.vakantiefietser.nl/
Decathlon is also in all the major Polish cities. I notice that their bikes are not set up very well, cables too long etc... So check to see if they have their own service in store and have them go though every nut and bolt....