End To End 2017
Land's End to John O'Groats
27 May - 14 June 2017
classic ride from the very southwest of England to the northeast
of Scotland. Riding with Mr. Balint this year.
logistics are fairly challenging. I will fly from BWI to
Heathrow with my bags, take the Heathrow Express to Paddington
Station, then the Great Western Railroad to Penzance. I will
pick up my bike at The Cycle Centre. The Cycle Centre closes at
5:30 on Saturday. My train gets in at 5:20--if all goes well.
The shop is closed on Sunday. So there will be drama.
Balint is driving to Manchester with his bike, dropping his car,
and training to Penzance with his bike. He is supposed to arrive
at about 4:30. We hope to do an out and back to Land's End
my bike get to The Cycle Centre? There was drama.
I decided to use BikeFlights--an outfit that's supposed to make it
easy to ship your bike anywhere. I'd used them before for domestic
shipping and they were fine--though actually not much simpler or
cheaper than just making the arrangements with Fedex myself. I will
not ship my bike internationally again.
They started by sending me some forms to fill out with information
about myself and my bike. I should have been given pause by the fact
that he forms did not align with the page breaks. I had to basically
re-engineer their forms in order to use them. You are supposed to
drop pictures into the form, but the page breaks were all jacked up
so you couldn't. Not very impressive.
Anyway, I worked through the stupid forms and got Linda to generate
nice PDFs from them. BikeFlights shuffled the forms and sent them
back to me with an address label to print out. I took the labels and
my bike (previously boxed by me) to the Fedex and they took it away.
Easy so far.
I had "The Large Box," it was the easiest pack job ever.
The whole point of the paperwork is to avoid the
bike being detained in customs. It was detained in customs. And
they weren't going to let it go until I paid them $200. By the
way, the shipping cost about $800, so things were getting out of
I found out about this from the bike shop--who received the
invoice for payment. Then BikeFlights helpfully told me that "it
appears your bike has been held up in customs." I spent a day
going back and forth with BikeFlights trying to find out if I
needed to pay this or whether they were going to help. They
would not give me a straight answer until I got them on the
phone. Then they said I had to pay, but they can help me try to
reclaim the funds later. I called Fedex Europe (in England) and
paid the money by credit card. That was unnecessarily hard, but
eventually we managed. Then I got another helpful email from
BikeFlights telling me that it seems my bike has cleared
customs. Later, when I asked BikeFlights for help with
reclaiming the money, they helpfully sent me a phone number.
For the return flight, Linda will bring over a bike bag and I'll
take the bike with me on the plane. It will be much simpler and
"End To End 2017" Copyright © 2017 By Bob Clemons.
All rights reserved.