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Travelling with a bike from SdC to Madrid Barajas.

Time of past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I’m frustrated that I can’t make up my mind about the best way to do this. In my original planning for my upcoming Camino in 2 months, I had simply assumed I would take the train - fast, fun, convenient and not particularly expensive. My mistake was assuming that I tick all the boxes because my bike will be in a top-quality Evoc bag, (with small wheels), so no problem. It turns out that there is. The bag according to Renfe regulations can be up to a maximum 120cm in length. Well, mine measures 133cm. I’ve looked up other websites about bikes on Spanish trains, and one in particular, (I think called Bike Europe), discusses this and states that never in their experience have they known any Renfe official actually measure a bag and refuse access to the train - an ALVIA in this case. Sounds promising, but if I encounter the exception, I miss my flight to Australia.


Of course there are good alternatives. No problem with ALSA, but the thought of a nine hour bus journey plus an overnight in Madrid doesn’t appeal, especially ahead of a trans-world flight. So I’m thinking flying is the answer. There is a perfect Ryanair early morning flight out of SdC which will connect nicely. But now I’m wondering is that wise? What if it is delayed? Or worse cancelled? So for peace of mind (or am I obsessing?) I would have to fly the day before and spend the night in rather expensive accommodation, and hang around the airport next day before my departure - remember I’m lugging a bike around.


I realise there is no right answer to this. Perhaps some input might help me get my head around it.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
...and knowing Ryan Air, in your shoes I'd take the risk of the train.
I've never had a problem personally with Ryan Air, but have certainly heard of others who have.
For clarity, this is the bag in question.
IMG_2131.jpeg
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I’d probably go with the train as it sounds like it’ll be fine.

We flew RyanAir Seville to London with a bike in a cardboard box without any problems at all. £50 was the fee I think.
We’ve also flown EasyJet recently from London to Seville, again, no problem. £45

Tomorrow we have a bus booked from Salamanca to Madrid with the bicycle in a big cardboard box, an overnight, and the fly to London.

Sorry for the ramble….I’d actually go a day early if I was in your position and pay for overnight at the airport. In the scheme of what the whole trip is probably going to cost it won’t be much and may just give you some piece of mind. Some wiggle room.
 
Risk assessment: train there is a slight risk you will be refused boarding, probably unlikely unless train is busy. However from Chamartin or Atocha you have to take the airport bus or taxi to MAD with the bike and baggage.

ALSA bus will certainly take your bike, 9 or 10 hour journey then airport bus again.

Ryanair will take the bike for about €60 and you arrive at MAD so no dickin' around at bus stations and airport transfers, seems like a win / win eh? Maybe pay a bit extra for a flexible booking, priority boarding so you'll be the last pax bumped off the flight. At Madrid you'll just have to collect the bike then transfer to the internacional terminal.

PS, which camino are you riding and when? The Madrid ~ Primitivo is my goal this year.
 
The simplest way is fly.

You can take the unassembled bike on MD trains but what do you do with the case? You could use Correos, but they won't take the case. A courier might but some insist, like Correos, on a cardboard box they can throw around. So another one for the flying option.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
The simplest way is fly.

You can take the unassembled bike on MD trains but what do you do with the case? You could use Correos, but they won't take the case. A courier might but some insist, like Correos, on a cardboard box they can throw around. So another one for the flying option.
The airlines required the bike to be in a box or a case.
 

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The airlines required the bike to be in a box or a case.
That's correct. See pic of case in #3.

Decathlon offer a cheap and cheerful canvas bike bag for about €50. You can fold it up into its own bag and post it forward to your destination.

I once stopped outside a rural ELTA post office in Greece with the disassembled bike in the bag. As I started to reassemble it, the post mistress came out to look and advised me of the type of parcel post I would need for the canvas bag. It was sent post restante to Athens where I picked it up, disassembled the bike and flew it in the bag back home.

A bike can be a pain when trying to get it back, but these expensive bike bags can be even more so.
 
Ryanair will take the bike for about €60 and you arrive at MAD so no dickin' around at bus stations and airport transfers, seems like a win / win eh?
I'm inclined to agree. The Ryanair flight connects perfectly with my onward flight to Aus. But that irritating "what if" bothers me, and I might fly a day in advance.
PS, which camino are you riding and when? The Madrid ~ Primitivo is my goal this year.
My second Frances - a leisurely ramble this time. Starting May 27th.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
A little more info. I'm You can take the unassembled bike on MD trains but what do you do with the case? You could use Correos, but they won't take the case. A courier might but some insist, like Correos, on a cardboard box they can throw around. So another one for the flying option.
A little more info. I'm flying from Aus with the empty bag, which folds down like this:
IMG_4330.jpeg
My bike has been in Cork with my son since 2019. I was going to use it the following year.
I'm flying to Biarritz and getting Express Bourricot transport to SJpdP where I will re-assemble the bike. I'm intending to use EB to courier the bike bag (collapsed) onward to SdC.
I had wondered about MD trains, but none come up on RometoRio. There must be an MD train to Madrid, but would it be quicker than ALSA?
 
A bike can be a pain when trying to get it back, but these expensive bike bags can be even more so.
True. This model cost me over A$500. My bike is a top-of-the-range carbon Scott Scale MTB. Makes one think twice about transporting it with minimal protection.
Riding a camino on my own bike is a real joy.
 
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Thank you all above for your considered replies. Although I've been on the forum for many years, I think it's the first time I've posted directly seeking advice! It really helps to clarify thinking.
 

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