The nature of motorcycle travel means it’s as varied as the bikes we ride. For many of us there’s a dream or a chance of one big trip, for others there’s an unending life on the road, but for most it’s an annual two-week break, especially while the kids are growing up.
I’ve recently found myself in this category and it will be a few years before I’m off on another elongated adventure so I now think carefully about how I use the time I do get on the road, with my own bike; loved and prepared by me. So I’ve decided to really get to know the Europe that’s on my doorstep.
Sadly the ferries to Scandinavia have been axed and I’ve ridden northern France many, many times, but I’ve found a new operation called BikeShuttle, a weekly service to Geneva that I’m going to try this July and then write a full report, because it’s a comparatively new company and because I no longer find joy in 5 or 600 mile days in the saddle but want to go and ride around Greece.
As their name suggests, they’ll shuttle your bike so you can get one of many budget flights and enjoy new riding, discovering parts of Europe you may not otherwise have time to reach.
I’m also intrigued because they appear to be a very professional outfit, with specially commissioned vehicles and bike dollies, and padded flight cases to ensure your helmet and gear doesn’t get damaged enroute. This attention to detail isn’t quite as surprising when you realise the owner, Declan, and all the team, ride bikes themselves and have invested a lot in providing a hassle-free quality service.
Based near Towcester in Northants, they started in 2014, with last year being their first full year in operation (May to October). Although most customers were BMW GS owners, they carried everything from lighter dirt bikes to fully dressed big tarmac tourers because there are many reasons why someone from the UK may want to start their ride within sight of the Alps…
£400 for a return shuttle to their hotel base a few minutes from Geneva airport may initially seem steep to some, but really do the maths and consider the time saved. Few of us have excessive time and excessive money and it’s only those who live in Kent that can be in France within the hour!
You can ride to their base on a Tuesday morning, get changed and leave your gear with the bike before getting in the shuttle bus to Luton airport for an afternoon flight to Switzerland. There’s free transfer to the hotel and by breakfast the next morning your bike is parked in the hotel’s underground car park.
I’m certainly hoping the whole process is as relaxed as it sounds, but I’ve planned to drop my bike at their base a day earlier and get an evening flight from Heathrow so that I can put in one more day in the office. They seem to flexible like that. Report to come, but if you try the service before me, do let me know!