Author Topic: Sending a bicycle from France (perhaps all of Europe) to UK  (Read 196 times)

Sending a bicycle from France (perhaps all of Europe) to UK
« on: April 18, 2021, 05:05:41 pm »
Cat needed a bike in Oxford to start taking the little one out for his first rides in a childseat. She did not have a suitable machine. I had one but it was in Limoges (France). We couldn't make our minds up on anysuitable and available bike in UK so the logical step was to send her the one that was doing relatively little in France.

1. We need a box. Obviously I ask my LBS. The supply of bikes being a bit random they couldn't say when (or if) they would have something suitable (the previous bike box went with the bike at the customer's request). I could have something to take just a frame but that would mean leaving Cat to work out (from photos) how to install the IGH (Alfine 8). Jeremy's mum, who runs the till in the shop, takes my phonenumber and says she will ring me back if something comes in.

2. I need a carrier. I was settled on DHL, they being the carrier we see most often. They have a 1m20 size limit. I don't know how much I will have to cut off any box to get it under the limit. 1m20 still means taking out the wheels! :( At this stage I haven't looked too hard at the formalities - perhaps I should have done!!

Tuesday evening I get a phonecall from the shop; there is a suitable carton which they are holding for me. I am working wednesday which is also their closed day (I think it is the boss' day to help with the cycle-racing school) so first thing thursday morning I am there. Then round to DHL with my carton. I say I am worried about the size (1m40 long); the lady on the counter says it will be fine but I have to pay on-line. Back home to fill up my carton. Front wheel out, mudguards off (the chainstay brace fixing is a screw but there is just enough room to get it on and off, rear wheel stays put  8) )Chain tensioner unbolted and fastened to chainstay, disc removed from front wheel to avoid contact which might bend it, bars removed from front-opening stem but cables untouched. It all goes in, along with a barbag filled with spare tubes and spanners for putting it back together, a frame bag and a home-made front rack. Oh and a spare neoprene chainstay protector (which is used to hold the gear cable in place, avoiding cable ties which would have to be thrown away and replaced if the wheel had to come out).

It's now thursday afternoon. I go on-line to the site of DHL to book it in and pay for it. Can't do it, my box is too big! :( Back on line to find another way. Packlink is a comparator for parcels services (I don't know how much their margin is and don't really care!) who in a list of choices give me UPS as the cheapest. It's not a commercial parcel, no penalties for delays so that does me fine - not exactly that cheap but in a time of viruses we have to accept that getting in the car and going to see the grandson is not an option so it will do. Quick and easy Paypal transaction, transport tickets to print out and stick on the box, no problem. - Wait, what's this!!!!!!! There is a Customs invoice to be completed - with details of everything in the box, including the right customs classification and the value  ???  That's the rest of my afternoon and evening taken up nicely, (broken up by going out to assemble a neighbour's new lawnmower). I am not going to undo and empty out the box to check off everything so I do it from memory. Much searching up and down the Customs listings for the category of each item. I couldn't find a neoprene chainstay protector so it had to go as an anonymous accessory. I had to print out the form a second time friday morning to add a set of allen keys (sorry, male hexagonal keys! :facepalm: ) I like modifiable pdf forms, saves a lot of time.

Box picked up friday lunchtime while I was working. Meant to be delivered tuesday. We will see if UK Customs discover that I have forgotten to declare two sets of brake pads and a couple of spare wheel nuts for the rear hub or whether they will accept a total value of 75€ as reasonable for a secondhand bike and bits for a birthday present.

For anyone going through the Customs bit (it seems that you can't escape this, my french daughter had a similar hassle sending one small birthday present), be warned that you need identity numbers for yourself and for your receiver. It said tax ID for me so that's what they got and for Cat we used her Nat Ins number. I also had to include a photocopy of my passport! (Perhaps it being a UK one will help) ???

Re: Sending a bicycle from France (perhaps all of Europe) to UK
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2021, 08:24:43 pm »
Just a quick word to say that the parcel arrived right on schedule this lunchtime. It's upside down in the photo so presumably UPS drivers read on their heads but that was pretty quick apart from the Customs bit, and painless apart from the hit to the wallet. Now for the remantling instructions!

5 days including the w-e; I would have thought that was pretty quick, considering it was the economy service.