Can I fly with an electric bike?

As the weather is so poor in the UK at the moment and we accelerate towards Summer, holidays abroad become a talking point. If you ride an electric bike in the UK but want to take it with you, the question is can I fly with my electric bike? and if not what options do you have?

Electric bikes abroad are not the sole domain of mountain bikers, they are common with tourists too. They enable them to explore cities or take leisurely rides along canals and rivers, for example. Flatlands or Mountains or somewhere in between, electric bikes are a great way to explore areas without the need of a car.

With the growth in popularity of e-bikes, it’s inevitable that popular holiday destinations will need to cater for them. Cycle touring has seen exponential growth off the back of electric bikes. Weight and distance are no longer barriers for riders either with motors taking up the slack for them. We have long known (anecdotally) that electric bike riders ride further for longer and evidence emerging now backs this up. Some studies suggest some ride 3x more.

So we know ebike riders love them and will want to take them abroad with them so what are the options?



Forget flying

The simple answer to the question, can I fly with my electric bike? sadly is NO. Airlines have very strict regulations around fire safety and Li-on batteries based on their capacity or size. In short, the batteries in your phone, laptop, tablet etc are deemed fine but those in your bikes are too big. In fact, only a handful of exclusive road bikes have batteries small enough. It doesn’t matter whether the battery is in the hold or cabin either. It’s just a flat no.

So what are your options?

Lie

Its definitely an option but a very stupid and selfish one for obvious reasons. In fact, don’t even consider this option. It isn’t one.

Go by train

If you want to explore Europe, this could be just the ticket (another pun intended!). Eurostar accept electric bikes under 30kg but you will need to book.

Drive

In the same fashion that a train is a viable option of getting to Europe with your electric bike, driving is too. In fact driving does give you the option of the Channel Tunnel and Ferries.

a man wheeling an ebike onto a tow bar rack

Ship your bike ahead

This option involves boxing your bike carefully and using a specialist courier to deliver your bike to your location. In my opinion, this is possible but an unnecessary expense. Perhaps a last resort.

Hire on Location

Personally, I think this would be my preferred option whether the bike was electric or not. I visit the Canary Islands quite often and I always hire now after spending years boxing my bike and taking it on a plane. The costs of hiring electric bikes are pretty reasonable now and will definitely be cheaper than shipping your own.

So there you go. Forget flying with your electric bike. In almost every case, airlines just won’t allow you to take your bike with or without your battery on their planes. If you’re visiting Europe, driving, going by train or hiring on location are your best options. For ebike holidays further afield, hiring really is the best way, so factor that into where you decide to go.

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