from Cumbria
to Umbria by bike

  Site Home Page   |   Mechanics   |   Tour    |   Gallery   |   Contact us

  by Allan Nelson & Konrad Orlowski 


  Packing list

  The Bikes

  Packing bikes

> To the Airport

  Arriving at Pisa 

We left Ulverston on the 9:44am NorthWest Trains service to Manchester Airport (change at Preston).  The change of train at Preston necessitated a change of platform (of course), and the change of platform necessitated lugging a bike, 2 panniers and a bag containing 3kg's of PG Tips Tea up around 40 steps, across the footbridge and down the other side.  Still, we had plenty of time to do it, our connecting train was almost an hour away (it was Sunday).   Having said that, the trains were on time and as we'd booked beforehand, we had no problem with the bikes on the train.  It was while we were travelling down that Konrad informed me he hadn't booked the bikes on for the return journey.  No problem, we decided.  We'd simply blame the ticket clerk (everyone else does).  After all, why wouldn't we have booked both ways?  We were coming back. Anyway, that was 2 weeks away.  We'd worry about that then.

I must say that getting from the station to Terminal 1 was a breeze. Simply up in the lift, and you're there. It would have been even easier had I managed to get a trolley that wheeled in a straight line.  We went straight to the check-in desk which had just opened. 

This year we were flying out with European Air Charter, and returning with Monarch Airlines.

A couple of things different from last year...

Firstly, when we got our tickets, we were dismayed to see that the luggage allowance was only 15kg's.   We'd not intended taking as much with us this year, but doubted we could get under 15kg's each (bearing in mind I was taking 3kg's of PG Tips Tea for Sergio - that knocked me down to 12!).  Konrad rang the people he got the tickets off, and explained we were taking bikes etc etc.  Now as luck would have it, the lady who dealt with him cycled too, and said there would be no problem putting it up to 20kg's.  She would see that it was done (and it was!).

Secondly, they weighed the token pannier and that was it (both going out and back).

Having had such an easy time last year, something had to go wrong - didn't it?  But no, if anything it was easier this year.  Partly because we knew what was expected of us. For example, we didn't stand in a queue at the special baggage handling window only to be told we needed to go somewhere else.  We just went to that 'somewhere else' straight away, where a very helpful chap did the necessary, and that was that.  Absolutely painless.


The AlpsWe boarded the plane on time, which then sat on the tarmac for 40 minutes 'waiting for a slot'.  We finally took off at 16:20 (50 minutes late).  The plane was only about a quarter full (we estimated about 40 people).  I've never been on a plane that empty.  It looked very strange.   No wonder they weren't bothered about weight.  Once again, great views of the Alps on the way over.