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Shipping an FJR to Europe from Canada


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#1 canucklehead-biker

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 08:37 AM

Hi folks, thinking about a "trip of a lifetime" tour of Europe in the summer of 2011. Has anyone any experience in the hoops one needs to jump through to ship a bike to Europe from Canada, and do you have any recommended shippers etc?

This is all part of the advanced planning/feasibility: if it looks like too much of a headache I can always rent I guess.

Thanks for any insights rolleyes.gif


Griff

Griff (Canucklehead) '06 FJR1300AEV, '78 XS750SE SOLD!! '08 KLR650E
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#2 Fairlaner

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:56 AM

sounds like there will be a few of us in europe in eleven........

R


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#3 Brody

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 11:27 AM

Yes, Toronto to London (Gatwick) and back in 2007.

click for link to company that I used

I've got a lot of stories/info about this....but I'm on the way out the door.....will post more later.
current rides: FJR 1300, V-Strom 650, Street Triple R 675

#4 Brody

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 04:26 AM

When I explored this back in 07, I came to the conclusion that it was worth it to ship vs. rent since my trip was for 2 months.

One month or less and it would have been better to rent.

Here are some of the things I went through;

First off insurance--you need a special insurance, called green card insurance, the same co. that arranged the shipping was a broker.

You can get a international driver's permit at AAA or CAA for you (no test just a $10 fee)

Packing.....................
We were 2-up on a Suzuki V-Strom 650. 45 liter side cases and 52 liter topcase.

I figured we had to have all our stuff on the bike anyway so for the flight we'd just take a small carry on with essentials and leave everything else on the shipped bike.

Not gonna work,,,,,,,,,,,,,while hardbags can remain attached to the bike for shipping, they must be empty.

Other things,,,,,,,,,one gallon or less of fuel in the tank, battery disconnected and hot terminal taped.

The bike must fit within certain dimensions (which shouldn't be a problem) so it can fit thru their x-ray machine.

I had a special packing for flights then rearranged things for convenience when riding.
I used bag liners for the side cases filled with all soft unbreakable items. These we checked thru as baggage on the flights.
I had a large folding duffel bag for riding gear and other items. Small items were packed inside the helmets using small soft clothing as cushioning. Then the riding jackets were used to cushion around the helmets and more soft stuff to cushion around the jackets. Everything arrived intact on all flights.

I had a small backpack in which I took a laptop and travel essentials and carried that on with me. T had a small fanny pack that she used as a carry on.

We rode from home to Toronto (3 hours north). I made sure that we ended up with the minimum amount of fuel in the tank when we got there. The bike had to be at air-frieght 48 hours min prior to our flight.

We checked into the motel, that I had found, that was within walking distance of the air-freight area. We emptied the bike and I rode it over and completed the paperwork and did the battery disconnect and walked back to the motel.

We used public transportation and a free airport shuttle during our 2 days in Toronto.

Arriving at Gatwick we used parking shuttle buses to get close to the air freight area then had to walk a little carrying our bags. (of course we could have gotten a taxi) point is, the passenger terminals are not necessarily very near the air-freight.

So we finally get to the air-freight and get the paperwork to bring to customs. Customs was about 1/3 mile away at the other end of this complex.

We had arranged to arrive on a certain day when customs is supposed to be present. They were not present. There was a sign on the door saying they would be back next week.

I wandered around and found an office open and asked them if they knew how I could get in contact with customs. They were an "expediter" and they said they could take care of things..........for a fee. They downloaded some forms from the internet giving me a temporary importation of a vehicle paper.

I brought these papers back to the air-freight and then they released the bike to me.

All in all about 3 hours after we landed we were on the road..............riding on the left-hand side of course.

No one gave us any problems at any border crossings or ferry crossings and no one ever looked at our paperwork.

---------------------------------------------------------

More later about the things we went thru on the return trip..............





current rides: FJR 1300, V-Strom 650, Street Triple R 675

#5 Fairlaner

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 05:13 AM

They want $2000 each way from LA to London OUCH...

R


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#6 Brody

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 04:20 AM

So I still don't know how I got the bike released without a customs agent checking it first............
Still, 3 hours after landing and we were on the road,,,,,,,,not too bad.


So on the way back, when we go through customs, I tell the agent about the bike. It does no good but he assures me that the Canadian customs office will be open.

I had a plan that involved leaving T with the baggage and her reading book--going to get the bike--coming back to pick her up.

Because of the high airport security and so much uncertainty we elected to just grab a cab and stay together.

I had the cab drop us off at the spot that I dropped the bike 2 months earlier.

I go in and find out that our air-freight company is no longer there. They've moved to another area, quite distant, on the other side of the airport.

We call another cab to take us there. This time, I have the cab wait while I check things out.

The bike is not there yet and they can give me no info on when it might arrive.

It's already approaching evening, so we take the cab to a motel and plan to spend the night.

After dinner I call the air-freight and get the report that the bike has arrived.

Check out time was noon, so I figured I'd let T sleep in a bit. I'd get an early start and pick up the bike.

I take another cab to pick up the papers from air-freight. The customs office is only a short walk from there.

I take a number and wait about 40 minutes while I listen to conversations of travelers being hassled by customs agents.

Finally my turn. I hand over the papers and explain that i want to pick up my bike.

The reply that I get is, "This usually takes 3 days." ................................................................

I explain that I really hoped to get home today,,,,,,,,,,,,,"Have a seat. I'll see if I can find an inspector."

90 minutes more of overhearing people getting hassled...........................

Finally, they call my name. I am glad that I washed the bike before shipping it home. There was a hoof & mouth outbreak and dirt was contraband!

The inspector complimented me on the bike and the fact that it was so clean gave me my papers and I was on my way back to get the bike.
current rides: FJR 1300, V-Strom 650, Street Triple R 675

#7 canucklehead-biker

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 07:24 AM

Brody,

Sounds like quite an adventure... you gotta love bureaucracy.

Mind if I PM you for details on the arrangements you made? The trip is still a couple of years away, but starting to plan now.

Griff

Griff (Canucklehead) '06 FJR1300AEV, '78 XS750SE SOLD!! '08 KLR650E
Not all who wander are lost... IBA#53874, CBA# 26 (if Carver ever gets around to updating the CBA list!)

NAFO '08, '12; CFR '09, '10, '11. '12; WCR '10, 11 groundspider.jpg VisitedProvincesMapcopy.jpg VisitedStatesMapcopy.jpg


#8 Brody

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 11:40 AM

QUOTE (canucklehead-biker @ May 24 2009, 11:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Brody,

Sounds like quite an adventure... you gotta love bureaucracy.

Mind if I PM you for details on the arrangements you made? The trip is still a couple of years away, but starting to plan now.

Griff


I'd be glad to help if I can.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Our trip started in southern UK (Devon, Wales) then France thru the Alps SW, central, SE, then Dolomites, Austria, Germany, Netherlands then back to UK-Ireland-Scotland and England again.

________________________________________________

Just a little more about dirt.

I asked an Irish friend of mine if I could bring him back anything from Ireland.

He said, "Just some dirt would be nice." I thought it was a joke at first but he said that it was a family tradition for his mom to put a little Irish dirt on his dad's grave every year and they had run out.

So when we got to the Old Country I got this little Guinness spoon that's supposed to be for pouring proper heads or something.........it seemed to be a proper digging tool for the job at hand.

We selected well known areas around the country to collect of dirt and documented the harvest by camera. We labelled each baggie with the name of its origin.

So I had a half dozen baggies of dirt (about 1/3 full for each baggie). I was a little concerned that some customs agent might think that I had some weird sort of drugs or something but wasn't prepared for what actually happened.

On the return flight, we had to fill out a declarations paper and it specifically asked if we had any soil or soil samples.

Like I said before there was a hoof and mouth outbreak while we were there and they even wanted to know if we spent any time on a farm. Strangely enough, they traced the source of this outbreak to a facility that does research to try and prevent hoof and mouth!!!!!!!! A plumbing problem had caused a drain to back up and trucks ran over this stuff and spread it around the countryside..........................but I'm digressing.

So since I declared my dirt as I passed the first (routine) customs agent I was told that the dirt would be taken from me but since I'd declared it, there would be no fine or other problem.

Then I had to go to the second customs agent. I explained how and why we got the dirt and that it was not from near any agricultural areas..............the agent asked, "So you're just taking this dirt right back to the States with you, you're not staying in Canada, eh?"

I said, "Yes, that's right". Then to my surprise he says, "OK, I'm Irish. I understand." So we got to keep the dirt.

Then I started to wonder what was going to happen at the Peace Bridge crossing back into the states..........

I thought, Hmmmmmmm, they will ask me how long I've been in Canada and I'll just say, Just overnight, sir. (which actually was the truth).

Then I remembered our passports would be marked (if we were asked for them) and there were still all these stickers on the windshield from the shipping and the Swiss vignet (a pass that you need to ride on the Swiss Autobans).

But anyway that agent was more interested in asking about shipping the bike than any old dirt.

So my friend got his dirt after all..................... yahoo.gif





current rides: FJR 1300, V-Strom 650, Street Triple R 675