Can small town with just ten thousands of inhabitants attract millions passengers per year? Yeah, it is possible. Especially when such a town has an airport used by discount airlines. Due to this reason we arrived to German town Weeze.
Irish discount air company Ryanair launched a regular connection between Finnish town Lappeenranta and German town Weeze on March 2010. Lappeenranta is about fifty kilometers away from Russian town Vyborg. This means that it is quite easy to get there from Saint Petersburg. Even on a bicycle if you use a commuter train from Saint Petersburg to Vyborg. I think this alternative can even make a competition to a car when there are queues on the border.
Round trip flight including transportation of a bicycle was just €126 when booked ahead (€45 passenger fare plus €80 bicycle cargo). I have noted no major damages to the bicycle after the transportation. The bicycle has been packed to a standard transportation bag produced by the PIK-99 company. Additionally using rods and strainers I have fixed a rudder the way it does not move freely, also I tied previously removed front wheel to the frame. One needs to be prepared that the bicycle will have to be fully tunned after the transportation. This will most likely include things like tightening wire ropes and steering. In order not to pay for the second baggage item all the camping gear and other items have been put to a rag bag and taken as a cabin baggage. All things that are not allowed to take to the cabin went out in the bicycle bag along with the bicycle.
I need to say that Ryanair has quite a restrictive baggage allowance policy. This is a side effect of discounted airlines. Such restrictions can be loosen by additional payments. But since I did not want additional payments I took the restrictions into account when staffing the things. I counted that everything should fit into a bag with 55сm x 40сm x 20сm dimensions and weighted no more than 10 kilos. Of cause I also counted that something will go along with the bicycle in one bag that has a limit of 30 kilos and higher dimensions. Even if a bicycle would weight 15 kilos, there are 15 more kilos for useful stuff left. However, I tried to lower the amount of things traveling along with the bicycle since I worried to soil or damage them (a bicycle is big, made of iron and has lubricants).
We took trains from Weeze to the Constance – a starting point of our route. Happily a group railway ticket makes such travelling not that expensive at all although with lots and lots of train changes. Such a route direction also makes sense. It is more convenient to ride from the Alps down than the opposite. Those are relief peculiarities.
Weeze has another attracting point besides the airport. A semaphore railway signalling is still in use there.