As an avid motorcyclist, vlogger and travel enthusiast, I’ve had my fair share of road adventures. But one of the most unique experiences has been taking my bike on the LeShuttle Eurotunnel. As I live in the North of England, traditionally, I have always taken the ferry from the UK to Europe as it proved to take a similar amount of time.
However, I love new experiences and decided to take my bike on the LeShuttle Eurotunnel to see what it was all about.
What is the LeShuttle Eurotunnel?
The LeShuttle Eurotunnel is a vehicle transport service between Maidstone in England and France. It is the only passenger rail service that allows vehicles to be transported between the UK and mainland Europe. The journey takes approximately 35 minutes, making it the quickest way to cross the English Channel by land. The Eurotunnel network also connects to other destinations in Europe, such as Belgium and Germany.
Can motorcycles use the Eurotunnel?
Yes, motorcycles are allowed on the LeShuttle Eurotunnel. They are classified as ‘Motorcycles’ or ‘Two-wheeled vehicles’ and can be booked under the same category as cars.
Booking your motorcycle
Booking your ticket for LeShuttle is straightforward. Visit the Eurotunnel website and follow the onscreen process. You’ll need to select your travel date and time and specify that you’re travelling with a motorcycle. Notably, motorcyclists pay only half the price of a car – a great perk for us two-wheelers! It is advisable to book early, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure a spot. You will also need to provide details of your motorcycle, such as make, model and registration number.
For large group bookings, you can also book by phone. Here, the agent will take you through the process, like group size and travel times, as well as confirm your booking details.
Different types of Eurotunnel Tickets
You can purchase a fixed time slot or a Flexiplus ticket for the Eurotunnel. A fixed time-slot ticket allows you to choose a specific time and date for your crossing, while the Flexiplus ticket gives you more flexibility by allowing you to travel within 24 hours of your chosen time slot.
The FlexiPlus ticket allows you access to the dedicated check-in lane. However, it is more expensive compared to the fixed time slot ticket. If you’re planning on taking multiple trips within 24 hours or want additional amenities, then the Flexiplus ticket may be worth
The Eurotunnel Experience
Arriving at the Eurotunnel
On the day of travel, arriving at least 30 minutes before your departure time is recommended. Before entering the shuttle carriage, you will check in at the Maidestone terminal and pass passport control.
Be wary of the SatNav when heading over to the Eurotunnel. There are two entrances, one for commercial vehicles like lorries and trucks and one for private vehicles like cars and bikes. Unfortunately, the Eurotunnel postcode takes you to the commercial entrance.
As you draw closer to the LeShuttle, don’t blindly follow the Satnav like I did. Instead, use the postcode to guide the area, then follow signs to the public entrance. The area is well signposted.
Once you’ve checked in and boarded the shuttle carriage, you will be directed to park your motorcycle in a designated area. It is usually the case that motorcycles board last after all the cars and lorries.
As you get closer to boarding their train, you may be asked to wait aside with your bike along with other bikers. Eventually, you’ll all be allowed to board the train as a group.
Securing your bike on the train
Unlike the ferry, there are no straps available to secure your bike. This is because the journey is only 35 minutes long. Instead, during the journey, you will be directed to park your motorcycle horizontally against the train’s walls and leave it on the sidestand.
During the journey, you must stay in the cabin with your bike, and electronic dividing walls lock down each compartment. These will not open until you arrive at your destination.
Unfortunately, when travelling by motorcycle, seating areas are not provided. Most passengers travel by car and will remain seated in the vehicle throughout the journey. It is not advised to remain seated on your bike due to it being unsecured. However, you can stand next to your bike or do what I did: sit on the floor.
The Duration of the Journey
The Eurotunnel tales are only 35 minutes long. But don’t worry about getting bored. It probably takes longer to board all the vehicles than the journey itself. There isn’t much in the way of entertainment whilst on board. The tunnel itself, outside of the carriages, is pitch black.
However, fortunately, the vast majority of the time, you can get a phone signal in the tunnel now, so if you don’t feel like socialising, you can always use this time to catch up on an episode of your favourite TV show.
Watch my YouTube about taking the EuroTunnel Below
Arriving in France
Once you arrive at your destination, disembarkation is usually swift and efficient. You will be directed to drive off the train. Once the train arrives in France, you will disembark in an orderly manner. As motorcyclists were the last to board, we are also the last!
It’s worth noting that to get off the train, you do have to ride your motorcycle through the carriages. There are several lines and dips throughout the train, which are very slippery for motorcycle wheels. Take it slowly and take it easy to avoid any mishaps.
After leaving the train, a petrol station is located within the terminal in France. However, you will be paying for fuel at a premium price. If you can manage to squeeze more miles out of your tank, it would be worth opting to use a petrol station further along your journey,
I chose to stop off at the petrol station to buy an energy drink and have 20 minutes to plan my route before heading off on my journey.
In conclusion, motorcycles are welcome on the Eurotunnel and can be easily booked through the website or by phone. There are different ticket options, with Flexiplus offering more flexibility and added amenities for a higher price. On the day of travel, arrive early and follow signs to the correct entrance at Maidstone terminal. Once on board, relax and take it easy, and soon, you’ll be at your destination in 35 minutes. Upon arrival in France, disembark carefully and consider stopping at a petrol station further along your journey to save money on fuel. The Eurotunnel experience is efficient and convenient for motorcyclists, making it a great option for travelling between England and France.