Issues with folding bicycles on European trains?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Tom Worthington, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. I wrote 3 May 2003 <http://groups.google.com.au/groups?threadm=cf94a0b1.0305031653.3fe83456%40posting.google.com>:

    >My doctor prescribed a bicycle ... ended up with a Dahon "Boardwalk

    6",
    >6 speed 20" folding bicycle, which has proved far more useful
    >than expected. ...


    Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by aircraft
    then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by train. Any issues or
    suggestions?

    If I put the bicycle in a carry bag I assume it can be taken as normal
    luggage, as I did to Brisbane
    <http://www.tomw.net.au/2003/bb/brisbane.html>. Bringing a similar
    folding bicycle back from China, as it was not covered and had to be
    separately checked in (where golf clubs are handled)
    <http://www.tomw.net.au/2003/bws/>.

    The intention is not to go on long cycling tours, just short day trips
    around the city centre, with luggage left at a hotel. But here is
    still the problem of transporting the bicycle and luggage to and from
    planes and trains.

    Putting the bicycle bag on top of a small wheeled cabin bag (with
    luggage in it) when walking to the airport seems to work. For longer
    distances, strapping the bag to the top of the bicycle carrier and
    riding the bicycle seems to be workable. Because the bike has small
    wheels the load is low down, about the level panniers would be on a
    conventional bicycle. Towing the wheeled bag behind the bike carrier
    (with the bag handle extended as a tow bar), seems to work. But the
    bag wheels are too small and noisy for road use.

    Will do a report on how it works out. Previous trip reports at
    <http://www.tomw.net.au/travel/Tourist.htm>.

    ps: I realize that specially designed hard cases are available to put
    bicycles in, but I really can't see the point. A folded bicycle is
    stronger than the case, so why have the case? The padded bag I have is
    really more to protect everyone else's luggage from the bicycle. Also
    with the soft case you can hide the bicycle if they are not allowed or
    uncover it if there is a concession for bicycles.


    Tom Worthington FACS [email protected]
    Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
    http://www.tomw.net.au PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617
    Visiting Fellow, Computer Science, Australian National University
    Publications Director, Australian Computer Society
     
    Tags:


  2. Mark Dunn

    Mark Dunn Guest

    You can hire a bike in any of the cities you mention.
    Tom Worthington <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I wrote 3 May 2003

    <http://groups.google.com.au/[email protected]
    osting.google.com>:
    >
    > >My doctor prescribed a bicycle ... ended up with a Dahon "Boardwalk

    > 6",
    > >6 speed 20" folding bicycle, which has proved far more useful
    > >than expected. ...

    >
    > Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by aircraft
    > then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by train. Any issues or
    > suggestions?
    >
    > If I put the bicycle in a carry bag I assume it can be taken as normal
    > luggage, as I did to Brisbane
    > <http://www.tomw.net.au/2003/bb/brisbane.html>. Bringing a similar
    > folding bicycle back from China, as it was not covered and had to be
    > separately checked in (where golf clubs are handled)
    > <http://www.tomw.net.au/2003/bws/>.
    >
    > The intention is not to go on long cycling tours, just short day trips
    > around the city centre, with luggage left at a hotel. But here is
    > still the problem of transporting the bicycle and luggage to and from
    > planes and trains.
    >
    > Putting the bicycle bag on top of a small wheeled cabin bag (with
    > luggage in it) when walking to the airport seems to work. For longer
    > distances, strapping the bag to the top of the bicycle carrier and
    > riding the bicycle seems to be workable. Because the bike has small
    > wheels the load is low down, about the level panniers would be on a
    > conventional bicycle. Towing the wheeled bag behind the bike carrier
    > (with the bag handle extended as a tow bar), seems to work. But the
    > bag wheels are too small and noisy for road use.
    >
    > Will do a report on how it works out. Previous trip reports at
    > <http://www.tomw.net.au/travel/Tourist.htm>.
    >
    > ps: I realize that specially designed hard cases are available to put
    > bicycles in, but I really can't see the point. A folded bicycle is
    > stronger than the case, so why have the case? The padded bag I have is
    > really more to protect everyone else's luggage from the bicycle. Also
    > with the soft case you can hide the bicycle if they are not allowed or
    > uncover it if there is a concession for bicycles.
    >
    >
    > Tom Worthington FACS [email protected]
    > Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
    > http://www.tomw.net.au PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617
    > Visiting Fellow, Computer Science, Australian National University
    > Publications Director, Australian Computer Society
     
  3. /

    / Guest

    Tom Worthington wrote:
    > I wrote 3 May 2003 <http://groups.google.com.au/groups?threadm=cf94a0b1.0305031653.3fe83456%40posting.google.com>:


    > Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by aircraft
    > then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by train. Any issues or
    > suggestions?
    >
    > If I put the bicycle in a carry bag I assume it can be taken as normal
    > luggage, as I did to Brisbane


    On Belgium and Germany trains a folded bike in a bag is treated as a piece of
    luggage. So can take it along on your trip.

    Krist
     
  4. Owain

    Owain Guest

    "Tom Worthington" wrote
    | Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by
    | aircraft then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by
    | train. Any issues or suggestions?

    I don't know about Cambridge area trains specifically, but many British
    trains have compartments specifically for (full-size) cycles, with restraint
    straps and padlock points. Spaces are limited, requirements for reservations
    and paying a fee will vary between train operating companies.

    You might find the following useful:

    http://www.ctc.org.uk/working/CycleTrain.aspx (UK National cyclists'
    association)
    http://www.atob.org.uk/Bike_Rail.html
    http://www.pushbikes.freeserve.co.uk/Cycling/LeisureAndTouring/TOCs.htm
    http://www.colc.co.uk/about/transport.html#ECycle (Cambridge local site)

    Owain
     
  5. David Horne

    David Horne Guest

    Tom Worthington <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by aircraft
    > then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by train. Any issues or
    > suggestions?


    Definitely the most flexible option to take the folding bicycles. I
    can't think of any form of public transport off-hand that would prohibit
    you from taking them. Are there? Even our local bastard tram service
    allows folding bicycles, where regular bikes are a no-no.

    David

    --
    David Horne- www.davidhorne.net
    usenet (at) davidhorne (dot) co (dot) uk
     
  6. Peter File

    Peter File Guest

    > | Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by
    > | aircraft then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by
    > | train. Any issues or suggestions?
    >
    > I don't know about Cambridge area trains specifically, but many British
    > trains have compartments specifically for (full-size) cycles, with

    restraint
    > straps and padlock points. Spaces are limited, requirements for

    reservations
    > and paying a fee will vary between train operating companies.


    IIRC the WAGN trains from Kings X to Cambridge don't have a big enough
    guards compartment. I do however see quite a few people boarding with bikes
    outside of peak hours. However a folding bike will be no problem.
     
  7. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Peter File wrote:
    >
    > IIRC the WAGN trains from Kings X to Cambridge don't have a big enough
    > guards compartment. I do however see quite a few people boarding with bikes
    > outside of peak hours. However a folding bike will be no problem.


    WAGN don't have a guards compartment at all. There are restrictions on
    non-folding bikes into Cambridge and into London at certain peak times on
    WAGN. These times are:
    - Monday to Friday on services south of Stevenage (Kings Cross/Moorgate
    routes) and Broxbourne (Liverpool Street Routes) that terminate in London
    between 07.00 and 09.29 or depart from London between 16.00 and 18.59.
    - Monday to Friday on services between Audley End and Cambridge that depart
    from or arrive at Cambridge between 07.45 and 08.45

    If you are flying to Brussels they do not allow non-folding bikes on the
    Stansted Express unless they are packed flat for air travel. Best put a black
    binbag over your folding bike as they can be iffy about them even if there is
    no restriction.

    Tony
     
  8. Tom Worthington <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by aircraft
    >then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by train. Any issues or
    >suggestions?


    Folding bicycles may be transported on almost all UK trains (including
    the ones you will be using) and the London Underground without trouble.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  9. Tom Worthington wrote:

    > Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by aircraft
    > then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by train. Any issues or
    > suggestions?


    Taking a full size bike on a UK train involves negotiating a Kafkaesque
    series of rules which vary from train company to train company,
    depending on their type of rolling stock and their overcrowding problem
    (despite the trains being rubbish, they're busier than ever!) Some
    operators will not take bikes at all on some services, some require
    pre-booking and with others you just turn up.

    Folding bikes like Bromptons are always OK - I don't know how big your
    bike is but if it's similar then you should have no problems.
     
  10. mark

    mark Guest

    "Tom Worthington" wrote

    > Was going to take the folding bicycle to the UK on Tuesday by aircraft
    > then Cambridge, Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg by train. Any issues or
    > suggestions?


    www.nationalrail.co.uk will get you links to all the UK rail companies, each
    of which has its own policies about bicycles (Why does a country the size of
    the UK need 30 odd rail companies?). Most rail companies seem to treat a
    folding bike in a case the way they would treat any comparably sized
    suitcase, it's the fully assembled, full sized bicycles that become
    troublesome. My own (very limited) experience taking a fully loaded tourer
    on trains in the UK was not bad, other regulars on this NG seem to have a
    limitless supply of horror stories.
    --
    mark
     
  11. Peter File

    Peter File Guest

    > www.nationalrail.co.uk will get you links to all the UK rail companies,
    each
    > of which has its own policies about bicycles (Why does a country the size

    of
    > the UK need 30 odd rail companies?). Most rail companies seem to treat a
    > folding bike in a case the way they would treat any comparably sized
    > suitcase, it's the fully assembled, full sized bicycles that become
    > troublesome. My own (very limited) experience taking a fully loaded tourer
    > on trains in the UK was not bad, other regulars on this NG seem to have a
    > limitless supply of horror stories.


    I've had OK experiences with just turning up. The major problem is crossing
    London. It takes some nerve to cycle across London if your not used to
    London drivers.
     
  12. Hedgehog

    Hedgehog Guest

    Crossing London is OK if you use the cycle routes - they tend to go along
    the quieter streets. A map can be ordered (free) from www.tfl.gov.uk

    Also, use the bus lanes (this is legal) - they tend to be quieter, but be
    prepared for bus drivers who will drive close behind and try to intimidate
    you out of the way (just ignore them....they will drop back after the next
    bus stop!)

    "Peter File" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > > www.nationalrail.co.uk will get you links to all the UK rail companies,

    > each
    > > of which has its own policies about bicycles (Why does a country the

    size
    > of
    > > the UK need 30 odd rail companies?). Most rail companies seem to treat a
    > > folding bike in a case the way they would treat any comparably sized
    > > suitcase, it's the fully assembled, full sized bicycles that become
    > > troublesome. My own (very limited) experience taking a fully loaded

    tourer
    > > on trains in the UK was not bad, other regulars on this NG seem to have

    a
    > > limitless supply of horror stories.

    >
    > I've had OK experiences with just turning up. The major problem is

    crossing
    > London. It takes some nerve to cycle across London if your not used to
    > London drivers.
    >
    >
     
  13. John Hearns

    John Hearns Guest

  14. Peter File <[email protected]> wrote:
    >someone else wrote:
    >>(Why does a country the size of the UK need 30 odd rail companies?)


    We don't, it's fallout from privatisation, which has doubled subsidy and
    made no real improvements. The experience can largely be summarised by the
    observation that in the days of state-owned British Rail, railway food was
    cheap and nasty; now it's expensive and nasty.

    >I've had OK experiences with just turning up. The major problem is crossing
    >London. It takes some nerve to cycle across London if your not used to
    >London drivers.


    Bear in mind that you may use the surface Tube lines outside the rush hour
    with an unfolded bike; most of the major railway terminuses are on or
    within walking distance of the Circle Line.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  15. David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<Nsj*[email protected]>...
    <cut>
    >
    > Bear in mind that you may use the surface Tube lines outside the rush hour
    > with an unfolded bike; most of the major railway terminuses are on or
    > within walking distance of the Circle Line.


    A bit of a contradiction in terms here. The shallow underground lines
    are not "tube", but of cut-and-cover construction. It is the deep
    lines that are bored (and hence tubes) where bikes are banned due to
    possible problems on the escalators.

    I know many people refer to the whole of London Underground somewhat
    loosely as "the tube", but your "surface tube" is too odd a
    juxtaposition to pass without comment.

    Your information about bike carrying regulations is, however,
    accurate.

    Andrew Webster
     
  16. Andrew Webster <[email protected]> wrote:
    >David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>Bear in mind that you may use the surface Tube lines outside the rush hour
    >>with an unfolded bike; most of the major railway terminuses are on or
    >>within walking distance of the Circle Line.

    >A bit of a contradiction in terms here. The shallow underground lines
    >are not "tube", but of cut-and-cover construction.


    I know that (although I realise other rbt readers may not); indeed,
    outside central London (as you know) the surface lines are above the
    surface in many places.

    _But_ it's all the big-T Tube even where it's not a small-t tube; just as
    it is the big-U Underground even when it is not little-u underground.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  17. David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<+PA*[email protected]>...
    > Andrew Webster <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >>Bear in mind that you may use the surface Tube lines outside the rush hour
    > >>with an unfolded bike; most of the major railway terminuses are on or
    > >>within walking distance of the Circle Line.

    > >A bit of a contradiction in terms here. The shallow underground lines
    > >are not "tube", but of cut-and-cover construction.

    >
    > I know that (although I realise other rbt readers may not); indeed,
    > outside central London (as you know) the surface lines are above the
    > surface in many places.
    >
    > _But_ it's all the big-T Tube even where it's not a small-t tube; just as
    > it is the big-U Underground even when it is not little-u underground.


    You are right, the capitalisation makes all the difference!

    Andrew Webster
     
  18. David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<+PA*[email protected]>...
    > Andrew Webster <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >>Bear in mind that you may use the surface Tube lines outside the rush hour
    > >>with an unfolded bike; most of the major railway terminuses are on or
    > >>within walking distance of the Circle Line.

    > >A bit of a contradiction in terms here. The shallow underground lines
    > >are not "tube", but of cut-and-cover construction.

    >
    > I know that (although I realise other rbt readers may not); indeed,
    > outside central London (as you know) the surface lines are above the
    > surface in many places.
    >
    > _But_ it's all the big-T Tube even where it's not a small-t tube; just as
    > it is the big-U Underground even when it is not little-u underground.


    I'll quote from http://www.trainweb.org/tubeprune/lu-summary.htm just
    to support my argument...

    The name "tube" appeared early in the 20th century when the deep level
    lines first opened with their small diameter tunnels. It is now often
    used (incorrectly) by the general public to mean any Underground line.
    "I'll take the Tube" is an expression commonly heard in London. The
    sub surface lines are the Circle, District, East London, Hammersmith &
    City and Metropolitan Lines. Only the others, the Bakerloo, Central,
    Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo & City Lines are
    true tube lines.


    ....but clearly you are right here, the capitalisation makes all the
    difference!

    Andrew Webster
     
  19. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    "Andrew Webster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote in message

    news:<+PA*[email protected]>...
    > > Andrew Webster <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > >David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > >>Bear in mind that you may use the surface Tube lines outside the rush

    hour
    > > >>with an unfolded bike; most of the major railway terminuses are on or
    > > >>within walking distance of the Circle Line.
    > > >A bit of a contradiction in terms here. The shallow underground lines
    > > >are not "tube", but of cut-and-cover construction.

    > >
    > > I know that (although I realise other rbt readers may not); indeed,
    > > outside central London (as you know) the surface lines are above the
    > > surface in many places.
    > >
    > > _But_ it's all the big-T Tube even where it's not a small-t tube; just

    as
    > > it is the big-U Underground even when it is not little-u underground.

    >
    > I'll quote from http://www.trainweb.org/tubeprune/lu-summary.htm just
    > to support my argument...
    >
    > The name "tube" appeared early in the 20th century when the deep level
    > lines first opened with their small diameter tunnels. It is now often
    > used (incorrectly) by the general public to mean any Underground line.


    Common useage defines what is 'incorrect'. In this case, you are :)

    --
    Tumbleweed

    email replies not necessary but to contact use;
    tumbleweednews at hotmail dot com
     
  20. Peter File

    Peter File Guest

    > The name "tube" appeared early in the 20th century when the deep level
    > lines first opened with their small diameter tunnels. It is now often
    > used (incorrectly) by the general public to mean any Underground line.
    > "I'll take the Tube" is an expression commonly heard in London. The
    > sub surface lines are the Circle, District, East London, Hammersmith &
    > City and Metropolitan Lines. Only the others, the Bakerloo, Central,
    > Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo & City Lines are
    > true tube lines.


    Right I'll remember that on my next trip from Harrow on the Hill to
    Waterloo.
    'Im taking the surface/cut'n'cover to Baker St and then the tube to
    Waterloo'
     
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