recumbents on european trains

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by bentdrew, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. bentdrew

    bentdrew New Member

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    am planning to travel throughout europe by bike, preferably a recumbent, this coming spring and i've heard various things about restrictions on recumbent bikes on some trains in europe. has anyone had experience with this? i just built a very expensive wedgie based on some information about italian trains being very restrictive about any unusual sorts of bikes. finding the wedgie predictably uncomfortable i'm back to considering taking a recumbet.

    bentdrew
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  2. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    On Thu, 5 Aug 2004 12:25:20 +1000, bentdrew
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >


    > am planning to travel throughout europe by bike, preferably a
    > recumbent, this coming spring and i've heard various things about
    > restrictions on recumbent bikes on some trains in europe.


    Not sure if UK is included in 'europe' for your tour, but if so
    getting any sort of bike onto trains in the UK is an exercise in
    frustration. There are numerous restrictions and numerous caveats and
    in most cases it boils down to just try and do it and see if you get
    thrown off, in which case try on teh next train.

    Typical requirements are you can only take a bike with a reservation,
    a reservation can only be issued by teh station of departure, and only
    between 3 and 7 days in advance of travel, and does not guarantee that
    they will take the bike anyway (you think I'm kidding?)

    It's not worth even trying to get a bike on a train in or out of
    London during peak hours, but otherwise the best option is just to
    turn up and act ignorant ("but I've bought this ticket and I had no
    idea there'd be any problem, please can I get on, I'll move the bike
    out of anybody's way" blaah blaah blaah). If you get a jobsworth
    ("it's more than my job's worth to let you ...") you just have to give
    up and wait for the next train - so have a fallback plan and
    redundancy in your travel arrangements. This precludes trying to use
    pre-booked (cheaper) tickets which normally restrict you to a
    specific time train.

    regards, Ian SMith
    --
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  3. I've taken both a large SWB (Streetmachine with tailbox and Streamer)
    and a lowracer on Dutch, German, and English trains (and the SWB on an
    Irish train).
    German trains have generous cycle storage, but officially you need to
    buy 2 cycle tickets for 1 recumbent (but I've never needed to, being a
    dumb tourist) generally there's no need to make reservations. Most
    ICEs don't have cycle storage, the ones that do are clearly marked
    (big cycle logo on the outside). All German trains I've been on have
    the storage on one side of the train; prepare to run along the
    platform with your bike and get in before the whistle blows! The
    German railways website www.bahn.de is very good, even for planning
    multi-country trips that don't go through Germany at all!

    Dutch trains are not quite so good; smaller spaces (but more of them),
    more bikes, passengers in the designated cycle spaces (but you have
    right of way). You can't take a non-folding bike during rush hour.

    The English trains are generally very cramped, but bikes usually
    travel free (passengers however pay much more than on the continent,
    esp. on one-way trips.

    Ireland is a third-world country, when it comes to train travel, but
    at least you don't have to pay extra for the bike.

    To sum up, I've always been able to get my bike on the train I wanted
    to be on (even if that train was quite often late), but it can be a
    hassle, and taking a LWB would certainly be stretching things. I'd
    also take a good look at your luggage, the less, and the less
    panniers, the better (in Germany you're supposed to take all luggage
    from the bike). In Germany, Ireland, and England, you'll also have to
    lug yoor bike up and down the stairs.
    If you're only planning to take the occasional train, you should be
    alright, but if you're planning to hop all over Europe, get a
    Brompton. To finally answer you're original question: in the countries
    I've travelled in, taking a "bent is hardly more difficult than a DF.

    Mark van Gorkom.
     
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