Booking a bike on Eurostar - changes

andym

Über Member
I've just got off the phone to eurodespatch (the people who deal with bookings for taking UNBAGGED bikes on eurostar). The 'window' for booking the bike spaces on eurostar is now the same as booking for the main travel tickets - so in theory you don't have the dilemma of deciding whether or not to buy a ticket before the cheap seats runs out.

(Background for those who haven't travelled with eurostar - it used to be that the tickets would be available 4 months ahead but bookings for the bike spaces didn't open until two months before travel).

I think eurostar tickets are now available 6 months ahead.

Unfortunately you still have to buy the bike ticket separately, and they are still outrageously expensive, but hey, it's a step in the right direction.
 
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TheDoctor

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
A Brommie is indeed the answer. Getting a bike onto Eurostar is now an exercise in annoyance, and near-as-dammit impossible if you're going onwards by TGV.
In Eurostar's defence, it's not that they're short of space for bikes, per se, they're short of space full stop. I saw people taking more luggage for a weekend in Paris than I had for 10 days in Provence, and they didn't even have a bike in their bags...
 

GrumpyGregry

Here for rides.
A Brommie is indeed the answer. Getting a bike onto Eurostar is now an exercise in annoyance, and near-as-dammit impossible if you're going onwards by TGV.
In Eurostar's defence, it's not that they're short of space for bikes, per se, they're short of space full stop. I saw people taking more luggage for a weekend in Paris than I had for 10 days in Provence, and they didn't even have a bike in their bags...
If it is any consolation I saw a bloke get on a Virgin Atlantic flight, from Orlando to Gatwick, coach-class, with five pieces of hand luggage last week. Had he not been my brother-in-law I'd have been tempted to make a fuss,
 
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andym

Über Member
A Brommie is indeed the answer. Getting a bike onto Eurostar is now an exercise in annoyance, and near-as-dammit impossible if you're going onwards by TGV.
In Eurostar's defence, it's not that they're short of space for bikes, per se, they're short of space full stop. I saw people taking more luggage for a weekend in Paris than I had for 10 days in Provence, and they didn't even have a bike in their bags...
I've never had a problem getting a bike onto a Eurostar train - and I've lost count of the number of times I've travelled with them with my bike. I admit that it still isn't as easy as it could be, as it should all be bookable with one phone call, but if you book early enough you shouldn't have a problem getting a space.

The onward connection on the TGV has nothing to do with eurostar (OK yes the SNCF is the majority shareholder). But again that depends on where you are going to: there is a major problem with the main line to Marseille where most of the trains are doubledeckers, however, it's pretty feasible on TGVs to other destinations. I booked my onward trip to Basel with my bike on the TGV-Lyria via the UK call centre - easy-peasy.
 

TheDoctor

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
Maybe so, but the issue for me is getting the bike at Paris, getting across Paris and onto a TGV. When the bike was on a rack near you - not too difficult. Now you have to retrieve it from somewhere within the Gare du Nord, then start getting across Paris.
Plus, you used to be able to change trains with a bike at Lille. Not any more. And that's a problem - a simple cross-platform change was simple, and the new arrangements make it impossible. I recently did a 10 day tour of Provence on a Brompton, because it was less of a pain-in-the-ar5e than getting my road bike to Avignon.
 
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andym

Über Member
I think we're at cross-purposes.

I'm talking about the service for taking unbagged bikes (I should have made that clear I guess), while I think you're talking about changes in the maximum permitted bag sizes. [EDIT: ignore the next sentence it's wrong]. These don't actually prevent you taking a normal non-folding bike on eurostar - you just have to use a bike bag like the Ground Effect Tardis that will fit on a rack. They also fit neatly on the racks of the double and single decker TGVs (not to mention German, Spanish and Italian high-speed trains). You just need to make sure that you get to the luggage racks before they get filled up by the people who put their hand luggage in the main luggage racks instead of the overhead racks in the compartments.

Funnily enough I was going to add to the point about how the service for unbagged bikes could be better: you can't use it to get on at Ashford or Ebbsfleet or change or Lille. And so far as I know you can't use it on the direct trains to Avignon etc (but that may of course have changed).

If you have a Brompton then it's definitely an option (each to their own and all that), but the short walk at the Gare du Nord is hardly a showstopper.

I know the internet was made for venting, but forums like this should provide a means for people to exchange useful information. OK you don't want to use the service but there are people who do - and hopefully this information will be useful to them.
 
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mmmmartin

Random geezer
changes in the maximum permitted bag sizes. These don't actually prevent you taking a normal non-folding bike on eurostar
Are you sure of this? I thought there was a new rule about the length of the item, which was far too short to allow a bagged bike on, even with wheels off.
 

mmmmartin

Random geezer
Edit

85 cms max length. I'd like to see the bike you can get to that size in a bag.
 

TheDoctor

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
That's my point really - you used to be able to get the wheels off your road bike, and get it into a bag that was then accepted on Eurostars and TGVs, and stayed under your control at all times.
While having the facility to take a fully built bike on Eurostar as-is is welcome (and I'll probably use it at some point), we're now in the position where the requirements change between what are nominally very similar trains - a Eurostar being essentially a rather long TGV.
If I could take a built-up bike on a TGV I'd be a happy bunny indeed :biggrin:
 

TheDoctor

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
Ooh - on the topic of useful stuff, I realised today that combining the built-up-bike-on-Eurostar thing with the ability to get a built-up bike on a TER train means that a tour of Burgundy is a distinct goer. Retrieve bike at Gare du Nord, ride to Gare de Lyon or Bercy (both about 15 minutes away) and sit on TER train till you get to Auxerre or Laroche, depending if you fancy the Burgundy Canal or the Nivernais :thumbsup:
 

vernon

Harder than Ronnie Pickering
Location
Meanwood, Leeds
Travelling with an unbagged bike isn't really a problem. Checking it in is painless. Retrieving it is also a cinch. Find the centre of the train and hand your docket over to the baggage handlers who will hand the bike over to you without you having to go to the baggage office you can then put your panniers on the racks and you're ready for action within minutes of the train stopping.
 
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andym

Über Member
Erm. I'm really embarrassed to admit that my previous post is wrong. If your bike bag is less than 120cms long then you pay less, but it still has to go in the registered baggage service. (According to eurodespatch, the fee has gone up from £10 to £20).

The chapter and verse is here (eurostar.com: Travelling with a bike on eurostar)

My apologies for anyone I misled.:shy:

Still, there is some good news which is that the registered baggage service now includes Lille. Probably not much use if you have an unbagged bike, but if you have a bike in a bag then there are connecting TGV services that will take you to the south of France avoiding the need to change in Paris. For example there's the 12:52 from Lille that arrives in Avignon at 17:07 (and then Aix-en-Provence and Marseille).

The collection point is left luggage office in Lille Europe. I've uploaded a map courtesy of the really helpful people at eurodespatch.

It's not as convenient as it used to be when you only needed to change from one side of the platform to the other, but more convenient than going from the Gare du Nord to Gare du Lyon.
 

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