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Eurostar and bikes

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by mcr, 1 May 2008.

  1. mcr

    mcr Über Member

    Location:
    North Bucks
    I realise it may be too soon since the change of rules, but has anyone made use yet of the new bikes-on-trains policy on Eurostar? I'm weighing up the pros and cons of using my Tardis bike bag (which makes it easier to transfer on to connecting TGVs but means carrying the folded-up bag with me on tour) versus paying £20 extra each way for the privilege of keeping the bike intact and then using local trains to get out of Paris. Do you actually get to put the bike on the train yourself, or do you have to drop it off at the baggage handling office and hope for the best? And can it be a nightmare trying to find room for a packed-up bike in the luggage spaces at the ends of carriages?

    Any thoughts welcome.

    Matthew
     
  2. yello

    yello Guru

    I'd like to read comments to as my bike and I will be heading back to the UK sometime over the summer.

    It's that that concerns me. Not so much the space issue but putting my bike in a place where it can be damaged by other luggage. I think I'd prefer the bike carriage option.
     
  3. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Man-Machine

    Location:
    Stevenage
    Just got back from Provence using exactly this method (bike in a bag and not paying). No problems at all. Not a one. I had no problems fitting the bike on the racks, and no problem getting it through security. For the record, this was St Pancras-Lille-Lyon, and Avignon-Lille-St Pancras. If you get on the train later than everyone else, the racks have all the Samsonites on them, and the bike goes on top and that's cool. Don't get on first, as taking up the whole rack is unfriendly, and they'll just pile cases on your bike.
    Honestly, it works. Go for it.
     
  4. mcr

    mcr Über Member

    Location:
    North Bucks
    Thanks, Doc!

    In the end I went past St Pancras yesterday, so investigated a bit.

    To take your bike unpacked it has to be dropped off at the Eurodispatch office (way down halfway to France, it feels, if you arrive at the front of the station...), from where they will 'take care' of it and load it themselves - needs to be handed over at least an hour before your departure time. Obviously best to pre-book, though the assistant said people do sometimes just risk turning up on spec. Only slight fly in the ointment is that of course you can't book a train ticket on the condition there's room for your bike - you can't reserve space for it until you are in possession of your ticket or booking reference.

    And if you want to take it packed, there's supposedly a 67-inch maximum total size(height+length+depth) for carry-on luggage, but the woman at the info desk said she'd seen people with huge bags getting through.

    I might still take the ferry!
     
  5. peekay76

    peekay76 New Member

    I took my bike on the Eurostar to Belgium for the Tour of Flanders. This was just before the rule changes so I put my bike in a bike bag and it just fitted in the bike racks at the end of the carriage. I saw a couple of other people doing the same and there were no questions asked by any security or train staff. I was expecting at least a small amount of hassle but there was none whatsoever.

    My only advice would be to pack and pad the bike well and get on the train early so you can get your bike on the rack before it gets full of suitcases etc. This does mean your bike will be at the bottom of the pile, hence making sure it's packed well.
     
  6. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Man-Machine

    Location:
    Stevenage

    That's the only bit I'd differ from you on. I reckon you want your bike on top of the cases, not underneath. I'd get on last, and be prepared to re-organise cases slightly if you need to. Really, you don't want the blingy uberbike at the bottom of a heap.

    For ages I've been meaning to do Belgum again, especially as the Eurostar ticket to Brussels gets you anywhere else in Belguim for free.