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French trains

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by rich p, 30 Apr 2008.

  1. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    I'm thinking of hopping over the channel in July and going some way south using provincial trains (ie. not TGV). Does anyone know whether bikes on these trains are welcomed, have to be pre-booked etc? Do they go in 'guards vans' or in the corridors?

    Any info gratefully received.
     
  2. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    Location:
    Kent
    I've no experience (yet) but this site looks helpful?
    http://fubicy.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=36
     
  3. JackE

    JackE Über Member

    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    You won't have any problems on non TGV trains. Sometimes there's been a dedicated area for bikes, other times we just tied them to a handrail as best we could. They don't seem to worry about Health and Safety issues as much in France. We've had a few nightmares with TGV's and the SNCF staff at Gare du Nord. Perhaps it's better outside the capital.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    That's what I'm hoping. The laissez-faire approach!
     
  5. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    It must have changed, then. Last time I tried, SNCF would only accept bikes on the main network if you pre-booked and sent them three days before you boarded yourself - any exceptions required a personal dispensation from M. Le President.

    That was a little while ago, in fairness. Maybe De Gaulle has passed the task on to someone more junior.
     
  6. yello

    yello Guru

  7. JackE

    JackE Über Member

    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    Last June four of us turned up at Gare du Nord on a Sunday afternoon and got more or less straight on a "slow" train to Calais. It was a very comfortable journey and didn't seem slow at all. The bikes were next door in a dedicated section of the coach. The TGV we had originally booked on was "allegedly" full (only 10 bike spaces per train at 10 Euros each).
     
  8. OP
    OP
    rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    Looking at the Fubicy site it sems that it is not as simple as one would think it would be in a country that loves cycling.

    You're probably ok on regional trains (TER) in certain areas at certain times unless you're not! These presumably only allow you to travel relatively short distances.

    For longer journeys, the grandes lignes(SNCF) , the majority do not accept bikes and those that do - you can't pre-book. It is incumbent on you to find the inspector and pay 10 euros for each part of the journey and a fine of 8 euros for not pre-booking!

    It's possible that these rules are ignored but it's difficult to plan and makes me wonder if I should take the car or the bike bus. I'm trying not to take another air flight this year.
     
  9. davidwalton

    davidwalton New Member

    would http://www.bike-express.co.uk be of any use?
     
  10. OP
    OP
    rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    Thanks David. That's what I meant by the bike bus. It's £200 return which for 2 of us is quite a lump but I think it's probably the preferred option now I'm being put off the French trains.