Touring - Bicycle on Train in France?
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Has anyone ever taken a bicycle on a train in France? Did you have to box or bag it, or were you able to just roll it on the train? Did it cost more?
I need to get from Calais to Paris this August and ideally I would prefer to just get on board with the bicycle as is, all intact.
05-07-03, 03:21 PM
When I was there it depended on the train. Some trains allowed bikes some didn't. Usually the ones that didn't were the short trippers (say from Nice to Antibes). I can't remember if it cost more or not (its been five years). You don't need a bag or a box, you can just roll em on. Of course things may have changed since then but this has been my experience...
05-07-03, 04:27 PM
Bicycles are not allowed on the TGV, but they are allowed on the old regional trains, all you have to do is roll your bike on and enjoy the ride. The regional trains run short distances and it may be difficult to take one all the way to Paris. You may have to transfer once or twice to get there. This will also depends on which station in Paris, so find the station as close to your hotel as possible. Bicycles are not allowed on the RER suburban trains, subways or buses if I remember correctly. When you arrive at Calais train station, you can buy your ticket in advance from one of the automated ticket dispensers. There was no extra charge when I was there with my bike.
Are you touring France or going to a race?
Contact the SNCF for more information.
I'm hoping to ride in the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 (Randonneur event). My hotel will be in St. Quentin just outside of Paris.
If all goes well, I'll have about a day to get from Calais to my hotel.
Those regional trains sound somewhat promising - I wonder if they would go to St. Quentin rather than Paris itself. You wouldn't happen to have any websites for them, would you?
05-07-03, 04:52 PM
The trains in France are excellent and you should have no problems.
Have a look on the SNCF web site (French equivalent to VIA).
Here I had a look for you and these trains take bikes! So it is 26.50 EURO and takes about 31/2 hours.
05-07-03, 06:37 PM
There are two TGV from Calais to Paris Nord direct. You can't take bikes intact but if you put in "une housse" (bike bag) no larger than 120x90cm you can take the disassembled bike on the passenger compartment and put it in the luggage rack. You can buy these >100Euro or like I did last year, make one out of cloth, tarpoline, etc, whatever works. This year I think I'll try just tape up a large trash bag, hope that passes, I think it just need to cover the bike in its entirety. Don't have to look fancy, I don't think.
To go by regional train (RE), it will take one chage (from one RE to another, one RE to TGV, or one RE to night train). RE usually have bike carrying section that you can just load and unload yourself. When you see a printed time table at a train station there, it will indicate with a bike symbol which train will take intact bike.
You can get train schdule from bahn.hafas.de
I got a great deal of info from here, for my trip last year.
05-07-03, 06:43 PM
You will be able to take intact bike on RER.
Thank you very much for all the links! That's encouraging - it sounds like it won't be too much of a hassle to get to Paris with my bicycle. :)
As the plans come together I'm starting to look forward to the trip rather than just being terrified! :D
Machka, a couple of things, I don't think there will be any problem with taking it on the train. I did so on the local runs that aren't much different than the one you would take from Calis. Of course I was also looked at as the "estupid amerrrikahnn."
Second in '81 I hitchhiked from Calai to Paris in a day, so it can be done relatively easily by bike, and would be a great warm up for the P-B-P. I know you've posted about time constraints and the like, but what would work is to sag via train your kit and and then ride to Paris, or St. Quinten.
Third, I envy this trip, but will be there in four more years. I've got a load to learn about brevets, and getting registered with RUSA. Good Luck!
I didn't have any trouble getting my bike around on the French trains.
There is a baggage car on some (many) trains toward the front of the train. The cars with a bicycle symbol painted on it has facilities for bicycles. Usually, there were train personnel who took my bike from me and secured it. Once, I had to put the bike in the baggage car myself.
There is a hook arrangement. You lift you bike up and put one of the wheels on a hook hanging from the ceiling. Then you use straps to secure the bike to the wall.
Bicycling France is really wonderful. I have bicycled throughout the world and France is still one of my favorite places for bicycle touring.
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