Bike at XiAn Bell Tower Plaza
Well, as a bit of a test run I packed my bicycle, and me, off for a short trip, by rail. I went to Xian (I am in China). I will say that the trip was much more pleasant with the bicycle. I was able to do what I wanted and not waste a lot of time matching myself to bus schedules.
Of curse, that meant that I was able to stop at malls I would have normally passed. I went to this mall and ended up going back a second time to get a new dual band handheld (an Amateur Radio thing).
locked to a tree outside the electronics mall
One thing to consider is the weight of the bicycle. It is one thing when it is being ridden, another when it is rolling, and yet another when it is being carried in a bag. It must be in a full coverage bag. All bags are x-rayed; so it isn’t like I am sneaking anything on board. However, it must be in the bag. This means carrying the bag with the bike in it.
Keep in mind when thinking of what you can carry, China rail stations are huge and there are a tremendous number of stairs. Further, once the train arrives, and the gates are opened, you need to be prepared to run to the train. That run will involve at least two flights of stairs and some fair distances.
The train to Xian went well except for a few little issues. The first and only, real, problem going to Xian had to do with the quality of the carry bag for the bicycle. I got a travel bag when I got the bicycle. However, the shoulder strap was attached to the bag using “D” rings. The rings were split on the flat of the “D.” This allowed the rings to stretch open once they were under the load of the bicycles weight. The result of this was that when I got to Xian I was not able to use the shoulder straps, making it harder to schlep the bicycle across the platform, down the stairs, through the tunnel, up the stairs, and out the exit.
The next day I went to a high quality outdoor store and got some good quality equipment rings. Problem solved.
Also in the train ride to Xian I was able to slide the bike under the bottom bunk in the compartment. It just barely fit, due to width when folded. On the way back it simply did not fit at all. I ended up putting it on the bunk and resting my legs on top of it as I slept (which seems to have induced a bit of a snore).
All in all, it seems to have worked well. It was worth having hassle of packing the bike for the convenience of having the bike with me to get around. I was also able to ride my bike from the train station to my hotel instead of waiting a couple of hours for the busses to start running.