my travel-buddy and i are flying out of O'Hare airport in a couple days, hopefully with our tandem in a box. I've talked to the airlines, and think i have that part all figured out, so now it's just getting to the airport. The bike will be packed in (big) box for the trip. My plan is to take the Metra commuter train (not during rush hour), then a CTA bus for a short distance, then the CTA blue line train to OHare. Does anyone have any experience taking any of these with a packed bike? I called both Metra and CTA and both said "sure", but the Metra website says they don't even allow skis (decidedly smaller than a boxed tandem)...
I don't have a car that will fit a driver, 2 passengers, and boxed bike, and i'm not confident that a taxi/limo service would be able to accommodate us either (also, i'm trying to do this as cheaply as possible)
I doubt that a CTA busdriver would let you take a tandem on the bus, and tandems do not fit on the bike rack in front of the bus. Even if they would allow, you may have a hard time getting it into the bus.
This is from the Metra website:"Standard bicycles that do not exceed 70 inches in length are permitted on designated trains; tricycles, tandems, trailers, bulky attachments, training wheels or powered bicycles are prohibited."
So I think the public transport is a non-starter, unless you can ride your bike to a blue line station.
Another way of looking at this: Would you be annoyed if you are taking public transport and somebody else enters an already crowded bus/train with a tandem (or another oversized item)? I think I would be...
Edit: Have you tried your local taxi service? They may have larger vans that could accomodate a tandem....
Where are you starting and at what time of day? If rush hour, you're not going to endear yourself to many folks. If off-peak, then a PACE or CTA bus wouldn't be too crowded, depending on the specific route.
Other option is to call a limo service. It might cost a bit more, but a good trade off for not having to lug a big box and luggage on/off a train, through Union Station (or whatever Metra line you are on) then tot he street onto a bus, then down stairs onto a blue line train and then through O'Hare.
I just flew out from OHare with my bike box. It's not even a tandem and that box is huge. I can't imagine navigating it on public transportation. I know it's expensive but I'd call a limo service. I use A1 Limo and my bike box fits easily into the Lincoln trunk.