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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-04-07, 05:23 PM   #1
hotbike
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Bikes on Trains



Here are the photos I took while in Italy.
I thought I'd post them here, so you can use them to show people what a train looks like if it has reserved space for bicycles.
It would be a good idea in this country (USA).
Unfortunately, in the USA, Amtrak requires that a bike be boxed. The going excuse is that the Redcaps (baggage porters) don't know how to roll a bike backwards without the chain falling off.
How the heck do you ride a bike to a train station while carrying a box big enough to hold the bike?

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Old 03-04-07, 06:04 PM   #2
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Amtrak has no problems with folding bikes. I've taken my folder in a softcover and they had no problem putting the bike next to luggage. I suspect those softcovers sold at performance will work just as good.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:42 PM   #3
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The Amtrak Cascades route (Eugene, OR to Seattle, WA) allows bikes in a luggage car unboxed for $5 extra. There are racks.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotbike


Here are the photos I took while in Italy.
I thought I'd post them here, so you can use them to show people what a train looks like if it has reserved space for bicycles.
It would be a good idea in this country (USA).
Unfortunately, in the USA, Amtrak requires that a bike be boxed. The going excuse is that the Redcaps (baggage porters) don't know how to roll a bike backwards without the chain falling off.
How the heck do you ride a bike to a train station while carrying a box big enough to hold the bike?

The Amtrack line from San Diego to Northern California allows regular bikes. There are vertical racks for regular sized bikes in every other car. I took my bike from San Diego to Santa Barbara for a mini-vacation bike ride without any hassles.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:50 PM   #5
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The commuter train in San Diego called the Coaster has about 4-6 bike spots in every other car. You make it sound like there are no train line in the USA that allows bicycles without boxes. This is wrong.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:00 PM   #6
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I've taken my bike (along with lots of touring stuff) on an Amtrak lots of times. However, for me, when I buy a ticket, I also pay an extra fee for my bike. Personally I don't like the idea of having to pay extra for bikes on the Amtrak, but I suppose I do take up extra space.
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Old 03-05-07, 07:47 AM   #7
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Here's why I'm peeved;
I asked an Amtrak ticket agent if I could go from New York (Penn Station) to Jacksonville Florida.
She told me I could go to Jacksonville on the Silver Meteor, but my bike would have to go on the Silver Palm to ___Orlando! and then my bike would be brought from Orlando to Jacksonville on a bus.

An extra 350 miles for my bike.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:50 AM   #8
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I think Amtrak's policies are very different depending on which regional corridor you are in. The WC is nice about bikes but has a major lateness problem. The EC isn't as accomodating about bikes, but you mostly get to where you're going on time.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:44 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=hotbike]


How the heck do you ride a bike to a train station while carrying a box big enough to hold the bike?
[QUOTE]
When my daughter and I traveled with our bikes, we pedaled to the station with our luggage on the bikes. Amtrak gave us boxes. We had to have tools to remove
the pedals and twist the handlebars. The bikes rolled right into the boxes, then
AmTrak tapped the boxes shut. We arrived a bit early so we'd have time to do the boxing.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:11 AM   #10
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Interesting. I'm taking the train from Munich to Prague in May and riding the rails in both cities. I'll be bikeless, but curious to see how it's handled in intercity lines and long commuter trains.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by jamesdenver
Interesting. I'm taking the train from Munich to Prague in May and riding the rails in both cities. I'll be bikeless, but curious to see how it's handled in intercity lines and long commuter trains.
That's nice. I hope you can report back to us on how it goes, and what you find out about bikes on trains in Germany and the Czech Republic.
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Old 03-05-07, 12:27 PM   #12
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Certainly.
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Old 03-05-07, 02:30 PM   #13
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I've heard of people hoboing (freight-hopping) with bikes. Just throwing that out there.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjohnnytarr
I've heard of people hoboing (freight-hopping) with bikes. Just throwing that out there.
I knew this guy who during the depression used to hobo on freight trains. Quite dangerous I might add but he continues to do this today and enjoys riding for free thousands of miles each year. It's dangerous and illegal.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:43 PM   #15
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So that guy must be 90 years old. You sure he's still doing this?
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Old 03-06-07, 01:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I knew this guy who during the depression used to hobo on freight trains. Quite dangerous I might add but he continues to do this today and enjoys riding for free thousands of miles each year. It's dangerous and illegal.
Very dangerous. Those depressed well cars (the ones that carry double-stack containers) look inviting, but they have no floor, just a couple of steel crossbeams.

Someone I met who had hopped freights said the most important thing to have is a big knife, to stab into the wood floor of the boxcar or flatcar and hold onto so you don't get thrown off the train.
He said one time he was jumping off a freight in Utah and his belt got caught on something and he had to use the knife to cut his belt, or he wouldv'e got dragged to death. Interestingly, he said he was working for Conoco on oil wells , and he travelled the southwest by hoping freights.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by 531phile
So that guy must be 90 years old. You sure he's still doing this?
I believe his parents tossed him out real young (I think at 13 years old). But the guy was as old as dirt!
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Old 03-12-07, 11:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotbike
Someone I met who had hopped freights said the most important thing to have is a big knife, to stab into the wood floor of the boxcar or flatcar and hold onto so you don't get thrown off the train.
Just hope your hand doesn't slip down off the handle.
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Old 03-12-07, 11:05 PM   #19
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I've been bringing my bike on the Metrolink in St. Louis. No problem. Tonight I saw about 8 other cyclists on one train.
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Old 03-13-07, 04:28 PM   #20
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I take my bike on the Sounder commuter train into Seattle every morning. In my car alone there's on average 4-5 bikes.

Each morning I easily see 2 dozens bikes exit my train - and there's 4 trains on the south line and 2 on the north line.
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