I'd like to make plans for a weekend trip from Royal Oak, Michigan to Chicago or Toronto this December, and would like to take my mountain bike/commuter with me. I'm considering Amtrak, Greyhound (if they still exist), or some other yet unknown carrier of people and stuff. I'd like to avoid using my car at all cost.
I hear Amtrak has some trains that have bike racks. Has anyone here tried them? Are they secure, and do you have to literally carry your bike onto the train? I plan on bringing/packing everything I need in my panniers, and then staying at a Motel 6 or Holiday Inn Express (sneak my grungy bike in through the back door...shhhh). Carrying the bike even a short distance will literally break my back...less I remove everything.
Anyone have any tips or suggestions on a mode of transportation to and fro? I would ride the bike, but time is short, and I'm just trying to squeeze in this selfish indulgence amidst family duties for this holiday....
You should contact the local Amtrak agent and see what they say. Depending on the train, you may have to turn the handlebars parallel with the frame, remove the pedals, and/or box the entire bike. I didn't have to do any of these things when I took the train through Missouri and the train crew helped me load the bike into the passenger compartment. You will have to pay extra freight for the bike (for me it was about $10).
Unless you have previous experience with Greyhound and know what you're getting yourself into there I wouldn't recommend them.
Both Chicago and Toronto have some great bike paths especially down by the water. I believe Toronto's are more extensive, but of course I live here! If you plan on taking the train (and I sure hope so) there is an Amtrak that comes to Toronto. Check to see if there is a baggage car.
The City of Toronto publishes a great bike map. You will be able to get one on arrival. There are also other trips such as along the Waterfront Trail towards Quebec or Niagara Falls.
A map book is available for the trail, but they also have posted pdf's on their web page if you want to save the cost of the book.
When you say THIS holiday do you mean Christmas? Sometimes it snows in this area between December and March. I have been doing a 100km tour every New Year's Day for the last 5 years and I have never had to cancel because of snow so you might be lucky. Dress warmly.
Originally Posted by stokell
Can you bring your bike onto the subway cars in toronto?
You can, as long as it's not rush hour.
Originally Posted by Silverexpress
Here's the city's cycling page, with a link to the map.
Originally Posted by stokell
Someone responded re taking your bike on the subway. There are also a couple of bus routes that have bike racks (also on the above page). They might not work too well with all fenders, since the have a springy hook that goes over the wheel...but it seems to be ok in this picture...
Hotels here are expensive...you better check the prices out ahead of time (but I imagine the same is true in Chicago).
Here is the page for the Chicago Bike Program....
And here is the page for the Lakefront Trail Map.....
and the public transportation in Chicago is the same way. Bikes are allowed on the el' and on the front of buses, so long as it is not rush hour.
The Chicago Bike Program website has a link for bike maps to the whole city, not just the lakefront path.