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Old 07-11-11, 09:41 PM   #1
TransitGeek
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Bikes on long-distance coach buses

According to the rules of almost every intercity bus carrier, you can put your bike under the bus without any packing. I've taken my bike on Greyhound a few times but am really nervous about damage so I always boxed it. The trouble is the bike boxes require significant disassembly, and Amtrak has longer boxes but they won't sell me one without a ticket.

I want to take my bike on the commuter buses that go up to New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, and it would be so much easier if I didn't have to disassemble and box it, just for a one-hour trip. Space is not a problem since most passengers are doing day trips so the luggage bays are pretty empty.

Have you ever put your bike under the bus without a box? Should I worry about damage? Any other suggestions (aside from a folder, for which I am currently saving money)? Could I just wrap it in some bubble wrap or something?
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Old 07-11-11, 10:06 PM   #2
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I've actually placed a borrowed mountain bike in a bus' cargo area.
It was already beat up so I don't think my buddy would have noticed
or been bothered by any new scratches. It seemed fine after the 45
minute trip, I laid it on the left side and the cargo area was empty.

Maybe you can make a "custom" box from 2 free bike boxes from any
bike shop. Or bring a big moving blanket.
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Old 07-11-11, 11:01 PM   #3
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+1 on this question. I'm often between Philly and New York, and it'd be great to throw my bike on the Bolt without too much worry.

Maybe I'll work up the courage to try the blanket option. At least I can store that in my pannier before the trip.
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Old 07-12-11, 06:29 AM   #4
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You might could get away with wrapping the bike in builders plastic. Pretty inexpensive, tough, and would provide some protection. I'd secure the front wheel to the downtube and might remove the dérailleur hanger from the frame. Be a lot less trouble than boxing the bike, and less chance of paint scratch from squeezing it into a box.

Hmm...I'll check this out with Greyhound tomorrow. I just finished boxing a bike for bus transport. Was not fun and won't be any fun putting it all back together. Could carry enough plastic with me to use for the trip home. Double as a ground cloth or even a tarp.
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Old 07-12-11, 01:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
You might could get away with wrapping the bike in builders plastic. Pretty inexpensive, tough, and would provide some protection. I'd secure the front wheel to the downtube and might remove the dérailleur hanger from the frame. Be a lot less trouble than boxing the bike, and less chance of paint scratch from squeezing it into a box.

Hmm...I'll check this out with Greyhound tomorrow. I just finished boxing a bike for bus transport. Was not fun and won't be any fun putting it all back together. Could carry enough plastic with me to use for the trip home. Double as a ground cloth or even a tarp.
Maybe wrap some bubble wrap around certain areas you want to especially protect. Then wrap the whole thing in builders plastic.
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Old 07-12-11, 04:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TransitGeek View Post
According to the rules of almost every intercity bus carrier, you can put your bike under the bus without any packing. I've taken my bike on Greyhound a few times but am really nervous about damage so I always boxed it.
I think your first sentence is wrong. Greyhound is the largest intercity bus carrier in the USA, and they require that bikes be enclosed. From Greyhound's website:

http://www.greyhound.com/en/ticketsa...formation.aspx

Baggage must not exceed 62 inches when adding the total exterior dimensions of the piece (length + width + height). A charge of $30 - $40 (depending on the distance traveled) will be applied to any baggage above the 62-inch limit.

Packaging exceptions will only be made for the following items: bicycles, skis and ski poles must be packed in wood, canvas or other substantial container, and securely fastened;
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Old 07-12-11, 05:22 PM   #7
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I have taken my bike on a bus 2 times, both with no box or any other protective gear. Panniers were left on for transport. The first time I helped load the bike on, and it was placed down on it's side for the 3 hour bus ride. The second time I gave my bike to the luggage handlers and the stood my bike as well as my friends bike up in the luggage hold! By the end of this 9 hour ride my bike was on it's side, and my friends bike on top of mine.

In both cases no damage was caused to the bike. I simply grabbed my bike and started riding away from the bus station.

There is a risk of damage, but it is minimal.

I will also add that both of these experiences were in Mexico.
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Old 07-12-11, 07:07 PM   #8
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I took Peter Pan to Boston from Springfield MA (1st bus 5am) and driver said OK to no box but I had to assume all risk for damage. With Peter Pan depends on driver and distance. Luggage fiirst, unboxed bikes 2nd for priority.
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Old 07-12-11, 07:14 PM   #9
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years ago (many years ago), I did Grayhound from WIndsor, Ontario to Washington DC. No bike box, the bike was underneath. No problems. Now I go to NY every now and then on BOLT and its cousins, and take a folder It has a nylon sleeve I put it in and it goes under with the rest of the baggage, no problems... then it's unload in Manhattan, unfold and get on and ride to Brooklyn works pretty well. That is one of the reasons I bought the folder ( a Dahon Speed P8)-- so I could take it on the bus.

train safe-
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Old 07-12-11, 08:51 PM   #10
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Thanks for the great replies. I think a blanket is the way to go: lightweight and easy to strap onto my rack while riding, and it's easy to find or discard at any thrift shop. I guess bubble wrap would be good for the derailleur but probably no big deal if I make sure the bike is on the left side, and wrapping my STI shifters can't hurt.
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Old 07-14-11, 07:29 PM   #11
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Not all intercity buses accept bicycles. For example, the double decker buses that run between Toronto and Montreal WILL NOT accept bicycles as luggage, full stop (unless you have couplers that allow you to disassemble and fit everything in a suitcase...)

Check the Bus Line before assuming you can bring your bike along.
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