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Old 12-07-04, 10:14 PM   #1
PurpleK
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UK bikes on trains

Can anyone offer any suggestions regarding taking a bicycle on a train in the UK?

I am working on a tour of the UK next year and may want to combine the bike with trains for portions of the trip. Anyone know the process for taking a bike on a train in the UK? What do I need to watch out for? Can I simply put the bike on the train or do I need to box it? Is there a separate fare required for the bike? Most likely scenario would be taking a train from London to Portsmouth. Anything anyone can suggest would be welcome. Any Brits out there that can help me with this one? Thanks.
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Old 12-08-04, 04:58 AM   #2
MichaelW
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Every train company has a different policy on bikes.
The London Waterloo to Portsmouth route is run by South West Trains. Their cycle policy and timetable etc is at
http://www.swtrains.co.uk/ourservices/
Generally, its difficult to take the bike on rush-hour trains. You have to book on busy routes, and it is recomended on other routes. Portsmouth out of rush hour would not be a busy route.

You dont need to pack the bike, there is either a separate guards van, or more commonly a rack for 3 bikes OR a wheelchair passenger. Note that wheelchairs always take priority, even if you were there first, so booking is recomended.

Another useful rail timetable is at:
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/planmy..._2004128105910
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Old 12-08-04, 07:05 AM   #3
BRUCE NORTHCUTT
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Try this web site for information. http://www.gfarnsworth.com/BikeAccess/default.cfm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleK
Can anyone offer any suggestions regarding taking a bicycle on a train in the UK?

I am working on a tour of the UK next year and may want to combine the bike with trains for portions of the trip. Anyone know the process for taking a bike on a train in the UK? What do I need to watch out for? Can I simply put the bike on the train or do I need to box it? Is there a separate fare required for the bike? Most likely scenario would be taking a train from London to Portsmouth. Anything anyone can suggest would be welcome. Any Brits out there that can help me with this one? Thanks.
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Old 12-08-04, 07:52 AM   #4
stokell
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PurpleK,
In addition to the info provided by members, I small bit of advise: British trains are common and frequent. Often they stop for seconds to let passengers on and off. If the station you are boarding at has platform wardens ask where you should stand to load the bike. Some trains put them in baggage, others don't have a baggage car but just a designated area.

If you are travelling by tube (subway) in London, make sure the bike is boxed and not clearly labelled as a bike as bikes are banned from the tube . If you are landing in London see if you can land as Gatwick which has a proper train station and you can possibly avoid downtown London completely, that is unless you want to go.

My airline lets me put my bike in a bag. I bike to the airport, roll it into the bag and drop it as luggage. At the destination I roll it out of the bag and take off to the train station. I never have to carry a bike box.
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Old 12-08-04, 10:29 AM   #5
PurpleK
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Thanks, everyone. You have all been very helpful.
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Old 12-08-04, 10:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleK
Thanks, everyone. You have all been very helpful.
One more option you might want to consider. The folding bike

Full size bicycles are not allowed in the tubes but folders are a different story. There are plenty of people I know that use the tubes with folding bikes. You might have to bring a bag to cover it but that's about all. I know there are plenty of people that dislike folders but it's not the end of the world. You might be able to find a good used Brompton in London and from what I understand, it's quite common to see people using them in the tubes.

The largest folder I would bring inside the tubes would be a 20' inch wheel folder. I can just imagine having to lug a bicycle box in the tubes! During rush hour, the tubes can be packed with bodies and you'll NEVER get a box that big inside. Get a folder and a bag to cover it and your worries are over.
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Old 12-09-04, 08:53 AM   #7
PurpleK
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I don't object to folders per se, in fact I would love to have one. But my UK visit will be part of a longer tour consisting of full panniers and long days in the saddle. I would feel more comfortable using my full sized tourer for this type of trip.
Also, since I will be making two visits to the UK about 6-12 months apart, I'm still looking for suggestions where I can store my bike in the UK between visits rather than face the hassle of shipping my bike each time. I have gotten some good leads for self storage facilities, but would prefer something less expensive if I can find it....perhaps a bike shop that would store my bike and have the tires inflated, chain lubed, wheels trued and ready for pickup when I return to pick it up. London environs or Portsmouth are the most likely places I will want to store the bike
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