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Amtrak - Bike Friendly?

Old 06-23-08, 11:00 PM
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alexanderaf
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Amtrak - Bike Friendly?

I've just received my orders, and I will for sure be going to Los Angeles AFB next year! I'm thinking of ditching my car the first year I'm there and relying on my bicycle and motorcycle for travel around the city

I had a question though...I have a sister in Vegas, and I noticed I can travel to see her on weekends via Amtrak for cheap! I was thinking of riding my bicycle to the terminal, but would they allow me to bring it on board, maybe for a fee? I certainly would not want to lock it up for a couple days outside in LA.
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Old 06-23-08, 11:05 PM
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1) On the website, check to make sure the place you want to drop your bicycle off and the place you want to pick your bicycle up have full baggage service or you won't be able to drop your bicycle off or get it back.

2) You'll likely have to box your bicycle. I can't remember if they have boxes, or if there is a fee.

3) Allow for an extra 6-12 hours each way on your trips.
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Old 06-23-08, 11:38 PM
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You would be riding Ambus to Vegas, Amtrak would not send you on the train. The train stopped Servicing Vegas with the death of the Desert Wind.

https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...Page&c=am2Copy

You would be concerned with the checked baggage portion of that, but I do not know if they will let you take it on the bus. Might as well just accept greyhound.
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Old 06-24-08, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by alexanderaf View Post
I've just received my orders, and I will for sure be going to Los Angeles AFB next year! I'm thinking of ditching my car the first year I'm there and relying on my bicycle and motorcycle for travel around the city

I had a question though...I have a sister in Vegas, and I noticed I can travel to see her on weekends via Amtrak for cheap! I was thinking of riding my bicycle to the terminal, but would they allow me to bring it on board, maybe for a fee? I certainly would not want to lock it up for a couple days outside in LA.
It might be easier to buy a second bike and keep it at your sisters place.
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Old 06-24-08, 04:33 AM
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I boarded Amtrak for Oregon once. How bike friendly the line is depends upon the line. Local Calif lines are bike friendly. Long distance trains require bikes be boxed. I'd suspect Vegas would have the same requirment. You will like Metrolink. Extremely bike friendly. As long as you are in time to get a bike hook. Yes, you can reserve a bike box at Union Station. Seems like they were five bucks.
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Old 06-24-08, 04:46 AM
  #6  
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If you are riding the same Amtrak that I rode, you are better of bicycling the whole way.
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Old 06-24-08, 06:35 AM
  #7  
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The Pacific Surfliner is a very bike friendly Amtrak line...but I think the "walk your bike on and put it on the bike rack" is only available on that specific Amtrak train. It's really convenient for me when I go to visit my parents. Ride 10 miles to the train station, walk the bike into the passenger car & lock it to the bike rack on the lower level, ride the train a couple hundred miles with a nice view of the ocean from Vandenberg AFB before going back to civilization, then get off and ride 4 miles to the parents house. Being in L.A. you could take the Surfliner north as far as San Luis Obispo, or south as far as San Diego.

Oh and if you ever go on the Surfliner they serve beer from Stone Brewing in San Diego. I strongly recommend the Arrogant ******* Ale. It's a bit expensive (like $6 for a 22oz. bottle I think) but I love when the train is going alongside the 101 and I'm sitting in the cafe car drinking a beer watching all those unfortunate people driving their cars.

I've looked into taking Amtrak to the east. There's a train that goes through the Needles,CA area but they don't allow unboxed bikes on, and trips to Las Vegas would be by Amtrak bus as previously mentioned.

I know on connecting buses for the Surfliner you're supposed to be allowed to throw your bike in the storage area under the bus with everybody's luggage...not sure if you'd be allowed to do that on any of the other Amtrak buses.
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Old 06-24-08, 07:38 AM
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the magic words to look for in the Amtrak route description are either "Checked Baggage Car" or "Bring Your Bike On-Board". The Bring Your Bike Amenity is a rarity, but it means that there's a train car with a rack that can hold your bike. Checked Baggage means that you have to box your bike and check it in as a piece of baggage.

If your train does not have a checked baggage car, but another train on a different departure time does, and you don't need your bike right away, you can have your bike loaded onto the baggage train and pick it up later. This is what I did when I traveled from Boston to New York on the Northeast Regional and Acela. The Acela does not have checked baggage service, but there's a slower midnight Northeast Regional train with a baggage car. So, I checked my bike in to that train, took the Acela down and then picked up the bike from Penn Station the following morning.

There is a fee for the box if you don't have one. There is also an additional fee for loading your bike. It's not high. I think the total for box and bike was less than $20. Bring a pedal wrench and a hex wrench for your stem as you will have to take off your pedals and turn your handlebars sideways to get the bike to fit in the box. The standard Amtrak bike box also has space for panniers and accessories, if you feel like unburdening yourself.
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Old 06-24-08, 08:20 AM
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You could always go for a folding bike that you can bring on board as carry on. No extra cost for that, and no requirement for special trains. In general, I would say Amtrak is bike friendly. Here are the details of Amtrak's bike policy...

https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...=1080080554487

However, as a poster noted above, there is no train service to Las Vegas, NV. There is, however, service to Las Vegas, NM... which can be a little confusing.

--sam
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Old 06-24-08, 08:56 AM
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Is this Amtrak box a cardboard box?
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Old 06-24-08, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Galls View Post
You would be riding Ambus to Vegas, Amtrak would not send you on the train. The train stopped Servicing Vegas with the death of the Desert Wind.

https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...Page&c=am2Copy

You would be concerned with the checked baggage portion of that, but I do not know if they will let you take it on the bus. Might as well just accept greyhound.

I love the replies and no one reading my post
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Old 06-24-08, 10:15 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Galls View Post
You would be riding Ambus to Vegas, Amtrak would not send you on the train. The train stopped Servicing Vegas with the death of the Desert Wind.
That's probably why the tickets are so cheap.
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Old 06-24-08, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mr jones View Post
Is this Amtrak box a cardboard box?
Yes...I give mine to the homeless guy at the station on the other end...

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Old 06-24-08, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mr jones View Post
Is this Amtrak box a cardboard box?
Yes. Aren't all bicycle boxes cardboard?



And if you did go with a bus, you would definitely need to box your bicycle.


BTW - more info about bringing your bicycle on the train, if you can take the train where you want to go.
https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...554487&ssid=43

Last edited by Machka; 06-24-08 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 06-25-08, 12:25 AM
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Hi there,

I've not been to vegas, but I've done several norcal-socal bus routes with my bicycle at least 10 times over the past year.

When riding the Amtrak bus I've not had to box the bike. They have cargo compartments in the bottom of the busses and you can just put your bike down there, no charge.

Besides busses, here's my experience with bikes on amtrak:

1) Trains with specific bike accomodations advertise this fact in the brochures and online. (Surfliner, Capital Corridor, etc) There's no charge.
2) Longer interstate routes normally have checked baggage cars where you'll have to pay $10 for a cardboard box to check your bike. Bring a multitool to rotate your handlebars and a pedal wrench to remove your pedals. (California Zephyr, Coast Starlight,etc). Get there early to have time to do so.

Originally Posted by alexanderaf View Post
I've just received my orders, and I will for sure be going to Los Angeles AFB next year! I'm thinking of ditching my car the first year I'm there and relying on my bicycle and motorcycle for travel around the city

I had a question though...I have a sister in Vegas, and I noticed I can travel to see her on weekends via Amtrak for cheap! I was thinking of riding my bicycle to the terminal, but would they allow me to bring it on board, maybe for a fee? I certainly would not want to lock it up for a couple days outside in LA.
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Old 07-05-10, 12:09 AM
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I wrote a how-to on taking bikes on the amtrak: https://yokim.net/989 based on a plan https://yokim.net/984 I wrote up with information from the last poster
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Old 07-05-10, 09:53 AM
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Just for your information,a friend of mine is an engineer for Union Pacific and I was talking to him last week and he swears that they are bringing back the Desert Wind in the very near future.I won't hold my breath.

He also said the Metro is building tracks,as we speak,to service Barstow from L.A.
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Old 07-05-10, 10:58 AM
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Buy a bike and leave it at your sisters house as Amtrak is not the way to travel to Vegas. It takes forever! An airline ticket can be much cheaper and more reliable than trying to choo-choo it across to Sin City.
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