When I wanted to go away to for a romantic break to celebrate my birthday I jokingly suggested to the other half we got there by train and bike travel only. Its been a long time since I have taken my bike on a train. The last time was when I went on a local train to visit someone in the country who used to go to my church to see their eco-house. There were no issues that time. I used to have a friend in our church homegroup who used train and bike travel to get to work. He did have some issues. In Scotland on local/regional trains space is limited and its first come first served (although bike spaces can be booked)*. He and others who regularly did the same on the same train organised themselves to put their bikes on in a certain order, so they could get them off in the right order. But there were days when he could not get his bike on.
We also used train and bike travel in France, but on French Railways bikes do not necessarily travel the same day as you (we had to wait to the next day to collect our bikes). At the time they hung them up by holes at the end of the front forks as well, and damaged mine. Eurostar have unfortunately copied this idea and also annoyingly will not take bikes part route (London to Paris – no problem, London to Calais no can do).
It was with mild trepidation then when my spouse agreed and looked into the train and bike travel. The UK’s train services being privatised there was more than one company we could have used. On one the bikes travel free and the other you pay a bit. We chose the one that wasn’t free since we felt there was more space on the train for our bikes. There was also another complication, the tides. We were going to train to Berwick upon Tweed and then cycle to Lindisfarne. This involves cycling across a causeway, so we needed trains that fitted in with that.
The process of train and bike travel was easy without issues. All the stations had lifts for us to get our bikes too and from the platforms. The staff at Edinburgh and Berwick were helpful and expecting us. There are “Sheffield” type racks in the guards van which you strap your bikes to. At either end the staff lifted our bikes off for us.
The biggest downer was cycling along the A1 which was very busy, although I think there was a cycle route that could have avoided this. We also had a puncture caused by a thorn from a Hawthorn, although this did not affect us on route either way. Altogether very easy and we had a good weekend.
* its only this way since the Edinburgh cycle pressure group (Spokes) staged a lie down protest at Waverley Station many years ago.