Touring Europe by bike is a very popular activity these days. However, you will need to get on a train at some point if you are going around Europe. Packing your bags with the right tools and getting a tom-tom GPS is not enough. Here is a look at what you need to know about taking your bike onto a train in different parts of Europe.
To take you bike along on all –BB lines you have to pay a fee. Depending on the province however, the ticket prices may already include the bike transport fee. For international journeys rates are ‚12 but for local journey the rates are ‚5 and ‚10 for short and long distances respectively. Most short distance trains will take between 6 and 20 bicycles and there isn’t any need for prior reservation. Long distance trains on the other hand can take between 2 and 40 bikes and you will have to make a reservation.
If you intend to travel on Eurostar with your own bicycle, there are two options available to you. Firstly, you can get a bike bag and pack it in but you must be ready to re-assemble your bike following each journey.
The second option is to reserve on-board storage at 20 each way after you have already booked your tickets. If there is any reason the bike can’t be accommodated on the train, the service will get your bike to your location within 24 hours.
In the Czech Republic
Bikes are allowed on most trains under the Czech lines but you have to check the timetable for the symbol which says bikes aren’t allowed. You can either take it on the train with you or have it placed in a designated section of the train. The first option will cost you CZK 25 (equivalent to 80p) while the second option will cost slightly more. They also offer a one-day bike pass and you can book a space in advance. Booking space in advance can cost between CZK 15 to 200 (around 50p – 6.70). If you don’t intend touring with your own bike, you can rent a bike at one station and return it at another station.
Every train under the Croatian Railway has a designated bicycle carriage. Each of the trains can hold as many as 30 bikes. This makes Croatia a good destination for people going on group cycling holidays. The coast is however, not served very well by the rail network. In standard coaches, there are additional bike racks. It also costs HRK 30 to get your bike on board (just under 4).
If you are touring Belgium, you will have to pay ‚5 per trip to take your bike on-board. There is also no guarantee that the train will fit your bike so you may be transferred to another train or you may be refunded the ticket costs. You can purchase the cycle card for ‚5 on the SNCB website if you book your tickets online.
Make sure you plan your train journey and know the rules on the networks on which you are travelling.