Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Rides and Touring => Topic started by: yoav on April 04, 2019, 01:49:03 pm

Title: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: yoav on April 04, 2019, 01:49:03 pm
Does anyone have any experience of getting bikes on the Eurostar from Lille to London?
I just spoke to Eurodespatch to try to book 2 bikes on this journey but they said you couldn’t book bikes from Lille, it is just a ‘walk on service’ and they couldn’t tell me availability. I’m not sure I fully understand what this means in practice so can anyone help?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: bikepacker on April 04, 2019, 04:04:07 pm
That's right, the train only makes a brief stop at Lille with no time to load bikes.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: Tim Hall on April 04, 2019, 04:27:10 pm
I've put a bike on at Lille, two years ago.  When we did it (five of us) my chum who did the organisation, had spaces booked.  We rocked up at the station, handed the bikes over to the tender care of some railway employees and went to drink beer*.  When the time came to get on the train, we spied our bikes in the care of the railway bods at the correct place on the platform so they could be hurled on to the train.



* we also watched a drunk man piss over the edge of the balcony, fortunately missing the OLE cables.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: yoav on April 08, 2019, 12:25:53 pm
Thanks all. In the end, we couldn’t be arsed to deal with the hassle so we are going to cycle to Dunkirk or maybe Calais and just rock up and buy a ticket. I’m pretty sure you don’t have to book if just a foot passenger with a bike.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: bikepacker on April 08, 2019, 01:35:23 pm
That's the way I would do it with a loaded bike.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: quixoticgeek on April 08, 2019, 03:19:27 pm
Thanks all. In the end, we couldn’t be arsed to deal with the hassle so we are going to cycle to Dunkirk or maybe Calais and just rock up and buy a ticket. I’m pretty sure you don’t have to book if just a foot passenger with a bike.

The ticket office for the Dunkirk sailing is inside the port. You'll have to follow the traffic route through passport control, then keep following the line to a small booth/barrier, tell the person there that you need to buy a dfds ticket, and they open the barrier, and point you to a small hut.

At least, that's what it was last time I used it, it may have changed, YMMV etc...

J
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: yoav on April 09, 2019, 03:38:29 pm
Just found out something odd: DFDS from Dunkirk or Calais to Dover is for vehicles only, no foot passengers, but a cyclist counts as a vehicle, so that’s all right then.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: bludger on April 10, 2019, 03:40:53 pm
That is weird. I'm getting the ferry from Dunkirk back to Dover on Sunday night. Bit pissed off as I want to stay in Roubaix to watch the race but I fret that won't leave enough time to cycle to the port (allowing time for mechanicals), and it isn't clear if I'd be sure of getting a bike on a train to Dunkirk in that region.

Dropped the SNCF an email asking about it but predictably they've ignored it. Oh well can always watch the highlights at home...
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: grams on April 10, 2019, 04:14:13 pm
Why wouldn't you? Apart from TGVs, French trains are very bike friendly. Here's the page for TER trains in the relevant region:

https://www.ter.sncf.com/hauts-de-france/gares/ter-intermodalite/combinez-vos-deplacements/train-et-velo

It says bikes allowed on all TER trains but avoid rush hours if you're not using a folded/disassembled bike.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: Captain Offensive on April 10, 2019, 05:45:44 pm
Just found out something odd: DFDS from Dunkirk or Calais to Dover is for vehicles only, no foot passengers, but a cyclist counts as a vehicle, so that’s all right then.
They load the bikes on the same way as cars etc so guess there is just no passenger only gangway. Did Dunkirk to Dover with the bike last year, was good and easy, except food facilities in Dunkirk terminal were terrible. I was in need of post ride snacks. They only had snack machines and none of them were working. Food on the boat was good though
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: bludger on April 10, 2019, 10:05:03 pm
Why wouldn't you? Apart from TGVs, French trains are very bike friendly. Here's the page for TER trains in the relevant region:

https://www.ter.sncf.com/hauts-de-france/gares/ter-intermodalite/combinez-vos-deplacements/train-et-velo

It says bikes allowed on all TER trains but avoid rush hours if you're not using a folded/disassembled bike.

Problem is I don't know what the demand will be like. It's the evening of Paris Roubaix, the train might be packed with people who've done the sportive the day before and I might not be able to get a spot for the bike on a train that permits arrival at Dunkirk in time for the ferry
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: Regulator on April 10, 2019, 10:27:30 pm
That's right, the train only makes a brief stop at Lille with no time to load bikes.

Not quite true.  You can book bikes on to Eurostar from Lille - I’ve done it myself (as has Tim’s chum). 

The real pain in the arse can be if you rock up for the ‘walk up’ option, where you may find yourself having to partially dismantle the bike to get it through the x-ray machine.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: Regulator on April 10, 2019, 10:29:50 pm
Why wouldn't you? Apart from TGVs, French trains are very bike friendly. Here's the page for TER trains in the relevant region:

https://www.ter.sncf.com/hauts-de-france/gares/ter-intermodalite/combinez-vos-deplacements/train-et-velo

It says bikes allowed on all TER trains but avoid rush hours if you're not using a folded/disassembled bike.

The TGVs are getting better as well.  There’s now bike spaces on the newer models - although booking them is a bit hit and miss. 
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: mcshroom on April 10, 2019, 10:42:05 pm
Just found out something odd: DFDS from Dunkirk or Calais to Dover is for vehicles only, no foot passengers, but a cyclist counts as a vehicle, so that’s all right then.
They load the bikes on the same way as cars etc so guess there is just no passenger only gangway. Did Dunkirk to Dover with the bike last year, was good and easy, except food facilities in Dunkirk terminal were terrible. I was in need of post ride snacks. They only had snack machines and none of them were working. Food on the boat was good though

On the Cairnryan-Larne ferry, foot passengers jump on a bus which then drives them on the ferry, and off the other side.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: yoav on April 11, 2019, 08:18:23 pm


Not quite true.  You can book bikes on to Eurostar from Lille - I’ve done it myself (as has Tim’s chum). 


That’s not what Eurodespatch told me, they refused to take my booking- unless there is some other way to book a bike onto Eurostar.
Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: Regulator on April 11, 2019, 09:22:31 pm


Not quite true.  You can book bikes on to Eurostar from Lille - I’ve done it myself (as has Tim’s chum). 


That’s not what Eurodespatch told me, they refused to take my booking- unless there is some other way to book a bike onto Eurostar.

You can book it as registered luggage between London - Lille - London, via EuroDespatch.  (https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/travel-planning/luggage/luggage-services)
 
I’ve not found EuroDespatch that good on the phone/online. They’re best in the flesh if you can get to one of their offices.  The guys in Lille were really helpful. 


Title: Re: Bikes on Eurostar
Post by: yoav on April 12, 2019, 10:18:12 pm
London to Lille yes, did that myself a couple of years ago but not the other way round, at least not one way. But that was over the phone. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now.