Author Topic: Back to the Smoke 2018  (Read 2808 times)

Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2019, 11:53:38 am »
Useful to know. I'll make sure I get to Paddington in plenty of time...

If you did the bike booking during the purchase you'll be fine - the bike reservation tickets will come out of the machine alongside your travel tickets. I only got in trouble because I did my bike booking over the phone.

But yeah, making sure you have extra time to get the bike loaded properly isn't a bad idea.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2019, 11:56:58 am »
If you did the bike booking during the purchase you'll be fine - the bike reservation tickets will come out of the machine alongside your travel tickets. I only got in trouble because I did my bike booking over the phone.

I bought the ticket from thetrainline.com then phoned GWR to make the bike reservation separately. I foresee problems...

I didn't realise until too late that GWR let you book bike spaces online at the same time as booking your ticket*, or I would have bought the ticket directly from them.


*other operators don't, so I assumed...

Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2019, 12:09:13 pm »
Are people planning on stopping en route or riding through the night? I'll bring my bivvy bag as I might need a kip on the way, but I'll probably aim to avoid stopping if I can help it.

There is a bird hide at a Tring should you find yourself flagging towards the end.  Depends how late you are running. 

As for phone booking for bike reservations. You should still get a reservation number out of that, that you can put into a ticket machine to get your bike reservation tickets out of.

Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2019, 12:47:02 pm »
If you did the bike booking during the purchase you'll be fine - the bike reservation tickets will come out of the machine alongside your travel tickets. I only got in trouble because I did my bike booking over the phone.

I bought the ticket from thetrainline.com then phoned GWR to make the bike reservation separately. I foresee problems...

I didn't realise until too late that GWR let you book bike spaces online at the same time as booking your ticket*, or I would have bought the ticket directly from them.


*other operators don't, so I assumed...

Don't worry, the GWR bike reservation system is broken.

I don't use Paddington, but no-one ever checks bike reservations elsewhere for this very reason. You may get some jobsworth there, but I think it's unlikely.

It's difficult to find the bike spaces on the new trains, so for your information:

On five carriage trains, one compartment in the second and one in the fourth carriage.

Ten carriage trains are two five-carriage units coupled together, so as above.

Nine carriage trains have compartments in the B, F, J (two compartments) and K carriages.

Each compartment is supposed to hold two bikes, but it's difficult to get the second one in (pretty much impossible if you use the recommended hook). Compartments are at the end of the carriage nearer the centre of the train. They double at luggage space, so sometimes you have to throw a few suitcases out.

Some trains have bike symbols by the doors to show where these compartments are. However GWR are as confused by the layouts of these trains as everyone else, so they aren't always in the right place.

There are a few of the old trans still running. If you are lucky you will get one of these.

Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2019, 12:55:03 pm »
As for phone booking for bike reservations. You should still get a reservation number out of that, that you can put into a ticket machine to get your bike reservation tickets out of.

Most companies do, but last year GWR gave me a reference number that was emphatically not a ToD pickup code.

I don't use Paddington, but no-one ever checks bike reservations elsewhere for this very reason. You may get some jobsworth there, but I think it's unlikely.

I was ambushed at the ticket gates last year with minutes to spare, so this is terrible advice!

(I've had multiple encounters with terrible jobsworths at Paddington - it seems to be a mecca for miserable gits)

Quote
There are a few of the old trans still running. If you are lucky you will get one of these.

By May there will be none (at least running to Paddington).

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2019, 01:22:12 pm »
Oh well, the office is near Paddington so maybe I’ll call in there on my lunch break and sort it out ahead of the day.

Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2019, 02:20:45 pm »
Well I am booked. 9am at Reading to 11.06 in Exeter. I couldn't book from maidenhead as cycles not bootable on the maidenhead to reading trains. I guess I can either ride to reading or take any of the frequent local trains without a booking.

I've had the tickets posted to me for piece of mind that I have them.

I nearly called the whole thing off as the confirmation page before paying made no mention of the bike booking.
   E = 77  SR = 2

Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2019, 03:53:54 pm »
Check-riding it last year and stopping frequently to write notes, I still finished in a 21hrs.  It's a pretty benign route (unless you bollox it up by allowing RWGPS to reroute you along all the main roads as someone did).

The route has changed a little around Watford, to avoid some busy dual-carriageway.  I have yet to check the new section, but the gps file won't be far out.