Bikes on French trains

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  • I am pondering the idea of taking my bike with me on a trip to spain, which will mean I need to take the bike on a night train from Paris to Barcelona. All evidence I am finding online is indicating that the french don't take bikes on trains, meaning that I am likely to need to pack the bike in a bag of some sort and hope for the best.

    This being the case, what do people recommend for transporting a bike by train when you aren't supposed to ?



  • if you look through this section (Travel & tips), you should able to find a handful of topic regarding the eurostar, bike bag (talk about train too) etc.

    they got some stuff there.

  • All evidence I am finding online is indicating that the french don't take bikes on trains, meaning that I am likely to need to pack the bike in a bag of some sort and hope for the best.

    I took my bike on trains in France last summer and it was totally fine, most trains had dedicated bike carriages.

  • Most local and regional trains have some form of bike carriage, the TGV does not....but if you take a small foldable bike bag you will be fine.

  • me and my friend took our bikes on a train when we were in france, there were around 4 bike places per train and we were advised to book places for them... we were told by the station manager that the TGV didnt take bikes, but there were places next to guards room on the front and we got them on... generally what we found was, there are places for normal or folding bikes they just dont really want you to have them for some reason.

    if i went again id book trains in advance and get some one who speaks french to ring for me so that we got some bike reservations

  • Sorry to dredge, but I need some advice!

    I'm hoping to book myself + my bike on the train from Lyon to Paris, and then Eurostar from Paris to London.. Eurostar bike booking (although a bit pricey) seems relatively straightforward, but the Lyon>Paris leg is causing me a lot of trouble.. When I add my bike to the booking, it seems to only allow me to travel on a TER train that takes 5hrs (rather than the TGV routes that only take 2hrs), which means I'm v limited in which Eurostar I can book on the other end..

    So basically - I'm wondering how strict they are with 'carry on' bikes? It says they have to be in a 'special cover'. I'll have no way of bringing a bike bag with me, so if I were to partly dismantle it and wrap it in a tarp, what's the likelihood of me getting on the regular train with my bike as luggage?

    Any insight greatly appreciated!

  • Hi @speculoos
    If you can fit the bike in a travel case (you can find the carry-on luggage max size somewhere on the SNCF site), you should be fine. The luggage compartment are quite big but they tend to be filled so either get there early to have a nice spot or try to find a suitable space between seats: some back-to-back seats have a fair storage space between them, a bike bag might fit.
    Not all TGVs allow for bikes I believe. I know Paris-Bordeaux does, but there are only 5-10 bike seats in either ends of a 10-Car train I think.

    As far as the eurostar is concerned, I did the oppsite travel from London to paris with 2 bikes, so I'd advise you to check the details because I had to bring my bike a day before taking the train and only got it back a day after my arrival in Paris.

    I hope this helps. I'm in Paris, so PM me if you need translation or something!

  • Hi @rak500, thanks for your reply!
    I wont have a bike bag with me, and I'll have no way of getting hold of one.. So I was thinking that I'd just buy a tarp, dismantle my bikes and stuff it in the luggage rack.. But if it needs a bag, then that's an issue.. Maybe I'll just have to take the 5hr train instead and book my bike on assembled.

    As for the Eurostar, it seems to say that you can prebook your bike on the same train as you're travelling on via EuroDispatch for £30­o/travel-planning/luggage/bikes, or on the 'first available train' if you just turn up without booking it. But it's the 'leave plenty of extra time' bit that I'm worried about, and why I'd rather not take a 5hr train from Lyon!

    Oh, it's all so annoying... Thanks for your help, I'll no doubt be reaching out again!

  • If anything, when I said bike bag, it's to makes sure the SNCF dudes don't annoy you, because if they see you just have a tarp wrapped arounf the bike, they'll annoy you, but if you take a big fat ikea bag that closes, i'm sure it'll be alright, as long as it doesn't damage neghbouring luggage. I'think that's why the SNCF are a bit picky if anything.

  • Hi ! I've done the Lyon-Paris many times as I'm french.
    With your bike 2 options:

    • TER (slow and regional trains) 5hours, less expensive, bike-friendly areas inside (at least, it should, but anyway its okay to have your bike non-packed).
    • TGV (fast trains) 1h50-2hrs. Bike shall be packed but you can use almost anything as long as it's sealed and don't brake. Proper bike housing is nice, but a tarp or a heavy duty plastic garbage bag works fine to. You want your luggage to look "as professional" as you can, but don't bother with a big smile and not so many people in the train it should be ok.

    Thus, maybe, avoid train with much affluence (early / late)

  • @rak500 @AlfredIV
    Thanks, I'll probably give the TGV + bag a try. My only worry is that if I get a grumpy staff member, then I'll miss my Eurostar at the other end!

    I'm also considering getting the train from Geneva to Paris instead, and riding for a few extra days in the Alps. It seems that TGV Lyria from Geneva has space for assembled bikes, which will make things a little easier as I'll be v pressed for time and would rather not have to disassemble!

    Thanks for your help

  • Wrong thread

  • I did Lyon > Paris > London 2 weeks ago. Got bike in bag for tgv then cycled to gare du nord and put full bike on Eurostar.

    On the Lyon platform look out for signs that will tell you where to stand to get on your carriage. Means you can stand in the right spot and save time jumping the bike along the platform. Also, Eurodespatch office is far down the service platform at gare du nord and not clear where to find it with the improvement works happening. It's on the ground floor, far left and just keep walking.

  • I've actually changed my plans and will be finishing in Geneva instead, and getting the train from there. I'll spend a few extra days in the alps.

    Booked my bike on with Eurodispatch, so thanks for the tips re directions

  • Warning.
    Corsican trains don't allow bikes onboard.
    As they are TER,
    usually bike friendly,
    it never crossed my mind to check !

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Bikes on French trains

Posted by Avatar for quixoticgeek @quixoticgeek