Cyclists Treated Like ‘Third Class Passengers’ By New Eurostar Policy

Cyclists using the Eurostar cross-channel service when heading for a cycling holiday in Europe will, in the future, be forced to dismantle their bicycles before getting on the train.

Many cyclists from the U.K. who regularly enjoy cycling holidays in France and other areas of Europe are not impressed with the train company’s new regulation. They would literally have to dismantle their bikes and put the pieces into a box to travel on the train, and would then have to reassemble them once they arrive in France.

According to the Telegraph, previously, cyclists had to pay a £30 ($46) fee to carry their bicycles in one piece via a registered luggage system, but now the bikes must be completely disassembled before even stepping on to the train.

According to a Twitlonger post, Eurorail stated that passengers with bikes are important to them, but that the new policy has been introduced so that the train company can utilize space on the trains more flexibly. They say the new ruling then allows them to carry more bikes in the space available.

According to the company, the only change is that the bikes must be disassembled and carried in a bike box, which they are happy to provide if necessary.

According to the Telegraph, CTC, a national cycling charity, has joined together with its partners in popular biking destinations like Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Germany in an effort to condemn the new regulation, saying it will discourage new cyclists and will tend to make air and bus travel more attractive.

France, in particular, is an ideal cycling destination, popular mainly with tourists traveling from the U.K., but also with other international visitors. The country offers much in the way of facilities for cyclists in all the most scenic areas. A blog on Le Vélo Voyageur lists some amazing destinations for stop overs while cycling in France, including some of the famous wine areas, as well as the Atlantic coast and the French Alps.

While France might not be considered as cycle-friendly as the Netherlands and has fewer dedicated cycling lanes, it turns out the French themselves love the sport and drivers in that country tend to watch out for cyclists, especially over the weekends, adding to the country’s attraction for cyclists.

However, it seems cyclists traveling from the U.K. to France or elsewhere in Europe don’t have to worry too much. According to a post on Bike Biz, there’s always a good alternative. Speaking of Eurostar’s “ill-thought out policy,” which has “touched a nerve across Europe’s cycle community,” they say cyclists should rather take a ferry instead. This will, they state, allow the cyclists to show their disapproval to Eurostar “with their wallets.”

The report quotes a press statement issued by Discover Ferries, titled, appropriately, “Worried about taking your bike abroad? Take the ferry instead.”

Discover Ferries is one of the U.K.’s major ferry services, and their statement points out that traveling by ferry allows cyclists, and other travelers, “complete flexibility and freedom to just pack up their bags and go,” meaning they can wheel their bikes on to the ferry and once they reach France’s shores, merely wheel them off again, completely intact.

The statement continues that “one of the rising stars of ferry travel freedoms is cycling,” that cyclists have a choice of hundreds of destinations in France and other areas of Europe, including “relaxing cycles by the sea or blood pumping mountain descents.”

With the useful alternative of the ferry at competitive rates, cyclists heading for adventure on the roads in France and elsewhere in Europe will find this hassle-free travel option far more useful than the Eurostar train service as it stands since the change in policy.

[Photo via Wikimedia Commons by Myrabella / CC-BY-SA-3.0]