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Boris Johnson describes requirement for all bikes to be boxed as ‘a backward step’

Boris Johnson and MPs from the all party parliamentary cycling group (APPCG) have joined thousands of people in writing to Eurostar to complain about its change in policy regarding the transportation of bikes. Cyclists could previously take a complete bicycle on board for a £30 fee, but citing a lack of space, the company now says that all bikes must be bagged or boxed.

In most cases, this means dismantling the bike – something the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) describes as ‘extremely inconvenient’. After road.cc questioned the maximum size of bike box permitted – which was smaller than any we have tested – Eurostar scrapped its size restrictions. Nevertheless, bikes will still need to be dismantled and packed away.

Earlier this week, national cycling charity CTC urged cyclists to write to Eurostar over the issue and so far, more than 7,300 people have done so. This includes Boris Johnson. The Guardian reports the mayor of London as saying: “I am writing to Eurostar asking them not to end their simple, effective bike carriage service ‎used by thousands a year. It is a backward step, ‎which undermines Eurostar’s green pretensions.”

Ruth Cadbury, co-chair of the APPCG, expanded on this, saying:

“Eurostar, as a self-avowed champion for sustainable transport, should be looking to make cycle-rail integration easier, not more difficult. As things currently stand they’re coming across as anti-cyclist.

“Across Europe we’re seeing high-speed rail accepting complete bikes, and here of course in the UK, there is no need to box up your wheels. Eurostar is bucking the trend and stepping back to the detriment of its cycling customers.”

Lord Berkeley, secretary of the APPCG, urged Eurostar to rethink their policy and find an amicable solution for all their users. “There are already enough inherent difficulties within the Eurostar service for those travelling with their cycle without these proposed changes making things more awkward,” he said.

CTC’s Sam Jones said he hoped Eurostar would be moved by the widespread public outcry and the concerns expressed by leading politicians. However, a spokesman said the company was still intending to make the change from the start of November.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

7 comments

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Yemble [54 posts] 2 years ago
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A London to Paris ride will be awkward now - need to carry a large roll of bubble wrap and tape for the return journey, right?

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Twowheelsaregreat [86 posts] 2 years ago
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Yemble wrote:

A London to Paris ride will be awkward now - need to carry a large roll of bubble wrap and tape for the return journey, right?

No, Eurostar will provide boxes apparently. Still a pain disassembling the stem from the steerer or the handlebars from stem. Some people's set ups are different than most, some are very precise. It's not as easy reassembling as some people think.
Current Eurostar policy is that any fittings like lights, bags, computers, etc must all be taken off the bike before transit. This year setting up my bike after using Eurostar meant the guard had to wait whilst I re-affixed my frame bags to the bike on the platform. I didn't have enough hands to carry the bike and bags off the platform and down the stairs at Brussels. The wait will be even longer whilst trying to get the bike set up properly. Some of the Transcontinental Race cyclists used Eurostar this year and this new dictate will be a pain for anyone planning to use Eurostar next year.
The guys at Eurostar who thought this up just didn't think from their customers perspective at all. Evidently they are not keen cyclists themselves.
More forward planning will be required but the ferry has always been my preferred option.

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JonD [485 posts] 2 years ago
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raggatip wrote:
Yemble wrote:

A London to Paris ride will be awkward now - need to carry a large roll of bubble wrap and tape for the return journey, right?

No, Eurostar will provide boxes apparently.
(Snip)
The guys at Eurostar who thought this up just didn't think from their customers perspective at all. Evidently they are not keen cyclists themselves.
More forward planning will be required but the ferry has always been my preferred option.

Boxes for tandems ? Recumbent 2 or 3 wheelers or upright trikes ? Any of those can be a matter of preference or necessity, and if the latter even more of an issue for disassembly.

Mind you, even if they had pushed their proposed changes past some cyclists I doubt if non-df riders would have got much consideration. ..

Ferry's all very well but a lot more hassle compared to a 20 minute train journey into Waterloo and a short ride across town, not to mention the other end  7

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wycombewheeler [1203 posts] 2 years ago
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Yemble wrote:

A London to Paris ride will be awkward now - need to carry a large roll of bubble wrap and tape for the return journey, right?

 

I understand that even in Paris money can be exchanged for goods and services, even including bubble wrap and sticky tape. But yeah, still not ideal

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Dr. Ko [206 posts] 2 years ago
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What would it mean for Brussels? The bike drop off point belongs to SNCB, would I need to go to Eurostar first, pick up the box, drop in my bike and drop it off at the SNCB counter?

I haven't seen any problems in the past year, inwards to London my bike (in a soft bag, shorter than 4 feet, front wheel removed) was often the only lugguage in two chambers.

 

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mpdouglas [30 posts] 2 years ago
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We can moan all we like, there is little that can be done about it. This is down to the new fleet of trains that have 900 passenger seats instead of 750. Guess what was given up to create that extra space for seating! There is literally no hanging space for bikes in this new design.

So they have spent £1bn on a fleet of these new trains, and agreed to a design where the space for larger luggage was materially reduced. Genius! And the last fleet was in place for 20 years, so it's not going to change any time soon. Why are privately owned companies allowed exclusive access to national/international infrastructiure like this with no regulations about stuff like this. I'm not at all surprised that a profit motivated organisation wants to maximise margin by getting even more passengers onto each service but the regulations should compel them to make proper provision for stuff like bike transport.

We are such a backwards country at times.

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traveler [1 post] 2 years ago
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Bicycles are the least of Eurostar worries!

I was told on the phone, while waiting 30 minutes for 3 consecutive days on an overseas line,  that it is taking them 30 DAYS to reply to emails. 

"But we're not understaffed", she added.

Then what do you call it?

Live chat is gone. 

Customer service is all but gone. 

I am NOT looking forward to my next trip.