You can, you can't... you can. South West Trains have reversed their ban on bikes over the Olympic period, meaning that you can proceed as normal on their services. Well, almost.
In the three days since their blanket ban was announced the operating company has clearly been hurt by the bad publicity its draconian action prompted. So they've gone back to the drawing board and come up with a new set of rules for the Olympics. Which are bascially the rules they use normally, with one exception.
The new statement from South West Trains is now on the CTC website, and reads as follows:
"Green travel is important to us and we have a good track record for investing in facilities for cyclists using our network. However, we operate one of the busiest rail networks in Europe and space for cycles on our trains is limited. As a result, at peak times and on certain services we already have to restrict the carriage of non-folding bikes. This is a standard policy all year round. However, we welcome fully folded bikes on our trains at any time.
"Clearly, during the Olympics and Paralympics games our train services are going to be even busier. We will be carrying significant numbers of extra passengers on top of our normal levels of daily customers. We have considered carefully the position regarding cycles over the period of London 2012, including listening to feedback from our customers and our staff. Following that review, we have decided that our policy for non-folding and folding bicycles will remain unchanged throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"The only exception will be on 28 and 29 July, when we will be unable to carry bicycles on our services via Epsom. This is also the case with other train operators and will ensure we can carry the maximum number of passengers to see the cycle race at Box Hill."
So then, as you were. Except if you want to take your bike to the Olympic Road Race, in which case you'll have to cycle from a bit further away from Dorking station. First Great Western won't let you take your bike on their Surrey services on that weekend either. The CTC is suggesting that taking bikes unneccessarily on what are likely to be overcrowded services is probably a bad idea, and we'd echo that, but we welcome the lifting of South West's blanket ban that would have applied even to local services nowhere near any of the Olympic sites.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.