Cyclists will be able to take unboxed, complete bicycles on the Eurostar - following campaigns against a new policy, uncovered by road.cc, to make cyclists dismantle and box up their bikes to travel from Sunday 1 November.
Following a CTC campaign, 'Zero Stars for Eurostar’, Eurostar's Head of EU Public Affairs Pierre Delalande contacted the campaign group late last night to say: "You will be pleased to know that we are not intending to go ahead with the requirement for all bikes to be carried in boxes and will accept fully-mounted bikes."
More than 9,500 people signed up to the ‘Zero Stars for Eurostar’ campaign by CTC and the ECF (European Cyclists’ Federation).
The UK’s All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group criticised the move as did the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.
CTC Chief Executive Paul Tuohy said: "It's fantastic news that the views of so many of our members and other cyclists across Europe have been listened to. This proves how a successful, well-run campaign can be a massive force for good and make things happen.
"We at CTC would like to thank everyone who supported our online action, as well as other cycling bodies across Europe, the APPCG, and the Mayors of London and Paris.”
Initially, Eurostar limited a bike box to a maximum 129 x 84 x 26cm, a new policy uncovered by road.cc.
After complaints from this website’s editors that the restrictions were too limiting, being smaller than any bike box we have tested, Eurostar changed its cycle carrying policy to allow customers to travel with a bike box of any size.
Previously cyclists could take a whole bike on the train, though the bike must be taken to its EuroDespatch office at least 60 minutes before travel.
A study commissioned by the European parliament in 2012 found that there are 2.3m cycle tourism trips in the EU every year, worth more than £33bn. While users can currently take their bikes away with them unboxed – they are hung from their front wheel in a specially-designated compartment on the train – that was set to change.
A Eurostar spokesman said: "This is not about space on the train, but about how we use the available space to the benefit of the majority of our customers, taking into account feedback from those that use our service overall."
The European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), which represents cycling bodies across the continent, described the new policy as "very disappointing news" in a letter to Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic. “The requirement being introduced from 1st November to dismantle all bikes and put them into a bag or box is extremely inconvenient and will put people off who are unsure about the mechanics of their bike.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.