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Not coming soon to a UK rail operator near you

Let's face it, travelling by train with your bike in the UK can be a chore - not to mention an exercise in logistics - at the best of times.

If it's not peak-time restrictions, there's the issue of limits to the number of bikes allowed on particular services to contend with.

Then there's the worry that delays or cancellations mean that the train you want to catch is too packed too get your bike on in the first place.

Luckily, when that happened to us, we were right next to the bike racks at King's Cross so were able to leave it and catch the train ... though that did mean an unplanned return trip the following day to retrieve it.

So it's understandable that railway-using cyclists here may cast a jealous eye towards Japan, where this month has seen the unveiling of a train that has space for 99 cyclists and their bikes.

And as the video above shows, it really is quite impressive.

The six-car Boso Bicycle Base train, which has been converted from carriages from a commuter service, will start running next month, reports the Japan Times.

Operated by East Japan Railway Co., it will run at weekends between Ryogoku station in Tokyo and a number of towns on the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture, a popular spot for cyclists based in the Japanese capital.

A spokesman for the railway company said: “We hope many people will enjoy bicycle trips around the peninsula.”

As with certain services in the UK, however, reservations are compulsory and must be made five days in advance.

Also, the company's cycle-friendly policies don't extend to its other services, where only folding bikes, or ones that have been disassembled and put in a bag, are allowed,

Return fares will reportedly start at ¥6,500, equivalent to around £43.

 

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.