Eurostar to make you dismantle your bike, to travel
Fancy going to France for a nice cycling holiday and thinking of getting there on the Eurostar? Well, unless you've got some mechanic skills, you might want to reconsider, because Eurostar have introduced a new policy that will definitely annoy a lot of cyclists.
Basically, if you want to take your bike on the Eurostar, you're going to have to dismantle it, and then reassemble it on the other side.
At the moment, you can put your bike in a registered luggage system, for a charge of £30. However, as of next month, that'll all change. That's even worse than the UK train system, which is far from perfect. Of course, a lot of cycling groups are very irritated by this.
National cycling charity CTC has echoed the complaints of their pals in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, saying that this is going to stop cyclists from using the Eurostar. We await the inevitable lawsuits that are thrown Eurostar's way, as someone fails to attach their front wheel properly and ends up in an accident.
Why are Eurostar doing this? Well, they are claiming that this needs to happen so they can accommodate other passengers who have more luggage.
The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) said that this policy as "extremely inconvenient" in a letter to Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic. They added: "We understand that there is a limited space for baggage on the trains but it should be allocated on a first come, first served basis. We would therefore request that the current policy of allowing the carriage of complete bicycles is retained."
Of course, this is going to madden the companies who organise cycling holidays and trips via the Eurostar. Assuming that cyclists are at least a little green-minded, they're now going to be looking at eschewing trains for short haul flights, driving to the continent, or getting buses. It all seems less than ideal.
A Eurostar spokesperson said: "Passengers with bikes have and continue to be important to us. Our new policy has been introduced so that we can use the space on our trains more flexibly, by carrying the same or more bikes depending on the demand from passengers. The only change is that bikes will now need to be carried in a bike box, which we are happy to provide. When packaging bikes in this way they take up less space which means that we can carry more bikes or any other type of luggage."